INTO THE LIGHT
Downsizing has never looked as sunny and bright as it does in this lakeside Ontario cottage.
Downsizing has never looked as bright as it does in this lakeside Ontario cottage
Whenher mother, Shirley Kent, decided to leave her spacious country home outside of Forest, Ont., on the banks of Lake Huron, designer Amy Kent was charged with creating a simpler, more compact space that would nevertheless reflect her mom’s sense of style. “She has four granddaughters and entertains a lot,” says Amy. “We wanted to give her the means to carry on her lifestyle on a smaller footprint.”
A few kilometres down the beach, another house had a story to tell. When mother and daughter first viewed the 1970s log home on a freezing cold winter day, all the windows were boarded up. “We had to use flashlights inside, and when the light beam shone on the fieldstone fireplace and the cedar floor, we were sold,” recalls Amy.
Amy and Ryan Martin, her business partner at Croma Design in Toronto, were charmed by the quirky nature of the cottage. “Apparently it came in a kit with planed cedar logs that you put toget her yourself, like Lego,” says Amy. “It came from Michigan; there are only a few of them in Ontario.”
Amy and Ryan had new windows installed to let the light stream in, cleaned and gently oiled the warm cedar flooring, and painted all the walls and ceilings pure white. To give Shirley, an avid cook, a spacious kitchen, they expanded it to include the old dining area, tucking the new one into the spot once occupied by the sunroom. The existing master bedroom was converted into a bedroom for Shirley’s granddaughters, complete with a dual set of bunk beds.
The original 1,100-square-foot cottage received a 900square-foot addition, which seamlessly joins the main house across a central porcelain-tiled entry hall. “It creates some of the grandness felt in my mom’s previous home,” Amy says. The new wing includes a large master bedroom with an ensuite and a dressing room, plus a kids’ bathroom, laundry room and serving pantry.
Set on on a bluff overlooking the lake, the home is surrounded by two acres of nature, and from the deck that wraps around three sides of the cottage, the family can take in quiet views of the water and admire the sunset. “It feels wonderful to be here,” Shirley says. “Outside, there are lots of birds and bunnies and a beautiful crabapple tree. And inside, Amy and Ryan have given me a house that really flows.” Out of the darkness, they found light – from every angle, windows frame the beautiful vistas. Shirley trusted the designers would do it right, and Amy says the house played a part, too. “There were so many lovely surprises.”
Local woodworker Russell Fisher built the custom kitchen cabinetry and the island, which offers an expansive work area and a lake view. Carrara marble subway tiles line the walls behind the stove and counter. APPLIANCES, STOOLS, North End Appliance; Canadian Tire.