Interior: Rustic contemporary cottage

Interior: Rustic contemporary cottage

Interior: Rustic contemporary cottage Author: Style At Home


Interior: Rustic contemporary cottage

Toronto designer Ingrid Oomen of Qummunicate transforms a dark and dated 4,000-square-foot family cottage into an open and airy country charmer in majestic Muskoka. Here, Style at Home editor-in-chief Erin McLaughlin talks with the eminent designer to find out how.

Glass-panelled doors offer a relaxing view of the landscape, creating the perfect ambience for this casual reading nook.

Erin McLaughlin What’s your style?
Ingrid Oomen I try to stay away from trends and tend to gravitate toward things that have a history and a patina to them.

EM How would you describe your overall approach to design?

IO Function comes first for me. I consider how a space is going to be used, how natural lighting options can be introduced and how rooms will interact with one another.

EM Why did these homeowners enlist your help?

IO They wanted the cottage to have more usable space. rustic-cottage-kitchen.jpg
The renovated kitchen, now boasting a large-scale island and pantry, allowed it to become the heart of the cottage. “It feels like a natural place to congregate between the spaces,” says designer Ingrid Oomen.

EM What was your first impression of the cottage?

IO A Tiffany fire sale! The cottage was overwhelmed by a collection of at least 50 light fixtures of all different shapes and sizes. It was also surprisingly dark, and the lakeside views were not being maximized.

EM What was your vision for the space?

IO I wanted the cottage to feel very open and airy, which was achieved by raising the ceilings to create a larger volume of space. rustic-cottage-pantry.jpg
“The Coca-Cola door was a special find that the homeowner and I scored on one of our shopping excursions,” says Ingrid. “It contains a similar green to the pantry beyond, so the two complement and play off each other well.”

EM You reconfigured the cottage without adding to the square footage. How did you accomplish that?
IO The revamped floor plan involved flipping the living and dining rooms. We also opened up the new dining area to the kitchen.

EM I’m completely drawn to the dark hardwood floors – they look black.

IO The floors are actually dark brown and are meant to have a grounding effect. rustic-cottage-fireplace.jpg
The stone fireplace in the dining room is original to the space. The mantel was made from an oversized beam with corbels and trim added to provide some architectural interest.

EM You’ve used cream as your main colour with accents of green and charcoal. Is this a cottage palette you use often?

IO I always try to go with a fresh palette for a cottage style setting. The homeowners proposed Farrow & Ball’s Cooking Apple Green, which is perfect for this space because it has beautiful depth. The grey is a nice complement to the cream, keeping the contrast crisp. rustic-cottage-family-room.jpg
“It was important for us to let in more light and incorporate the landscape into the interior,” says Ingrid, which is evidenced in the casually chic family room.

EM I noticed that you painted out the beams on the ceilings. Was it hard to convince the homeowners to do that?
IO They were all for it – they may have even suggested it! The beams in what is now the dining room visually overwhelmed the space. Painting them white made them seem more to scale with the rest of the room. rustic-cottage-dining-room.jpg
“Cottages are a reflection of items collected over time, so it’s nice when furniture pieces exhibit that in a coherent way,” says Ingrid. The dining room is a case in point with its farmhouse-inspired table and vintage pendant lights.

EM You’ve broken the cottage kitchen mould with your industrial-chic look. Do the homeowners entertain a lot?
IO Yes! It’s amazing what they can do with just a few fresh herbs from the garden. In a matter of minutes, the island is filled with tasty dishes. This was also the inspiration for making the kitchen so central. rustic-cottage-living-room.jpg
In the living room, a striking fireplace with a towering chimney breast and an oversized lantern-style pendant light are simple yet equally dramatic features.

EM How many accessories are too many in a cottage?
IO I don’t like to overaccessorize in general. At a certain point, “stuff” gets to be too much. Cottage accessories need to be well edited, and scale and proportion thoughtfully considered.

EM What do the homeowners think of the end result?

IO We were able to transform the cottage from a dark and masculine interior to one that is voluminous and bright. For the homeowners, having a cottage is so that family and friends can enjoy one another’s company – and it’s easy to do that here!

Want to get that fresh, summer look? Use our 11 ways to get carefree cottage style.


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Interior: Rustic contemporary cottage