A Chalet for All Seasons
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With the Lora Bay golf course a chip shot away, Georgian Bay within sight and Collingwood's famed ski hills just down the road, this chalet is a perfectly placed, all-season retreat for an active family.

When interior designer Christine Pritchard and her husband were searching the Collingwood area five years ago for their next family home, she already had a cherished vision of their new residence.
“I definitely wanted something far more rustic than our current home, a chalet-style house but one that was a little different,” says Christine, whose family was moving from an ultra-contemporary home in Oakville that had been styled completely in black and white by the designer. “There are a lot of beautiful modern places, but I wanted to do something that was a lot more traditional.”
Having that vision led Christine to see the potential in an unfinished house in the enclave of elegant homes at The Golf Club at Lora Bay in Thornbury. Located near the shore of Georgian Bay in a prime year-round recreational area, the chalet-style home-to-be was a blank canvas ready to become the embodiment of Christine's rustic residence.
“When I saw the home the first time I walked in, it had this beautiful two-storey timber ceiling over the open-concept kitchen, dining room and Great Room,” recalls Christine, who owns Habitat Interiors in Thornbury. “I knew right away that it had a chalet feel. We could have done anything with it, but we wanted to stay true to the character it had initially. The style is also a reflection of this area with its trails, skiing and outdoor activities.”
Drawing inspiration from the warmth and chalet look of the solid timber frame cathedral ceiling, Christine chose a soothing monochromatic palette to flow throughout the 2,684-square-foot home's public spaces, five bedrooms, two bathrooms, powder room and lower level. The neutral colour scheme also accented the beautiful natural materials used in the chalet's décor including a floor-to-ceiling stacked stone gas fireplace, solid wood interior doors and railings, and warm hardwood floors. In the kitchen, counters were crafted from leathered stone imported from Italy. The leathering process produces a very durable patterned stone with a matte finish. The raw stone that became the counter was handpicked by Christine in Toronto. On the same trip, she selected the unique granite slabs fashioned into countertops for the bathrooms. 
Creating a home from a shell of a house and honing the interior design plan to suit her family was a pleasure for the designer.
“I love the challenge of finishing the design of a house to your own liking,” says Christine. “In this house, we designed the entire kitchen and finished the lower level. It already had the post and beam ceiling on the main floor, which was quite lovely. The hardwood floors had already been installed. However, all the rest of the interior finishes were picked by me and my husband. The craftsmanship in this house is outstanding. For instance, all window trims are solid wood with lovely crown moldings.”
Durable laminate floors in a hardwood pattern were laid in the basement to allow radiant heating to be installed for year-round comfort. The lower level includes a recreation room, laundry room, bathroom and two bedrooms.
The master bedroom is located on the main level, making the home ideal for one level living. The master suite includes a spa-like ensuite, walk-in closet and walk out to a quiet screened porch in the home's private back yard. The landscaped yard and screened porch can also be accessed through a walk out in the Great Room whose tall floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the backyard and fire pit, an exterior feature that is popular with the family year-round. 
Light fixtures for the chalet were chosen by Christine to accentuate the residence's mountain house style. In the Great Room, an impressive replica antler chandelier, crafted in Calgary, is a traditional light fixture for chalets and the perfect design complement for the stone-clad gas fireplace and wide plank pine floors. Suspended over the dining room table, a chandelier composed of five faux pillar candles adds to the rustic ambience. The candles' electric ‘flames' can be dimmed down to candlelight wattage or turned up for brighter lighting. Graceful glass pendant lamps hang over the island in the kitchen, located midway between the Great Room and the dining room. The pendants look custom-made, but you can't judge a lamp by its look.
“These pendants were bought at Home Depot,” laughs Christine. “I saw them in a magazine, liked them and found them when I went to Home Depot for something else. I wanted light fixtures for the kitchen that had glass because when you have a really big fixture like the antler chandelier, you can't overdo the other lighting in the room.”
Another traditional chalet design feature is found in the master bedroom's refinished barn board headboard. Though this headboard was ordered from California, the use of old Ontario barn board for interior design is on trend locally. Christine's clients clamour for barn board headboards as well as barn board feature walls, hanging doors that roll open and shut on rails, and wall decorations. One client used a hanging barn board door to hide a wall-mounted
“Any kind of barn board makes things very cozy and, in our area,
authentic boards are very easy to find,” says Christine. “You just have to find a good carpenter. We also have a lot of metal and steel workers here who hand-forge rails for the doors to hang on. They work as closet doors as well as room doors. Even if the door is non-functional, it looks like a work of art.”
The transition from Oakville to Thornbury was surprisingly smooth for the couple and their three young children. But the move from an urban to a rural area was even easier for Christine who was raised in Germany amid the mountains by the Baltic Sea near the Denmark border. The Collingwood area's ski hills, proximity to the shores of Georgian Bay and the friendliness of town life made her feel immediately at home in their Lora Bay chalet.
“I like to be close to a big city, but I'm not your typical city person,” she explains. “When we moved from Germany to Oakville, it was overwhelming. I like that in a small community,
people are friendly and remember your name. The customer service is superb and people from the city comment on this all the time. You matter to them and they take their time.”
When asked if knowing about and having access to many great interior design products and resources make designing one's own home easier or harder, Christine says she has loved designing all of the homes her family has lived in, so it has never been difficult.
“Initially, I went to university for interior
decoration in Germany,” she recalls. “When I relocated to Canada with my husband and our first two little ones, I designed our Oakville home. I have my favourite design styles, like everybody does. But I like to switch up the designs a little at each house. We've moved into three houses since we came to this area and I've loved designing each one. Designers get to see so many great things that are inspiring. I see things and think that's what I want to do for my next home.”

This home is listed for sale at $875,000 by Steve Simon of Royal Lepage Locations North in Thornbury. The home is located at 102 John Watt Way in Lora Bay in Thornbury. For more information or to arrange a showing, please call Steve at 519-599-2136, visit his office at 27 Arthur Street West in Thornbury or go to lifestyles-north.com.


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