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Summerset Construction

Breathing life into a home on the shores of Simcoe

If you had entered this house when it was first built, you would have had a hard time seeing the lake. Now, the first thing you notice when you walk in is a stunning view of Lake Simcoe through the large door and picture windows.

They are a few of the new features being added to a nearly century-old beach house on the shores of Simcoe that is being remodelled according to the visions of Summer Set Construction’s Joseph Paul and Andrea Blake.

With over four decades in the business, Joseph is a specialist at reconstruction. He can take a place down to its studs and rebuild it to bring individual visions to life. In this case, he is homeowner as well as remodeller.

One of the first items on the “to do list” when Joseph and Andrea bought the property seven years ago was to create an open entertaining space highlighted by lots of natural light.

To achieve these goals, Summer Set removed key interior walls, as well adding new large windows and doors with a lot of glass. The result takes the space to a whole new level.

“This has created a light and bright space that’s a lot more welcoming,” says Joseph. “As well, it allows us to really take advantage of the fantastic views – it feels like you’re bringing the outdoors in.”

But if you focus too long on those views, you’ll miss all the other amazing features of this century home that’s in the process of being reimagined and modernized.

Entertaining kitchen
Joseph and Andrea love entertaining family and friends at their home, and they knew an open kitchen with a large island would provide the space do it right.

As well as purchasing modern appliances, installing quartz countertops, and new modern contemporary cabinetry to allow for form and function, they also designed a stunning island that includes a farmhouse apron sink, two dishwashers, an additional ice maker, a freezer drawer and a wine fridge.

The island is a true centrepiece, featuring dramatic wormy maple with an integrated waterfall edge, and a top made from the largest quartz slab their supplier could provide – measuring just over 121 inches by 54 inches.

It can seat at least ten people, providing plenty of room for mingling and cooking without bumping into each other.

“The whole kitchen is modern and appealing,” says Joseph. “We’ve brought it into 2022 while keeping a touch of the original family beach house feel.”

Cool technology
Updating a property during a remodel often includes technological upgrades, and this home is no different.

Speakers in the ceiling are designed to work so you can hear them, but you can’t see them.

“They’re a great conversation piece,” he says. “They’re designed to be integrated into the drywall and come with a special material that can be mudded along the edges and painted over. Then they blend right into the ceiling.”

Lighting was also upgraded, with a dozen pot lights and a handful of decorative light fixtures in the kitchen alone. Home automation has been integrated into just about everything: heating, lighting, the sound system, security system with cameras, and some of the appliances.

While everything has manual controls as a backup, Joseph says it’s so convenient to be able to operate it all through an app, as well as to incorporate automatic settings.

“It’s really neat to see all the new technology which provides convenience throughout your home,” he says.

Of course, making all of this work seamlessly also meant upgrading the electrical system throughout the building: 1920s beach house wiring was definitely not made with 21st century technology in mind.

Maintaining original pieces
But not everything in the home needed to be removed. Joseph was keen on preserving many features and characteristics of the 1920s charm the home came with, while modernizing and updating where needed.

Original doors with their round handles are evident in several places – a fresh coat of paint and some careful TLC makes them look like new, without sacrificing any of the charm.

The original staircase and adjoining wall were left intact, getting a little love, and new stain and paint to make the area look like new.

“They’re still functional and in great shape, while keeping the classic cottage feel,” explains Joseph. “A little paint here, some stain there and we were able to match the décor of the newer spaces.”

Nearly any older home can be brought into the modern day. The real artistry lies in modernizing it while still maintaining the classic feel. To achieve that, you need an expert remodeller who will share your vision of what is possible. Joseph and his Summer Set team can help make the dream come true.



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