Ah, the joy of discovery! Jean Corriveau still vividly recalls his first visit to Lac Saint-Sixte, a 450-acre cottage community just an hour from Ottawa. Within 30 minutes of arriving, he found himself standing on the perfect lot, facing west and perched high above a shimmering lake. “I was so excited, I had to hold myself back. I raced home and told Claudia [Gomez], ‘I’ve found it!’ ”
His tour guide that day was Casa Verde’s Paul McElligott, the project manager who oversees construction of the luxury cottages in the area. He would soon be instrumental in turning Jean and Claudia’s ideas into reality. Jean’s cottage vision included a modern take on the “summer kitchen,” a sentimental nod to his roots in Quebec, where many houses were once built with an attached summer kitchen to ensure that cooking didn’t steam up the entire house during the hot months. It also gave the couple more space to cook and entertain. This summer kitchen is anchored by a showstopper commercial pizza oven, which sits beside a professional barbecue system and rotisserie grill imported from Spain. On the adjoining balcony, there’s a Green Egg, a tandoor oven, a smoker, and even a deep fryer for French fries. Family and friends often gather to marvel at the view while Jean hovers by the pizza oven, pulling out perfect pies.
The main cottage, which pairs luxury with comfort, is filled with personal touches. Both Jean, the founder of organic mattress company Obasan, and Claudia were confident in their aesthetic and provided a wealth of design input. The fireplace runs through two storeys and is double-sided on the main level; vintage radios grace the cottage shelves, a nod to Jean’s four decades-long hobby as an amateur radio buff, while artworks by Claudia’s sister, painter Connie Gomez, reference her Colombian heritage. Wood accents, including the fireplace mantels, the bookshelves, and the kitchen pot rack, are all crafted from 130-year-old red pine salvaged from an old barn. Jean bought the beams years ago, hoping he’d one day be able to put them to good use.
Paul McElligott helped pull together the small team of experts who made it all happen. RiverSong Design drew up detailed architectural plans, while 2H Interior Design guided the couple through the process of visualizing the interior and choosing finishes. With that done, Casa Verde’s builders, craftspeople, and contractors framed and insulated the cottage in the fall of 2016, then moved into the cottage shell for the winter, setting up a woodworking studio on-site and building and installing much of the furniture, shelving, and shiplap walls.
Jean and Claudia moved in during the summer of 2017. Though theirs is a four-season paradise, they especially look forward to the warmer weather when the doors to the summer kitchen are thrown wide open.