Resort-style cottage retreat
The Kawarthas, Ont., cottage-country site was ideal, but the house featured 1970s decor and an awkward layout that ignored the cottage’s best asset: its view. “I knew I couldn’t tackle the layout on my own,” says Katie, so she asked designer Robyn Clarke of Robyn Clarke + Co. Interior Design to take a look.
Though the house was in rough shape, Robyn, who had renovated the McLeans’ Toronto home (they’ve since moved to Calgary), saw its potential. “Robyn more or less had carte blanche,” says Katie, whose only instructions were to open up the layout and give the kitchen a view (so she could keep an eagle eye on her four children), as well as to create a fresh, bright, contemporary interior.
Dining room Homeowners Katie and Brian McLean wanted the dining room to feel connected to the kitchen, but the room was a couple of steps down. Designer Robyn Clarke opened up the archway between the two spaces and wrapped the kitchen countertop and cabinetry around the corner and down into the dining room, where the bank of cabinets serves as a sideboard and forges a visual link with the rest of the space.
Open shelves In the dining room, floating shelves establish clean lines and provide display space for knickknacks, crockery and artwork. Tucked under the countertop are a wine fridge and wine cubbies, so the area often doubles as a cocktail bar.
Kitchen Katie loves the new open space. The kitchen island marks the spot where a wall once stood. Robyn had the island stained to ground it, but kept the cabinetry a creamy colour to achieve the airy, fresh feeling the great room needed.
Living room The twill sofa is tough but soft to the touch – perfect for cottage-country lounging. “The old fireplace was crammed into the corner; we moved it so it would become more of a feature,” says Robyn.
Sitting nook “The first time we sat here, my friend called it The Nook, and that’s what it’s been called ever since,” says Katie of the intimate lounge area with four comfy armchairs. Sliding doors capture the cross-breeze that cools down the stickiest midsummer evenings.
Deck Katie stands in front of the charcoal grey cottage, which was given a fresh white trim for a nautical feel. Robyn replaced the spindles on the deck railing with Plexiglas to secure an unobstructed view of the lake.
Bedroom The well-dressed bed and contemporary home decor give the feel of a luxurious personalized cottage-country resort. “Cottage life is always so busy, it’s nice to come home to a tailored bed at the end of the day,” says Robyn. The bedside table lamps have a crackled ivory finish that adds texture; the drum shade and graphic patterned linens keep the mood modern.
Bathroom “We opted for contemporary elements such as wall-mounted faucets and undermounted sinks,” says Robyn.
The view On the deck, a round wooden table and casual wicker chairs provide the perfect spot to enjoy drinks while taking in the view.