House on Skeleton Bay

Situated on a bay on Lake Rosseau in Muskoka, this cottage is located at the foot of a cliff, right at the water’s edge.

The location is grandfathered in as it is a replacement of an existing one-storey cottage sharing the original footprint. This accounts for the project’s direct proximity to the water.

The limited footprint necessitated a two-storey design. The second storey is perched above the open plan below, and with the backdrop of the cliff behind it, the second storey appears nested in the rugged landscape.

The central two-storey living space is flanked on the ground floor by the kitchen/dining area and the den and screened porch on the other. At the second level bedrooms are situated on either side of the two-storey space and a bridge connecting both sides. The clerestorey window spans the building and faces the cliff allowing views back and ample north light.

The two-storey window wall faces the lake and frames spectacular views of Skeleton Bay.

LOCATION

Muskoka, Ontario

COMPLETED

2020

SIZE

3,400 ft²

SERVICES

New Construction (Replacement)


View from lake of red Muskoka chairs with stone staircase leading up to illuminated glazed cottage nestled in trees and rocks at dusk

House on West Lake Muskoka

This five-bedroom house faces west on a bay in the west end of Lake Muskoka. A small peninsula projects into the lake in front of the property and houses a small ornamental lighthouse.

The building follows the setback from the water creating a plan which hinges back at great room and maximizes lake views and natural daylighting. The great room is contiguous with the screened porch, which can be fully opened into the main great room through folding panel doors, creating one large open space. An outdoor kitchen is located outside the screened porch on a deck overlooking the lake, and new boathouse.

The master bedroom is located at the opposite end of the house from the other bedrooms and steps up three risers to accommodate the rising landscape and creating views to the lake.

The lower level has two bedrooms, a recreation area, and mechanical rooms, and is designed as a walkout to reinforce the feeling of being on a main floor and not a basement.

The house id situated on the site to work with the landscape, and existing vegetation to avoid removing as many trees and rocks as possible and can barely be seen from the water. The result is a building that is integrated with its surroundings and looks as though it has always been there.

LOCATION

Muskoka, Ontario

COMPLETED

2020

SIZE

6,000 ft² (Cottage), 650 ft² (Boathouse)

SERVICES

New Construction


Illuminated original red brick house with second storey addition in the back and landscaped front yard at dusk

House in Port Credit

The original 1950’s ‘arts and crafts’ bungalow located in a ‘leafy’ Port Credit neighbourhood steps from Lake Ontario was a little cramped for a family of five.

Rather than tear down the original house and build a new larger home as is the norm these days, the client wanted to expand the house without impacting upon the extensive mature landscape that includes a small pond beside the house.

The solution was to create a vertical addition. The addition was set back from the ridge line of the bungalow’s roof to ensure the scale and form of the original home remained legible. By off setting the second floor addition, the design provided the much needed sleeping rooms for the family but also offered outdoor covered spaces for El Fresco dining and entertaining which were protected from direct sunlight or an unexpected rain shower.

The master bedroom was designed to project beyond the original building and hover over the beautiful landscape below. A large window provides the clients with a wonderful view of their intimate property. To minimize the impact on the vegetation, helical piles were used to support the projecting addition.

The addition was clad in fibre-cement panels in a charcoal grey that blends with the roof of the original house while providing a contemporary architectural expression quite distinct from the original bungalow below. The juxtaposition between the old and the new enhances the qualities and textures of the original bungalow while providing the family with a house that is twice the size.

LOCATION

Mississauga, Ontario

COMPLETED

2018

SIZE

900 ft² Renovation; 1,200 ft² Addition

SERVICES

Renovation & Addition

PHOTOGRAPHY

Ben Rahn/A-Frame


Elevation of illuminated two-storey cottage with glazed walls throughout from stone stepped lit walkway with rock landscape and trees

House on Haliburton Lake

This house, located in a remote part of Haliburton, is built into the site which slopes toward the lake.

The long narrow design of the footprint allows most principal rooms a view of the lake while integrating the building into the hillside without creating an extremely high building on the lake side. In contrast, the games room and entertainment area are designed to be more enclosed, to create a more “cocooned” atmosphere as opposed to the open daylit spaces on the view side. The design integrates the interior and exterior using floor to ceiling and wall to wall glass, opening clerestorey windows and by making indoor materials continuous with outdoor materials. Lighting is integrated into the Douglas fir ceiling rafters, and the cadence and pattern rafters of the spacing results in an animated ceiling reminiscent of the tree canopy.

One feels as if they are part of the outside, sheltered between “pavilions” under one roof. The entrance procession leads guests passed light wells broken up by two-storey forms that restrain the interior corridor from the exterior window, allowing sky views from the lower level. These forms serve programmatic function while physically bringing the materiality of the exterior inside and spatially linking the differing grades on either side of the building. These objects march beyond the threshold of the front door revealing a two-storey wood cube at its conclusion. Entering the insular wood cube provides a warm nook which turns inward from the mostly open floor plan. The route down the stairs between the gateway created by these formal objects will complete the journey towards the lake.

A screened porch is located strategically behind the living room fireplace as opposed to obstructing views from the great room, and commands views to the south and west of the lake.

LOCATION

Haliburton, Ontario

COMPLETED

2019

SIZE

7,742 ft²

SERVICES

New Construction

PHOTOGRAPHY

David Whittaker


Ferncliff Residence

Following the contours of the site, the plan encloses a courtyard on the entry side. From this viewpoint the entry side is relatively opaque, in order that the occupants may focus on the lake, and not the cars, the road, and the city they left behind.

