Lake Rosseau Retreat

New Cottage and Boathouse — Muskoka Lakes

A Shingle-style boathouse had stood on this Muskoka island for over a century. The Owner shared with us a winter photograph of it, taken in 1930, and expressed her hope that we could recreate a building that would speak to that earlier and carefree time.

This was an exceptional opportunity, for we were permitted (“grandfathered”) to build a new boathouse with living quarters above, something no longer allowed on Lake Rosseau. Even better, now it was possible to build into this new building everything that the old one had lacked: floor-to-ceiling windows opening the interior to the south light; sturdy (the Owner has dogs) hardwood floors salvaged locally from reclaimed lumber; a stone fireplace; a super-insulated building envelope to reduce energy consumption; and an ample deck overlooking the lake. The typical Muskoka roofline and simple plan form of the Boathouse speak the language of the many vintage cottages along the bay.

The permits for the work were slow to come, and when construction finally began, bad weather frequently cut off the island and stopped the work. Nevertheless, a patient builder and enthusiastic staff managed to conjure the framing up out of the Bay. The new Boathouse continues to celebrate the spirit of summer in Muskoka.

Builder: Richard Clarke General Contractor

Interior Designer: Collage Designs

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