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.

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