This copy is for your personal non-commercial use only. To order presentation-ready copies of Toronto Star content for distribution to colleagues, clients or customers, or inquire about permissions/licensing, please go to: www.TorontoStarReprints.com
It was an emotional moment when the magic of Mirazule embraced Ian Nelmes and Miguel De Lemos for the first time.
“I actually burst into tears. I was completely overwhelmed because it was our dream home and I never imagined I’d live in a place like this,” Nelmes says of the modern architectural jewel they named Mirazule, from the Spanish words for “look” and “blue.”
Even now, a year after moving into the big, beautiful house and boutique inn they designed and built on the shores of Lake Ontario, “you occasionally catch yourself looking around and going, ‘Oh, wow’!” adds De Lemos.
The hidden retreat, a 15-minute drive from Picton in Prince Edward Co., is a sunlit showplace with walls of glass, 30-foot ceilings and expansive vistas of trees, sky and water.
“I can’t imagine a more spectacular location,” says Nelmes. “When the sun hits the water, it’s that wonderful turquoise colour of the Mediterranean.”
The partners, who own a plot of land in Turkey with views of the sea, were boutique hoteliers in rural France for 15 years before moving to the county in 2018.
Thanks to serendipity two years earlier, they had found the perfect spot to create the combined contemporary residence and luxury destination.
It was 45 acres of lakefront woods and meadows that PEC realtor Rob Plomer and his parents had decided to sell.
“It deserved more than just recreational use,” explains Plomer, co-agent with Kate Vader in the Rob & Kate real estate duo.
The sale to De Lemos, a newcomer to Canada, and Nelmes, who grew up in Kingston, “was meant to be,” he says. “They are super guys, salt of the earth … (they became) instant friends.”
Designed over three years with Toronto’s BlackLAB Architects, the two-level custom dwelling took local company Daniel Thomas Construction two years to build on the limestone slope.
“It’s a simple, hunkered-down house that reveals itself in stages,” says Nelmes of the blended live/work/play space with private living quarters in one wing and four rental suites through other parts of the house.
Hosting comes naturally to the boutique innkeepers and their one-dog welcoming committee named Razz, says Nelmes, adding they encourage guests to use the entire property.
When the couple left France, they brought a container filled with cherished acquisitions, including an art deco dining suite and four 1920s wall panels of mermaids, commissioned by wife of author and playwright Somerset Maugham — Syrie, an interior designer.
They’ve since added numerous contemporary Canadian pieces from local galleries. Using local talent and materials was important to Mirazule’s owners, who point out the impressive workmanship throughout.
The rooms for guests — many come from Toronto 2-1/2 hours away — are described as “peaceful havens” with ensuites that feature soaker tubs, glass showers and mood lighting. In the large, main-floor social space, there’s an island for hanging out in the “fake kitchen” while the “real kitchen” is hidden behind walnut cabinetry, Nelmes explains.
But nature is the real star of the show, according to the amiable hosts, noting that every room enjoys unobstructed views of the bay.
Copyright owned or licensed by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or distribution of this content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Toronto Star Newspapers Limited and/or its licensors. To order copies of Toronto Star articles, please go to: www.TorontoStarReprints.com