Scarcliffe Cottage on the Muskoka Lakes, Ontario Building, Canadian Real Estate, Architecture Images
Scarcliffe Cottage on the Muskoka Lakes
8 Mar 2023
Design: Altius Group of Companies
Location: Muskoka Lakes, Ontario, Canada
Photos: John Doe
Scarcliffe Cottage, Ontario
Like all of Altius’ waterfront projects, the design team strived to have the dominant elevations settle quietly into the surrounding landscape. The Scarcliffe Cottage was built on terraced foundations clad in granite that appear to grow out of the natural shoreline.
Two types of siding were used, locally sourced Shou Sugi Ban burnt wood siding and a wine-red phenolic panel. The combination of grey granite, carbon black siding, and deep burgundy, which subtly compliments the green pines, makes the cottage the least visually prominent on the shoreline, despite having the most prominent siting. From a distance, it camouflages itself into the shoreline.
Key products used:
For the interiors, materials move from outside to in to provide a visual continuity that grounds the cottage to the site. The burnt black siding and granite seamlessly flow into the cottage and are joined by raw Douglas fir and locally sourced stained white pine siding…on the interior, where it should be.
What was the brief?
Complete new build creating a new cottage including all interiors:
The owners of the Scarcliffe Cottage first engaged Altius to help them acquire a Muskoka property on which they could build. After an exhaustive search, the team focused in on an unusual property on the north side of Lake Muskoka.
The property was unusual because the existing cottage was built only a few feet away from the water’s edge and even had an attached dry boathouse cantilevered out over the lake equipped with a marine railway and an expansive dock that covered the majority of the shoreline. The cottage itself was actually a collection of multiple additions built and renovated several times over top of what was likely an original cottage from the early 1900’s.
Stained light grey with excessive amounts of white trim the cottage dominated the shoreline of what was a relatively small lot with only 139’ of frontage and 0.7 acres of land. However, the cottage was sited on a small blunt point which provided privacy from the neighbours on both sides and spectacular southward views straight down Lake Muskoka.
Through analysis of the existing structure showed that the cottage was built in no less than five stages with some parts winterized, others not, and with deteriorating foundations and plumbing, electrical and mechanical spanning the best part of half a century. While the owners always intended to build this confirmed that there was nothing really worth saving.
How is the project unique?
The program of the cottage is centred on a two-storey open hallway that allows for a view through the cottage to the lake. The main floor stretches across the water front containing the living room, kitchen and the dining room that opens onto a screen porch. A generous outdoor deck provides for al fresco dining with a built-in BBQ and motorized awning.
The central hallway divides the master suite to the east from the kids and guest bedrooms on the west side. The master enjoys a generous ensuite bathroom and a private balcony while every bedroom has unparalleled lake views.
Separated by an open breezeway and linked to the upper floor with a narrow staircase is a main floor “bunk” of sorts with custom bunkbeds and a dedicated entertaining space that allows the teenagers to be teenagers without disturbing the adults and allows them to come and go without having to circulate through the main hallway.
What are the sustainability features?
Used year-round and featuring an advanced mechanical system prepped for a solar array the Scarcliffe Cottage finds the perfect balance between a cottage and a potential year-round residence.
What were the key challenges?
1)The Architects at Altius were tasked with the challenge of creating a modern cottage within the dimensional envelope of the existing cottage and diminishing the presence of what would be a large five-bedroom cottage right on the waterfront and subject to a Zoning Amendment approval.
2) The boathouse design also required a novel approach. Altius wanted the boathouse to similarly rise up out of the water to compliment the massing of the cottage.
What were the solutions?
1) Cottage Solution: The design team started with the volumetric massing of the cottage, projecting the first story living space forward and then stepping the two-storey volume containing the bedrooms up the hill creating an interesting split-level plan with four levels of flat roofs cascading down the hillside towards the water.
Like all of Altius’ waterfront projects the design team strived to have the dominant elevations nonetheless settle quietly into the surrounding landscape. The cottage is built on terraced foundations clad in granite that appear to grow out of the natural shoreline. Two types of siding were used, locally sourced Shou Sugi Ban burnt wood siding and a wine-red phenolic panel. The combination of grey granite, carbon black siding and deep burgundy, which subtly compliments the green pines, makes the cottage the least visually prominent cottage on the shoreline despite having the most prominent siting. From a distance, it camouflages itself into the shoreline.
2) Boathouse Solution:This was achieved with a sloping roofline that is a mere nine feet high at the southern end that rises up as it approaches the shore enough to accommodate a boat lift and enough height for a ski tower. The boat slip is an unusual drive-through design with a pedestrian bridge linking the main dock to the shoreline. The enclosed volume of the boat house is a convenient storage spot for waterfront sports gear including paddle boards and kayaks and moving the boat slip to the rear leaves the front dock exclusively for entertaining.
Scarcliffe Cottage on the Muskoka Lakes, Canada – Building Information
Architects: Altius Group of Companies – https://www.altius.net/
Completion date: 2022
Photography: John Doe
Scarcliffe Cottage on the Muskoka Lakes, Ontario images / information received 080323
Location: Muskoka Lakes, Ontario, Canada
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Website: Muskoka, Ontario, Canada