Moving Muskoka

Brings cottage country feel to Lake Huron

When Audrey and Randy decided the drive to their Muskoka cottage took too much time, they found one much closer in Southcott Pines in Grand Bend. The 30-year-old, side-split, 2,000-square-foot home was in good condition but needed updating and upgrading. They looked to Oke Woodsmith to make those changes. 

“They shared our vision from the beginning,” says Randy. “We’ve known the family for years. Randy (Oke) and our oldest son played hockey together. They have a good reputation. It felt like contacting neighbours. Randy and his team are professionals. They listened and could share our vision. They came up with a lot of ideas and how to do it right. We have a business and we know how important it is to care about customers. They showed that kind of care.”

Their vision was of an open space with plenty of light. They opened ceilings, added skylights and enlarged windows. Exterior brick was matched perfectly when the kitchen window was enlarged. Now, the vaulted ceilings and large expanses of windows create a sense of being surrounded by nature.

Wood accents add to the natural theme. “We opened the ceiling with beams,” says Audrey. The beams emphasize the structure and the dining room ceiling is clad in wood. The new stone fireplace in the great room is set off by a rustic beam mantel. The stone matches part of the front façade. 

A wider new front door and sidelights also allow more light to enter. The sunroom was transformed into a dining room with cathe-dral ceiling and windows on three sides. “It’s beautiful,” says Randy. “It feels like you’re almost outside. I like the skylights in the kitchen too.”

A large island gathers everyone around with seating for five. “We had good family times here,” says Audrey. The island provides storage accessible from both sides, a microwave and bar fridge.

One level down, the family room has the original wood-burning fireplace. The lower level includes a bedroom, office and laundry. Upstairs, they added new railing to the balcony. 

Audrey likes to renovate so the cottage was a good project. She enlisted the help of designer David Bradstock who specializes in custom residential design and decoration. The four bedrooms, two baths, dining room and great room with living area and kitchen are a welcoming mix of soft white walls, rich wood flooring, shades of brown with blue accents. A play of textures in wood, leather and wrought iron create interest. Prints feature birds, and fish to continue the theme.

The original owner checked out the renovation and was pleasantly surprised says Randy.

“It was a big job. The Okes made it easy and enjoyable to do.” 

Editor’s note: This cottage has since been sold, but the couple loved it so much that Oke Woodsmith is currently renovating their new one.

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