Cottage by the Sea

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When the homeowners first saw the lovely waterfront property they fell in love with the view across the orchard to the ocean and beyond, but knew the older small home would need some serious updating. The property needed to function well for the couple, as well as their grown children and partners who planned to spend plenty of family time here.

The first step was to have a hazardous materials appraisal – by code, renovations or demolition of properties built pre-1990 are required to undergo a survey. In this case, the drywall had to be removed by a specialized team. Although this added some time and cost to the project, it allowed for new upgraded insulation and fresh clean surfaces to tie flawlessly into the addition that was being constructed.

On the exterior, siding, trimwork and roof were all updated. The James Hardie siding, in Timberbark colour, was chosen for its low maintenance qualities and is nicely accented by cedar trim. Stone stairs, walkways, fences and pergolas were added to provide safe passage and help to add a rustic cottage feel to the existing landscaping.

As you enter the home, a feeling of calm settles over you. Lighting was an important element in this area to showcase the homeowner’s extraordinary glass and wood mask. A skylight above ensures plenty of natural general lighting, layered with recessed lights and directional spots highlighting the art.

The entry naturally flows into the bright and spacious greatroom. With the addition on the ocean side to add much-needed space, it performs beautifully as kitchen, dining and living areas. The large L-shaped kitchen can accommodate a crowd, and features lower cabinetry laid-out along the entire back wall. The windows, with floating shelves between and clerestory above, were key in providing afternoon light and framing the charming garden views. The soft colour palette was chosen to coordinate with the grey tones in the white oak flooring used throughout. Upper cabinets match the warm white of the walls, while the island and living room shelving units are a custom taupe/grey blend; similarly the quartz countertops were chosen to keep the feeling light and airy. A painted wood-clad ceiling brings in a beachy vibe, while the gas fireplace lends a cosy feel to a winter’s night.

The showstopper in this room is the ocean view, accentuated by the full-height windows. Two sets of sliding doors to the bbq and covered patio areas afford easy access, creating the seamless indoor-outdoor feel.

The opposite side of the home houses a light-filled master bedroom with ocean view, walk-in closet and spacious ensuite bath, while the guest bedroom ensuite does double-duty as a powder room. A laundry/mudroom with plenty of built-in storage provides separation for the bedrooms. The clean lines, subtle finishes and neutral colour palette continue throughout creating a more generous feel than the square footage would indicate.

A tired-looking existing studio space was also updated, now providing bright and appealing private accommodation for friends and family.

This project shows how a successful collaboration between the homeowners, design professionals and construction team can transform a run-down cabin into a lovely, and loved, Cottage by the Sea.