Reed’s Bay HouseWolfe Island, Ontario
Built on the largest island in the Thousand Islands archipelago, this simple year-round residence is modelled on a traditional long barn, cut away to provide sheltered outdoor space while simultaneously capitalizing on the enjoyment of the expansive Lake Ontario views. The resulting void enables discreet entry from the covered terrace at the side of the house while providing seductive passage directly through the iconic shed form. Designed with pared-down elegance and economy in mind, the owners undertook some of the construction themselves.
Simple volumetric forms interlock to provide a spatially generous home on a small footprint. The house turns its back to the street, favouring the lake orientation. Its design is organized by a narrow double-height corridor along its eastern back edge, while living and sleeping quarters are located along southern and western edges facing the lake. With 10-foot-high glazed panels, these rooms are awash in natural light and enjoy privileged views of land and water. Upstairs, a loft contains a second bedroom and an open office; the steeply pitched roof imbues both spaces with an intimate and gently compressed spatial dynamic.
Operable skylights and windows admit additional daylight to penetrate virtually every room in the house while enabling passive ventilation to occur. Cedar boards painted white amplify the reflective light quality and pale austerity of the interior. Additionally, low-maintenance local grasses and plantings were used throughout the site to integrate with the local ecosystem and to reduce irrigation requirements.