> COTTAGE UPDATE
After 50 years of summer fun, weekend get-togethers and endless activity, the McMurtry family cottage was a tad worn, says designer Alexandra Assaf of Toronto-based ARC Interiors. Furnishings, fixtures, floors and exterior surfaces needed a redo. Then there was the collection of souvenirs, crafts, artwork and family stuff collected over 50 years. “A lot of it was esthetic,” Assaf says of the cottage project. “We needed to freshen it up, brighten and make it more comfortable, and give it a warm, communal feeling.” The McMurtrys, she observes, are down-to-earth people with a greater affinity for nature than material things. So she wanted to reflect that connection through colour, materials and use of space. One quick fix, she notes, was combining two eating tables from different rooms to make one long banquet table in the sunroom-turned-dining room. Over six weeks, Assaf and her team carried out updates and improvements that included: replacing hardware, kitchen sink and faucets; reorganizing rooms and furniture; curating art and collectibles for display; recovering upholstery and cushions; painting exterior walls, deck and bunkies; redoing curtains, lampshades, bedding and some of the pine furniture in white. “They loved it,” Assaf says of the family’s reaction to the results. “They were surprised at how nice it looked.” She offers tips to cottagers preparing their properties for market:
Choose one colour to freshen the interior throughout.
Measure everything and keep a list handy for shopping trips.
Declutter by getting rid of anything that hasn’t been used in two years.
Rethink outdoor space to create an exterior “room” with comfortable seating, lighting and accessories.