Photography: Larry Arnal
Designed for plenty of together time, this cottage is all about family and lake life.
With its double-storey granite fireplace, floor-to-ceiling windows and swish furnishings, this 4,500-square-foot cottage on Ontario’s Lake Muskoka may appear to be all about style – but don’t be fooled. “This was a function-forward design,” says designer Michelle Berwick. The clients have four grown children, each with kids of their own, and when the cottage was purchased about two years ago, the idea was that everyone could be here at once. “That’s 19 people,” says Michelle. “So we created multiple zones for both mingling and alone time.” This included two family rooms, various outdoor gathering spots and several dining options, including an island with lake views and a breakfast area cantilevered amid the trees. “With such large windows, the lake is the focal point, and we didn’t want to detract from that,” says the designer. The look is crisp and clean, softened with touches of muted colour. “This is a cottage that’s as stylish as it is welcoming, which is exactly how I'd describe these clients."
Photography: Larry Arnal | Design: Michelle Berwick Design | Custom PILLOWS and LOUNGER CUSHIONS, Michelle Berwick Design. BUILDER, R-star Developments. ARCHITECT, Custom Cadd Inc. OUTDOOR SEATING, UMBRELLA and TABLES, Hauser. Outdoor RUG, Dash and Albert.
On the boathouse deck, curvaceous outdoor furnishings are paired with a geometric rug and patterned cushions in lake-worthy blues. Loungers are set to take in the view.
Photography: Larry Arnal | Design: Michelle Berwick Design | Custom ENTRYWAY BENCH, Muskoka Living. RUG, Niche Decor. BASKETS, Tonic Living.
At the cottage’s side entry, a bench and durable rug are ready for wet bathing suits and bare feet. Dual storage baskets add texture.
Photography: Larry Arnal | Design: Michelle Berwick Design | SOFA, RUG, SIDE TABLE, Elte. POUFS, Muskoka Living. COFFEE TABLE, Elte Mkt. Custom PILLOWS, Michelle Berwick Design. ACCESSORIES, Niche Decor.
“The gathering place on this side of the fireplace was designed to be restful for reading, bird watching, lake gazing and conversation,” says Michelle. The sweater-rug, pair of poufs and concrete coffee table were selected for their compelling texture. Textiles in blues and greys provide a whisper of colour.
Photography: Larry Arnal | Design: Michelle Berwick Design | Custom BREAKFAST TABLE, COFFEE TABLE, Muskoka Living. DINING CHAIRS, Niche Decor. Pink OCCASIONAL CHAIR, SECTIONAL and RUG, Elte. ACCESSORIES, JKC Vintage Decor.
In a nook that hovers above the lake, swivel dining chairs tuck into a breakfast table that doubles as a games table for evening Scrabble tournaments.
Photography: Larry Arnal | Design: Michelle Berwick Design
“The seating area on this side of the fireplace features a blush-pink chair that speaks volumes about the client,” says Michelle. “She brings a sense of style wherever she goes.” A television is positioned for cuddle-time viewing with the grandkids on the sectional. Architectural accents, such as exposed beams, bring an appropriately woodsy element to the cottage interior.
Photography: Larry Arnal | Design: Michelle Berwick Design | STOOLS, Urban Barn. Custom BARN DOOR, R-Star Developments. APPLIANCES, Miele.
The mezzanine, which leads to a guest suite, features a sleek glass banister; the rusticity of the barn door provides texture and contrast. Beneath is the kitchen with its breathtaking lake views. The cabinetry and stools came with the cottage, as did the easy-care quartz countertops and engineered wood floors.
Photography: Larry Arnal | Design: Michelle Berwick Design | WALL ART, Petros Koublis.
“The first time I stepped into this cottage, I thought of this artist right away,” says Michelle, of the four works by Petros Koublis that were installed high on the wall for prime viewing. “His photographs are watery and dream-like.”