September 1, 2023

A Riverside Retreat In Muskoka, Ont., Offers Tranquil, Wooded Views

Most summer afternoons, you’ll find David Morris in the Muskoka room of his cottage on the Joseph River, sunk into the L-shaped sectional while the water laps against the dock. In many ways, the three-season room is a classic cottage-country space — wood beams, neutral palette, the aroma of pine needles — except this one boasts plush furniture and a retractable screen that locks out mosquitoes with the push of a button. The added efficiency, luxury and warmth are what make David happier here than practically anywhere else.

David is the chairman of his own property development group in Ontario. Until a couple of years ago, he owned a smaller spot on Lake Muskoka. When he began searching for a homier place with privacy and acreage, a friend and business associate with a place on the Joseph River mentioned an unsold turnkey cottage next door by J.S. Custom Builders. David decided to take the plunge. “It had a very classic, northern vibe,” he says. “I like to host my family and friends, so I was attracted to all the space. And seeing the impressive workmanship of my friend’s cottage by the same builder, I was comfortable taking the risk on a spec build.”

J.S. Custom Builders had already hired designer Jaime Drohan of Muskoka Living Interiors to take on the decorating, and David was happy to continue with the plan. Jaime, who grew up in the area and still lives nearby, is inspired by Muskoka’s classic cottages, but likes to bring them up to date. “I focus on neutral, earthy fabrics with lots of texture to bring the outside in, so you’re figuratively living in the woods,” she says of her decorating approach.

Author: Ellen Himelfarb

Valerie Wilcox


Jaime Drohan