In the 1900s this little area, just outside of Kincardine on the shores of Lake Huron, was a destination for families from Ripley, Gorrie, Teeswater, Detroit and New York. Renowned for its sandy beaches and incredible sunsets, its natural beauty was worth the journey, which back then, was long, difficult and hot. The simple cottages built on waterfront lots offered a place to sleep, eat and somewhere to sit when it rained. Vacationers’ days were filled with swimming, golf, entertaining and relaxing in the great outdoors. Today, the cottages are much more elaborate but the families enjoy their time much the same way as the early arrivals.
When the owners of this cottage – originally built in 1927 – were introduced to this area by friends and family, they fell in love. Buying the cottage was an immediate decision. At the time, they thought they would be renovating. For two summer seasons, the family frolicked on the beach, swam in the lake, hosted friends and considered the next step for their old beauty from another age. However, knowing what they wanted from the cottage for the future, they realized that, unfortunately, it was time to tear it down and build new.
They created a list of wants and needs for their new cottage and at the top was a wish to replicate the original cottage’s living room into the new structure. With the help of an architect, thoughts were turned into drawings and the hunt for a builder began.
On their way back and forth to Toronto, they passed the Royal Homes Ltd. design centre in Wingham. Seeing it was local, they did some research and were very impressed with the awards, quality of Royal’s home builds and the positive feedback they encountered.
They liked that all Royal Homes are built inside a heated warehouse that would protect the materials from being exposed to the extremes in temperature and weather that are typical of the area. Royal Homes was hired. At a meeting at the old cottage, Designer Chris Weppler could see, first-hand, how to incorporate the cathedral ceiling into the new living room. As they progressed on the design, the wish list was double checked to make sure every item was incorporated before the drawings were handed over to the builders at Royal Homes.
The home was divided into modules that would be fully constructed and then delivered to the site where a crane would set them on the new foundation. Royal Homes handled the entire build, including the foundation, septic and new water hook-up. The owners did not have to worry about coordinating trades and deliveries or being on site to keep the project moving.
The view of the lake was of utmost importance, so floor-to-ceiling windows frame the view and let the natural light pour in throughout the home. In the living room, a fieldstone fireplace was constructed. They decided to keep it as a wood-burning unit, the same as in the old cottage. Cooler evenings by the crackle and flame of real logs was a memory of the family’s first summers in this special spot.
Carefully thought-out touches add age to this home and reinforce the cottage feel, including in the kitchen. Cabinets reach to the top of the nine-foot ceiling and are a mix of wood and glass fronts. Bead board was added to the backs of the glass-fronted cabinets. The perimeter counters are wood and the island is finished with a butcher block top. One modern addition is the large pantry with pullout shelves so nothing gets lost in the back on those busy summer weekends.
The dining room is in the same open space as the kitchen, where large doors lead to a deck at the rear of the house – the ideal spot to watch the water roll in and out. The living room, just beyond the dining room, is a perfect copy of the original where many new memories are being made. The wide-plank pine flooring that extends throughout the home is aging to a deep honey colour. With a few scratches and bangs, it looks as if it’s been there for 100 years.
Adding to the authentic cottage look, the exterior of the home is finished in wood siding. The bevelled siding was installed in the same manner as the older cottages in the area. Preserving the past can be done in so many ways. The architecture of a building from close to 100 years ago has been preserved in a special way for this family by Royal Homes.