Rich and Joanne Clark grew up cottaging. "It is in our DNA,” says Joanne. Living in Toronto, the Clarks devised a longstanding plan to retire early and to get back onto water. Now in their late 40s, they intend to retire in less than two years. “We always saw this plan very clearly,” says Joanne. “Everything we did was moving another piece of the plan into place for the long term.”
Deciding they would need a home, not a cottage, they found a property on Stoney Lake and started building their customized home by Beaver Homes and Cottages from Chemong Home Hardware Building Centre in 2012.
Rising from nine to 21 feet, the sloped ceilings, combined with white walls and a curtain of windows that spans the water view, make the home airy and bright. In 2017, they completed their chic, black and gold kitchen that features a leathered granite countertop from Delray Granite. The 1,300 sq. ft. home has three bedrooms, a laundry room, a three-piece main bathroom and a two-piece bathroom off the master bedroom.
Long before they started to build, Joanne imagined every room. “I like putting things you wouldn’t expect to see and pairing them up,” she says. “It’s all about the juxtaposition of things.” Edgy, upholstered armchairs with wooden legs sit nearby mid-century, black leather-seated shell chairs.
Joanne created a fishing wall in the kitchen by mounting lures on coloured paper and framing them. Some are vintage, others are retired favourites or gifts from family. The fishing wall not only adds a pop of colour, but also acknowledges the importance of fishing to Rich. “There’s a bit of everybody here,” says Joanne.
Aiming for a mix of new and old, precious, purposeful and personal, the couple have achieved the space they imagined. Heirlooms like a Singer sewing machine that belonged to Joanne’s grandmother and wartime keepsakes from Rich’s grandfather are lovingly sprinkled into the décor. Antlers, acorns and birch branches bring the outdoor element in. Handcrafted furniture like the console Rich and Joanne’s dad constructed from old fence boards from her family’s home not only warms the space, but also the heart.