A Muskoka Kitchen by Paolo Ferrari Embraces the Beauty of Nature

Muskoka is an Ontario vacation destination synonymous with sparkling freshwater lakes and rocky outcroppings — and the often sprawling, over-the-top cottages nestled alongside them. Paolo Ferrari’s client was after something more understated for his lakeside getaway. The goal was to complement the natural environment, rather than overwhelm it. His Toronto studio delivered with a masterfully pared-back interior that lets the resplendent vistas do the talking. “For us, this project was about the views and minimizing distractions. It’s all about reconnecting with nature,” says Ferrari.

View of the dining area and kitchen space inside Studio Paolo Ferrari's Muskoka Cottage project

Large windows from Bigfoot Door ring the kitchen, strengthening the interior’s connection to the natural environment.

Close-up of the granite kitchen island and whitewashed douglas fir full-height cabinets

Whitewashed Douglas fir clads the cathedral-like ceiling and a wall of full-height cabinets.

Case in point: the bespoke kitchen, which opens to the dining area and main living space and looks out onto a granite escarpment a mere two and a half metres from the large windows that run the length of the countertop. Expertly crafted millwork by the GTA’s BL Woodworking & Design — in the same locally sourced whitewashed Douglas fir that forms the pitched ceiling and clads the rest of the home’s interior — conceals an integrated Miele refrigerator and espresso machine, as well as all storage. 

Cabinets and drawers have integrated pulls rather than hardware, with a subtle change in the wood grain to add dimension while remaining inconspicuous. Further accentuating the sense of seamlessness is the flooring, made in Denmark from limed Douglas fir planks (the only imported product used in the project) to match the cladding and cabinetry. “The kitchen is intended to blend into the architecture, as opposed to serving as something expressive,” says Ferrari. 

View of the kitchen inside Studio Paolo Ferrari's Muskoka Cottage project

A mammoth organically shaped Muskoka granite island is offset by cleanlined Douglas fir cabinets and Cambria quartz countertops.

That restraint is offset by a monumental island — a massive unfinished block of solid granite sourced from a local quarry. About 3.3 metres long by 1.2 metres wide and weighing several tonnes, the stone was roughly shaped using machinery intended for splitting rocks and rolled into place across solid steel rods. While the kitchen quietly blends in with the rest of the floor plan, the island makes an emphatic connection to the escarpment just outside. 

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