The design of every project begins with a care for the landscape – how you will live in and enjoy it, and how the buildings will be positioned and appear to others. As the Ontario lakeshores become more densely developed, it is important that new buildings be discreetly set into the landforms, that they be screened by trees, and that, through their material and stylistic qualities, they quietly take their place.
Cottages and country houses usually benefit from views in all directions — not just those to the water or to most obvious big view. The shorter views into the woods, or rocks, or to intimate gardens can also be very pleasing. The design of a cottage takes into account the whole site, and the relationship between a main building, sleeping cabins, outdoor living areas, swimming places, docks and boathouses are particularly important. Summer life can be largely outdoors and, with the short summer season in Ontario, we aim to make the most of the time.
The rooms of a country house or cottage can be disposed around the site so as to take best advantage of different views, sun at different times of day, and the seasons of the year. We usually want a range of rooms offering a graduated amount of enclosure from open terraces through various porches, to cosy interior rooms. We do like to use wood, stone, glass, and steel in ways that exhibit their material qualities. Our interiors range from all-wood and quite rustic in quality to bright white painted wood and gypsum board combinations. We strongly believe in providing for comfort in everyday life in our houses. They are meant to be lived in and lived in for a long time.
How we work:
We work with you in three phases:
1 developing a vision for the site and the buildings
2 creating the detailed building design
3 overseeing construction
Phase 1: Vision for the site and the buildings
We begin each project by gathering information: your vision, your budget, the qualities of the landscape, the local climate, and regulatory constraints. Next we look at how to occupy the landscape in the most pleasurable way: where to situate buildings, how to orient them to take best advantage of the views, natural ventilation and solar heat, and the position of major rooms to best accommodate indoor and outdoor living. This information informs the overall design concept.
When the design is clearly developed, we meet with you to present the design concept, which includes a formal presentation with hand sketches and images we create using 3D software, which show you different perspectives, views and lighting. Then we work with you to refine the concept to meet your requirements.
Phase 2: Detailed building design
Once we’ve settled on the design concept, we work closely with you to develop the building design in detail. We specify the materials and structure, and incorporate aspects of sustainable design. At the end of this phase, we create a complete design package for the builder, test the budget with one or more builders, and initiate approvals with governing bodies.
Phase 3: Construction
Once you’ve approved all aspects of the design, the budget meets your expectations and all approvals are in place, construction can begin. First we help you select a builder for the project. Then we review the work during construction, provide supplementary details, and help you make final decisions about materials, cabinetry, and lighting. A good working relationship between the client, the architect and the builder is essential in this phase.