TOWN + COUN­TRY

How the Rapp fam­ily es­capes Ot­tawa for their week­end re­treat in Trem­blant

Ottawa Business Journal - Ottawa at Home - - IN STYLE - writ­ten by araina bond

You might think that a high-pow­ered cou­ple with de­mand­ing ca­reers and two young chil­dren would balk at pack­ing up ev­ery­thing at the end of the work week for a two-hour drive to Mont Trem­blant. But de­spite jug­gling work, an ac­tive so­cial life, and chauf­feur­ing their kids to ex­tra-cur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties, that’s ex­actly what the Rapps look for­ward to each Fri­day af­ter­noon.

“ When I get into my car and pull out of the drive­way,” Michael Rapps says, “ It’s like my week­end has be­gun.”

His wife Su­san Mar­gles agrees. “ You ac­tu­ally get to hear about what’s hap­pen­ing with the kids when you’re spend­ing time to­gether in the car. That is, when they don’t have their iPods on!” she says. “ Plus, we never make plans Fri­day nights. We get up there and just chill to­gether.” And the right to chill out is some­thing that this fam­ily of four has def­i­nitely earned. With Su­san’s high­pro­file job at Canada Post as Vice Pres­i­dent of Govern­ment Re­la­tions and Pol­icy, and Michael’s busy prac­tice as an en­dodon­tist, the cou­ple has lit­tle down time dur­ing the week.

When you fac­tor in dance lessons, sports and tu­tor­ing for Lau­ren, 14, and Justin, 11, it makes for a pretty tight sched­ule.

When the fam­ily does come to­gether on week­nights, you’ll usu­ally find them in the wel­com­ing kitchen/ fam­ily room in their lovely Tudor-style home in West Welling­ton Vil­lage. With beau­ti­fully re­stored oak pan­elling and charm­ing leaded win­dows, the house has a stately, tra­di­tional feel that is nicely bal­anced with the con­tem­po­rary touches they’ve added over the years: gran­ite coun­ter­tops, stain­less steel ap­pli­ances and a built-in espresso ma­chine. In the for­mal din­ing room, a glam­orous crys­tal chan­de­lier gen­tly lights a large, dra­matic paint­ing by Bob­bie Burg­ers.

“ We loved this house long be­fore we bought it,” Michael says, ex­plain­ing that they used to ad­mire it when they walked their dog through the neigh­bour­hood. “ It has such good bones and was so wel l - p r e s e r v e d . ” They bought it in 1999, and since then they’ve made sev­eral up­dates and changes in dé­cor, but they were al­ways care­ful to keep the orig­i­nal char­ac­ter of the house in­tact.

As much as they en­joy their time with the kids, when these busy par­ents need a quiet moment alone, they re­treat to the cozy den at the top of the stairs. Su­san, an avid reader, likes to curl up with a good book by the fire­place. “ It’s my favourite room in the house,” she says, “ it’s so cozy.”

Across the hall are the chil­dren’s bed­rooms, which in­clude Justin’s re­cently ren­o­vated space. It was up­dated to suit the grow­ing boy, with a fo­cus on sleek, dark-wood built-ins and warm, muted colours. Other fea­tures, such as the but­ler’s pantry, were added be­cause the Rapps do most of their for­mal en­ter­tain­ing in the city: “En­ter­tain­ing takes on a dif­fer­ent feel here, and we cel­e­brate oc­ca­sion-based events in the city, like birth­days and hol­i­days. Of­ten, they’re adults-only af­fairs, and we’ll get the big­ger events catered.”

At Trem­blant, on the other hand, en­ter­tain­ing is more ca­sual, spon­ta­neous, and fam­ily-fo­cused. With this in mind, the Rapps de­signed their open, warm chalet around a cen­tral fam­ily gath­er­ing spot. Whether they were on the slopes or on the dock, at day’s end you’ll find the Rapps in their spa­cious great room that con­nects to the deck. This is also where they do their en­ter­tain­ing.

“ In the sum­mer we bar­beque and hang out on the pa­tio over­look­ing the lake,” Su­san says. “ In the win­ter we al­ways have a fire and lots of can­dles go­ing.” And all year round, light pours in from the soar­ing win­dows, af­ford­ing a view of the pris­tine lake and stun­ning sun­sets.

The chalet was de­signed with re­lax­ation in mind, but the fam­ily doesn’t do as much loung­ing around as you might think. All four Rapps are se­ri­ous skiers—Lau­ren and Justin race—and they also all swim, bike, hike and run. Indoor ac­tiv­i­ties like play­ing ping pong, watch­ing movies, or hav­ing friends over to hang out give them the down­time they need.

The cou­ple put a lot of thought into how they live and what was im­por­tant to them when they built their chalet. “ The thing that re­ally strikes me about the Rapp’s chalet is all the light,” says Danielle Han­nah of 2H In­te­rior De­sign, who was in­volved in de­sign­ing the space. “ It’s so bright and airy but sill man­ages to feel cozy and wel­com­ing.”

Su­san calls the look they were af­ter “ coun­try meets con­tem­po­rary,” which you can see, for ex­am­ple, in the con­trast of the rus­tic wooden chan­de­lier and stone fire­place with the bright, light wall of win­dows.

Su­san is pleased with the way the woodsy chan­de­lier ties to­gether the at­mos­phere of coun­try liv­ing.

“ The space felt quite wide open when we first built, and I like how the branches ground the space and rep­re­sent the na­ture that sur­rounds it,” she says. “ The ar­chi­tect we used did a lot of the in­te­rior de­sign as well, so much of the fur­ni­ture is built in. And the in­side and the ex­te­rior re­flect the same earthy feel­ing. In other words, we wanted some­thing spe­cial but that didn’t nec­es­sar­ily scream for at­ten­tion.”

In the end, whether they’re rush­ing around in the city or tak­ing a hike in the woods in Trem­blant, this close-knit fam­ily has two lovely spa­ces to choose from when they gather to­gether at the end of the day.

The thing that re­ally strikes me abut the Rapp’s chalet is all the light. It’s so bright and airy but still man­ages to feel cozy and wel­com­ing. — Danielle Han­nah,

2H In­te­rior De­sign

clock­wise: Twig chan­de­lier. Ate­lier in Toronto. Ar­chi­tec­tural de­tail­ing in the en­trance of the Trem­blant chalet con­trib­utes to the char­ac­ter of the home. Ar­chi­tect Doug Daw­son worked with Les Grains du Temps to cre­ate the coun­try kitchen. Chalet liv­ing and din­ing room. Rapp fam­ily packs up for the week­end. City kitchen. A car­pet from Cana­dian Rug Traders in the By­Ward Mar­ket pro­vided colour in­spi­ra­tion for the den. Crys­tal chan­de­lier from ELTE, in Toronto.

pho­tog­ra­phy by mark holleron

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