Best of Both Worlds
The Canadian “cottage” is complete, and it’s a perfect combination of bicoastal style.
Cruise around the more than 100 miles of shoreline at Lake of Bays in Ontario, Canada, and you’ll quickly notice a keen resemblance between the homes that dot the lake’s picturesque perimeter.
“The cabins and cottages in eastern Canada tend to have a similar look,” says Canadian Timberframes’ vice president Stephanie Bowes, adding that most of the homes are older, one-story structures with low-slung rooflines and unassuming exteriors. “They definitely tend to have a more low-key aesthetic.”
But while the atmosphere at this particular lakeside home could be defined as low-key, its appearance is anything but. “The intricate, heavy-timber style is definitely something we see more of in the West,” says Jeff Bowes, president and owner of Canadian Timberframes. “It’s big, bold, exciting — it definitely turns heads.”
To achieve this eye-catching façade, Jeff, his design team and the owners of the home focused as much on the back of the house as the front. “In cottage country, the water becomes your driveway,” explains Jeff, “so you have to show off the home from both sides.”
Along the lakefront, Jeff and his team incorporated a two-level covered deck with plenty of space for spreading out and spending time with family and friends. There’s also a spacious screened-in porch (a smart solution during the buggy spring and summer months), a large firepit in the back yard, a regulation-size beach volleyball court and a covered, timber-framed boat port down by the water — and that’s all before you even step inside the home’s 6,900 square feet of living space.
The custom floor plan was based on Canadian Timberframes’ Elk River design that features two upper-level master suites separated by a catwalk, two upper-level bedrooms (located over the three-car garage) and four more guest bedrooms on the main and lower levels of the home. An open layout and spacious walk-out recreational area make the home perfect for host-
ing large groups of people on weekends spent away from the owners’ main residence in Toronto.
“More and more, we’re seeing urban professionals building recreational properties, and these homes are an extension of who they are and how they live their lives,” Jeff explains. “They might be weekend homes now, but eventually they’ll be spending more time there, so it needs to feel right and work for the way they live now and in the future.”
Stephanie agrees. “Today’s owners don’t just want their parents’ or grandparents’ cottage. Instead, people are creating getaways to reflect who they are professionally and recreationally. Something that truly focuses on their family’s brand. This home does exactly that.”
A cool gray-blue hue and a sleek, clean design on the cabinet doors lend a highly modern counterpoint to the ruggedly natural beams overhead and rich hardwood floors beneath. From the kitchen, the owners have a clear line of sight through the dining area, landing on the central fireplace (below).
“After looking at samples and figuring out what our client liked and didn’t like, we ultimately went with a hybrid mix, featuring structural timbers in the special areas and stick-built construction in the bedrooms,” Jeff explains. Other material decisions include vaulted tongue-and-groove ceilings, darkstained timbers (found on both the interior and exterior of the home) and lots of structural steel plates and cables, an element that allows for larger expanses and more flexibility with the timbers.