Cottage Country | A Lakeside Retreat for Year-Round Adventure

Cottage Country | A Lakeside Retreat for Year-Round Adventure

  • Kathy Sexton
  • 12/9/23

Cottage Country | A Lakeside Retreat for Year-Round Adventure

Your Home & Lifestyle Magazine

When Sarah Proulx booked a wedding photographer, she didn’t anticipate purchasing an investment property, too. “She said, ‘I’m available for photography but not the cottage. It’s going on the market.’ And so, kind of insane, I asked her off the cuff what she was asking for it.” Sarah fell in love with the cliffside property overlooking Skeleton Lake and purchased it with her now husband, Chris, as an Airbnb rental.

The two-bedroom, one-bath cottage is perfectly suited for scenic elopements and adventurous visitors alike. Located in Muskoka, Ontario, “The Rock Pine” is a woodsy retreat with amenities for every kind of outdoors-person—from fire pits and hammocks to private dock and water access mere steps away. “Skeleton Lake is considered the clearest, most beautiful waters in the Muskoka region,” notes Proulx. “[It’s] a very desirable cottage country destination.”

While visitors certainly flock to the lake during warmer months, the winter season brings a beauty all its own.

“We knew that making several different outdoor spaces usable was very crucial to enjoying the property year round,” says Proulx. “In the winter, as well as the summer, we wanted the covered hot tub to be a big draw to continue bringing people outside even during the colder months.”

When a trek to the main fire pit proves daunting, the deck’s additional fireplace and seating area make brisk mornings and cozy nightcaps all the more enjoyable. String lights around the property add to the cheerful ambience on snowy nights. Walking paths along the cliff with vistas of the lake—a personal favorite of Proulx’s—offer access to all kinds of cold-weather capers. Scenic hiking trails, live music, and even dogsledding are a quick jaunt away.

Inside, the couple kept much of the prior owner’s aesthetic vision. “[The] boho, modern design is fairly unique to cottage country,” says Proulx. “We wanted to ensure the overall feel was minimalist, [with] bright natural light, a focus on gathering spaces, and an abundance of areas to relax.”

To achieve the look, the couple relied on a mix of practical pieces, luxe-feeling finds, and local artisans. In the kitchen, pottery from a small Canadian business adds a touch of whimsy to butcher-block floating shelves and a chef’s table from Ikea. An outdoor teakwood set from Article provides the perfect place to gather over a meal or one of many well-stocked board games.

The bedrooms are cabin chic with a decidedly cozy feel featuring warm earth tones and soft textiles. Proulx often rotates rugs and decor, particularly in the living room. “We have a large merino wool rug that is absolutely stunning under the round wicker chair that we use during the winter to add that cozy feel.” She sourced many of the seasonal items locally from Sandhill Nursery—“an absolute must-see if you are visiting the area”—and even Daughters of Indie, a store owned by their photographer and previous property owner. The small painting in the entryway was gifted to the couple by artist Beverly MacRae after her stay in the cottage.

The Proulxs often ask guests to sign the guest book and leave music recommendations for the cottage’s playlists. They provide complimentary kindling, firewood, and even bug spray. The couple infused their property, and ultimately their guests’ stays, with heart, making their decision to pass it along to a new family or business a difficult one. (At press time, The Rock Pine was listed for sale.)

From the Proulxs’ own wedding to wintry elopements and returning vacationers, the cottage nestled in the pines of Muskoka holds a special place in the hearts of many.

Cottage Country | A Lakeside Retreat for Year-Round Adventure
Cottage Country | A Lakeside Retreat for Year-Round Adventure

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