We've all had those moments when our lives just seem to have become too complicated, too crazy, too scattered. Coming home and closing the door helps, but it is too easy for the working life to intrude.
The solution? A getaway home, far enough away that the tendrils of day to day demands cannot easily reach.
For one local couple, that getaway home is a large chalet nestled at the foot of Blue Mountain in Collingwood. The chalet had great bones but needed a facelift, and the couple turned to the firm of Barnard Speziale Design Associates to transform their ski country bolt hole into the perfect retreat.
Alison Knapp, from Barnard Speziale was project manager and headed the team. “This project was a relatively quick one, taking about six months from start to finish. The couple wanted a family home that was distinctly different from their main residence, a place that didn't look like their everyday home and that was different from that they saw every day.” The contrast would help to accentuate the switch from work time to downtime.
“We aimed for a more rustic style, with a return to natural elements,” Knapp explains.
The exterior was drastically changed. The new exposed beams and rafters are reminiscent of how things were done a hundred years ago. The use of an irregular natural stone also contributed to that traditional feel.
The stone details continue inside the chalet, helping to tie the inside and outside. Ledge rock was used on the fireplaces in the great room and the dining room, with the natural stone continuing into the kitchen as a backsplash. Floors were replaced with dark pine with a hand-planed look, another contributor to the sense of comfort and warmth.
The kitchen needed few changes, with the new backsplash, countertops and stainless appliances being the basic additions.
One of the most inviting features of the chalet is the balcony deck, featuring a chandelier, outdoor fireplace, large Muskoka chairs and multiple fur throws in baskets for guests to keep warm. There's also a barbeque and two large outdoor heaters to keep the area cozy even in a snowstorm. Down a few steps is a hot tub.
“All of this looks out at the base of Blue Mountain,” says Knapp. “It is a wonderful place to watch the snow and the skiers, to enjoy a drink and conversation and to relax after a day of skiing.”
The great room in the chalet is warm and comfortable, with lots of natural elements and a colour scheme of oatmeal, burnt orange and stone blue. There is a grass cloth on the back wall, the natural stone fireplace, and a wool area carpet with a nubbly texture. “It's almost like a big wool blanket on the floor,” says Knapp.
Above the fireplace is what appears to be an oil painting on canvas. It is actually a unique custom framed art work on a motorized retracting canvas that rolls aside at the touch of a button to reveal a television screen from Vision Galleries.
The linen upholstered L-shaped sofa is a custom piece from Barnard Speziale, and the accents in the room are a warm burnt orange, added through throws and cushions. The light fixture has exposed filament bulbs which add a turn of the century feel to the room.
The focal point of this central room is the sofa table, made up of three cast metal tree stumps grouped together. “It's a great conversation piece, but it also echoes the outdoors too,” says Knapp.
In the master bedroom, with its high peaked ceiling, the colour scheme ia inspired by embroidered drapery panels from Switzerland that were a gift from a friend of the owners. There are mountain scenes embroidered on them in earth tones.
The bedding, accents and wall colours all developed from that. The small table is an oil-rubbed
bronze, which adds an eclectic edge to the room. “The area rug has a deep pile, almost like sheep-skin, perfect to step onto out of bed on a chilly morning.”
“There are baskets of fur throws all over the house and I think it feels as if you could just curl up in a corner with a book and totally relax. It is very inviting for guests.”
“The chalet feels extremely warm and inviting, but has a unique character. We diverged from what most people might put in a chalet. The clients wanted a contemporary edginess to this space, and yet still wanted to preserve a comfort and homi- ness. The floors and other touches have kept an older feel to it.”
“This was a successful partnership and the chalet is the product of good collaboration that has made both me and the clients happy.”
Everyone needs a getaway place. This one, snuggled in at the base of a popular ski hill, is the kind of sanctuary we would all love to run away to.
What to think about when decorating your getaway home?
“¢ Think about creating a space that is different from your everyday home, so it is a real retreat.
“¢ Don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. This is a place to experiment, or to do something whimsical that you may not have tried in your permanent home. It is a treat for guests and for the owner, to stay in an environment that is different from what most of us have at home.
“¢ Keep things simple, and think about using a natural colour scheme.
“¢ Accessorize simply. Less clutter tends to feel more relaxing.
“¢ Right now, trends are reverting to simpler times and looking to the past. We are seeing lots of live edge tables, reclaimed wood furniture.
“¢ People are wanting a simpler interior in terms of the materials being used.
“¢ Books shelves and coffee tables that have feet and move, or that have wheels, connect with the current “re-use and recycle” mentality.