Caroline and Gihad wanted a cottage where they could unwind and relax after a long week performing their busy jobs. They also wanted to be able to rent their space out during those weeks when work keeps them away. But after trying to renovate two bathrooms by themselves, this couple knew they needed help. So they called up Scott McGillivray, designer Debra Salmoni and the Vacation House Rules team. See how Scott and co. took this Kawartha Lakes property from the 1970s and transformed it into a midcentury modern, zen’d out retreat with plenty of beautiful (and memorable!) finishes.
The living room is one of the biggest showstoppers in this new design thanks to the high ceilings, large windows and impressive fireplace. Scott and Debra covered the bottom half of this piece with stone and inserted an electric model for the easiest possible use. Above, they installed a shiplap cedar plank with a charred finish. The planks add an interesting texture and draw the eye, all while tying in with the dramatic black beams above.
Making an Impression
Before the renovation this area was actually an extended porch the couple barely used. With this new design plan, however, Scott ensured there’s a real entrance complete with a small laundry room off to one side. Now when renters enter the property there’s somewhere to take off their stuff, transitioning the visit in a calmer and more zen’d out way.
A Bright New Kitchen
In the new kitchen, Scott and Debra created a gorgeous focal point with this new granite, waterfall island. It adds a seamless space for extra storage and seating, not to mention a bonus prep area for those who are entertaining or hosting large groups. The bright whites help keep things light while the wood finishes give the space that midcentury modern feel that helps you to unwind and relax.
Smart Dining Space
The kitchen extends all the way along the back wall to the dining room area, where a built-in bar fridge and open shelving adds convenience, function and design to the eating space. The circular table also adds a ton of function, allowing maximum seating without taking up too much real estate with the table itself.
Adding Some Zen
What better way to add instant zen to a space than with a little greenery? When you’re talking about a rental, however, the less maintenance the better. That’s why Scott and Debra opted for these artificial succulents for the plant wall, adding a calming effect with zero watering required. They’re particularly pretty against the shiplap cedar plank, which adds a modern touch to the overall space.
Scott and Debra left the location of the original stairs, but gave them a safe upgrade with the wood beams. Now the area is completely safe for renters, but it still feels open, airy and in line with the home’s original design.
Creating a Zen Bathroom
When you’re promoting a zen rental, it’s important to put a little extra into your bathroom design in order to create that calming spa effect. This dramatic wood vanity and bowl sink definitely give off that vibe, as do the floating shelves, large tub and extra textiles.
Extra Rental Potential
One of the best-selling features of this property is the Bunkie, which looks like it is attached to the property but you enter it through a separate door. Here, Scott and Debra created a whole other apartment for potential renters, making the most of the loft space. Below they created a calming living room and above they went completely zen with a mini and functional yoga space.
A Full-Function Rental
On the other side of the Bunkie, Scott and Debra ensured whoever is staying here has access to all the basics, like coffee, drinks and snacks thanks to this mini kitchen. It’s like a mini retreat within the retreat, where those who are paying for the cottage rental can have their own escape from the rest of the crowd. Or, it can also be a space for Caroline and Gihad to unwind while they’re renting out their main cottage.
Taking it Outside
When you’re renting a property in the Kawarthas, odds are you plan on being outside as much as (if not more than) you’ll be inside. So creating a zen-like outdoor area to hang at was just as important. Here, heat lamps and ample seating give the rental exactly that, ensuring utmost comfort even when the summer starts to fade. Now Caroline and Gihad can easily charge up to $750 per night for this rental during the high season, ensuring they’re still getting the most out of their property even when they can’t use it themselves.