Rebecca and Gareth's Cozy Home Inspired by Family Cottages

Rebecca and Gareth's Cozy Home Inspired by Family Cottages

Lauren Kolyn
Oct 22, 2015
(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Name: Rebecca and Gareth Smith and their dog, Penny, and cat, Bobby
Location: Etobicoke; Toronto, Ontario
Size: 1,600 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year; Owned

Rebecca and Gareth were a classic case of opposites attracting, but over the years they have learned to adapt to each other's lifestyles and tastes—and it actually turns out that they have a lot more in common than they realized at first glance. They are both influenced by their family traditions, and they both grew up spending summers at the cottages which inspired the design of their home. Rebecca and Gareth also share a love for the vastness of the Canadian landscape, especially the coasts, but perhaps their most apparent similarity is their natural tendency to gravitate towards a color palette of blue and white, albeit Gareth's is more nautical and Rebecca's is more French country.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Rebecca and Gareth chose to modernize their home's design and structure by using clean lines and a light palette. Wherever possible, they added a window or two to maximize natural light, particularly in the kitchen and dining areas. However, they didn't completely eliminate the charm of the original home; they kept the Tudor facade and all the front windows with the lead lattice detailing.

The interior decor is inspired by Rebecca's grandmother's blue and white antique vases and dishes. In almost every corner, you will find color in the form of antique jars, homemade crafts, or family photos. The walls are covered with Rebecca's artwork and other works by friends and family. The mix of modern and new with old and collected pieces creates a hybrid of their urban and country personas. Rebecca and Gareth look forward to one day replacing some of their older furniture, but for now are quite content with taking the decor process slow while they break in their new home.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Rustic Canadian and Cozy Classic

Inspiration: Family cottages on Georgian Bay and Muskoka and my [Rebecca's] Grannie

Favorite Element: Seeing Bobby (our cat) in the front window when we pull up to the house and opening the door to Penny (our dog) waiting with a toy in her mouth. Also, sitting on the back deck in the morning with a coffee while Penny plays. This makes it feel like home!

Our fireplace is definitely our favorite design element. We decided on a subtle brick color and then made a bold statement with the wooden mantel and frame.

Biggest Challenge: We renovated the house when we first moved in one year ago, so the biggest challenge was learning how to make decisions about materials and products and envisioning the big picture.

What Friends Say: They feel cozy and can’t believe how clean it is! (The latter is because of Gareth.)

Biggest Embarrassment: The couch and two chairs in the living room. Gareth purchased the brown leather pieces from IKEA when he graduated university and first moved out on his own. We’ve said they were temporary for years now!

Proudest DIY: I have lots of my own artwork around the house that I’m proud of as well as other crafts I’ve done. My most recent project is an old window I turned into a garden scene.

Biggest Indulgence: Renovations!

Best Advice: Take it slow, don’t buy pieces just to fill space. And trust your instincts.

Dream Sources: Antique stores in the Junction and Roncesvalles with a little bit of West Elm.


(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)


  • Walls: Benjamin Moore Collingwood Grey
  • Trim: Benjamin Moore Dove White
(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)


(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)


(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)


(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)


  • Wood shelf: IvyAxe on Etsy
  • Cabinets: custom designed by Marcon Kitchens
  • Blue and white pieces: inherited, found in antique markets, found on travels
(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)


  • Wood shelf: Etsy
  • Deer: West Elm, spray painted black
  • Blanket: Restoration Hardware
  • Bedding: West Elm
(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)


(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)


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Thanks, Rebecca & Gareth!

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