Studio P Interior’s Muskoka Bungalow Cottage

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The Muskoka retreat beautifully channels nature’s palette and textures

One of the many challenges of designing a family cottage from scratch is creating that quintessential sense of warmth and nostalgia. For one young family, their dream getaway was not a log house, but rather something light, casual and not too serious. At 1800-square feet, this Muskoka bungalow is a generous home-away-from-home where they can seriously unwind and entertain.

Architect Gary Stein executed the contemporary form with vaulted ceilings, wide passageways and grand windows. To complement Stein’s design, interiors firm Studio P was in lockstep throughout the planning and building process. Principal designer Priya Mitrovic was galvanized to start Studio P in 2017 after a stint in Northern Spain following several years of working in the design industry. Taking cues from her work abroad, Mitrovic is not shy about layering patterns and colour in this Muskoka bungalow – something we often don’t often associate with cottage country here.  

The Muskoka bungalow, which is a stone’s throw from the lake, taps into nature’s palette, punctuated with graphic, black-framed windows. “The property itself is surrounded by a ton of trees, so I brought that beautiful greenery into the interior in varying tones through tiles, cabinetry and all of the interior doors were painted in a deep dark green,” says Mitrovic. “In the guest bathroom alone, there are three different tiles and patterns at play — a large format terrazzo-style tile paired with deep-green subway tiles and a splash of light green penny-rounds in the shower niche. It sounds like a lot, but it comes together and is quite visually soothing.”

Mitrovic kept the number of materials to a minimum, mimicking the tones and textures of the great outdoors in her selection of hardwearing surfaces. “I found this amazing porcelain tile that looked so much like a true stone with bits of green in it and used that on the floor and carried it right over the tub and onto the back wall, so it felt continuous,” she says of the principal ensuite. In step with the casual cottage setting, Mitrovic sourced several durable surfaces, so the kids can run in and out of the bungalow from the water without issue. “Even the main flooring throughout is porcelain tile that mimics hardwood,” she says.

The biophilic nature of the Muskoka bungalow continues in the primary bedroom, which is wrapped in a light-green textured tile that emulates grasscloth. The tones balance the dark wood ceiling beams, which outline the home’s peaks and feature wall. These touches, along with soft, cozy furnishings and bedding add to a luxurious sense of well-being ­– one of the main goals of biophilic design. A green colour (whether it’s a painted wall or a tree) and a textured surface (whether rugged stone or porcelain) resonate with us all on a frequency that knocks down those cortisol levels while lifting our happy hormones — a nice place to start for creating family memories by the lake.

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