Who: Terry Schacht, Food Stylist and husband Mark Spiers, who works for Air Canada in Avionics.
Bench at Clear Lake cottage
What: We bought the first cottage (Clear Lake) in 2004 and spent about eight months renovating it. A local family built the cottage in the early ’70s. From the outside, the cottage looks like a Swiss Chalet, right down to the horizontal rough pine siding and the heart cutouts in the deck pickets. We loved the fireplace and the layout of the rooms, and saw the potential right away. The cottage faces west so we have amazing sunsets and a long lake view.
We bought the second cottage (Gladstone Lodge) in 2008. I knew it was the one before we got inside. The drive in from the highway was so beautiful. The cottage faces south so we get all-day sun. The log portion of the cottage was built in the early ’30s and then at some point, the previous owners built another cottage around the log building. Essentially it’s a cottage within a cottage. There are so few of these original cottages left. We feel very fortunate to have found one.
Where: One is just north of Huntsville by ten minutes in Novar, Perry Township; the other one is located in Baysville, Lake of Bays Township.
HGTV: Please tell us a little bit about your style.
Terry Schacht: I have always been attracted to antiques and started collecting antique phones in my early teens. I love hunting for finds, it’s a passion — if not an obsession. My style at home is eclectic and very modern, with mid-century furnishings accented by antique items. At the cottage, my style is mostly rustic, I love primitives especially but I am also drawn to original bark cloth, old paintings, prints, and anything crafted by hand from the past. I am completely crazy for old original wicker from the ’20s to the ’40s; it brings back memories of my childhood cottage at Jackson’s Point.
HGTV: How much of each cottage was renovated (if any)?
TS: The biggest thing we did at Clear Lake was buy reclaimed heritage barn board for the floors. Some planks are 17 inches wide. We laid all the boards and numbered them with chalk before we installed them ourselves; it really was a labour of love. My husband Mark is extremely talented and handy, so he did most of the work himself. I come up with the décor idea and then he makes it happen.
Clear Lake was a cosmetic renovation, but we pretty much touched every room. All the flooring was added, the barn board walls in the dining room, we even built a closet from a door we found at the local dump. The cottage was carpeted and had horrible linoleum flooring, crazy zodiac metal work and very yellow knotty pine walls. We wanted to make it look much older and more rustic than it actually was. We loved the look of the old kitchen cabinets so we left those but added a farm sink and wood counters.
Gladstone Lodge guest bedroom
Gladstone Lodge was a much bigger project. The cottage needed insulating, wiring…you name it. We worked hard to uncover what was there. There was panelling on the ceilings covering the old beams in the living room and kitchen; tile board covering the logs in the bathroom; and the original bathroom had been made into a utility closet. We turned that back into a powder room. In the tub room we broke through the drop ceiling to find it was actually a beautiful vaulted ceiling with old log all the way up on one wall, which we restored.
We opened up the loft area that had been covered with pink ten-test material. There was carpet in the porch area that covered beautiful old wood floors. We reclaimed old doors and hardware from a house that was being torn down in Hunstville for the lower bedrooms and bathroom. We reconfigured the entire ground level and rebuilt the kitchen. It was important to me that the cottage feels like a cottage but with all the comforts and modern conveniences of home. I wanted our renters to have the full cottage experience right down to the décor.
HGTV: The Gladstone Lodge bathrooms are beautiful. Can you tell us a little bit about the stonework around the tub and on the floors?
TS: I bought all my tiles from Weston Tile in Toronto, they have a huge selection. The upper tub room walls are mat mini subway tiles installed in straight rows rather than offset from floor to ceiling right around the tub. The floor is multi grey river rock that is glued to mesh. I think it’s actually meant for shower floors but I loved it so much I put it on the whole floor and made sure we did not grout it too heavily so that the rocks really showed texture. The lower bathroom tiles actually look like grey wood planks but are ceramic. We used a basic subway tile around the tub and cut rock on mesh for the deck of the tub. I liked the idea of bringing the look of outdoors inside even in the more modern elements of the cottage.
Gladstone Lodge bathroom
HGTV: The wall treatments in the Gladstone Lodge kitchen and the living/dining rooms are both really interesting. Are they original?
TS: The wall treatments in the kitchen at Gladstone Lodge are the same river rock mesh I used in the tub room, and the dining/living room walls are original ’30s logs.
HGTV: What is your favourite room in each cottage and why?
TS: That is a very, very hard question! There are so many rooms I love. I would say the living room at Clear Lake cottage is my favourite place. I love building a fire and reading a book there on chilly mornings. The painting above the mantle was purchased at an auction in Milford Bay for $30; it reminds me of the Group of Seven. My favorite pink wicker desk, antique phone, embroidered horse picture and lamp are there as well, I just love that grouping and sitting there to write.
At the lodge, I love the old log bedroom, it is just so cozy and it takes you back in time. I also love the wrap-around Muskoka porch with the wicker furniture, it has an amazing view and quiet early mornings are spent in there with a coffee enjoying the view and sounds of nature before anyone else wakes up.
HGTV: There are a lot of wildlife accents (statues, pictures etc.) throughout both cottages. Do you have a favourite piece?
TS: There are so many that I love, but I do have one very old poster of a stag that is yellowed and torn and in an old frame and then the moose antlers on the white mount in the living room. I also really love my little collection of old hand-carved vintage bears.
Gladstone Lodge TV Lounge
HGTV: How do you get that ‘cottage feel’?
TS: The cottages I knew growing up were filled with a mish-mash of furnishings from previous owners, family hand-me-downs, and quirky treasures, so that is what I set out to recreate when I finally had my own cottage. Each room takes on its own character, and nothing really matches but the items complement each other. We used old wood beams, antique and new ticking fabric, old hand-woven blankets, bark cloth and flooring where possible, and new items like sofas to make it comfortable. I did make a special effort to find things from the ’30s for the lodge. I put wood strapping on the walls in the bedrooms at the lodge, to make the drywall mimic wood paneling from an old cottage and painted it all white.
HGTV: Where did you get most of your furniture? Any good resources you can share with us/our readers re: shopping for cottage fair?
TS: I’ve bought quite a bit of furniture at the Christie Antique Show. My sofas in both living rooms are custom by Silva Upholstery in North York. I like IKEA for kitchen cabinets and counters, my double farm sink is also a great IKEA purchase. The taps are from Gingers and the bathroom fixtures are from Home Depot. I find they have a great selection for a great price. There are several good antique shops in Jordan, Ontario. If I find something that l like at a good price, I’ll often buy it and store it for the next project.