Tag Archives: Muskoka

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Cottage makeover, Muskoka style

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Cottage makeover, Muskoka style

Photography by Virginia Macdonald

Nature’s colours, airtight construction and luxury envelop this Muskoka cottage

It’s hard to believe that less than a year ago, this ultra-efficient home in Muskoka was a vacant plot of dirt. Even harder to believe is that my friend, builder Colin Hunter, built this home from scratch, oftentimes working on his own.

Colin and I began working together eight years ago on HGTV Canada’s series, Summer Home, a project that’s still near-and-dear to our hearts.

Of course, when Colin asked me to help him decorate his dream home in the country – a home constructed using Passive House building principles – I was on board.

Passive Construction 101

What exactly are Passive House building principles? Airtight insulation, top-quality, energy-efficient windows, and concrete floors that keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Of course, it’s a lot more complex and technical than that, but in simple terms, this high-efficiency home runs on as much energy as you would need to power two hair dryers.

Colin began building in the spring of 2018. “First we built the forms to hold the concrete slab foundation, then the plumbing and electrical went under the slab, the concrete floor was poured, and then the wall panels and roof went up,” says Colin.

Once he raised the roof, that’s where I came in. Naturally, if you’re going to build a super energy-efficient home, you want to make the best ecological design choices wherever possible.

Local, Sustainable Fixtures & Finishes

We started in the kitchen with Ikea’s Kungsbacka cabinets, which are made of recycled wood and covered with a foil made from recycled PET bottles. (N.B. PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate, a highly valued packaging material). The cabinets have a simple flat front, which works equally well in both modern spaces and homes that are a little bit country. By adding the traditional cup pulls and knobs in brushed bronze, we were able to give the kitchen an old-school cottage charm. Next, we topped the cabinets with Hanstone quartz counters. Locally made in Ontario, the quartz has the beauty of marble, but it’s also durable, heat- and stain-resistant – all features you want at the cottage. The kitchen has plenty of closed storage, but we added floating, solid pine open shelves to pick up on the rustic vibe of the home’s cathedral pine ceiling and sliding barn doors. Open shelves also provide quick access to frequently used glasses and dishes, as well as a place to display pretty things!

The Patina Of Country Charm

To make the cottage look like it evolved over time, we mixed, matched and repeated textures such as rough-sawn, white-washed wood, brushed gold and bronze finishes, and colour. The soft golden tone and texture of the bamboo lattice pendants over the island, for example, echo the rattan dining chairs and cabinets in the living room, while a black industrial-inspired kitchen faucet works with the black cabinets and counter stools. Although most of the accessories are new, we carefully chose pieces that were handmade or had textured finishes.

“TO MAKE THE COTTAGE LOOK LIKE IT EVOLVED OVER TIME, WE MIXED, MATCHED AND REPEATED TEXTURES SUCH AS ROUGH-SAWN, WHITEWASHED WOOD, BRUSHED GOLD AND BRONZE FINISHES, AND COLOUR.”

The Beauty Of Blue

At the last minute, we painted the kitchen island blue because I found the perfect lakeside blue art by Amy Stewart for the living room. The blue of the island is a few shades lighter than the art and the hue repeats throughout the rest of the home.

In the living room, symmetry reigns. Colin centered the ethanol fireplace between two large windows. “We wanted to create a classic Muskoka fireplace by using fieldstone in blues, greys, and even a few pink stones to pick up on the aggregates in the concrete floor,” says Colin.

In an ultra-efficient house, concrete floors moderate the home’s temperature. In the winter, the concrete absorbs the sun’s energy, and in the summer, the home’s overhangs block the sun, allowing the concrete floor to keep the home cool.

“NEXT TO THE SPECTACULAR LAKE AND WOODLAND VIEWS, MY FAVOURITE PART OF THE BEDROOM IS THE HEADBOARD THAT COLIN MADE FROM PINE BOARD, WHICH HE WHITE-WASHED AND FASTENED TOGETHER.”

Texture & Balance

The large wool rug adds a layer of softness to the concrete underfoot. A hexagon-shaped ottoman in the centre of the room provides storage for extra blankets and pillows. And, to enhance the balance of the space, we flanked the fireplace with two identical sofas, and two rattan cabinets butted together on either side of the room. We piled pillows in soft blues and greys, and touches of pink – all colours found in the stone of the fireplace and floors.

