PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIM McGHIE
Far from the hectic pace of Toronto and nestled along the northern shores of Lake Erie is the tiny town of Wainfleet. An idyllic spot to spend summer weekends and holidays surrounded by lake and land. Ready to update his 1920s family cottage, Mark Narsansky turned to his designer and longtime partner Philip Mitchell for help.
Today, the refurbished cottage boasts ample room for entertaining family, friends and even frequent overnight guests. But that isn’t how it started out. The challenge for transforming Mark’s childhood vacation home was to rework the footprint to accommodate larger gatherings while preserving the cottage’s vintage personality.
To maximize seating for evening and weekend gatherings, the bright and cozy living room is smartly laid out with comfy sofas, plump armchairs and large coffee and occasional tables. A long pillow-topped banquette borders the front windows. Fabrics are a mixture of durable woven textures and kicky cottage stripes and prints.
All kitchen tools—pots, pans, plates and cooking utensils—are easy to grab from the storage shelves on the island and the wrought iron racks hanging above. Architectural trim details, vintage lighting and hardware are inspired by the cottage’s original 1920s architecture. The island features a marble surface, ideal for baking as well as sturdy counter space. Cabinetry finishes are hand painted and, if they chip, can easily be touched up.
The cottage has three additional bedrooms on the newly built second floor, though there is nary a bulge on the cottage exterior to reflect the change. Why? “Because the rooms are tucked behind the roofline and concealed behind discreet shed dormers,” responds Philip. Clever.
Philip was eager to replace dark stained walls from the original design with light-reflecting warm colours such as soft green, grey and cream. Philip says he’s a fan of mixing different finishes—from stained and painted wood to forged iron, it makes the space so much more interesting.
Philip sums up the renovation this way, “Our cottage is still full of 1920s details and is primed for the demands of the millennium lifestyle.”