One Year in Fenelon Falls
It was almost a year ago to the day that Tim and I said goodbye to living in Toronto. We sort of cheated a little, and counted from mid-September because our routine was to come up to the cottage for the summer anyways. Looking back a year, it’s funny I was so nervous of ‘officially’ leaving the city. What a move it has been!
We started with a small space on Colborne Street, in Fenelon Falls, that we thought would be where we would meet clients. As per our usual, plans aren’t set in stone, but rather fluid. A friend at the cottage thought we’d probably do a pretty good job of making a special space and asked if she might share it with us and display a project she had been working on in her head for years - she was finally ready to put paint to canvas. When Joan Horsfall Young decided to show her ‘Cottages’ on canvas with us we thought, hey! Why don’t we just call the space The Colborne Street Gallery and make a gallery out of it!
A snapshot of Joan Horsfall Young’s Cottages paintings.
As the idea grew and the concept of inviting new people into our space continued to make more and more sense, we decided that of course it was to be an art gallery. Now we should probably find some more space for design! As the corner unit came up directly beside the gallery, the concept of blowing through the wall to make a larger gallery and eventually a design space excited us to no end. At the beginning of July this year, we opened the second space and introduced our first show, the aforementioned Cottages by Joan Horsefall Young. Now you’ll find us, our gallery director, Darcie Kennedy, and our assistant designer/administrator/organizer, Madeline Brown, working at the dining table which we share so fondly with friends, clients, and our work family.
Soon, you’ll find a show kitchen and design space pop up in the back corner. We’ll be able to invite our clients and patrons to join us for a coffee and conversation around a big island. Heck, we’ll even be able to throw a dinner party in the gallery with the help of appliances in our working kitchen by Fisher Paykel!
Tim and I keep saying how surprised we have been with the welcome to this small town we have spent so many years surrounding, but never fully participating in. It’s such a beautiful privilege to have been so welcomed both personally and professionally!
Our New Master Bedroom
When we moved to the cottage, we didn’t really have that perfect space for us. As so many of our clients have come to us to help solve, we didn’t have a great away space from guests, an appropriate master bathroom (I’m told my perspective on appropriate is sometimes skewed) or storage for the hoards of clothes (and shoes - guilty!) we would now require to function daily and with guests. In this vain, I wanted to share with you a project we have been working on at our home, our master suite.
For us, a master suite has to serve so many purposes.
We should be able to make it dark and quiet for a restful nights sleep. In ours, we used automated black-out blinds that come from the bottom up so we can have some privacy while they’re halfway down and still let the sun in during the day. We insulated the walls connecting to the rest of the cottage to absorb the sounds of any late night games we might have escaped from and put the closet/office space at the entry to the bedroom to help buffer from any remaining sound.
It’s all about the bed. Without the proper bed we wouldn’t wake up with our bodies refreshed. We used a pocket coil mattress so I can flip around without irritating Tim and a slim line heated mattress pad with individual controls so Tim can heat his side (it’s even used in the summer?!). For the sheets, RH tends to be my solution. In this case we used their Cashmere/cotton blend in a fog grey and paired that with fog grey silk decorative pillows and throw. The grey wool head board in wool from Kravet was stitched in place by Lisa Vehrs of Recovered Treasures Upholstery and is the final piece to making the bed a tranquil place.
Views. My mind is always wandering. It’s always looking for something to focus on and trees and sky is often where it rests. The views of the forest next to our house and the lake at the front are framed by windows with mullions. Mullions have traditionally been used to help frame views. The little squares help our mind focus on a portion of a view, many little frames. Part of using the mullions was tying in to the rest of the windows of the cottage. I have always liked how mullions frame a perspective. When we wake up, our blinds come down at the back (the side opposite the lake) and side of the room and all the way at the front so we have a great view of the lake.
Lighting - the more different types of lights we can use in the bedroom the better. A light to turn on beside each side of the bed, check. A light to flick on to give us overhead lighting, check. Task lighting for reading, check. Art lighting, check. Closet task lighting, check. Vanity lighting, check. Heck, we even lit the bar cart! Lighting is how we set a mood and to us is one of the most important considerations. You’ll notice in the master, we used some brass accents on our lighting and that most of it came from my favourite lighting designer Jonathan Adler. We have always loved Jonathan Adler’s lighting and the brass touches tie in some of the antiques in the rest of the cottage. Lighting designer Rico Espinet provided all the glass lighting in a line for Robert Abbey. Whatever you choose to do with lights though, make sure it has a dimmer to help set the mood!
