Thoughtful Lakeside LivingPublished on September 30, 2022


  • Photo by: Jordann Brown

  • Photo by: Jordann Brown

  • Photo by: Jordann Brown

  • Photo by: Jordann Brown

  • Photo by: Jordann Brown

  • Photo by: Jordann Brown

  • Photo by: Jordann Brown

Lakeside living extends far beyond the summer months in a spectacular Big Rideau Lake home just outside Perth. The house was built in 2017, but the family has owned the property for many years and expanded on it to accommodate numerous people. The homeowners stated of the current new build, “We wanted to create an inviting space for the whole family to be together.”

A dream team was assembled, with Simmonds Architeture to design the house and Leclair Décor handling the furnishings. John Riley, a reputable area contractor, was brought in to oversee the project. The magnificent outdoor space is the work of Jason Smalley Landscape Design and Davis Landscape & Design. The culminating efforts of the talented team are evident from every vantage point where nature and design come together with harmonious results. Bringing the outdoors in was an integral part of the design process.

“We wanted to feel embedded in nature, which is why the windows line up so you can see right through the cottage to the lake,” says the homeowner.

The dwelling sits within a treed area of the property, and although it has modern elements, there is a depth of character to the structure. “This project is a blending of familiar traditional domestic forms with modernism. We tried to create a warm and inviting cottage while being distinctly contemporary,” Chris Simmonds explains. The feeling is carried through to the indoor space, where the attention to detail is noteworthy, for which Chris credits the project architect. “Gabe Prost paid particular attention to some of the special details used on the stairs, the kitchen, and the fireplace to create a unique character,” Chris explains.

While the interior details are outstanding, they don’t distract from the obvious focal point — the lake. A neutral palette allows for textural elements like wood and woven materials to inject intrigue into the décor, which Leclair Décor has tastefully implemented. “With the exception of some deep blue and soft green accents (a direct nod to the surrounding landscape), we kept the colour scheme fairly neutral. We warmed up the all-white space with rustic wood finishes throughout with lots of woven texture, and plenty of cozy throws and pillows,” offers Melissa Leclair.

The fireplace, which often finds itself on a dominant wall, takes a backseat here to the expansive windows that drink in nature’s beauty, showcasing the lake through the trees. However, a wall of cream tile is a dramatic statement for the contemporary fireplace the family gathers around during the cooler months. When the weather is warm, the grand screened porch, with comfy seating and a large dining table from RH, offers the ideal gathering spot.

The porch was an integral part of the house design. “The sliding door between the screened porch and the main living space stacks into a wall pocket to create a fabulous experience of openness to breezes and views,” explains Chris. The homeowner offers, “In the summer, we spend most of our time on the porch, so we wanted that space to be connected to the house. We can close that off in the colder seasons, light a fire, and tuck into the interior living space.”

The entire two-storey home is dedicated to gathering friends and family. With bedroom spaces that offer ensuites and a lower floor designed with separation in mind, the house can easily fit multiple families so that everyone can enjoy time at the lake, both together and apart.

Mary Taggart

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