By Lisa van de Geyn
Photography by Larry Arnal
There’s a place north of Toronto where Ontarians flock year-round to get away. Friday Harbour Resort in Innisfil, Ont., was designed to be a premium destination — a place where residents and visitors alike can relax, feel at peace and “live every day like it’s Friday.” Situated on the water’s edge of Lake Simcoe, the development boasts a marina, an impressive golf course, a 200-acre nature preserve, a beach club, lake club, plus a host of restaurants, boutiques and a vibrant boardwalk. Those fortunate enough to experience the area sing its praises. Now just imagine making this place your home.
That’s exactly what designer Andrea McMullen, the owner and principal designer of ADM Design Inc., did. “If you’ve ever been to Friday Harbour, you know you don’t want to leave Friday Harbour. That’s how it works up here,” she laughs. “It’s different than what you’d expect from a northern, cottagey area. They call it the Miami of the north. Some owners live here full-time, while some keep a second, third or fourth home here. It’s just such a fun place to be.”
McMullen is the exclusive designer for Friday Harbour, so she already had a soft spot for the location. Three years ago, she opened her large retail interior design and furniture store on the boardwalk (called ADM Design & Decor). “I wasn’t living there yet, but I realized I never really wanted to go home. And I had this stunning midcentury- modern home in King City, but I just really wanted to be up north. I decided that it made the most sense for me to stay where I wanted to be,” she says passionately. “I was fortunate enough to buy a townhouse on the water, across from my shop. In warm weather, I just look out onto my dock and my boat sits in front of my property. I can Sea-Doo to my job sites.”
Her 3,300-square-foot contemporary townhouse is three floors. “I bought this unit and really loved it, but still wanted to personalize it — it’s my passion to personalize spaces. So, I decided to tear out the floors and closets, rip out the kitchen and some walls and make it more my own.” On the main floor, there’s a family room, powder and laundry rooms, as well as a generous new black-and-walnut kitchen. “I really needed to make the kitchen more functional for me, and, of course, it needed to be gorgeous. I rebuilt it so that I have lots of hidden storage because that’s one thing I felt I was missing in the space. If you don’t have somewhere to put your stuff, you’re not going to love your space,” she says. She extended the kitchen island, included a waterfall feature and added more bells and whistles. McMullen then added an LED-backlit black onyx fireplace that pairs perfectly with the black in the kitchen. The hue is carried throughout the rest of the house.
The second floor features two bedrooms, plus the incomparable master. “The principal bedroom is charming and massive. There’s a beautiful Caracole bed, handmade seashell wallpaper, a custom light (that makes the room look like a starry night; “I create art from lighting,” she says) and great teddy-bear-fabric chairs we had made locally,” she explains, adding they built a textured tile wall with an 85-inch linear fireplace to cozy up the space. The art in the space is all original, done by Elena Henderson. “The closet is done in a pearlescent finish and has crystal accents. I definitely built it for myself.” Her boys’ bedrooms are also done impeccably — there’s an interesting black-and-white mural wallpaper in one of the rooms, and the other features a Modloft bed set and a back-lit onyx wall-hung fireplace. The art in the hallway is particularly noteworthy. Art not only plays a key role in McMullen’s designs and in her own home with her spectacular collection, it’s also the home decor product she sells most of in her stores. “This is from a series I bought when I was at an interior design show in Las Vegas and it kind of represents me,” she says of the black-and-white piece of a woman wearing a crown.
McMullen uses her third floor as an entertainment and bar area (though there’s also another super fun and fresh bedroom on this floor that belongs to her daughter). “I brought in the black theme up here, too; I really tried to carry it throughout the house for continuity.” She opted for a sea-urchin-patterned tile in the bar with a custom black wine rack for her collection of glasses. “Even though I use dark colours, you really feel the feminine essence in the space. I like that feel — it’s kind of masculine but also very sexy,” she says. “It’s certainly a different colour palette than most homes or cottages on the lake would use with all the blacks, tobacco and walnut shades. It’s very hotel-chic.”
As for her spacious patios, there’s almost as much living area outside as there is indoors. “I invested in a great new line of outdoor furniture that we carry for the patio off the main floor. Whether it’s winter or summer, we’re out there entertaining all the time. The third-floor patio has a hot tub, barbecue and another large entertaining area. From that space you can really see the rest of the harbour.”
It goes without saying but bears repeating that ADM Design Inc. was responsible for all of the construction in the house, including the cabinetry, millwork and electrical. “We’re truly full service — we create the design, we renovate, build, then furnish the home, hang the art and add all of the finishing touches,” McMullen says, adding that all the furniture and design finishes she selected throughout her home came from her store. She says she couldn’t be happier with the results.
Now that she’s in her dream home, there’s one thing she can’t get enough of: Friday Harbour sunsets. “I’m west-facing and I absolutely love afternoon and evening sun. There’s no obstruction from the sunset at nighttime. It’s just such a spectacular place.”