Cruising the lake of Muskoka cottage country is equal parts nature therapy and dream house hunting. Everyone is imagining, “If I owned that cottage, I would….” So when a couple of avid boaters acquired property on Lake Muskoka, they knew the exact style of boathouse they wanted.
Cory DeFrancisco, principal designer and owner of
Muskoka Living, brought just the right spirit to the project. “We wanted to be very true to old Muskoka style,” says Cory. “The whole boathouse, both inside and out, has that relaxed look and feel of sitting on a veranda.” The overall goal was to imbue the new-build with a sense of permanence and history.
Here’s how the designer gave this new construction a classic cottage look.
Stained a dark charcoal, the cedar-shake siding will maintain its color, while the unstained cedar roof and decking will weather and grey over time.
The lower level holds three boat slips, plus a storage room (background) that’s usually pressed into service as an entertaining space. The cedar decking’s painted checkerboard pattern dresses up the space, and high-gloss white shiplap walls reflect the light. When a boat is as beautiful as this visiting mahogany Hacker-Craft, it can serve double duty as decoration.
Furnishings in a breezy classic pairing — white upholstery and natural textures — instils a summery vibe and is forgiving of wet bathing suits and sandy feet.
To prevent an all-white palette from looking flat, Cory made judicious use of wood tones and other natural elements with patina. Old bricks, sourced from Detroit, add a mellow softness to the fireplace surround, and reclaimed oak floors bring in a rich brown tone. A wooden console was left in its natural shade and embellished with hand-painted details. “This is a brand-new space, but we didn’t want it to feel that way,” says Cory.
To create subtle contrast, Cory used a bright white semi-gloss paint on the kitchenette cabinets and a warmer, creamier white in a pearl finish on the exposed rafters. A marble-look Caesarstone countertop and antique French metal stools (customized for counter height) add a vintage look. “The whole space is painted by hand — we wanted to see the long brushstrokes,” says Cory.
“The bedroom was an exercise in discipline,” says Cory. “How can we stick to all-white but still make it interesting?” Using wider horizontal wall planks in the lower half of the space and running narrower shiplap vertically above the exposed rafters brings visual interest to the pale scheme. The addition of luxurious Portuguese cotton bed linens and a jute rug delivers a hit of texture and sophistication.
The 650-square-foot guest suite on the second level feels more expansive, thanks to a large covered sitting area on the deck o the living room. The sofas are upholstered in outdoor fabric so they can be pulled out onto the deck, and rustic carriage lanterns are repeated inside and out for a cohesive look.