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Cottage Chic By Design

There are some things I look forward to as the Canadian winter rolls around again – crisp air, a fresh blanket of snow, and a cozy cocoon in which to escape and entertain. Of course, nature and weather remain a huge source of inspiration in the popular “chalet chic” aesthetic, which is always a welcome sight when the temperatures plummet.

Loving the cottage life and looking for a place for our family to escape to in the winter I purchased this home two years ago, renovating and redecorating the main floor to accommodate a new kitchen that could handle the daily demands of the most discriminating of tastes – my own.

As the designer and client on this project, my goal was threefold: to brighten the home, modernize its aesthetic and enhance its function.

Very characteristic of houses in the particular area, this log cabin-style home started out as a dated, dark-wood space with small, divided rooms. In its current form, the home fell short of potential, but I saw a diamond in the rough, and the perfect project for me.

The previous owner did some of the heavy lifting for me (thank you!) by removing some walls and opening up the floor plan, and building an addition that allowed me to maximize the contemporary, open-concept layout we have today.

The new layout means more space and light, and accommodates the new kitchen as a central focus for cooking, dining and entertaining alike. The kitchen certainly works hard, but love and life are not lost on this design, which features an L-shaped island made for living and hosting family and friends – including multiple boys aged under 12! (Translation: durability was key.)

Aesthetically, the home boasts country charm with contemporary flair. Modern textiles and warm leathers are juxtaposed against white walls, contributing to the home’s cozy yet fresh vibe.

A themed aesthetic such as this demands authentic details like the antique skis and snowshoes belonging to my grandparents, which add a true “ski-cabin” flavour, while ceramics and textiles pay homage to the artisanal nature of the local farmers and crafstmen which surrounds us in this culturally rich northern areas in Ontario.

As fall transition to winter, textiles often become a focus for me. Elements such as pillows and blankets, window coverings and rugs are easy to swap out with the season, or with the trends! For winter, I lean toward thicker rugs, plush pillows and heavier throws in materials such as faux fur, wool and velvet, which bring visual textural depth to a space while bringing tactile comfort.

You might say that a home’s warmth is in the eye of its beholder. When that person happens to be both the designer and dweller, as was the case with this home, achieving a cozy vibe became a balance of professional design strategies, personal preferences and external environment. The result? A home with heart.

International Designer Laura Hay , Principal of LH Decor & Design Inc. brings over a decade of experience to her work in residential interiors . The growing boutique design firm is known for creating stylish, harmonious,  livable environments and vacation homes in the GTA, Canada, United States and Bahamas.  www.decoranddesign.ca  @laurahay