Sitting Area - we find having a chair or a bench in the bedroom almost a necessity. We don’t condone leaving them there, but at the end of the night it’s nice to have somewhere to either pile extra pillows or throw your clothes, we do live in the spaces after all (but they can’t be there when you come back to bed the following night!). In our resting area we put in a couple chairs from Canadian furniture maker EQ3 to sit in comfortably, a storage ottoman from EQ3 to store some of our Hudson’s Bay blankets and a Napoleon propane Fireplace to help set a great mood. Importantly, there’s a magazine rack that holds our House and Home magazines and Architectural digests from Elte and a Vicki Carruthers painting helps add some colour and fun to the space. We love that the pony wall we erected to be able to separate the bed and the sitting area has space to display one of our favourite pieces of art by Gordon Harrison. We grounded the space with merino wool rug remnants from the Carpet Mill in Toronto that we had bound. They are so soft the nieces and nephews sometimes decide to use the floor when they’ve come to snuggle in with a book.
Master closet - in the closet space, we divided it into work and dressing. On the one side we have more than enough closed storage for all of our clothes and get to see our shoes on display. The opposite side is a space to flick a light on when you can’t sleep at night and get some writing or drawing done. The drawers flanking the desk actually have file folders in them. The large drawers serve both as hampers and storage for seasonal bedding, we love to have LL Bean flannel on the bed in the winter. Because the cottage is post and beam and this space wasn’t designed with overhead lighting we decided to use Richelieu LED closet task lighting on the tops of the cabinets. They work amazing at directly lighting the inside of a closet and cast enough light that the rest of the space is lit well.
Master bathroom. As discussed before, it’s clear I love bathrooms. In a master it’s great to be able to have a stand alone tub and separate shower - a double vanity is a great luxury to be able to add. Our vanity is a simple custom designed hanging vanity built by Lucvaa kitchens with Delta faucets and affordable (and well designed) Ren-Wil mirrors. The countertop is a highlight for me, done in a matte black Cambria quartz to match the desk area. The lights are from YLighting and provide an abundance of LED light. The tub is the piece I was most excited about! A new design from Maax, the tub has a shelf on the far side that works perfectly for me to perch a short glass of bourbon at the end of the night (a guilty pleasure) - there might also be a piece of Soma chocolate in the mix! The great part of the tub is that it’s long enough that I can be covered in water that comes from a Delta filler on the side of the tub (a great cost savings from floor mounted fillers). I added a TV at the end of the bath so I could indulge in some Netflix if desired and a painting by Carol Cronin that we picked up while visiting Dingle, Ireland - the awe inspiring Atlantic Ocean. This is a space I happily spend time in. The shower has plenty of room, soap stone inspired tile from Ciot, a great shower system from Delta and a wall niche to handle most of our shower products. It’s a nice space to start the day.
Color - this is an important consideration everywhere for us. Often we will consider something a bit different in a master, something a bit darker and bolder than we would normally use. A darker color can often provide a more intimate appearance, something that helps a space feel cozy and relaxed. In our space we used Farrow & Ball Green Smoke, a color I have been excited to use, but never found the right opportunity. Here, it helps the room blend into the trees outside, it pops the cedar beams of the house and provides a great backdrop for some of our favorite pieces of art from Vicki Carruthers, Michel Leroux, Gordon Harrison, Joan Horsefall Young, Deb Grise, Carol Cronin, some crazy paintings we got at a Hong Kong night market that make us giggle every time we see them and the one photo of us I can stand, we’re hiking at Skoki Lodge in the Rockies.
So here’s a little insight into what we’ve been doing for the past year. I’ll admit that my mum made us get Instagram so she could follow along and I’m so happy that we now get to share that with all of you. I’m having fun doing these blogs, I get to share the things I love and the things that have inspired me. It was especially great getting to share a part of us when our clients and our readers share so much of themselves. We’ll look forward to talking to you soon, pop into the gallery to say hi, you’re likely to arrive when a terrible song from the past has come on and the 4 of us, Darcie, Madeline, Tim and I are belting it out at the top of our lungs - we’d love the company!