When NUVO visited the Akb Architects-designed Muskoka Cottage, we were drawn to the rough-hewn cedar-clad pitched-roof cabin tucked away in the woods, looking very much its rural part. Here, instead of a forested hideaway, Akb has created a city house in Toronto’s West End. Though the respective contexts are quite different, both are calm environments, thoughtfully designed.
The starting point was a house built in the early 19th century. The team fully reimagined the interiors to make it a contemporary residence. Opening the interiors to make them more free flowing, they maintained delineations between rooms with generously proportioned openings that connect one space to another. They aligned these openings so the rooms are configured as an enfilade, allowing for sightlines from one end of the house to the other, an effect accentuated with fireplaces on either end.
To create a serene environment, Akb used a soft colour palette. Whitewashed natural oak floors help keep the interiors light. Against this warm backdrop, they introduced a series of accents. A custom free-standing wet bar, constructed from black stone and positioned between the dining room and a cocktail lounge, has a functional purpose: its surface is a place to present food, and its sink is for convenience. But beyond that, it also serves as a visual focal point, a black box set against otherwise lightly coloured interiors.
Akb used a similar contrasting effect elsewhere in the house. In the dining room, a black pendant light by Claesson Koivisto Rune provides another sharply defined counterpoint to the warm interiors. Set underneath that light, the dining table, custom-designed by Akb, provides an experiential and visual anchor to the space.
Photography by Shai Gil.