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Home Media Making The Most Of The Nature
Making The Most Of The Nature
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Built by Triton

Create the ideal country getaway emphasizing the natural surroundings. Ensuring that architecture respects the natural landscape is important in any locations, but it's especially true to country residence - a place where you go to get in touch with the great outdoors and enjoy a refreshing break from city life. Recently designed and decorated a lakeside retreat in the Ontario resort region of Muskoka.

This grand - scale, three-level cottage includes seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms. That said, whatever the size of your country home - and whether you're building from the ground up, renovating or redecorating - there are many design techniques you can use to honour the natural environment.

The positioning of your structure is crucial. For this project, we staked out the property three times with surveyors, paying close attention to existing rock formations. I wanted the cottage to nestle down into the landscape as close to the water's edge as possible. It was also essential to ensure the lake views from every room.

Front View
Built by Trition

The floor plan of the cottage extends into two wings, focused around a central Great Room. Considering that the scale is substantial, I chose to make the building as inconspicuous as possible by choosing colours that would blend in with the surrounding rocks and trees. I selected three natural hues for exterior paints: taupe for the wood siding, a lighter shade of sand for window and door frames, and a taupey green for the doors themselves. The low-pitched roof was also intended to keep the house close to the ground. Cedar shake shingles where the natural choice. It is important to note that designing the roof with no eaves troughs reduces winter maintenance because snow, ice and rain will run off easily.

Opposite the sheltered front door, we created a waterfall using the natural rock of the hillside. The following water creates a soothing background sound, and provides a scenic view for windows not facing the lake.

Built by Trition

For the cottage, my clients had definite desire. Their home in the city is formal and traditional, so they wanted their country retreat to feel light and modern, but still cozy and comfortable. The atmosphere is very evident in the Great Room - the primary living space of the cottage. Large windows and gals doors frame marvelous lake views. A second-story gallery with a peaked ceiling is ringed with windows, drawing in as much natural light as possible. Adding warmth to this area is a carved granite fireplace imported from Ireland. For evening entertainment, a TV screen drops from the ceiling above the mantle, and the room becomes Mw warm and cozy sanctuary.

In developing this room, I wanted to keep the color palette neutral - serving as kind of blank canvas that puts emphasis on the view and allows greater versatility for furnishings and art. Cream drapes disappear into the cream-colored walls. Light maple doors and floors help define a clean, contemporary style. Among the furnishings are two overstuffed chenille couches in a soft green. As a general rule, I find blue doesn't work easily as a dominant color in Ontario cottage country, as our lakes are typically a blue-black and most shades of blue will fight with it. Picking up the green of vegetation provides amore flexible option. I considered this when designing the kitchen, which is always a popular gathering place. As a special whimsical detail, fish indigenous to the lake were hand-painted above the island countertop.

Built by Trition

While nature offers a gorgeous view form the windows, the interior walls are a gallery of contemporary art which provide bursts of bright color. These painting take on particular vibrancy when the landscape outside is a snow covered white.

Outdoor living areas are equally important. The lakeside facade i lined with two levels of decks and terraces featuring a variety of sitting areas that range from an old fashioned porch swing to a dining table for eight. Sturdy wooden frames are softened with plush cushions. To protect then from sudden rains, lockable storage cabinets are positioned conveniently close by. As the view is the focal point, it's advisable not to block your balconies with solid panels or pickets. The railings here are faced with plate gals, so as not to obstruct scenery.

Built by Trition

One of the lakeside terraces is designed as an outdoor spa. Resembling a natural hot spring, the sunken whirlpool is surrounded by limestone slabs. The neighbouring fire pit is gas-lit for ease of use. On a cool night, it's wonderful to warm up in the hot tub, then run down to the dock beside the boathouse for a refreshing dip in the lake.

Making the most of nature in your country home covers a realm of possibilities. Smart design helps you celebrate your unique landscape, so you can enjoy a getaway that's both relaxing and rejuvenating.

David E. Fullman
Triton General Contractors