When Sabrina Albanese was enlisted to design a family vacation home on southern Ontario’s Lake Simcoe, her clients' requests were simple: comfortable, colorful and creative. These three adjectives– the slightly more specific demand for a blue kitchen–left Albanese with total freedom for the design. The clients, a vibrant, urban family of four, sought a relaxing escape from their bustling life in downtown Toronto, where they lived for most of the year.
“I fed off the energy of the couple and their children, which was colorful, interested and passionate,” Albanese says. Without resorting to the tired tropes of a beach home aesthetic, she hoped to craft a calm and welcoming oasis with a relaxed sensibility but also a certain irreverence. Albanese decided on a tasteful mix of mid-century beach house and Swedish modern style, a blend that perfectly suited the vibe of Lake Simcoe.
The three-bedroom, five-bathroom home features an open-concept layout with a combined second-floor kitchen, dining room, bar, and sitting room. The requested blue kitchen features rich, moody tones with brass fixtures and a dramatic scallop backsplash, abandoning the traditional beach palette of muted, pale shades.
A large banquette was installed off of the kitchen to open up the central space and keep a flow through to the adjacent sitting room. In the sitting room, wicker disks and mismatched furniture create a surprising variety of materials and textures; where bamboo, robe and cane find harmony with Missoni and Svenstenn textiles.
On the main floor, easy access to the lake inspired Albanese’s decision to create more of a “central hub,” as opposed to dividing up the rooms. Albanese pulled together an eclectic mix of vintage and custom furniture with layered textures and materials, imparting a sense of sophisticated youthfulness that is equally kid-appropriate and a playful backdrop for adults. A floor-to-ceiling entertaining bar and lounge on the main floor created a flow from the indoor area to the outdoor terrace, where the couple enjoys hosting parties.
All five ensuite bathrooms were infused with a contemporary coastal story via bold wallpaper and beach-inspired accents. In one, Scalamandre shell wallpaper features black and white graphic sketches. Lacquered seaglass green covers the walls of another.
“The objective was for this home was for it to be a joyful retreat and a beautiful departure from their English-inspired home in the city,” Albanese says. While the house clearly reflects the family’s young, energized spirit, it also proves the power of design beyond guidelines, and how a spunky mix of styles, textures, materials, and colors can magically harmonize to the beat of their own drum.