Lake Life - A Peek Into Some Cottage Design

 June has arrived we are dreaming about summertime and everything that comes along with it! After this prolonged winter/spring – whatever we want to call it – we can at least start thinking about warmer days, even if we still need to be patient! One of the many things we love about summer days is the lake life. Relaxed, comfortable, sunny + lazy, long days, lying on the dock, counting stars... let's be honest, what’s not to like! The design and aesthetic of a cabin should be just that!

We did some work for friends of ours last summer with a cabin in the Whiteshell area, and they have been working throughout the year to get their place ready for summer! We can’t wait to see their progress!! You’ll sometimes hear quotes like: “there is beauty in simplicity” or similar, which we of course agree with, but it’s getting to that “simplicity” that is much easier said than done! A lot of the time with spaces that feel relaxed and simple, someone put in a lot of thought, time and planning to achieve that carefree atmosphere.

This design in particular was an interesting one. As usual, working with existing conditions meant finding creative ways to ensure the space functioned how the client wanted while still being beautiful! A challenge in this project was their circular (hexagon) floor plate that encompasses their kitchen, dining and family room, not to be overlooked was also the entry which always requires attention. This circular area has beautiful windows facing the lake which is lovely, but added to the challenge as this was a detail we wanted to highlight, not block. The kitchen remained in its original location, but we designed a new layout for the new millwork to revamp the space. The dining area is adjacent to the kitchen for close proximity. Across the “hexagon” is the family room area, with sectional and fireplace. Tucked into the corner is the front entry, which we tucked as far to the side as we could as we did not want it to encroach on the living space. The clients were lucky to have room for a powder room in addition to the main washroom, which is always nice especially for guests. Three healthy sized bedrooms are found on the opposite side of the cottage, in addition to a fourth smaller guest room/office.

A challenge was the column in the centre of the circular living space – it separated the areas in a very definitive way. After pondering this design dilemma, we eventually proposed a custom millwork system anchored by the column to mimic the lines of exterior shell: to be another hexagon with each side serving the function of the area it faced. For example, extra pantry storage by the kitchen, a bar by the dining room, TV with associated equipment storage for the living area and open shelving for books by the fireplace/reading nook. This way we were celebrating the column and reinforcing it as an architectural detail instead of trying to fight with it! Additionally, programming these functions around the center column allowed us to keep the exterior window walls clean and open.

Materials and finishes was also a challenge for a few reasons. Some cottages are not built to be used year round, which can drastically alter which materials are selected. Together with the client, we selected a flooring product that can guarantee withstanding a significant change in temperature.

Another challenge was budget, as a secondary property to our clients, they were understandablyconscious of their costs. IKEA was a great resource for this project as a way to keep costs down. The new kitchen will be IKEA as well as the closet systems in the bedrooms. Side note: we can’t mention an IKEA kitchen without our customary disclaimer. While their pricessometimes can be half of what you would pay elsewhere, or less – anyone who has worked with an IKEA kitchen will know that where you save in money, you pay for in time. IKEA’s “do it yourself” truly comes to play here. Additionally, you are limited to IKEA’s standard sizes, which can sometimes be blamed for

strangely large gaps in your millwork or large filler panels. This is a fair trade off for most people, but not for everyone, and something we always make sure our clients are aware of!!

Furniture placement was again an issue as we did not want to block the beautiful view, and also did not

want to suggest overtly linear or rectangular furniture when the rest of the space screamed hexagon! As we were conscious to not block the windows, we were looking for a sectional with a lower back. We found the perfect sectional for them from furninova – it has an angled portion to again mimic the exterior shape! This may be a “future” investment for another year but we think they’re pretty into it!!

We can’t wait to see this project come to completion. When it is complete, it will feel relaxed and simple which is a perfect example of how much work goes into making a space feel just that way!!

The Design Shop Girls