Friday, August 19, 2011

Finale: Summer Home with Karen Sealy

The last 5 episodes of Summer Home with Karen Sealy have been aired and man don't I love many design ideas and helpful tips Karen shared with us in the later 1/2 of her show.  I love Karen's commitment to green design and how her charisma and warm personality really shine through the TV screen.  Afterall, summer home is all about busy dwellers getting back to nature to relax and unwind.  Karen's green design approach to re-use, re-claim, re-cycle couldn't be more appropriate to limit our carbon footprint at cottage living.


You can check out my earlier post if you've missed the first 5 episodes.
For those who are ready, here is Episode 6: Party Pavillion

This gazebo is every cottager's dream!  Karen carefully selected a site that's non-obstructive to the lakeview from the main cottage, and gave the homeowners the perfect spot for summer entertaining! Here is the floor plan:


This labour intensive project includes building the foundation of the structure, pouring concrete for the floor (treated so looks like limestones), selecting the perfect 100 year-old douglas furs for the post and beam construction, and putting up a 12 feet tall outdoor fireplace from ground zero!


Karen's attention to details contributed significantly to the success of this project.  The bar/ food prep area is protected and both overhead lighting and wall scones provide practical lighting and ambience in the evening.  To keep the entertaining zone low maintenance, Karen chose outdoor furniture and cushions from Andrew Richards Design that could stay outside from Spring to late Fall.  The bar and bar stools will develop a beautiful greyish patina over time, but a coat of teak oil will bring the pieces back to their original glory.

The fireplace is such a treat and it's covered by engineered stone for: (1) easy installation, (2) comes with a life-time gurrantee, and (3) lower labour bill. 


Karen also showed us how to turn this outdoor entertaining space into a three seasons room by installing panels or tempered glass along the vertical beams.  Here is Karen's suggestion:


One tip to keep in mind when using concrete as exterior flooring is that concrete will expand and contract due to changes in temperature and likely crack over time.  By cutting a grid pattern into the concrete flooring, the "crack" is now pre-determined!

Episode 7: Parental Unit

I love this episode and this is Karen's own cottage!  The show started off with Karen showing us her rustic contemporary approach to her main cottage.  Love that capiz chandelier over the island from West Elm.  The little bunkie next to the cottage and the garden in between were the focus of the show.

This picture of the garden doesn't do its justice and if you've seen the episode, you would know that Karen selected low maintenance plant materials such as hardy hydrangea for flower, hosta as ground cover, carpet rose for minimum pruning, and cone flowers to attract butterflies!  Path lighting was installed to led the way to the bunkie, while down lighting provides soft light on plant materials for a breathtaking garden in the evening.


Here is Karen's plan for the bunkie:


The goal is to make this bunkie self-sufficient and so a little two-piece bathroom forms part of the plan.  I love how the warm wood tone contrasts with silverish blue walls.  The vanity, medicine cabinet, and even the toilet share a classic aesthetic. Who would have thought this is a powder room in a cottage!


The main objective of the project is to fit sleeping, casual dining, and a small coffee bar into this bunkie.  Karen selected store bought cabinets.  With some customization, the units now house a TV, a coffee maker, and provide lots of storage! 

The coolest project of this episode has to be the suspended table.  To offer her parents breakfast in bed, Karen designed a table top that suspends from the ceiling.  Now how cool is that!


For all your DIYers, take note of Karen's tips on how to build a simple bed and storage boxes on casters.  Though not my usual color palette, I love Karen's scheme of rich wood tone, earthy grass cloth wallpaper for shimmer and texture, and the brass accent in metals.  This bunkie totally reminds me of the interior of a sail boat!

One other thing I love about this episode is how excited Karen's Dad was to go check out the coffee machine and the TV.  What a perfect way to end this fun filled episode.

Episode 8: Honeymoon Sweet

This Honeymoon suite was anything but romantic.  The sofa bed was unattractive (probably not comfortable too), the bathroom was tiny, and the wooden railing and spindles blocked the million dollar lake view!  Here is the original floor plan:


By taking over the closet space and pushing out the existing bathroom wall, Karen created the ultimate cottage bathroom.  Two new windows were installed to allow for natural light, extra air flow, not to mention curb appeal from outside. A window tip from Karen: vinyl windows are less expensive than wood. and vinyl is perfect for cottage living since it's practically maintenance free.


Before we dive into this spacous bathroom, lets check out the new bedroom:


The custom headboard provides comfortable back support.  Check out those stylishwall scones on either side of the bed: perfect for night time reading.  The back of the wall houses full height closet for storage.  Even with the bed pushed out a few feet to make room for the new closets, Karen was still able to make room for this lux tufted lounge chaise!


