Interior designer Anne Hepfer makes it a priority to turn her clients’ homes into their own personal sanctuaries. When the native New Yorker moved to Toronto over 10 years ago to be near her husband, the couple built a weekend getaway in Muskoka, Canada. The quiet area is located right in Ontario’s Muskoka Lakes region and is where Canadians go to escape the hustle and bustle of city life (which is why it’s been dubbed the “Canadian Hamptons”).
Hepfer’s country cottage is her own idea of a personal sanctuary. “I wanted a home with a deep relationship to nature,” Hepfer told House Beautiful. “Every room in the house is oriented toward the lake. In summer, there’s a seamless feel between indoors and out.” And when it comes to the décor, it’s minimalistic and monochrome. To offset the more rustic feel, the designer incorporated exotic touches from her international travels, like a handmade Japanese teak coffee table and a hand-carved stool from Zimbabwe. To see the rest of Hepfer’s treasures, scroll through to get the full tour, with photos by Don Freeman.
The massive windows in the living room give the cabin an indoor-outdoor feel. “You gaze directly out onto the swaying pines; it’s almost like you’re in a tree house,” says Hepfer.
Hepfer found inspiration in modern Belgian design and opted for a neutral palette in her home (pictured above is her sons’ bedroom). The designer says she chose quieter colors so as not to distract from nature’s beauty. “Plus, I spend my workdays constantly looking at color and pattern, so this is a refuge from intense visual stimulation,” she says.
“Travel is my passion, so I also tried to add a worldly beat, layering in meaning with a curated collection of mementos from my trips,” says Hepfer. Ironically, her husband had purchased this zebra image by Nick Brandt that hangs over the couch in their den before they’d ever visited Africa together.
Hepfer needed a space that was practical enough to host company since relatives and friends visit almost every weekend. “They just pull up to the dock in their boats. … It’s chaos,” she says, “and the most fun you can possibly imagine.”