Next to the spectacular lake and woodland views, my favourite part of the bedroom is the headboard that Colin made from pine board, which he white-washed and fastened together. It’s shaped like a classic upholstered headboard – just in a totally cottage-y material! We dressed the bed in the same lakeside blues of the living room and kitchen.

Luxury Lands In The Woods

The bathroom is a calming mix of rustic luxury. The panel moulding on the tub wall and tub surround create a luxe focal point. The vanity is a basic build made of extra rough-sawn beams that Colin topped with the same luxe quartz from the kitchen. The mirrors above the vanity are framed in pine, and slide back into the walls like pocket doors to take advantage of the view. The white-washed barnboard on the ceiling and surrounding the shower are rustic, while the water-conserving, brushed-gold faucets and fixtures add a touch of glamour to the space.

After all, who says you can’t have a little glamour in the country?

SOURCES

KITCHEN: KUNGSBACKA CABINETS, NUTID APPLIANCES, SINERLIG PENDANTS, DINING TABLE AND CHAIRS: Ikea CABINETRY HARDWARE: Richeleau COUNTERS: Quartz in Montauk, Hanstone KITCHEN FAUCET: Align matte-black faucet, Moen GLASSES, BOWLS, DISHES, VASE, CUTTING BOARDS, BOOKS: Home Sense CABINET PAINT (on island): Van Courtland Blue Advance, Benjamin Moore LIVINGROOM: SOFAS: Stocksund Sofa CABINETS: Ikea ART (on cabinets): artinteriors.ca RUG, LAMPS, SIDE TABLES, PILLOWS, ACCESSORIES, ART (ABOVE FIREPLACE): Home Sense YELLOW PILLOW: Tonic Living WALL PAINT: Decorator’s White, Benjamin Moore BEDROOM: RUG, BENCH, BEDDING, SIDE TABLES, LAMPS, CABINET, PILLOWS, BASKETS: Home Sense PAINT ON WALL, SIDE TABLES & HEADBOARD: Decorator’s White, Benjamin Moore BATHROOM: ALIGN FAUCETS, FIXTURES: moen.ca ROMAN SHADES: Ikea RUG, BATH ACCESSORIES, TOWELS: Home Sense WALL & VANITY PAINT: Decorator’s White, Benjamin Moore

Samantha Pynn is a beloved Canadian designer, editor and television personality. Known for her approachable, fresh and colourful style, Samantha’s rooms are rooted in the classics, but always with her own modern twist. Samantha Pynn Home — her collection of furniture, accessories and textiles — is designed to be mixed and matched, so that anyone can feel like a decor expert. Follow her on Instagram @samanthapynn

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Destination Ontario – Muskoka: A Truly Canadian Destination

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Destination Ontario – Muskoka: A Truly Canadian Destination

By Cece Scott www.cecescott.com

High praise was received from National Geographic Traveler editors in 2011, when they included Muskoka cottage country on their Top 10 Best Summer Trips’ list. It’s no secret for most Ontarians, or anyone who’s had the privilege to visit our northern environs, that there’s no other place like it.

Photo, Liana Miglin

THROUGH THE EYES OF ARTISTS

On Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s quite fitting that a notable Canadian painter, Tom Thomson, is being recognized on the 100th anniversary of his death. In 1914 Thomson worked intermittently as a fire fighter, ranger and guide in Algonquin Park, but found that it didn’t allow him enough time for painting. From 1915 to 1917, he produced some of his most famous works, including The Jack Pine, The West Wind and The Northern River. On July 8th, 1917 Thomson died under mysterious circumstances on Canoe Lake.

In honour of Thomson’s memory, The Portage Store on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park is hosting exclusive tours. Also available by The Portage Store are full- and half-day summer tours that highlight moose sightings and water features. Full-day adventures include a canoe, paddles, life vests and a picnic lunch.

Fall paddling on Canoe Lake – Photo By Liana Miglin

While Thomson was influenced by, and worked with, other artists who became known as the Group of Seven, the group wasn’t officially formed until after his death. Also located in the park is the Group of Seven Outdoor Gallery that showcases 80 superlative reproductions of the groups’ famous art pieces.