To ensure the breathtaking lake view is visible from every corner of the bedroom, Karen has ingeniously installed these tempered glass panels! They offer the safety you need but come on, they are hardly noticable!  Here is another look at this fantastic idea. 


Back to the bathroom, here is Karen's master plan for a sumptuous ensuite.  Karen really went all out for this bathroom to include a linen closet, a separate water closet (love the pocket door), his and her sinks and mirrors, and a deep soaking tub with room for a glass of wine while enjoying the perfect view of the lake. 


What an amazing bathroom high in the trees.  Love the floating vanity ... totally checking them out and potentially using it on my next project!


I also love Karen's tile play in the bathroom.  The creative tile pattern creates interests to the neutral bathroom, and these porcelain tiles are also easier on the pocket book.


I told you the two new windows enhanced curb appeal tremendously.  Didn't believe me? See for yourself!


Episode 9: Bungalow on a Budget

One main component I love about the show is Karen's committment to re-cycle.  Her love for "green design" really shine through in this episode, literally.  Budget is particularly important for this project as the cottage would be up for sale soon ... well one more summer for Lucie to enjoy her cottage of over 20 years.

Here is the before and after plan for Lucie's cozy cottage:


The living room maintained its original layout.  To jazz up the living room, Karen replaced the gigantic coffee table (which was given a new life as a dining table with some new legs) with one in better scale and added a few decorative pillows.


The dining room received a complete facelift.  The existing banquette was not attractive and not really functional in the space.  In its space, Karen found four great vintage chairs in green and a bench to go with the repurposed coffee table.  To add extra seating, a simple bench was mounted directly on the wall.  I love the painted wood panelling and that DIY tea towel turned fantastic wall art!  Stylish pendant was installed for needed lighting and ambience in the evening.  A tip from Karen if you are adding legs to a piece of lumber (well turning it into a table), make sure you leave 10" to 12" leg room so guests can get in and out easily.


We all know kitchen is the most important area, but also the most costly to renovate, in a house.  The same rule applies at the cottage.  Here, Karen painted all the mismatched cabinets a soft white to unify them.  Doors of upper cabinets were removed to allow for open storage.  With stripe wallpaper in blue and white at back of cabinets, crystal knobs on cabinet doors, and hip 12" by 24" glass tiles as backsplash, this outdated kitchen is now a shabby chic kitchen ready for gourmet meals!


A new solid counter top was added.  It's more expensive than laminate but I'm sure the new owner would appreciate the upgrade.  Extra cabinets were added around the fridge for even more storage.


Episode 10: The Great Outdoors

The savvy homeowners (along with their three kids) have transformed the interiors of their summer home into a showstopper.  Unfortunately they went out of steam when it comes to the exteriors of their cottage, and the gusting wind + hash direct sun light had turned this lake facing deck into a cottager's nightmare.

Here is Karen's plan to reclaim this entertaining hotspot from mother nature:


Lots of planning and hours of hard work later, this is the perfect hangout spot for the family and their friends!


I love Karen's choice of decking materials.  It's a wood product but since it is heat treated, this deck is now water and rot resistent, and insects don't like it!  It's a little more money up front but think of all the maintenance free years ahead of you.  I also love the siding materials and its color.  Inspired by the skin of the birch tree, the siding came pre-printed a soft grey with a green undertone and a 25 years waranty!    

The wood pergola provides shades and wind protection for the dining zone.  The cooking zone is equipped with extra wide gas bbq, black granite counter top, and an under-counter fridge: it is every chef's dream kitchen out in the woods!


Double duty as "steps", this lower deck is now a cool hangout lounge for the kids and their friends.  Karen designed extra tall planter box with hydrangeas to act as "sound barrier" between the lounging and the dining zones.

This lounge looks cozy doesn't it? Lets put our hands together for Karen's brilliant ideas of wall sconces and in-deck lighting.  They are both practical and beautiful.  Best of all, these in-deck lights do not give off heat, which means you can walk right on them without shoes!

Here is Karen's lighting plan:



I just can't get enough of these fantastic lights!  There are more on these extra wide steps, which is yet again another great spot to hangout with friends to watch the sunset!


Thanks Karen for all the inspirational ideas.  I particularly love her dedication to beautiful/well-thoughtout functional design and committment to work with the natural surroundings to ensure the home owner will enjoy the space for many years to come. 

What a great first season of Summer Home!  Check out next week post for a pleasant surprise ... you won't be disappointed!

1 comment:

  1. Great recap, Tim! I missed the last couple of episodes, but I'm hoping that they'll be aired again or I can catch them online. Love Karen's style!!

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