Summer retreatPublished on September 1, 2013

  • Photo by Gillian Jackson

Ah, summer! Who doesn't love it? I don't think there is any country in the world that celebrates this season more than we do. With lake country close to town, celebrating is relaxed and easy.

My favourite summer memories are the times I spent at my family cottage. It was more of a shack, really, with a resident mouse family (or two), a gopher, raccoon and porcupine, that all seemed to make a comfortable life for themselves underneath the cinder block foundation. Despite its shortcomings, it was paradise, an escape. 

Today, many traditional cottages and cabins are being torn down and replaced by stunning homes, both for permanent residences and vacation properties. And it's not cheap - waterfront properties today are equally as expensive as city homes. Additionally, people who are building face a very distinct balancing act: how to have the home you want and be respectful to the place you love? This was the conversation I had when Lesley and Mark called me up to choose the exterior colours for their new lakeside build.

Traditionally, when choosing colours for the exterior of a home I consider the colours that are already present. The colour of the shingles, bricks and mortar, as well as the colours of existing homes in the neighbourhood, all act as precursors to any exterior colour choices. Lesley and Mark were adamant about making their new home on the lake a reflection of their belief that they are guests on this land, and that their home should complement the beauty that already existed. 

With this in mind I offered up some bold suggestions! Firstly, the size of the house and its many architectural features offered me some flexibility.  For instance, I was able to use black as the main colour of the board and batten. Deep colours such as black have an amazing ability to ground a space, especially if the space is divided and varied. Bold, dark colours also make a space seem smaller, and in this case, more intimate. The black stain I chose was a matte finish to allow other features of the home, such as the wooden front and garage doors, to really pop with a natural and soft gloss finish. White windows and a neutral roof completed the palette.

This fall, Lesley and Mark are set to retire to their beautiful home on the lake, a migration that is being repeated over and over again across the country. Many of the new homes being built in traditional cottage country are simply stunning - they are tasteful, creative and dynamic. So, we genuinely are building homes that we want while being respectful of the place we love!

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