Set deep within the lake-filled Canadian woods, this detailed retreat by MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects is made all the more impressive by the fact that it’s the firm’s first standalone single-family residence. Constructed on a hillside overlooking the water, the large family cottage trades angular architecture on one side for maximal glass area on the opposite edge. By utilizing numerous rectangular nooks and large open entrances, an eye-pleasing contrast is created between the bold black of the abode’s exterior cladding and the invitingly warm light wood of its interior walls. Most of the interior is formatted as a single open-air room, with ceiling heights taller than the outside of the house would suggest. Considerations are still made for privacy and the definition of different rooms, however, so even within the open area there are cleverly defined space borders. Despite the fact that the main living area stretches all the way up to the building’s roof, a small usable second floor is still integrated successfully and discreetly into the design, tucked under the plywood crest. Innovative and detailed elements are used throughout the vacation home, a dignified place to spend time off.
The building itself exhibits not only a contrast in color, but one in general form as well. Instead of settling for a specific contemporary architectural style, the architects chose to include elements of both square-edge home design and ultramodern angularity.
Along the hillside’s edge, a rectangular style of design comes through most conspicuously. Even with an arched roof and two floors of rooms, the cottage comes off as a long, low dwelling from almost any angle.
The main living space of the home is open and continuous by design, but great attention is also given to making sure that each functional area retains its own sense of separation. To that end, differences in ceiling height, lighting, and wood finish are used extensively.
A couple of boxy cutouts on the home’s lake side provide common space between rooms, integrating large boulders from the lot and successfully invoking a blend of the outdoors and indoors.
The family getaway’s angular parts are at their most extreme in the children’s bedroom area, set just under the structure’s sloping roof. A half-height wall on one edge creates a railing with direct sight down into the kitchen and living space, integrating all the house’s rooms.