The Royal Treatment on the Sandy Shores of Lake Huron


This waterfront cottage is awash in shades of blue and green.

OUR HOMES Grey & Bruce Counties Spring 2019
A version of this article originally appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of  OUR HOMES Grey & Bruce Counties, p.100. Find local businesses in our Grey Bruce directory.
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.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
The wide front porch is a quiet and protected spot to read or visit with neighbours. The style of the windows, the simple railings on the porch and the siding allow this cottage to blend in with the older buildings that dot this area.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
The old cottage’s cathedral ceiling in the living room is something the homeowners said had to be incorporated into the new home.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
In the dining room, the cabinet’s bead board back and open shelves host an ever-changing display of shells, decorative glass and candles. The dining chairs have custom upholstered seats that match the cushions on the stools in the kitchen.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
Chris Weppler of Royal Homes Ltd. loves helping customers build their dream homes with the skilled craftsmen at Royal Homes.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
Many weekend mornings start at the island with freshly squeezed orange juice and a nice hot coffee.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
Seafoam green appears in the stools, the KitchenAid mixer and the Sophie Conran dishes – reminders that Lake Huron is right outside.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
The traditional trim around the kitchen window is another nod to the history that once stood in this same spot. The glass subway tile has an iridescent quality and the mosaic pattern running along the top of the backsplash repeats the accent colour. Simple pulls are used on cabinetry and on the dining room cupboard.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
Pocket doors close off the kitchen area from the bedrooms. Using the same style of frame for the gallery wall is the secret to keeping it cohesive. The growth chart on the wall is a happy reminder of days gone by.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
In the rec room on the lower level, the family enjoys board games or movies on a rainy day. The blue and white slipcovers on the sofas and chairs add that beachy feel and are easy to clean.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
In one of the daughter’s bedrooms, hot pink has been used as the accent colour. The duvet cover and Roman shade have flip-flop motifs while the contrasting plaid of the curtains and the bedskirt add another layer to this lovely room.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
The claw-foot tub was found in Toronto and refurbished. When it arrived on site it was installed in the module containing this bathroom and then lifted into place. To replicate the colours in this room, try using Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue and Cotton Balls.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
In the master bedroom, a deep comfy chaise is positioned to see the view. Many great books have been read in this spot. A petite glass-and-metal side table is handy for flowers or a cup of tea.