Located on a quiet lake in Ontario’s Haliburton Highlands, this modest family cottage seeks to integrate directly with its natural surroundings to offer a sylvan refuge at the water’s edge.
The home sits at the base of a steep hill that cascades down toward Little Redstone Lake, secreted away from view while featuring generous vantage points out onto the water. Clad in lightly burned and brushed cypress, the charred hue camouflages the cottage and establishes it as part of the forested landscape, letting the site’s natural features and native trees remain foregrounded and primary.
While the exterior blends with the terrain, the interiors consist of white-washed birch plywood, providing a serene counterpoint that evokes a deep sense of tranquility. The house is awash in natural light, bringing the interior experience into harmony with the rhythms and moods of the outdoors. Glazing along the main floor offers full vistas of the lake and beyond, interrupted only by a concrete and blackened steel fireplace. The hearth proposes a demarcation between living and dining areas in the otherwise open space, and is adjacent to a full kitchen outfitted with ample storage.
This four-season cottage boasts enough space to sleep 10 comfortably — a priority for the clients who share this space with family members and friends — and was designed to meet high energy efficiency standards, ensuring comfort throughout the year. In-floor radiant heat provides a cozy warmth during the colder months, while duct work circulates hot air from the wood-burning fireplace more widely throughout the house. The strategic placement of operable windows along the double-height staircase is intended to encourage passive ventilation as temperatures rise in the spring and summer.
At the edge of the lake, just beyond the trees that sit between the cottage and the water, a small pavilion sits perched above the stones along the shore. Two walls of glass open at a columnless corner to expand the space, providing the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine while taking in a summer sunset.
Location: Haliburton Highlands, ON
Size: 1,623 sf
Photos: James Brittain