Decorating & Design
October 15, 2020
The Lakehouse: See The Inspiration Behind Lynda Reeves’ Latest Project
This is my story of designing our renovation of a century-old lakehouse in Ontario. Each month, I’ll offer a new chapter on the challenges and solutions, and a peek at our progress. You’ll be able to see the actual house come together on new episodes of our video series The Lakehouse. The first episode is now live!
The minute I walked into the great room of our lakehouse, I could see the potential and knew exactly what I wanted to do…. I wish! The truth is, I fell in love with the grace and scale of this wonderful house with its patina of age. Its rooms tell a story of the grandeur of another time, when families would decamp to their summer homes with their whole entourage and settle in for the season…. I loved its quirky nature, with its
11 tiny bedrooms, each with its own sink, its beautifully preserved russet-colored oak floors, miles of fir panelling and, of course, the wonderful views of the lake.
That was it. No vision. Just ideas swirling around in my head for months while we worked out the practical complexities of winterizing a one-season cottage (that’s for another chapter) and faced the challenge of working through stay-at-home orders (that’s for a whole book!).
Along the way, I searched for a vision, which is what you must do before you launch into the design phase of any project. I struggled. I did what we all do. I made files of inspiration photos torn from magazines, pinned and pinned until I couldn’t find a thing, sketched from my mind’s eye, and then settled on a few key images that would drive the vision.
Finding your vision is the most important — and, of course, the hardest — part of every project. For me, there are three key things to consider: First, the structure. The architecture always defines the potential of the house — good and bad. Second, the light. Where is it coming from, and how do you preserve or enhance it? Third, your style. In the end, whatever you do must reflect your personal taste and lifestyle.
It also helps to know what you don’t want. In my case, I ruled out English country style, even if the house did cry out for it, and the whole rustic log cabin look, which doesn’t suit me.
I was still looking, casting around for how to reconcile all those wood-clad rooms in a fresher and more modern way, when Emma Reddington emailed me photos of a fabulous house in Marin County, California, by Commune Design. It was also built in the 1930s and had been renovated to its now cool, relaxed, refined style.
Of course! Mid-century modern furniture mixed with old woven rattan and wicker, and contemporary-meets-quirky bathrooms! This was so helpful. The hitch would be the kitchen. I love a true cook’s kitchen, and I hoped I could build one that would look old world but still feel fresh and a bit modern.
Also, I needed an exterior image that would work for our very horizontal house that had classic wood siding — quickly — so materials could be ordered, along with windows and doors. Now, at least, I had a direction. Next was finding a palette for the exterior, and a few key elements for the inside. Take a look — see what you think!