Designer Kim Kostuch, of KKI Designs in Carleton Place, infused a modern sensibility into a vintage fisherman’s boathouse on the water’s edge of Mallorytown in the heart of the 1000 Islands. She managed to create a comfortable, yet energized weekend retreat for a busy family using vibrant colours, funky furnishings and plenty of white to keep the look fresh.
The design and renovation project took Kim ten months to complete, spanning all four seasons, allowing her to take advantage of the cottage’s stunning natural surroundings, and to maximize the outdoor living spaces and flow of the new interior.
While the cottage had obvious appeal it also presented challenges. “It was a fantastic location and an amazing view,” Kim explains. “But, the original structure, although a pretty blue on the outside, was dark and dated on the inside. There were walls dividing each of the spaces, the ceilings were very low, and the topography of the site dropped off sharply from street level to shoreline—sixty-six steps to be exact!”
Working closely with homeowners Joe Jordan (a former MP for Leeds-Grenville) and his wife Debbie, everything was gutted, revamped, reworked and modernized. The result is a sleek, yet organic living space punctuated with breathtaking water views.
“Because we were not permitted to remove the original structure to renovate, much of exterior maintains the charm of 1940s cottage,” the designer says. “We kept the outside as close to the original as possible and included the barn-style roof trusses and horizontal siding in the new design. We also decided to paint the exterior a vibrant yellow, which makes an impact from the water, like an unexpected pop of sunshine.”
At nearly 1,800 square feet, the three-bedroom cottage is not only a recreational property, but a family residence. Joe, Debbie and their son Zack, who is a student at Algonquin College, plus the beloved family dog Tipsy, make the trek to the boathouse from their condo in downtown Ottawa.
They also have family scattered throughout the area. Joe’s brother has a cottage on Grenadier Island, where he and Debbie belong to the Grenadier Island Country Club, and his sister-in-law is a local realtor in the area, so the cottage was always meant to be a place to be shared with those closest to them.
“I grew up on the river in Brockville,” Joe explains. “When we found the property (on kijiji), it was in the exact area in which we wanted to be, so the renovation was secondary to the location.”
Gallons of soft-grey paint (Coin Silver by Para Paints), washed ash-grey vinyl flooring, a mix of metal finishes and pops of colour transformed the open-concept main floor into a light, welcoming space. Debbie found the multi-coloured dining chairs at Ikea which served as a jumping-off point for the room’s colour scheme that imbues shades of fresh air, flowers in bloom, cool river breezes and sunny afternoons.
“The entire space is filled with items that reflect the personality of the homeowners and the cottage’s natural surroundings,” explains Kim. “With pops of leafy green, tangerine and citrus and watery shades of teal, it really says comfortable, weekend living.”
Whimsical ceiling medallions painted in a bright marigold were installed on the stairway wall leading to the second floor. A custom-designed Lucite handrail and multi-dimensional floor lighting were also added to create a one-of-a-kind experience.
“The space isn’t overly big,” notes Kim. “So, where we could, we maximized every inch to add something special, be it unique and bold, or simple and clean.”
Modern-style cabinetry from Ikea and an arabesque-style, glossy-white backsplash with charcoal grout add a designer touch to the galley kitchen. “I love the juxtaposition between the movement of the water you can see through the windows and the straight, modern lines of the cabinetry,” offers Kim.
The living space continues outdoors with a large wrap-around deck and custom docks. With ample space for gatherings, structural seating was placed opposite the pre-existing deck benches to allow for conversation and to take full advantage of the unobstructed views of the St. Lawrence. “I could spend my entire day out here reading,” says Debbie, referring to the lounge area nestled under the overhanging foliage from the cliffs of Vanston Farm. “It’s just so peaceful.”
“Kim really thought of everything. She was an inspired task master,” recalls Joe. “The renovation would have been twice as long without her. In fact, the more time we spend at the cottage, the more we appreciate her attention to details.”