A cottage refresh with minimal construction and maximum decorating

cottage life living room

Sometimes, the best ideas happen when challenges arise. Did you notice during the pandemic that there was a shift in what we wanted out of our homes, jobs, and lives? Faced with lockdowns, isolation and a changing world, many set out to carve a way of living for themselves and their families.

For designer Rebecca Hay’s client, the pandemic gave them the idea to purchase a cottage that would allow them to spend more time together up north, surrounded by nature and a beautiful lake.

Hay was enlisted to completely refresh the dark interiors with minimal construction and maximum decorating. “My clients are busy working professionals with three young children,” says Hay. “The space needed to be family-friendly but still have an elevated, comfortable look.”

Hay chose a neutral palette of white with hits of blue and green, echoing the lake and trees surrounding the property. Natural wood details can be found throughout the cottage’s design, along with stone and brick accents that were part of the cottage’s architecture. “The look feels cottagey but without being too rustic,” says Hay.

The stunning kitchen was refreshed by removing some cabinetry and valances, repainting the remaining cabinets and island, and adding new hardware and window treatments.

“The kitchen is one of my favourite rooms in this cottage. I love that my team and I were able to completely transform the room without a major reno,” says Hay.

Additionally, Hay saw the opportunity for a bonus space by creating a loft area above the entrance of the cottage, which was previously a two-storey open space. This offered an additional sleeping area for guests and served as the kids’ new playroom/game space.

“I added warm textures with grass cloth material and layered in different textures and colours with blue furnishings, a continuation of the look found throughout the cottage,” says Hay. The loft also includes a nifty window seat/pullout bed that marries functionality and style. “The window seat is perfect for curling up to read while also serving as an additional bedroom for guests,” explains Hay.

For Hay’s clients, a pandemic idea turned into a purchase of a lifetime.

“My clients were never cottage people, but the pandemic changed that,” says Hay. “Now they have a beautiful oasis up north to enjoy whenever they want.”

Photo by Mike Chajecki

Sara Duck
Sara Duck

With over 15 years' experience as a magazine editor, writer and content creator, Sara brings her passion for design and decor to our pages each issue. @bysaraduck

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