There was something special about the nearly century-old home nestled along the shores of Lake Simcoe, something that Joseph Paul and Andréa Blake couldn’t resist.
It had the exceptional views and 1920s charm, and they had the vision and the skills to make it into a home that was a blend of the original style and their own desires. It is the ideal project for Joseph, owner of Summer Set Construction, to take on.
As a remodeling specialist with over four decades in the business, he has the experience and ability to create the space they want, while maintaining the look and feel they fell in love with. The remodel will be the first time anyone has made any significant changes to the home since it was built.
“We’re starting with the living room and kitchen – both need updating,” says Joseph. “We’ll be adding large windows so we can enjoy the spectacular view from the comfort of the entire main floor.”
Adds Andréa: “After all, what’s the point of having an amazing lakefront property if you can’t see the lake?”
The plan is to also take down as many walls as possible to create an open concept throughout the main floor, including the kitchen. One lakeside wall will be replaced with a 10-foot glass wall system that will create a seamless view.
In the kitchen itself, Joseph is going to replace the electric stove with a 48-inch natural gas range and update the rest of the appliances. He will install cabinetry – solid wood with contemporary elegance – combined with period details, such as vintage cabinet hardware and a farmhouse sink.
“I’ve done quite a few of these types of remodels over the years,” says Joseph. “You want to be mindful of the traditional feel and style of the house with every change. Baseboards, casings, the style of windows and other decorative considerations – these details matter.”
Eventually, they’ll be doing an addition to create a master bedroom on the second floor with an ensuite, while doubling the 2,400-square-feet of living space inside the current home.
However, not everything will be remodeled. One of the most amazing features of the home is the original staircase, which still looks as though it was just installed. Although, the third step from the top is a little creaky, jokes Joseph. “It’s amazing that it doesn’t look old and worn,” he says, noting it shows great craftsmanship.
This history and character of the beach house itself, combined with the gorgeous Lake Simcoe views, is what attracted Joseph and Andréa to the property in the first place.
“That’s why we’re remodeling but not completely modernizing,” says Andréa. “We love the décor and warmth of the 1920s style. The beach house needs Summer Set’s vision with modern flare, including smart technology.”
Old values, new location
Joseph has been in the construction business since the age of 15, and his grandfather helped instill the old school values such as honesty and integrity which he has lived by.
With over 40 years in the business, and over 33 years as owner of Summer Set, Joseph is bringing those values to his new community. After spending most of his career doing remodeling projects in Toronto and the GTA, Joseph has moved his business to Simcoe to work close to home.
“Our values have led to some amazing projects and even better relationships with our clients,” he says. “We’ve made some wonderful friendships which started out as simply a client-contractor relationship. I’m looking forward to doing the same in our new community.”
With extensive remodeling experience in both residential and commercial applications, Summer Set Construction is fully insured and happily provides references from previous projects, even before their new clients ask.
Summer Set prides itself on maintaining an immaculately clean and organized jobsite, providing safety for the homeowners and the team.
The trust is earned through open and honest communication: asking about what the client wants to accomplish, being upfront about budget considerations, and discussing timelines – including any potential issues which may cause delays.
Summer Set Construction is actively seeking tradespeople in Simcoe as they develop a team of quality professionals to keep the tradition of old school values and exceptional workmanship going.
Joseph wants to ensure his business is supporting the community he lives in as much as possible.
“I know there are plenty of good tradespeople close by and I’m looking forward to collaborating with them on a number of projects as we move forward,” he says. “It’s important to me that people who live and work in the same community provide each other opportunities.”
TEXT CHRIS OCCHIUZZI | PHOTOS ANDREW FEARMAN