Cabin Boasts Culinary Double Take
Innisfil, Ontario — Kevin Swart’s clients live a very fast-paced city lifestyle in Toronto, so when they decided to build a log home about an hour away on Lake Simcoe, they wanted it to serve as their getaway. They also wanted to create a place where they could easily accommodate and entertain guests, especially their large extended families.
Several features of the home – built with the collaborative efforts of Chervin Kitchen & Bath, True North Log Homes (log home provider) and Construct & Conserve (builder) – help accomplish those goals, including the massive stone fireplace that takes center stage in the main-level family room and additional fireplaces in the master bedroom and lower-level family room. An expansive wrap-around, main-level deck, cantilevered second-level balcony and lower-level patio showcase views that overlook and provide access to the pool and lake beyond.
For the ultimate in entertaining, their home also includes two kitchens: their personal kitchen on the main level and a second kitchen, designed for hosting visitors, on the lower level. Each is well-appointed with vintage-style Elmira Stove Works appliances that influenced much of the material and product selections, complemented with custom cabinetry by Chervin Kitchen & Bath and additional design elements that make it effortless to host large groups of people.
“They entertain a lot,” says Swart, director of sales and design at Chervin Kitchen & Bath’s Muskoka (Port Carling) location. The company has two additional showrooms in Waterloo and Oakville. “When their family comes over, everyone gathers in the lower level where they have access to the patio, pool and lake. Having a kitchen on this level makes it easy to accommodate anything from ordering pizza to making a separate meal.”
An open floorplan, which is evident throughout the home, also enhances entertaining. “We kept the floorplan as open as possible because the clients wanted the kitchens to feel like they were part of the nearby rooms,” says Mark Wrightman, marketing manager for True North Log Homes, who adds that the home earned a 2019 National Association of Home Builders’ award for Excellence in Home Design for the log construction category. “Kitchens are also such a focal point of any home, with guests always gathered around an island to enjoy drinks and appetizers while someone is cooking. They are called the heart of the home for a reason!”
An added element that enhances the functionality of the lower-level kitchen is the expansive three-tiered island. Its generous footprint offers plenty of space for the abundance of food that is served when their families come together.
“They have one entire tier for seating,” Swart says, noting it can seat as many as eight people. “The second tier is for food…and so is the upper tier. It’s designed for extreme entertaining!”
At the island’s base is custom frameless maple cabinetry sheathed in an exclusive distressed green hue with a wear-through finish, which is repeated on the perimeter cabinets.
“She loves color,” Swart says, noting the cabinetry’s rich shade works well with the brick walls, Cambria Buckingham quartz countertops and Buttercup Yellow appliances from Elmira Stove Works’ Northstar line – including the refrigerator with ice maker, gas range, range hood, microwave and accessory panel for the KitchenAid dishwasher. “Both kitchens began with the appliances. They are the focal points, but we also didn’t want to take away from the cabinetry.”
As such, Swart incorporated accents that provide visual enhancement without overpowering the appliances, such as custom corbels on the island, decorative nails on doors and drawers and the ‘X’ moulding and roping that crown the pantry/refrigerator cabinets as well as the custom range hood cover, which is accented with copper details to tie in with the hammered copper farm sink. Atlas cabinet hardware from the company’s Steam Punk collection is finished in Vintage Brass and resembles exposed piping that adds a touch of industrial appeal that coordinates with the cabinetry’s Old World design vibe.
“When they came into the showroom, they loved our Old World kitchen display,” Swart says. “It served as the inspiration for their kitchens and influenced material and product selections that were made and incorporated into them.”
An Old World feeling is also on display in the main-level kitchen, where accents such as the ‘X’ moulding that tops the cabinetry are back lit for added ambiance. Other accents, including rope details and decorative nails on the doors and drawers – this time in a copper color to coordinate with the Antique Copper hardware from Top Knob’s Somerset Collection – are repeated in this kitchen that reiterates the homeowners’ love of color via the cabinetry’s Benjamin Moore Blue Hydrangea hue.
The kitchen’s perimeter showcases several appliances from Elmira Stove Works’ Antique line, including a refrigerator, microwave and gas range, all in the company’s Bisque color.
“Working with retro-style appliances can create design challenges because of their unique styling,” Swart notes. “For example, this stove has an overhang on the side as well as a switch for its interior lighting that is right in line with the countertops. To maintain access to that switch, we can’t run the cabinets right up to the appliance so there is a slight gap, so now the end gables are visible and need to be finished. The stove also has pedestal feet so the flooring needs to extend underneath it. All of those details mean we need to have great communication with everyone involved in the project.”
The stove’s self-ventilating functionality eliminated the need for a traditional ventilation hood so, in its place, Swart created a custom shelving unit that the homeowner can use to display special items. Its styling echoes elements from the lower-level kitchen.
“She loves the ventilation hood in the lower-level kitchen,” he says. “She wanted to include it in their personal kitchen, but it just didn’t work with the style of the stove, so we designed this shelf to give her a similar look.”
Swart’s clients chose to repeat the Cambria Buckingham quartz for their countertops for both the perimeter and sizeable island, which is home to the main sink, dishwasher, garbage/recycling center, wine rack and plenty of storage. It also provides in-kitchen seating.
Unlike many kitchen designs, the kitchens here do not feature a traditional tile backsplash behind the range. That is due to the home’s log construction, Swart explains, which can make design a bit more challenging from several aspects, especially incorporating design elements associated with exterior walls.
“A traditional tile backsplash can chip over time because there is a certain amount of shrinkage that happens to the logs,” he says, adding that both kitchens included ranges located on exterior walls. “After a new log home is built, there are adjustments that need to be made to accommodate for that shrinkage. It also affects how we install cabinetry since we can’t scribe the cabinets like we do in other kitchens. There is a lot of preplanning that needs to happen when working with log homes, and communication between everyone is important to ensure the home meets client expectations.” ▪