Exterior walls of buildings in the Huntsville, Lake of Bays and other Algonquin regions have become huge canvases for mural artists from across Canada.

The Muskoka region
extends from Gravenhurst
in the south to Huntsville
in the north.

NATURAL EXPERIENCES

With an abundance of parks, shimmering lakes and centuries travelled canoe routes, Muskoka’s waterways are the definitive way to experience the area. Kayaks and canoes are available to rent from a number of outfitters, including Algonquin Outfitters and Liv Outside.

The Muskoka region extends from Gravenhurst in the south to Huntsville in the north. Self-guided cycling routes wind through a variety of landscapes, with varying endurance challenges. Cycle through hilly towns such as Bala, Ontario’s cranberry capital, or Bracebridge, which has views of three spectacular falls. The 63-kilometre Muskoka Lakes Route #1 track winds through the Muskoka countryside, where, tucked in the rolling hills, cyclists will see farmlands and barns (a rarity in this area), as well as glistening views of Lake Rosseau.

Heli Muskoka sightseeing tours – Photo By Muskoka Tourism

Horseback riding through the forests, farmland and the jaw-dropping vistas of Muskoka is a great way to go. Beyond Equine Centre has horses suitable for all riding levels, as well as wagon rides, marshmallow roasts and farm tours. Twin Maples Farm in Severn Bridge, ten minutes south of Gravenhurst, offers a variety of horsedrawn services that are available for special events.

Dogsledding is a winter highlight in Muskoka. Huntsville’s North Ridge Ranch will make up a team from more than 50 Alaskan Huskies to sled you through the wilds of Muskoka.

Other ways to tackle the winter blues include downhill and cross country skiing, as well as fat biking. Fat bikes, with wider-than-normal tires, allow riders to explore snow covered landscapes.

Dogsledding in Muskoka Photo by Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corp

Ranked as one of Canada’s best golf destinations, Muskoka has eight golf courses on SCOREGolf’s Top 100. The area’s rugged terrain and plunging elevations make for some interesting challenges, but courses are available for all levels.

SPIRITED TOURS

Craft breweries are gaining in popularity throughout Muskoka. Lake of Bays Brewing Company, Muskoka Brewery and Sawdust City Brewing Company are, reportedly, three of Ontario’s best craft breweries. Beer enthusiasts can hop on Brew Tours, which are chartered behind-the-scene peeks at all three breweries (including lots of free samples), with a stop at Bracebridge’s Griffin Gastropub.

Check out the Bog to Bottle Discovery, which is a guided journey from cranberry marsh to Muskoka in a bottle. The tour begins at Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh and finishes with a wine tasting session at Muskoka Lakes Winery. Local favourites include Red Maple Dessert Wine, Cranberry Wine and the Georgian Bay Rose Wine, a blend of Georgian Bay apples and local cranberries.

Twin Maples Farm – Photo By Suzanne Hummel

Heli Muskoka provides a quintessential Canadian experience with their summer and fall sightseeing tours, and aerial photography junkets. The company, which has helicopters that seat three to six passengers, offers a unique fly-and dine tour that flies over the Muskoka region and lands at the five-star, four-season Couples Resort on the shores of Lake Galeairy adjacent to Algonquin Park. Visitors from around the world come to marvel at the spectacular fall colours that this region has to offer.

 

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White Pines

White Pines

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White Pines

Brand new models released in Bracebridge

More than 10 years ago, Mattamy Homes introduced White Pines to the charming town of Bracebridge. At the time, those who were looking for a yearround Muskoka lifestyle found the home that they were looking for. Mattamy has now returned to this established community with a new release of bungalows and two-storey detached homes.

White Pines is situated close to the downtown core of Bracebridge in the heart of Muskoka, and is surrounded by lush green space, which includes forested areas and a popular golf course. Though the natural setting may feel off like you’re living off the grid, everything you could possibly need is within reach. Bracebridge is filled with tantalizing restaurants and shops, not to mention the many trails, rivers and waterfalls that surround the community. Schools of all levels, as well as a world-class sports centre, are also located nearby. At White Pines, you’ll find the perfect balance of natural living and urban convenience.

