Boat House

Before & After: Boathouse Facelift


Boathouse Kitchenette


As the first long weekend of summer arrived I was wrapping up a 2 day long visit to a clients summer cottage in Stoney Lake, Ontario. The trip involved bringing up some small accessories and taking note of remaining items needed to finish off various rooms. I made a big effort to get some progress photos while I was there. One of the last spaces I snapped before I retured to Toronto was the boathouse - sooo as this summer's final long weekend has just come and gone, I thought i’d revisit where I was on the first summer long weekend.   How has the time gone by so quickly?

Boathouse Kitchenette - Before

The interior of the boat house is just one big square room with a bathroom in one corner and a kitchenette in the other.  The entire interior was clad in knotty pine, the floor was covered in broadloom, the lighting and fixtures were dated,,,but with its soaring vaulted ceilings and lake views it had great potential for a simple refreshing makeover.  Loads of white paint, new pine plank flooring and a few new but vintage style fixtures were all this charming boathouse needed.  Its one of the lighter renovations I've worked on because it was purely cosmetic but it was a dramatic one, thanks to the magic of paint.  It was an easy decision to paint over all the wood, but it was a big job!


Boathouse kitchenette - After

I have to admit I cringe every time I hear people say that paint is such an easy and inexpensive or "quick fix" solution.  It suppose it can be compared to gutting a room and rebuilding or, if say you're doing only walls and those walls are 8' tall and you're painting a light colour over a light colour and the walls are in good shape - sure, you can paint an average size room in couple of hours and do it yourself.  I've done a LOT of painting in my time and I see professional paint quotes on a regular basis to know that properly painting an entire house is neither cheap, quick, or easy especially when it comes to painting ceilings, trim work, railings, windows, doors, stairwells and tall vaulted ceilings.  Factor in patching and repairing damaged walls and covering up dark colours or knotty pine, and you have a major job on your hands.  If you don't do the proper prep work, it will be a expensive disaster.  If you're an ambitious DIY'er say goodbye to many months worth of weekends or, call in the professionals.  So while I would describe this as a simple makeover - it did take a small team of trades people to make it happen.




The boathouse whitification in progress
We left almost all of the wood in the main cottage unpainted so I had carte blanche to paint over as much of the knotty pine as I wanted to in the Boathouse, and I intended to paint it all except the countertops.  Since this boat house only gets used in the summer months I wanted to give it a bright and airy summery vibe.  The painters had their work cut out for them, but I was ecstatic to see the progress and its transformation to white taking place...the white paint on the wood planks creates a great texture as all the grooves become shadow lines - so you still have the wonderful effect of wood panelled walls and plank ceiling.



See, you can still tell its wood even though its white everywhere!


The boathouse kitchenette - After

Unfortunately I can't seem to find a before picture of just the kitchenette (see before photo above) but here you can see how utterly charming it is now with a fresh coat of paint. I added a new white sink, gooseneck faucet, globe pendants and a wall shelf (not yet installed). The wood counters were perfect just the way they were and are a really great feature against all the white cabinets. The new pine flooring compliments all the white, looks rustic and is obviously much more practical than broadloom. 





The furniture is almost complete, all the main pieces are in but some occassional pieces and accessories still needed to be moved in.  We briefly contemplated white slipcovers but didn't end up using them here, this one was headed for a reading nook in the main cottage.


The best part about the transfomation is that the all white interior does a standout job of highlighting the incredible lake views. As there’s no heat source or insulation, the boathouse will get closed up soon but the main cottage gets used right thru the fall.   This was a such a departure from my usual reno projects but I hope you enjoyed this little peek at what was such a fun space to re-imagine.  Coming up in the next posts I’ll share some peeks of the front hall, the kitchen makeover and the master ensuite.



The view from the dock

Check out the boathouse bathroom before & after.



All Photos and room design by:  Carol Reed

Boathouse Bathroom: Before & After





Happy Canada Day! Its a perfect day to share a before and after of a clients red & white cottage bathroom.  This boathouse bathroom evokes a classic canadian cottage style and what's even more dreamy about it is the sound of the waves lapping against the docks below you.

Last year I completed a whole Cottage renovation for a client that involved updating the main cottage and boathouse to incorporate all new finishes and fixtures but without doing extensive construction. I find these type of projects incredibly enjoyable because its so exciting to explore the potential of the existing space and see the dramatic improvements that can result by making a series of simple but thoughtful changes.  By simple I don’t mean the modifications didn’t still require a lot of time, effort, and co-ordination but they were simple in that they didn’t require new construction or complicated modifications.  I made a visit to the cottage a few weeks ago to check on the status before this season got underway.

Boathouse Bathroom Before

The entire interior of the boathouse (which is only used seasonally) was knotty pine, with exception of the floor which was carpeted in the living areas and tiled in the bathroom.  The biggest change I made was that every bit of exposed natural wood on the interior was painted white, and then we added new but reclaimed wide plank engineered pine on the floor.  Essentially I took all the wood away from the walls and ceilings and put it on the floor.  This effectively doubled the brightness of the interior, emphasized its dramatic vaulted ceilings and painting the wood panelling created interesting tone on tone texture.  The best part was the lake view and exterior landscape became the focal point. The white paint transformed the boathouse interior to a fresh, bright, summery oasis.

The boathouse bathroom is a good size with interesting ceiling lines but was dated with respect to its fixtures and accessories and the ceramic floor a bit too suburban looking.  Everything about the vanity was perfect though, it was excellent quality and was hand built from solid wood with lots of storage and was in perfect condition, that and the mirror were definitely keepers.  I even loved the natural pine countertop and wanted to preserve it because i think its an excellent choice for this application it’s not the place for expensive marble or quartz.  I saw loads of potential for this space merely with paint and new fixtures.  A main criteria for selecting new items was we had a very short timeline to complete all the changes so everything needed to be readily available and/or deliverable to cottage country.  Below is a rough concept I put together for the owners and they quickly agreed with all the proposed changes...

New proposed finishes, Carol Reed Interior Design.


The vanity and the existing mirror would simply be updated with a red paint and some new striped ceramic knobs.  New engineered plank fooring replaced the tile and was in the same tones as the existing wood countertop.  The key to retaining the wood countertop was replacing the old drop-in sink with a vessel style sink that would fit over the old sink cutout.  I decided to mix in some more contemporary fixtures with the otherwise very traditional space but keeping the metal finishes in a dark bronze gives them a more relaxed nostalgic look.  A gooseneck barn light fixture with filament style bulb gives the bathroom a modern rustic vibe.

Boathouse Bathroom - After

In the end we opted for a countertop mounted faucet in lieu of the wall mounted (from the same series) for an easier install.  A simple hook for a hand towel (I’m obsessed with turkish towels ones and stock up on them whenever I find them!) its rope fringe and blue stripes evoke a nautical vibe, an oversize seagrass basket and more wall hooks on the opposite wall (not yet installed) store large beach towels.


Boathouse Bathroom Vanity - After.


My visit to the cottage last month was my first since all the major installations were completed in the boathouse last summer so its was a thrill to see the progress.  I took note of some final details that still need to be addressed, one of them includes installing new knobs on the vanity, I'm in love with the white ones I found with a stripe around the rim which i think will be the perfect finishing touch.  Lastly I think the floor needs a fun colourful indoor/outdoor rug for in front of the vanity.  But so far the transformation of this lakeside loo as been a dramatic improvement - I think its now bursting with character and style!


Happy Canada Day!


All Photos and Room Design by:  Carol Reed