Dezeen Magazine

Ali Budd Interiors transforms Muskoka log cabin into art-filled cottage

Toronto studio Ali Budd Interiors has transformed a dated wooden log cabin into a comfortable Canadian holiday home, with a wood-lined sunroom, vintage rugs and art by Andy Warhol.

The studio was asked to renovate the cottage in Muskoka, Ontario and turn it into a neutral but comfortable backdrop for its owners' extensive art collection.

"As the clients are big art collectors, we wanted to not only design the perfect space for the family to enjoy the surrounding nature, but create the perfect canvas to showcase their artwork," founder Ali Budd told Dezeen.

The Great Room boasts a piece by artist Paul Rousso
Top: monochrome furniture in the Great Room. Above: a crumpled newspaper artwork by Paul Rousso

In each of the cottage's rooms, fabrics designed to withstand an "indoor-outdoor" lifestyle are chosen for their practical but chic appearance.

Mindful of Ontario's extreme climate and the many visitors who are invited to enjoy a family's second home, the studio made sure to choose materials that will endure considerable wear and tear.

"While maintaining the charm of a cottage, we modernised the space by mixing textures, incorporating custom furniture designed by Ali Budd Interiors, and adding hints of black to give it that contemporary look," explained Budd.

The Great Room with sofas and poufs
Ali Budd Interiors chose materials for their ability to withstand wear and tear

Ali Budd Interiors' design choices balance this practical need with its clients' love of both white interiors and natural wood.

In the cottage's Great Room, the main living room, these design elements include neutral-coloured armchairs and a sofa by Ali Budd Interiors that have been fabricated by Cooper Brothers.

The Great Room's shearling poufs and armchairs
Monochrome furniture surrounds a bespoke coffee table

A pair of plush shearling ottomans from Luxe Pour Maison sits nearby, complemented by a bespoke Ali Budd white oak coffee table topped with a white Corian surface. A newspaper artwork by Paul Rousso adds colour to the room.

The cottage also has a Muskoka room, a type of screened-in porch that acts as a sunroom. In this instance, it acts as an open-plan living room attached to the property's dining area.

The Muskoka Room is a sunroom
Patterned Moroccan poufs add colour to The Muskoka Room

The dining area is complete with a custom-made white Ali Budd dining table, and an iconic Campbell's soup artwork by Andy Warhol. Black and white chairs from Restoration Hardware are positioned around the monochrome table.

The Muskoka room's panoramic windows give guests the feeling of being outside while they lounge on a custom curved grey sofa that hugs the room's curved walls.

"There is so much beauty outside this property, and we wanted to ensure that all of those elements shone through," said Budd.

Other interior highlights in the Muskoka room include a central round coffee table by Garcia Group, and vintage rugs and colourful Moroccan pous from Mellah Rugs.

The Muskoka Room and the dining room are connected
An iconic piece by Andy Warhol hangs in the dining room

Throughout the house, colourful accents such as these poufs add bright texture to an otherwise white and minimal backdrop.

"As we were working with a monochromatic palette, we were able to layer different finishes and textiles to create something part eclectic and part chic," continued Budd.

The renovated black and white kitchen
Porcelain countertops are seen throughout the sleek kitchen

This monochrome theme is particularly emphasised in the black and white kitchen. Perhaps the most pared-back and modern of the cottage's rooms, exposed natural beams are the kitchen's only hint of the former log cabin.

Durable porcelain forms the room's countertops, and a Sonneman pendant light is suspended over the sleek kitchen island.

Douglas Copeland on the staircase
An original artwork by Douglas Copeland fits between the staircase's wooden beams

More exposed beams above the cottage's wooden staircase perfectly frame an original painting by Douglas Copeland, its bright colours offsetting the plain white walls on which it hangs.

Upstairs in the main bedroom, a black woven bed from American brand CB2 continues the cottage's overall monochrome theme, while wiggly Graffito-print cushions by Kelly Wearstler soften the room's clean lines.

The main bedroom
Graffito-print cushions add pattern to an otherwise minimal bedroom

A final standout feature is the cottage's renovated powder room. Originally one of the most dated-looking parts of the property, Ali Budd Interiors redesigned the room with bespoke millwork and an elegant custom-made mirror.

Ali Budd Interiors is a female-led Toronto-based firm founded in 2010.

More cosy cottages include this off-grid cabin in upstate New York and another log cabin renovation for a lake house in Quebec.

Photography is by Ali Budd Interiors.

More images

The cottage's dining room
The sleek monochrome kitchen
The master bedroom
A lounger in the cottage
Plush sofabeds following the cottage's monochrome theme
A fire pit outside the property