The DeFranciscos, Canadian expats who live in Los Angeles, always fly to their Muskoka lakehouse at night, because who doesn’t like waking up in paradise? From Toronto’s Pearson Airport, it’s a two hours’ drive to their serene family retreat on the southwest shores of Lake Joseph, near Port Sandfield, Ontario. The crew — Cory and Catherine, their sons, Charlie, 9, and Chase, 7, and dogs, Eddie and Wrigley — can sense that fun is near by the tires crunching on the gravel road that winds romantically through the tangle of pine, spruce and birch. “Coming from Los Angeles, with the ocean, it’s so different; I love the Canadian lushness and burst of green that happens in May and June,” says Cory, the principal designer of Muskoka Living, a luxury furniture brand with showrooms in Muskoka, Toronto and Los Angeles. “There’s something about the air when you get here. It’s so fresh; you get the best sleeps.”
Well, maybe the adults do. After the journey, the boys are up early, darting down to the dock to fish with their grandpa Jim. Later, Cory and Catherine might join Cory’s mom, Chris, for drinks and snacks on the screened-in porch. The Toronto-based grandparents use the cottage as their summer base.
After buying the lot three years ago, Cory tore down the existing cottage, and designed and managed the building of the new house over eight months. “The house is a contemporary take on traditional architecture,” he says. “We used oversized glazing, small overhangs and contemporary trimming to give the house a classic feel with a contemporary coolness.”
That connection to nature is carried throughout the interior decorating, with a focus on textures and layers instead of bold colors and statement pieces. “The goal was to take an organic approach,” says Cory. “We have an affinity for the laid-back beachy vibe so prevalent in California; it motivates a lot of our furniture design.” Here, painted poplar walls, soft white oak panelling (mostly bleached on-site), washed Belgian linens and brass lighting accents are the epitome of relaxed cottage luxury.
Scroll down to escape to this dreamy Muskoka hideaway!