PARRY SOUND LIFE — For many years, the Stevens family enjoyed dividing their time between a comfortable home in Parry Sound and a waterfront cottage at Snug Harbour. However, about five years ago a long-held vision of their best home became a reality. “It had always been a dream to have a residence and a cottage in one place,” says Terry-Lynn Stevens, who found it at 46 Point Pleasant Rd. at the mouth of the Parry Sound harbour. “Having a home close to the water was important. Many houses on Georgian Bay tend to be set up higher from the shore. This property was relatively flat with a long waterfront, lovely birch trees and a point going into the Bay.”
Knowing the number of homes for sale on Georgian Bay is always limited, Stevens and her husband Rob looked at all available homes, including those set farther away from the shoreline than they desired. In March 2016, their patience was rewarded.
“When this home came along, we looked at it three times because we knew there was work to be done on it,” explains Stevens. “We had bought our last home knowing it was dated and would need work. We wondered if we wanted to go through renovations again. We brought in my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to see the house. They both have a talent for decorating and an eye for envisioning what could be done. They kept saying ‘yes, this is it.’ So, we decided to go through another renovation.”
The 3,000-square-foot bungalow-style home with lower-level walkout is surrounded by 9.9 acres of gorgeous Georgian Bay pine, birch and granite outcrops. At the end of a 530-foot shoreline, a three-slip boathouse shelters boats the family uses to explore the Bay’s myriad nooks and islands. A two-car garage attached to the house has direct access to the interior.
The property has a variety of outdoor spots to sit, relax and enjoy the scenery. A fire pit with a water view is near the lower-level walkout. Oversized glass doors in the kitchen open to a private brick patio for morning coffee or al fresco meals. A wooden deck is ready for summertime entertaining or quiet conversation. Grassy swaths by the water are perfect for pondering, and a rock-ringed point, dotted with birch trees, provides water-cradled serenity. “It’s breathtaking,” says Stevens, with a smile. “When you are sitting underneath those birch trees and watching the sunset, it’s wonderful.”
The house is spacious with three bedrooms and three bathrooms, yet it has the cosy feel of a family nest. The open-concept main floor showcases a renovated kitchen, dining area, living room and laundry/mudroom. Renovation was delayed for a year to allow time to make decisions. One decision was to hire as many local companies as possible. Rose Point Contracting of Parry Sound began construction in March 2018 and completed the project by the end of the summer. Ryman Plumbing and Electrical, also a local business, installed the new plumbing and electrical systems. The master bedroom’s ensuite was the first space to be renovated. “My original bathroom had a purple tub and purple toilet,” says Stevens, with a grin. “We also did the kids’ bedrooms, the master bedroom and the main bathrooms so that everyone felt comfortable in their own finished space. Then, we decided about the rest of the main floor.”
There was another easy decision. No question, the cramped kitchen had to go.
“The only thing left of the original kitchen were the exterior walls,” says Stevens. “The room was blocked off by two walls. We took them down and made the main floor totally open concept. I worked with a designer at Brooklace Kitchen and Bath in Parry Sound on the kitchen plans. “We edited back and forth to maximize storage space while keeping the open concept. For more storage, we added an entertaining wall that looks like a hutch beside the dining area. “Tucked away in the hutch is a coffee bar. A wine fridge is in the wall beside the dining table. We found the hardwood flooring at Gray’s Paint and Flooring in Parry Sound.”
For a clean, contemporary look, the kitchen was outfitted with stainless steel appliances including a six-burner gas stove. Recessed ceiling lights and a trio of modern glass and silver metal pendants from Sound Interiors in Parry Sound illuminate the room. A long island with double sink has seating for casual meals or extra seating for entertaining. In the living room, an old wood-burning fireplace was replaced with a modern propane model. Built-in bookshelves were added for balance. Above the fireplace, a wooden beam that was milled on the property way-back-when makes a perfect mantel. Painted in Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore, the walls are light and neutral. “I wanted colours to be simple and not dark so the scenery through the windows would be the focal point,” explains Stevens. “It’s about a clean, crisp look. I like open concept with straight lines and no clutter. I love the rustic look as well as modern style. The house’s interior is a balance of the two.” The main floor laundry/mudroom is both convenient and attractive. Friends and family can enter the space from the front foyer to hang up coats and remove boots. Brooklace Kitchen and Bath designed and built the floor-to-ceiling blue storage cupboards. The stone floor, chosen to enhance the home’s natural look, is heated. Beyond the laundry room, an outside door was removed and a tall white storage cabinet added to create a nook. Stevens uses the space as a quiet home office. In the master bedroom, sliding glass doors open to the water-view deck with tempered glass railings. The deck can also be accessed via the living room.
Downstairs is the domain of Stevens’ two teenaged children. Its granite wood-burning fireplace was kept for cosy winter blazes. With swimmers often coming in and out from the water, durable vinyl plank flooring was installed. A glass-panelled staircase leads to the lower level that includes a rec room, bar and unfinished workshop. With plenty of space for guests to gather and chat, Stevens often hosts family gatherings for birthdays and special occasions. Guests can also enjoy the west-facing home’s stunning sunsets over Georgian Bay. “I could go out and take a different sunset picture everyday because each sunset is individual,” Stevens says. “That sunset is the highlight of my day. It makes all your worries go away. Or I just go out and listen to the waves or the rustling of the birch leaves. It makes your day better.” Recently, Stevens made the decision to simplify her life and list her home. As a home or cottage, it would be ideal for boaters due to its location at the mouth of the Parry Sound harbour between the North and South Channels. “We found we boated more here than at our cottage because we would get to the cottage and stay there,” says Stevens. “From here, you can explore Georgian Bay. You can go to a different place every time you go out in the boat.” Whether her home is used as a residence or a cottage, Stevens has one wish for the future. “I hope this place gives someone the same joy that it has given us,” she says.