Cottage in the City: The Best of Both WorldsDecember 30, 2018
New Brunswick Cottage at the LakeApril 7, 2020
This beautiful piece of lakeshore property is located in British Columbia’s stunning South Caribou region.
Having owned the undeveloped land for many years, the owners had plenty of time to see it in all seasons and develop a clear idea of what they wanted for this, their ‘forever home’, as far as the general layout of the rooms, and access to views.
But they were challenged to know how to bring it all together; allowing the exterior to announce a theme that could be logically carried throughout the interior with a flow that allowed them to showcase their eclectic collection of furnishings which were gained as a result of having lived in a number of countries throughout their careers
We loved the challenge of blending some existing furniture pieces to create a place of charm and honoring our client’s memories; we know how meaningful a treasured piece of furniture can be; its not the value of the piece itself – it’s the memories it evokes. And we wanted to cherish that.
But in all of this, the main character in this story had to be the view.
At all times and from all the principal rooms, the house was designed to ensure the view was paramount from the moment you walked in the door.
That meant we even helped with the window sizing and detailing to ensure that at no point throughout the home is your sightline interrupted by an offensive horizontal window mullion. And the deck railings on the lakeside are almost invisible.
The client had a hankering to make the house feel like it had always been there and grown over time.
So we developed a theme of time-worn and aged, to create a softness and gentle texture that would accommodate a variety of different textures and materials superimposed on it.
That resulted in the concept for the timberframe; make it look like it was reclaimed. While in this case we did not have the luxury of using reclaimed timbers, we worked closely with the timber supplier to have the new timbers heavily distressed, adzed, and literally gauged and ripped to give the impression the wood itself was old, and we developed a custom stain that was a soft brown/grey, giving an aged appearance.
From there, the palette was complimented with natural limestone plaster walls throughout the main floor, which give a soft gently uneven texture and rich matte tones, giving an almost velvet appearance that is warm and enveloping.
The natural stone masonry was selected because of its warm neutral color and block-like texture to enhance the softer palette.
The foreground colors became a bolder mix of reds, blues, greens and golds. This was a direct reference to the client’s preference for somewhat ethnic colors from some of the countries they had lived in such as Spain, Argentina and the Caribbean.
The kitchen has a dominant hit of red splashed all over the highly textured reclaimed wood island, complete with the chiseled edge countertop, which makes it feel like it could have been brought from somewhere else.
Surrounding the island are the cabinets on the perimeter of the room, done in a deliberately contrasting light color. This makes the island stand out and feel like it could have been added at a different point in time.
The views are spectacular from this room because it is on the corner of the home, and for this reason upper cabinets were very consciously limited to allow the view to become the star of the show. Even the exhaust fan for the cooktop is concealed in the island to keep sightlines clear.
Looking back across the kitchen from the dining area, the potentially dark corner on the left was brightened up with Moorish-influenced custom made wall tiles. And instead of traditional closed-cabinets, the owner opted for open shelves. This works because there is ample storage in the island and perimeter cabinets, and because they don’t need a lot of storage in this kitchen; the purpose of being at the lake is to live simply, and less dishware is just fine for them!
On the left the pantry is enclosed with a stone cladding, and the door is salvaged from a French industrial-era laboratory door, adding another layer of story and intrigue.
But surely the showstopper in the kitchen is the nook which projects outside of the footprint of the house, with windows on all three sides, ensuring that no matter where you sit, you always have a lake view.
We took special care planning this area, from sizing the windows themselves, to designing the built in benches to suit the clients own table which was purchased on their world-travels.
The overall feeling in the living room, dining, and kitchen area is one of open-ness and ease, with lots of light flooding in
On the main floor, there is a guest master suite which runs from front to back of house, ensuring both bedroom and bathroom have great light and views.
In the bedroom an accent wall behind the bed was created with butt-jointed slats to give an aged appearance, painted a soft green to allow the clients wrought-iron bed to standout.
We worked closely with the client to ensure the windows were mounted as close to the ensuite bathdeck as possible, and to create a custom cascading pebble detail in the curbless shower.
Other areas of the home contain special accents of reclaimed wood wall paneling, which was salvaged from one of the client’s old barns on their cattle ranch.
The powder room (right) is encased with reclaimed boards on all walls, with a custom wood vanity and live-edge wood top.
Decorative lighting and plumbing fixtures were selected to have a historical feel.
Interior doors throughout the home have hand-scraped V-joints and metal clavos to add historical detail and texture.
In a foyer to one of the principle bedrooms, this church pew sits comfortably against reclaimed wall paneling, and the finer, more elegant detailing of the tiffany glass chandelier stands in contrast and creates an effortless sense of a space that has been carefully curated to display a balance between chic and rustic.
In the sunroom, the epic eagle sculpture sits majestically on an equally epic piece of reclaimed wood used as the mantle shelf, with rocks found on the clients’ own land. Walls in this room are heavily plastered to create the impression of wattle and daub, and stained-glass transoms above the panelled door create sparkle
As you ascend the stairs from the entry foyer, you arrive at a light-filled loft-landing, which doubles as the den and entertainment space.
The media centre is housed on reclaimed shelving, and the barn doors on either side conceal a linen closet and media rack, respectively, keeping everything within easy access when the doors slide completely out of the way.
The upstairs master ensuite is in the trees; the tub/shower in this room was very consciously placed by the window because it is not overlooked and the evergreen canopy provides year round modesty, while allowing the bather to be inspired by the view and scent of the pines. Aromatherapy in the wild! Literally.
The most private room in the home is the principle master bedroom, and yet it is also the most simple.
It contains a bed, dresser, and blanket chest and little else, because the main element of the room is the stunning and completely panoramic views. There is no art, because the view creates its own ever-changing living artwork.
The view and quality of light changes by the day and by the hour and can be thunderously dramatic or serenely still and quiet! “this is big-weather country” says our client, who states that “the weather can be sunny one minute and snowing the next – at any time of year – you just never know what to expect”.
Kevin is passionate about opening peoples' minds to possibilities and revealing potential, whether he's working with private clients on private commissions, speaking at public and private events, or leading hands-on design workshops. He has a knack for connecting with people, empowering them to envision and achieve their design goals.