A lakeside property featuring docks and outdoor entertaining spaces becomes a true haven for the homeowners during the worldwide pandemic.
Ever since she was a teenager, Janice Glover had fantasized about designing her own home and sketched many floor plans of her dream designs. However, once she grew up, she ended up helping others find their home sweet homes and quickly rose to prominence in the investment real estate business. With a partner, she purchased and improved 15 to 20 properties and, in the process, fell in love with staging and decorating. And she and her husband did purchase a waterfront property on Lake Rosseau in Muskoka, Ontario, 20 years ago. “It was a simple, small log cottage and also had a tiny guest cabin,” Janice recalls. “At that time, our daughters were still very young, and it fulfilled a really big dream to own waterfront vacation property in the highly desirable lake district.”
The proximity to the water was idyllic, but the conditions were cramped and far from ideal. “An especially important facet of this cottage life was to have family and friends visit on weekends as often as possible,” Janice says. “We only had three tiny bedrooms and one bathroom inside the cottage and the guest cabin was primitive—it had no running water or toilets. So they were only suitable for people who were prepared for a bit of a rustic ‘comfort camping’ experience.” In addition, the family expanded as the girls grew up, creating the need for larger bedrooms and more space as grandchildren arrived. There was only one thing to do: Create the dream home Janice had been fantasizing about since her teen years. Now it’s called Jubilee Haven and is, as the name suggests, a joyful sanctuary.
Cottage Under Construction
The project was not without its challenges. “Over a few years we investigated several options to add additions or a larger, more modernized guest cabin,” Janice says. “But due to our unique position so close to the water, we constantly ran into rules and building restrictions that limited our options.” They realized that if they demolished the existing cottage, they could blast deeper into the bedrock below, which would give them the ability to add a full walkout lower level and build a new home that would be double the original size. Just as she had as a teen, Janice sketched up her dream design. Only this time, it would become a reality. “I gave the floor plans, along with saved inspirational pictures and magazine clippings, to the architect who drew up the professional designs for the builder,” Janice says.
The expansive new cottage features a king-size primary bedroom with an en suite bathroom and double closets. The lower level has two generously sized guest bedrooms, a guest bathroom with a spa-like shower, a kitchenette and a family room for play or TV watching. One of the guest bedrooms has enough space for a third twin bed—for the future grandchildren Janice hopes for.
Living La Vida Lakeside
Janice, who honed her style during her years spent in real estate investment, describes her aesthetic as “classic and nautical, combined with being whimsical and colorful.” She and her husband had repainted the old cottage blue with white trim and loved it so much they decided to follow the same color combination for the exterior of the new home. “Having loved blue and white for as long as I can remember and leaning towards a nautical flavor in my décor, it came as an easy choice,” Janice says.
In addition to the color scheme, most of the pieces of the rebuild were in place—and then things drastically changed as the historical and unprecedented events of Covid-19 unfolded. Like many people around the world, Janice’s husband began working from home. “That was how the two of us and our Golden Retriever, Malibu, left our house in the suburbs of Toronto to stay at our brand-new cottage for ‘a few days,’” she says.
They ended up staying for the remaining nine months of 2020, only returning to the suburbs occasionally to collect items from home. It was a challenging time to get new appliances and furniture deliveries, but they got to experience their lakeside retreat in a completely new way, and it’s something they are still savoring.
“We are immersed in nature views on every side,” Janice says. “Every day there are gorgeous lake sunrises and sunsets through the large windows. Our view from bed lets us feel like we are sleeping outside under the night sky, except in comfort, while seeing the myriad brilliant stars and constellations drift by.”
When the family first purchased the property, they dubbed it Jubilee Point but decided to rename it after they began construction. “I changed the name to Jubilee Haven,” Janice says. “We had no idea then how much of a haven and refuge our lakeside home would become for us throughout 2020. It was a safe and peaceful place to enjoy a sense of normalcy throughout an otherwise turbulent year in the world.” They will always appreciate how their lakeside escape was a haven for them—and, when it is safe to do so, they’re looking forward to sharing it once again with family and friends.
Entertaining en Plein Air
Jubilee Haven’s outdoor spaces are just as mesmerizing as its indoor ones. Janice loves using them for hosting guests and visitors. Here are her five top tips for styling and entertaining in the great outdoors.
- Trays for Transport. Janice has multiple carrying trays handy when she is hosting outside. “It’s my go-to method for transporting the dishes from kitchen to the outside table, and it helps minimize back and forth trips,” she says. In addition to the trays, she has a variety of small metal pails and caddies for holding and moving cutlery, napkins and frequently used condiments.
- Be Melamine. Melamine dishes are attractive, inexpensive and lightweight for outdoor dining. Janice has various sets and enjoys using them to create a color scheme or theme for her tablescapes.
- Beautiful Blossoms. Fresh flowers are one of life’s most affordable luxuries and are Janice’s go-to décor item. “They make the best centerpieces in my opinion,” she says. “Every week, I pick them up while grocery shopping at the local market and place them strategically indoors and out.”
- Mind the Weather. “Our outdoor dining table and chairs are great weather-resistant pieces, which are quick to dry and simple to clean,” Janice says. Her chairs are made with metal frames and feature vinyl wicker seats and backs, which allows instant drainage, so the seats don’t retain rainwater, and her tempered glass tabletop is easy to clean and dry.
- Get a Grill! Practically all the family’s summertime cooking and dining is done outdoors; it’s a wonderful way to enjoy the al fresco dining spaces before even taking a bite. They have a traditional gas barbeque, a Big Green Egg smoker and an outdoor pizza oven. “For those who also do a lot of grilling, the worst thing is an empty tank of gas while entertaining,” Janice says. “If you haven’t already converted your BBQ from a portable propane tank, tap into your permanent gas line. It isn’t very costly but it’s definitely worth it for the convenience.”
To see more of Janice and her home visit her on Instagram @jubilieehavencottage.