Designer Sam Sacks recounts how she turned a no-frills cabin into the cottage of her fantasies.
A decade ago, my husband, Paul Kilback, and I had three young kids, an oversized mortgage on our Toronto home and no job security to speak of — I’d left my post at House & Home and was launching my fledgling design business. It was terrible timing to buy a dingy hunting shack in the woods of Frontenac County, Ontario, but common sense had never stopped us before.
Ten carefree summers later, our little family had become five nearly full-grown bodies, and our tiny, 800-square-foot cottage was testing our bohemian ideals. The old cottage became one large great room with an open-plan kitchen and dining area, while the addition held three bedrooms and two — yes, two! — full bathrooms complete with deep, freestanding tubs.
Inspired by a mashup of surf shack, safari camp and Dutch Colonial styles, we installed hard-wearing vinyl floors that look like white oak and kept the rafters exposed. When it came time to choose furniture and textiles, I stuck to materials such as rattan, wicker, unpainted wood and nubby linens that would cater to our swimsuit and barefoot aesthetic.