Design creatively with small spaces

Wellesley Island guest house proves bigger isn’t always better

Photo by Justin Sorensen

The Thousand islands is full of interesting homes- from small colorful Victorian cottages built on tent platforms to Gilded Age castles and even boathouses and houseboats. Many of these homes were built as seasonal summer camps and now many of the owners of these homes want a year round home with all of the amenities of a modern home. Sometimes, the structure can be altered to accommodate changing needs but often a new home replaces the old on the original land with careful attention to blend into the neighborhood and mimic the past.

In order to meet the family requirements of entertaining guests and additional family members throughout the summer, this homeowner decided to add a guest apartment.

Peggy DeYoung is a National Council for Interior Design Qualification certified interior designer. She owns the Porch and Paddle Cottage Shop in Clayton.

Lot sizes can be challenging along the waterfront, so the cottage-sized guest house was incorporated underneath the original garage creatively built into a ledge by Grater Architects. The space needed to be self sufficient unlike some that only offer sleeping quarters. Efficiency became imperative as a sitting room also became the kitchen and dining area, a bedroom suite also had a computer space for guests, along with a cozy but elegant full bath and a small outside stone deck for a morning coffee.

The architect’s use of tongue and groove sugar pine wall boards and ceiling detail provided the warmth of a historical summer home. However wood walls and ceilings like strong colors and our owner liked red. This was combined with shades of the river- the St. Lawrence River has wonderful shades of greens and blues always changing. These “water” colors were repeated in the drapery panels of a Lee Jofa heron fabric document print, and in the glass tile backsplash on the kitchen cabinet wall. The bathroom mimics a grand old bath with tile wainscot and borders in an Arts and Craft glaze of aqua and green.

There was little room for side tables and end tables. Wall mounted lamps were used next to the sofa and the bed. The owner likes playing card games, so the small dining table is really a French card table- a colorful tablecloth from the Porch and Paddle shop changes the function easily. In a small space, all the details are important like the etched fish glassware and water colored dinnerware.

This just might be a guest house that guests will not want to leave.

Island guest house

Interior Design: Peggy DeYoung, Porch and Paddle shop Clayton
Architecture: Grater Architects, Clayton
Builder: Steve Taylor Builders, Wellesley Island