Caledon Retreat – Ontario

From the beginning, this project enjoyed all the good energy that any creative work could ask for. Driving the work was the single-minded doggedness of the clients, themselves seasoned homeowners, who had purchased an abandoned wreck of a home in the countryside, and who were determined to bring it back to life.

The family patriarch had managed to wedge the original cottage into the midst of a dense pine forest. The trees were tight to the sidewalls of the building. From the Living Room I could spot the Bay but, because of the bush, only barely.

The owners spoke fondly to me of their cottage as a place of memories of family and friends, where so many had come together to share a love for nature and a love for each other. But now the time had come to renew. A replacement cottage would, without sacrificing the charm and whimsy of the old, endow the family with more space, light and good views of the Bay. There would be room for things, and no more raccoons in the crawlspace. There was room to build a second floor beneath the treetops, and a south-facing sun trap, a perfect setting for a stone patio. A roofy 2nd floor would enjoy great light from its dormers and French doors.

Work is still in progress. We now have a weathertight, 4-seasons building with electricity, good water and a new septic. A metal roof will last several more generations, and beneath it, a double-height Living Room will host family and friends who can warm themselves before a massive granite fireplace. Wood cladding on the interior has been supplemented by material salvaged from the old cottage, in the form of old growth Fir wood flooring, now integrated as ceiling paneling in the bedrooms. All is done in a simple and uncluttered way.

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