Great for Gathering

The new entertaining wing of this Ontario home can be a cozy retreat for the couple—or party central when friends and family come to play.

Written by:Diane Conrad
Photographed by:Valerie Wilcox

Cambria design shown: Skara Brae™

If there’s one thing we’ve recently learned about how we live in our homes, it’s the importance of safe, comfortable, private gathering spaces. That’s exactly what the owners of this “clubhouse” in rural Ontario realized was missing from their existing home. “They wished they had a game room—a place where they could bring all their family and friends together to have fun and socialize in a healthy environment,” says interior designer Catherine Staples of Ontario-based Aspen & Ivy. Fortunately, their property was uniquely well-suited to adding the kind of relaxation center the couple envisioned. Staples and her team oversaw an addition that connected the house with an existing outbuilding, creating a sprawling “bridge” that houses a bar, a home theater, billiards and golf simulator areas, along with a home gym and sauna, and plenty of indoor and outdoor lounging areas.

To help all these disparate spaces work comfortably together, Staples chose a quiet palette of layered neutrals, combining natural materials—stone, wood, leather—with luxurious fabrics, for a soothing but engaging effect. “Our clients wanted a classic, contemporary look that was artistic and architectural—something that would feel very unique,” she says. The large L-shaped bar that is the focal point of the space is just one example of how well Aspen & Ivy met those goals. Cambria Skara Brae tops both levels of the bar and the perimeter counters—and even creates an attention-grabbing vertical backdrop for custom metal shelving and a collection of special spirits bottles. “The movement of the stone is like artwork,” says Staples. “It was the perfect choice for a hardworking area that had to look really spectacular too.”

valerie wilcox

A rich mix of wood and natural stone creates a look that’s cool and contemporary but with a sense of connection to this home’s rural setting. Cambria design shown: Bentley™

In the home theater area, Cambria Bentley surrounds the screen where the stone works in concert with rich wood elements, an interplay Staples chose to reference the home’s beautiful natural setting. “From all the windows in the clubhouse, you have gorgeous views of the property—including acres and acres of rolling farmland. We wanted to bring touches of nature inside everywhere.”

brittanicca bathroom
brittanicca bathroom

Cambria Brittanicca™ covers nearly every surface in the bathroom, where its dynamic veining and creamy color makes a particularly strong statement at the vanity. Creating spaces that contribute to overall well-being has become a priority in design.

Cambria Brittanicca appears in the elegant bathroom, where it makes a splash on the floating vanity top and the walls, setting off the LED-lit mirror like a glowing jewel.

skara brae bar

Throughout the spaces, Staples worked within a palette of black, white, and natural wood, with a few taupe and brown touches added for warmth. A tight color scheme helps unify a design, she notes, and incorporating plenty of texture adds variety and interest. For example, she varied the wall treatments throughout, leaving some painted and others covered with large concrete panels or wood; certain areas of the ceiling are recessed with wood panels. The floors are either luxury vinyl plank or porcelain tile, both chosen for their easy maintenance and durability as well as their good looks.

Dramatic lighting is another tool Staples used in the clubhouse for theatrical effect. Backlighting can make the Skara Brae bar appear to glow from within and LED strip lighting guides the way through wood-paneled hallways. “This project was all about ambience—so we chose every lighting element, every upholstery fabric, every surface with that in mind,” says Staples.

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