Georgian Bay – Ontario
We undertook a major renovation of this ancient family cottage on Georgian Bay. A landmark in the Archipelago, the structure was to be repaired and improved, but not changed in spirit.
The building was beloved by generations of family cottagers, and the Owners insisted that we give them back their old cottage just like their dry cleaning: use only “invisible mending”.
An example of our capacity to re-new a building is the Long Verandah, a favourite family space. New floor-to-ceiling screening faces the water from 3 sides of the cottage. The rocking chairs sit on a solid cedar plank floor supported on new structure. New windows into the Living Room bring sunlight deep into the cottage.
At the outset of work, the challenge of repairing the building was daunting. The interior was stunning: floors, walls and ceilings in old-growth wood, aged to a honey colour. But the plumbing leaked, the wiring was a hazard, the floors and walls showed dryrot, and the bathrooms and Kitchen were inadequate. Our job was to preserve the best of the interior, open up the walls with new windows, and to surgically repair the interior without any sign of change. More bedrooms were needed too. We added a sleeping bunky down the shoreline, in the style of the older building.
In our renovation, the entire outside skin of the building (roof, walls and windows) was peeled off and replaced. Each repair was carefully considered for its role in complimenting the character of the original cottage.
An open shower pavilion built in cedar sits on a cliff edge, overlooking the forest. The outside walls give privacy; the higher inside wall carries the taps and shower head.
In the old cottage, floors sagged because of rot and weak structure. We inserted new wood beams and posts and finished them to match the lovely old wood.
The kitchen in the old cottage was completely demolished and renovated. We designed new cabinets to blend in with the century-old wood walls. A retro-style refrigerator hides the washer and dryer beyond. We doubled the number of windows to take advantage of the many good views of the landscape.