Stoney Lake Cottage

Cottage Ensuite: Before & After



Cottage Ensuite - After  |  Carol Reed Interior Design

This client's cottage in Kawartha, Ontario, underwent a complete facelift that included updating 5 bathrooms a kitchen, a bar and a kitchenette.  (You can check out links to previous before and afters of this cottage at the end of this post).  One of the biggest issues to address when planning the updates was that not only did the bathroom finishes look dated, but the style of the bathrooms looked more suited to a suburban house rather than a lakeside cottage.  Dated or not there was a lot of quality there in custom built-ins and solid materials.  No question it was built with every comfort of an all season urban home, as its located in a premium area of high-end cottages.  The main objective in this 'gentle' reno was to work with what was there but infuse a more modern cottage style - while retaining a high quality level of finishes.  I felt this could be accomplished through a series of strategic changes as opposed to gutting everything and starting from scratch. 

For the master ensuite I recommended leaving the walk-in glass shower untouched except for replacing the faucet set from polished brass to brushed nickel and I also recommended leaving all the floor tile which was a neutral taupe ceramic.  This then put the focus of the facelift on the feature wall, a large double vanity that was the centre of attention when you entered the room.  We would also remove the wallpaper and all the wall mounted polished brass accessories leaving us with a very neutral base to work with and allow most of the budget to be directed where it would have the most impact.

Ensuite Vanity - Before
The Before:  The existing long double vanity was superb custom quality and was in excellent condition.  It sported a peachy/tan corian countertop, oval sinks, polished brass faucets (although it doesn't look brass in the photo, all the fixtures in the room were brass), painted knobs, a frameless wall to wall mirror and a dropped bulkhead with recessed pot lights. The vanity was made from solid woods, the framed cabinetry had inset flush door fronts with a bead detail and raised moulding.  There was loads of storage and counter space and each end of the vanity had countertop mounted cabinets that extended all the way to the ceiling - the only negative was it was all very dated looking and lacked that cottage style  the new owners were looking for.


This is what I envisioned for the new finishes and fixtures, keeping in mind everything had to be readily available from the small local town nearby or available for quick delivery from an out of town source.


Cottage Ensuite - Finishes & Fixtures Concept  |  Carol Reed Interior Design

The starting point for the fixture replacements was the hardware.  The pine doors throughout the cottage were all updated with new distressed bronze lever handles that gave them a modern country look.  Continuing with this aesthetic, I introduced new bronze knobs and wall sconces to add contrast and vintage charm to the vanity wall.  For the plumbing fixtures we looked to the shower set first - because we were only replacing the trim not the rough-ins we had to work within the same mfg's product line in order for the new trim to be compatible.  The finish options were chrome or satin nickel, easy choice, the darker 'patina' of the satin nickel is a much better pairing with the bronze so satin nickel it was in a classic bridge style faucet and gooseneck shower head.

Ensuite Vanity - After
The After:  The entire vanity was refreshed with a new coat of paint in a crisp warm white, new low maintenance cararra look engineered quartz counters, new rectangular undermount sinks add a contemporary vibe, satin nickel bridge style faucets add a vintage country vibe as do the oil rubbed bronze hardware which also adds a sharp graphic contrast and ties in with the oil rubbed bronze lever handles on all the existing interior doors.  Other key updates to the vanity wall included; removing the bulkhead with pot lights, replacing the sheet mirror with a pair of framed mirrors above each sink,  installing a crown moulding and breadboard wallpaper on the wall between the upper cabinets and flanking the mirrors with new bronze wall sconces with parchment shades. Painting out the mirror frame, the beadboard paper and the crown moulding the same as the vanity unified the wall and cabinetry to read as one continuous built-in.


Ensuite Vanity - After
On this visit last Spring I was there to do a final walk-thru and make a list of recommended accessories and finishing touches, what would really finish off this room would be a graphic black and cream geometric patterned area carpet and a large woven towel hamper.  (Those should now be in place for this coming season. ) I'd also like to see a more rustic cache pot or planter with something less formal than orchids so we will work on that….


Ensuite - Before
The wallpaper and brass towel rods were removed and all the trim work was painted in the same white paint as the vanity.  



Ensuite Vanity - After

The walls received a new coat of paint in a dark brown/grey, similar but lighter shades of this found in the tile.  This dark colour really anchors the room and it neutralizes the pre-existing wall and floor tiles in a way that a light colour on the wall wouldn't have done.   The earthy colour also added a natural organic tone to the space and really accentuated the painted woodwork and all its charm.




Projects like this can be much more exciting to work on in ways that designing from scratch or all  new aren't, also evident in the way people are so drawn to Before & After story's.  Its literally a transformation before your eyes, making something out of nothing per say.  Taking a space that is uninspiring and working with it rather than ripping it all out - this is when vision and seeing potential really comes in to play and when the true value and power of design is realized.

For more Before and Afters of this cottage reno check out the following links below for older posts:








All Photos by:   Carol Reed



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