The design is a metaphor of a series of cabins in the woods connected by a common roof with outdoor spaces in between. On arrival, one crosses a threshold and enters between two of the cabins into a large open public space which has a seamless connection to the outdoors, giving the viewer the sense that they are under a large indoor/outdoor pavilion. This pavilion houses the living, dining and kitchen areas. A secondary corridor at the rear accommodates a pantry room and a small work station, overlooking the courtyard. The clerestory windows above the main living space contribute to the outdoor ambience and when open will provide a natural ventilation system using the stack effect.

A corner bay creates a kind of inglenook along the fireplace wall to house either a games area or simply seating to allow the occupants to sit and gaze at the lake. Windows are floor to ceiling, wall to wall which provides the maximum daylight and minimum glare while maximizing views to the outdoors. Most areas of the house have daylight from multiple directions, again minimizing glare and avoiding the need for electric light in the daytime. Exterior soffits continue inside through the exterior glazing to create valances, further blurring the line between indoors and outdoors, and creating even daylighting.

A three-sided screened porch is located at the west end of the house off the kitchen and is connected to the lake through a deck. The three sides allow for a cross breeze off the lake, and its location at one end of the house allows for unobstructed views to the lake from the main living spaces.

The L-shaped floor plan not only wraps the courtyard, but also follows the site contours to integrate the house into the landscape. The east wing of the ‘L’ houses the bedrooms and allows each bedroom a view of the lake. The connecting corridor houses storage areas, a powder room and the laundry room with a view at the end of the hall. This walkway acts as a connection to the bedrooms but is designed as negative space—that is it almost feels like the bedrooms are cabins connected by an outdoor covered passageway. This also maximizes one’s connection to the outdoors while providing daylight and views to a space that might otherwise simply be considered a mundane corridor.

LOCATION

Muskoka, Ontario

COMPLETED

2019

SERVICES

Full Architectural Services

PHOTOGRAPHY

David Whittaker


Dusk view of illuminated cottage from landscaped driveway entrance looking through glass bridge to covered porch and lake below

Bridge House

Located in Muskoka, Ontario, the Bridge House overlooks the south end of Lake Joseph, one of three large lakes in the region.

The house is located on a rock outcrop overlooking the lake and the boathouse, and breaks the mould of faux-traditional architecture typical of the region.

The building is L-shaped in plan, with the main living space and master bedroom wing separated from the guest bedroom wing by an elevated screened porch. The plan of the main living wing was developed to create circulation along either side of the plan to maximize openness, views, and transparency.

The L-Shaped floor plan hugs the curved crest of the hill. The building emerges from the rock face defining an edge and creating a gateway, an arrival from the water that emphasizes the boundary between the hectic city environment and the serenity of the lakeside location. The screened porch forms a “Bridge” which spans the space between the two wings, creating a threshold between the driveway and the lake. The building appears to be a part of its site, merging with the rock overlooking the lake.

LOCATION

Muskoka, Ontario

COMPLETED

2017

SIZE

6,338 ft²

SERVICES

New Construction

PHOTOGRAPHY

David Whittaker


Front facade of house from snowy sunny front yard with trees

Collingwood Chalet

This recreational home is sited in a development at the foot of the Alpine Ski Club in the Town of Blue Mountains.

The building is sited on a residential street facing the ski hills and is designed for Apres-ski entertaining with six bedrooms, open living spaces, a recreation room, a sauna, and a courtyard with a hot tub and firepit.

The challenge was to create a recreational feel in a building which is within a suburban style subdivision with styles ranging from neo-classical to modern. The goal was achieved by making the courtyard the centrepiece of the design. The layout of the house around a courtyard not only protects the hot tub and firepit from prevailing winds but provides a house that is more inward looking, versus a view outward to the residential street. The courtyard device also allows natural light to penetrate the living spaces, while enhancing the transparency between indoor and outdoor rooms. While the building is large, the massing from the street is of low scale in contrast to the adjacent two-storey houses. The portion of the house in front of the courtyard is one-storey, while the portion behind the courtyard is two- storey, which not only reduces the height at the front elevation but affords a view of the ski hill from the gallery on the second storey which also overlooks the living room.

Interior materials include hardwood floors, natural stone, rift sawn white oak, and douglas fir post and beam ceilings. Exterior materials are dark stained natural wood siding, metal standing seam roof, aluminum clad widows and natural stone.

LOCATION

Collingwood, Ontario

COMPLETED

2019

Size

9,156 ft²

SERVICES

New Construction

PHOTOGRAPHY

David Whittaker


Aerial view of site showing clusters of buildings in lush forest with pool

Treetops Resort Condominiums at Hidden Valley

Huntsville is physically defined by its natural setting of forests, granite, and water.

The environment has shaped the development of the community and contributed to the development of a woodland and waterfront character that has commonly been described as the “Muskoka Style”. One of the primary objectives for this development is the respect of the natural environment.

The proposal development, divided in six distinct phases, consists of three-storey, stacked town-homes buildings for a total of 13 blocks and 122 units, distributed along a winding road, on the south-facing slope of a hill. The site offers a spectacular view of the lake at the bottom of the hill. Landscaping has been designed to connect the buildings with the street and assist in the direction of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The landscaping also reduces the visual impact of parking areas, loading areas, and garbage storage areas.

A recreation/utility Pavilion structure with washrooms, change room facilities, pool equipment storage, and a site servicing pump room is proposed at the core of the development, and nested within the slope of the hill.

Natural cladding materials with a warm palette of colours are used throughout.

LOCATION

Huntsville, Ontario

COMPLETED

Ongoing

SIZE

13 Blocks / 122 Units

SERVICES

New Construction