A Modern Cottage Melts Into Rocky Terrain & Lake Views
If it’s rare to find a family that can work together, it’s rarer still to find one that, at the end of a long workweek, can’t wait to get to the cottage to spend more time together. Ken and Renee Metrick and their sons, Andrew and Jamie, are the third and fourth generation of Metricks overseeing Elte, the wildly successful Toronto-based home decorating juggernaut, and have since opened affordable luxury shop Elte Mkt and kitchen and bath retailer Ginger’s.
The devout city dwellers needed a place to recharge, so they found a northwest-facing waterfront property on Muskoka’s Lake Joseph. Ken and Renee hired Kelly Buffey of Akb Architects to create a warm contemporary cottage with a spa-like ambience and the region’s unique landscape as its backdrop. Renee remembers friends saying, “You don’t want a cottage; it’s so much work,” but these urbanites have absolutely no regrets. “Honestly, it’s the best thing we’ve ever done.”
Scroll down to tour this nature-inspired oasis.
The cottage was designed to disappear almost entirely into its surroundings, especially when viewed from the lake.
Like the rest of the cottage, the boathouse has a quiet presence on the water.
“This sunny spot on the boathouse dock is where we spend all of our time,” says Ken. “It’s beautifully designed: if you want shade, there’s plenty of it; if you want sun, there’s plenty of that, too.”
The boathouse’s lower-level sitting area creates the sensation of floating on water.
A sitting area on the boathouse’s upper level is kept breezy and spare with sculptural furnishings in light hues. Sliding glass doors allow the space to be opened up to the outdoors. “Because we’re on a small bay, there’s little boat traffic here, making it very peaceful,” says Renee.
Renee sits in the heart of the cottage’s main “pod.” The living area is pure comfort, with its immense stone fireplace, Belgian linen-slipcovered sofas and a 90-year-old kilim. (A second fireplace in the Muskoka room duplicates this one.)
Expanses of glass mean the winterized cottage offers a front row seat for watching the seasons change. “We come up here every chance we get, all year-round,” says Renee.
Renee and Ken with sons Jamie (center) and Andrew (right), and Jamie’s wife, Heather, and baby daughter, Zena. “We’re starting to spend more time cottaging,” says Renee. “One has to learn how to take time and relax — but we think we’re starting to get the hang of it!”
The dining area is the cottage hub. The table is topped with a dramatic slab of guanacaste wood, hand-finished with a live edge. Surrounding the table are Wishbone-style chairs with goat hair-covered seats.
An island with a cool grey waterfall countertop and built-in storage is a striking counterpoint to the soaring ceiling and the ash-veneered cabinets stained to match the floor.
The bedrooms are free of extra ornamentation. “The only art I wanted here was nature,” says Renee.
In the principal bedroom, a wall of windows with a clear view to Muskoka’s unique landscape creates the illusion of sleeping outdoors.
The marble tile in the principal bathroom almost feels like a continuation of the rocky terrain outside.
Less is more in the principal bathroom, which is finished exactly like all the other bathrooms in the cottage. A uniform style keeps things simple and cohesive.
The boathouse bedroom has porthole mirrors above the beds for a nautical feel.