If you live in Canada you know what summer means to us. We really wait for it and spending some time by the water or in the woods in a cottage is something that we tend to live for.
I am beyond honored to be sharing Emily Griffin’s, of Emily Griffin Design, Lake Barn Cottage on Home Bunch today. She is sharing all of the details and the inspiring story behind this truly special place. Please keep reading and I hope this will bring Summer a little closer to you!
“My family has had a property on Balsam Lake in the Kawarthas for over 100 years. Each relative has their own cottage – there are 5 in total – but we also have shared communal gathering spaces. My husband Norman and I inherited our small cottage from my parents who lived in Alberta, just as our 3 children became teenagers. With our kids’ approach to a cottage weekend diverging from our own (read rap music and dancing till all hours of the night!), the idea of the barn was born.
Norm and I loved the idea of building a “Great Ontario Barn”. We wanted a place that would be adjacent to our cottage that could house our teenagers and their friends. We also wanted to add another communal gathering space for our relatives on the property – a space to gather for games, cocktails and music.
The end result was exactly what we envisioned it to be, a combination of sleep and play. With the loft sleeping a minimum of ten people, the barn can house all the cousins when the whole Griffin family comes together once a year on the property.
The design is based on an authentic Ontario cottage with wood walls, lots of windows and a steel roof. We loved the idea of wood walls throughout but felt natural pine would feel too heavy so settled on whitewashing it all.” – Emily Griffin of Emily Griffin Design
See more of Emily’s work on Home Bunch:
“All the cottages on the Griffin Property have their doors and windows painted “Balsam Lake Green” – a dark traditional forest green – it’s always been this way and no one has ever questioned it. I just couldn’t do it. In almost every cottage I’ve worked on I have been way more drawn to soft sage greens so I decided to break with tradition and go with “Benjamin Moore Copely Gray” and I love how it blends in more with the landscape.
Here are Norman and I with our kids Max, Grace and Oscar.” – Emily Griffin
“One way we saved major money was in the windows and doors – every single window and door was re-purposed from cottages on the property or from junk shops in the Kawartha. I love love love an old wood window and to me it adds that little bit of magic that is hard to put your finger on when you are in the Barn.” – Emily Griffin
“The staircase up to the loft was salvaged from the old icehouse which until recently, was my grandparents’ cottage. My grandfather died in 2015 at the age of 104, and my grandmother died five years before him at 99. At their ages they were going up and down those steep steps without handrails! Our contractor’s brother custom-made these iron ones for us as clearly we weren’t as daring as my grandparents!” – Emily Griffin
“I always wanted a peacock chair and bought this red one from @vintagefineobjects on Instagram site unseen. I bought our round games table from Dunk’s Junk in Cobokonk. It was out back covered in mould in his shed so I got it for $25 – cleaned it up, sanded it lightly and then painted it Farrow and Ball’s Pale Powder. The skis on the wall were also purchased at Dunk’s and the snowshoes came from the main cottage and have been passed down for generations.”- Emily Griffin
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“We didn’t need a full kitchen in the Barn as all the cooking happens in the main cottage but we did want a fridge for drinks, a microwave to heat stuff up in and a large countertop to layout snacks and cocktails for when we entertain in there.”- Emily Griffin
“A sink skirt is such an old-fashioned cottage trick which conjures up all sorts of great images and histories. I knew right from the beginning that I wanted one in the Barn – traditional cabinetry would have felt too “conventional” for that space. At first it was going to be solid linen but when I put the rounded back chair in place with the toile fabric on the seat I switched gears and went full out toile for the skirt! It’s so useful too – the bar fridge and microwave are hidden away under those skirts.”- Emily Griffin
“The gallery wall is made up of old family photos. My parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents and great grandparents all line the walls. There is even a photo of my husband as a child. We thought we would throw him in even though he’s not a Griffin!”
“We didn’t have to buy much to furnish the barn. A lot of the wood pieces came from our cottage which had way too much furniture in there so we moved some over here.”
Wooden Decorative Bowl: here – similar.
“I designed the sectional using old barn board found on our property as the fronts, plywood for the base and then Ikea mattress for the seat cushions. The ticking is from now defunct Designer Fabric Outlet and the covers are sewn so that they can be zipped off and washed (frequently!). Most of the kilim covered pillows are from Ikea, the black and white ones are CB2 and the long kidney shaped pillows are made from vintage camel bags we had in storage!” – Emily Griffin
Sconce: “Pottery Barn adjustable arc plug in sconce”.
“We actually designed the whole Barn around the idea of a pool table right in the middle of the open space. And we knew we didn’t want a new one! My husband found this one on Facebook marketplace. It is a vintage 1950s snooker table that the former owner salvaged from the Toronto Snooker Club (he was one of the contractors working onsite when they were demolishing it). When Norm went to pick it up (20 minutes away from the barn coincidentally) it was fully dismantled. It took 4 grown men to lift the slate slabs and a full 2 weekends (watching YouTube videos) to put it all together!” – Emily Griffin
“We can squeeze 16 up in the loft. The beds were designed by me and custom made in plywood with raw pine to match the walls on the fronts with drawers under each bed. There are 2 long platforms on either side of the loft. We then put 4 double mattresses on each side from Ikea. On our property we have beds set up like this in the ‘Boat House’ so the inspiration came from there.” – Emily Griffin
Loft Double Sconces: “Restoration Hardware, 20 th C factory filament bare bulb double sconce ” – similar here.
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This is a sweet place that the designer happily shares with her loved ones.
“The metal straps for the windows riff off the ones in the Boat House – it’s a great way to get a lot of breeze and light into the loft.” – Emily Griffin
Loft reading lamps: “Ikea, RIGGAD”.
“I searched online for bedding that was colourful, durable and affordable, and came up empty-handed. Then in 2017, while the barn was being built, I went on a trip to India and was blown away by the hand-blocked printed cottons. From these fabrics I designed the Barn Collection for what is now my Indian textile company called “Imli Lifestyle” (@imli.lifestyle).” – Emily Griffin
Bedding: “Imli Lifestyle, Crown & Path prints”
“The bathroom vanity is an old washstand that I got from my Aunt and Uncle who had no more use for it. I got our contractor to drill out a hole for the sink and install the plumbing and voila vanity! The sink is a hammered bronze sink from Morocco bought by a friend and the plumbing fixtures are from Taps.”- Emily Griffin
Faucet: Local store – similar here.
Mirror: here – similar.
It was a real treat seeing this charming barn-style cottage and knowing more about interior designer, Emily Griffin. I hope you had a great time! 🙂
Photography: Virginia MacDonald.
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Lead me in Light and Love”.
Have a wonderful day, my friends and we’ll talk again tomorrow.”
Luciane from HomeBunch.com