This Muskoka, Ont. residence is the epitome of opulence and comfort. Designed by none other than icon Ferris Rafauli, it is a master class in fine living.
By Lisa van de Geyn
Photography by Birdhouse Media

This is a true landmark,” says Kevin Crigger, the broker and team lead of The Kevin Crigger Real Estate Team, who along with his colleague Claudine Montano, the broker of record and team lead of The Montano Group, is selling this remarkable abode in Muskoka, Ont.

Located on the highly sought-after Lake Rosseau, “Chateau du Lac” as it is known, truly acts as a refuge. “For someone who has a more formal property in the city or a residence elsewhere, this is a hidden jewel in that the entire property is bordered by a granite-rock face that provides this gated estate an incredible amount of privacy from passersby,” says Montano. On the water side of the property , you see the splendour and natural beauty that is Muskoka. And when inland, there is a perfect promenade where you walk to the front door, and you are surrounded by the granite and tree line (the homeowner had hundreds of trees planted around the property). “You could be anywhere on Earth, and you really feel as though you are in this private slice of nature. When you pull in from the road, you leave the outside world and experience the world of acclaimed interior designer Ferris Rafauli for a time,” says Crigger.

“For designers like Ferris who are so incredibly talented, without patrons, there would be no way for the world to see the beauty of their spaces and creations.”

Rafauli is the mastermind behind this house, making it one of the most desirable homes in Ontario’s coveted cottage country. “To me, Ferris is truly an artist in terms of the creation of his work. And those who engage him are patrons of the arts,” says Crigger. “For designers like Ferris who are so incredibly talented, without patrons, there would be no way for the world to see the beauty of their spaces and creations.”

Known for his unparalleled level of customization and detailed work, Rafauli built this almost 10,000 square-foot living space to be a landmark property — it is very much a home of permanence. From the moment you set foot into the space, Lake Rosseau is a key feature — there is a keen sense of light and connection to the nature that surrounds — but so is the generous and impeccably executed interior. “It is not a home that you just walk through without taking in the details. The first time I entered the space, I spent 15 to 20 minutes standing in the foyer, just taking it all in,” Crigger beams. “Every room, big or small — from the powder room to the great room — are for those who appreciate design. You can sit for days experiencing level upon level and layer upon layer of detail.”

Consider the guest bathroom. “It is not a gargantuan space; it is perfectly suited in size to the bedroom suite it is attached to. But when you walk into the black-marble-clad space and look at the various cuts and intricate design of the tone-on-tone material, and the layering of materials, it really is unbelievable,” Montano says. There is an abundance of natural stone throughout the home, and rare materials such as ostrich leather, pony hair etc. sourced from all over the world. “In many cases, for many of the stones, they bought the entire lot, so once the stone was crafted and polished and cut for this home, they are never to be seen again. There is a coldness to stone but the interesting element in this space is there is a real juxtaposition of incredible natural stones that draw you in. Plus, there is no repetitive design, and the level of craftsmanship is rarely seen. There is an obsessive level of detail that sets Ferris apart.”

It goes without saying, but the kitchen also rises to the occasion. Bordering the great room, the kitchen is a space that was designed for entertaining on a grand scale. There is a spectacular solid bronze table that grounds the space. (It required a huge crew to move it in. “It is a piece that will be around long after we are gone. It is a piece of art that came from the design mind that is Ferris,” says Crigger.) Everything from the table to the chairs to every element of the design is truly bespoke. “Then there is a substantial island in an L-shape that lends itself to cooking, entertaining and socializing. When there is a party, this is where everyone congregates. As a guest standing in front of the counter, you feel incredibly connected and there is a level of intimacy you share with the homeowner.”

Every inch of the home is meticulously planned and fabricated. The bar near the home’s entrance, for example, is clad in lacquered wood and marble with gorgeous veining. The pops of gold give it so much personality. Then there is the room that can be used as a den or office — it is a cozy, rich space that feels homey and luxe at the same time. And the bright, airy master suite is majestic, with a beautiful bed designed with curved details that carry through to the ceiling. The space is dressed up in layers of elevated features, making it feel very warm and inviting. “You have these grand principal rooms that are open spaces, then you have smaller areas for people to cocoon. It has an incredibly understated comfortable feel but with a sense of grandeur. There is a sense of simplicity, approachability and calm that emanates through every space in the house, but there is nothing simple about the design,” says Crigger. “Ferris’s unique attribute is the belief that all things are possible, and the ability to transform those ideas into tangible interiors that are worthy of what he imagined.”

The home may be surrounded by glorious nature, but it does not feel like a kitschy wooden cabin — it is a substantial home that any owner could easily fall for. The dramatic waterfall-edged infinity pool, tennis/basketball court and boat slips are also a luxury lifestyle plus for the next elite homeowner. “When you have these incredible vistas and a magical property, you can really create something beautiful. This is at a completely different level than anything that has been in the marketplace in Muskoka. We have represented some pretty incredible residences in our careers, and this is just one of the most spectacular homes we have seen.”