Project Description

Pine Lake Muskoka – Contemporary Cottage

Design and Build of a Modern Timberframe Cottage

This project is a custom design and build project for Lakeside Design and Build.  We originally met the owners at the Cottage Life Show and visited the site shortly thereafter to discuss the owners’ vision for the site.

The cottagers are a semi-retired couple who have cottaged for many years on Pine Lake.  They were looking to replace their existing cottage and build a new cottage on site.  The owners wanted an open-concept floor layout with direct open views to the lake.  The owners are also avid art collectors and collectors of mid century modern furniture.  They envisioned a cottage that could show case their art, would feature natural materials, including exposed beams, concrete floors and expansive tracts of glass.

After several site visits, a survey of the site and a detailed measure up and plan of the existing cottage, Lakeside developed a basswood model of the proposed new cottage design.  The design was a natural yet modern post and beam or timberframe cottage using Douglas Fir timbers and glass panels.  The design has open glass viewing areas on the lakeside as well as more intimate areas sleeping and bathing areas.

The cottage is built over the location of the original cottage which enables the Owner to position it much closer to the lake than is permitted by current Town of Gravenhurst zoning by-laws. The by-laws require that the second floor be set-back beyond the lake set-back of the original cottage by a distance contingent upon the width of the cottage. In order to meet the second floor set-back requirement the second floor is set back from the Lake resulting in a stunning walk out with superb lake views. A design opportunity absolutely lost in prefab and stock home building designs.

The cottage windows are made of high performance glaze which allows passive heating of the cottage by warming a 2 inch thick concrete slab floor.  The floor also has in-floor radiant heating.  The cottage also features long transom windows located near the ceiling which allows for a convection current to cool the cottage naturally in the summer as the concrete slab warms in the sunlight, creating an upward movement of air to the ceiling and across the floor out the transoms, pulling in fresh cool lake air from lower window units on the lakeside of the cottage – a truly custom design element of the new cottage.

The cottage features a highly efficient insulated concrete form basement (Nudura Concrete Forms – Lakeside Design and Build is a licensed installer) which houses the mechanical systems. Other parts of the cottage are built over new ground and are elevated on bullnosed concrete block piers anchored directly to the bedrock. This creates a usable area under parts of the cottage and reduces the impact of the footprint which is home to the regionally rare Five-lined Skink, a small reptile that makes its home amongst the bedrock of the Muskoka shoreline.

The exterior weatherproof shell of the cottage is Ipe hardwood cladding over a rainscreen wall which allows rain and moisture to drain away from the exterior of the cottage requiring little maintenance and allows the cottage to blend in seamlessly into the natural environment.

Project:  Pine Lake, Muskoka

Size:  2200 square feet

Materials: Douglas Fir Timber Frame, Prefabricated Insulated Wall Panels, High Performance Windows, ICF Foundation