The Canadian cottage reinvented, Drake Devonshire, Prince Edward County, PEC

A staple activity of the Canadian lifestyle, the escape to the cottage sets the weekend entertainment tone of many Toronto families. ‘Modest’ and ‘cozy’ are the typical characteristics associated with the architecture, the interior, and the immediately surrounding landscape. Here family and friends gather to spend quality time together, share meals, stories, and oftentimes, a dip in a nearby lake or pond. That’s what cottage life is all about.

Historically, this was a habitation type with a living room on the ground floor and a bedroom snuggled in the slopes of a steep roof above. You can visit wonderful original examples of early English cottage style at Pioneer villages around Ontario but even greater are the current ones that reinvent the type and keep it fresh and in use.

My first time in Prince Edward County – two or some summers ago – included a visit to the Drake Devonshire, an old Inn remodeled, so successfully, in what now is a charming and evocative example of English cottage.

PEC is one of those places on the rise where the tasty zest of a great weekend spills over the quaint rural living, picturesque views, and sun-kissed white grapes that fill your soul with joy.

Image courtesy of Kate Hliznitsova through Unsplash

At the Drake, the eclectic interior combines a rainbow of finishes and colours all placed so artistically, that your eye is not tired but rather stimulated by the bold dynamic of patterns and colour.

In the entry area, the green Celtic-inspired floor plays against the wallpaper and the black-boarded ceiling. I particularly like the inventiveness of the beadboard use on the reception desk. Beadboard comes in 4×8 flat sheets and is typically used to panel walls and ceilings. What the designer did here is cut the sheets into angled pieces and put them together like a puzzle on the face of the reception desk. The result is a modern piece built from very traditional material.

Image Courtesy of Dochia MEDIA

Through a doorway to the side, a small cozy seating area snuggles around the fireplace. A mishmash of furniture, posters, colours and textures make it look authentically worn-in without, however, all the unpleasantries of oldness; as if space came about in time, not done up in one shot.

Image Courtesy of Dochia MEDIA

The restaurant has a beautiful open feel to it with its exposed high-sloped ceiling and the well-placed tables, not too far yet not too close to each other.

The back wall of the building is facing the lake and in cottage-country lingo, that side is actually the front of the cottage.


The menu is complementing the setting so well. Dishes are cooked from fresh and locally grown ingredients combined in a sophisticated well-presented plate. In my first and other subsequent trips, I’ve tried a few dishes together with some of the local wines. Their oyster selection together with the Commissary Selection of the Drake + Bake was delicious and the steak just perfect. I only wish I had a breakfast menu, that to me epitomizes cottage cuisine. Next time!

This article first appeared in My 2 cents on design

how to curate a better lifestyle through design

part of  RELAXATION \\ a DOCHIA FOCUS monthly lifestyle series

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