The owners have had extensive experience cottaging in Muskoka. They sold their cottage on Lake Muskoka and purchased the new property which had become vacant, save for a newly completed boathouse on the shoreline.

The site posed challenges as the topography at the proposed building site sloped steeply up from the shoreline to a ridge. The zoning setbacks restricted the constructable area to a zone behind the lakeside ridge. The proposed design would need to address this so that the main level would have a view of the water below.

The design solution was to create a basement level for storage below the main living area by raising the main floor above the ridge and concealing the basement. The building follows the shoreline and creates an ‘L’ shaped plan with bedrooms at opposite ends of the great room and other living spaces. The primary suite at one end is separated from the rest of the bedrooms and includes an ensuite bathroom, closet, and private screened porch. The bedroom wing at the opposite end is two storeys, taking advantage of the topography which falls away along this wing. At the angle between the two wings on the main floor is a family room and staircase which connects the upper and lower levels. Beneath the family room is a multi-purpose storage area with a hot tub and sitting area below the screened porch and adjacent through the outdoor underpass.

The outdoor underpass connects the entry side with the lakeside and the rooms above form a bridge over it. This walkway provides access to a storage area below the great room and a hot tub spa on the adjacent side while providing lake access from the parking area.

The building program also included a large sports pavilion, sports court and garage that can double as an indoor basketball half-court in inclement weather. These out-buildings frame the approach to the cottage upon entry to the site.


Cumberland Bay, Muskoka, Ontario




7,000 ft²


New Construction




David Whittaker