In true Mattamy fashion, there’s no lack of choice when it comes to the variety of homes that are being offered. Three desirable designs include Coastal, Craftsman and Muskoka. Each architectural exterior has its own distinct look that seamlessly fits into the encompassing neighbourhood. Bungalows and two-storey detached elevations feature large porches and ample yard space on 66-foot lots. These homes are appealing to families, and to retirees who are looking to downsize.

New home buyers are encouraged to take advantage of the architect’s choice options offered by the builder, which allows each purchaser the opportunity to personalize their individual home plan. When it comes to the finishing details, Mattamy appoints a personal design consultant to assist with choosing from the wide range of options that are available from their state-of-the-art design studio.

Mattamy has built more than 90,000 homes in hundreds of communities throughout Canada and the United States. For an unprecedented seventh time, Mattamy was honoured to receive the 2017 BILD Builder of the Year award.

The recipient of an extensive list of awards and accolades, Mattamy has never lost sight of their fundamental values. White Pines represents the careful planning and research that goes into making every Mattamy community a wonderful place to live.

CONTACT INFORMATION
mattamyhomes.com

The Bracebridge Sales Centre & Model Home are located at 39 Clearbrook Trail.
(705) 645-6448

The Vaughan Sales Centre is located at 7880 Keele Street, Unit 3.
(905) 907-3884


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Travel – Magical Muskoka

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Travel – Magical Muskoka

Photography, courtesy of JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa

Rosseau Residences at JW Marriott Muskoka

For a true Canadian connection, Muskoka embraces all the elements that we’ve come to associate with the natural beauty of this country – pristine lakes, hardwood forests and glorious sunsets. As I drive north, there’s a point when the landscape changes, and so does my mood and my attitude. I feel more relaxed, and (as cliche as it sounds) at one with nature.

I had the pleasure of staying at JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa last summer. It was a breath of fresh air after the stifling heat of Toronto. Ranked number seven on the top 20 list of resorts in Canada by Conde Nast, this property is perched on a granite bluff overlooking Lake Rosseau. It really doesn’t get more spectacular than this.

Similar to The Hamptons, Muskoka is a revered destination and the prices of owning there have come to reflect this. Cottage country isn’t what it used to be, but a variety of alternative shared ownership options are becoming popular. Not only because there’s no need to be tied down to a second property in terms of maintenance, but also because of the amenities that tend to go with them, which you just wouldn’t get in any other situation.

Located approximately two and a half hours north of Toronto, the resort is positioned between the historic communities of Port Carling and Rosseau, with local shops, restaurants, a library and additional services. However, there’s not much more that you would need if you had a suite at Rosseau Residences. Here, you have access to JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa Amenities, which includes waterfront access to Lake Rosseau with two sand beaches, boating, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding waterskiing and more. There’s a year-round indoor-outdoor swimming pool, plus an outdoor pool, whirlpool and children’s splash pad. Nearby, there are championship golf courses, and access to hiking and mountain biking trails. Come winter, there are guided snowshoe walks, dog sledding and snowmobiling. Astronomy outings, floatplane and helicopter sightseeing are also available.

I luxuriated in the indoor/outdoor pool for a couple of hours while a steady rain fell, and massaged my back and shoulders. It felt wonderful, and I wasn’t in a rush to be anywhere. Plus, the view was so spectacular, I didn’t want to leave – that’s called bliss.

A total of 133 residences are being built, with a choice of studios, oneand two-bedroom units. Prices start in the low $200,000s. What’s great, is that you can rent out your home when you’re not using it to help offset the costs, and a rental manager handles all of the arrangements.

Heaven can wait while lounging at this outdoor pool.

Within each unit is an owner’s closet and an in-room safe for your personal belongings. All suites have been designed to take in the best views of Lake Rosseau and the surrounding landscape. Stone fireplaces are included in each room, as well as a balcony on many layouts, and all units include an oversized, luxurious bathroom with a separate bath and shower.

To register for the Rosseau Residences at The JW Marriott Muskoka, visit RosseauResidences.com

The rain didn’t dampen our spirits in the least. Spa Rosseau offers up dedicated treatment rooms, as well as a seasonal outdoor pool, hydrotherapy and relaxation lounges. And while we could have cooked a meal in the fully outfitted kitchen, the dining options at the resort were second to none. And dine we did – the steak was divine at Muskoka Chophouse, and the Italian cuisine sublime at Teca.

www.RosseauResidences.com

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