“Let’s have some fun!”

At our first meeting, Scott and Tanya showed me images of the exteriors of traditional cottages they liked but when it came to the interior images that resonated with them, the styles were modern, sleek, and clean-lined. There was a huge dichotomy in styles. We agreed there should be some cohesiveness between the exterior and interior and after discussing this at some length, we decided, “Let’s have some fun!”

It’s easy to ‘break-the-rules’ in cottage country, in fact, it’s expected! So taking design cues from the ‘Modernist Movement’ we dove in. Low slope roof planes and wide overhangs are simple and functional- they help shade the summer sun and protect the exterior walls. Overall height is kept to a minimum. Lots of glass and operable windows let breezes flow through in the summer and connect the inside to the natural beauty outside. Proportions of space are carefully considered- the larger spaces are common areas for living and dining, with the bedrooms efficiently sized. The structure is expressive- support posts are exposed, ceilings extend past the exterior walls to the roofs outside and the stairs are designed with open risers. Covered outdoor porches extend the living and play space and provide shelter from the rain.


Energy Efficiency and Windows

In 2010 the Ontario Building Code issued SB-12 – new regulations regarding Energy Efficiency for Housing. The document is revised and upgraded regularly, addressing the levels of insulation in every area of the home, including the efficiency of windows to prevent heat loss. The tables specify requirements based on the climactic zones within Ontario, what type of heating equipment is used and whether the planned construction is completely new or an addition to an existing structure.

Definitions first:

‘R Value’ = the capacity of an insulating material to resist heat flow. The higher the R value, the better.

‘U Value’ = means a measure of heat loss. The lower the U value, the better.

Based on SB-12, the R-values for walls, floors and roofs are specified, as long as the window and glass door areas of the home do not exceed 17% of the overall wall areas. That area can increase to 22% for windows with a better U-value. Conversely, a ‘Performance Based’ review must be undertaken if the window and glass door areas are greater than 22%. In the cottage featured here, by specifying windows with a better U-value and sizing the windows to maximize views on the main floor and keeping the second floor bedroom windows smaller, we were able to keep the ratio below the 22%.


What a glorious summer it was! Night after night, warm enough to sit outside and ample rain for the farmers and fruit growers. The fresh corn was sweet and the peaches were amazing (that’s 31 quarts in the picture above - our eldest daughter and I had a busy day canning those!). With the fall harvest beginning let’s be thankful for the bounty in our land! I’m so thankful, again, to great clients who are happy to show off their homes and cottages. And I’m thankful to all you readers who give me ideas!

Scott and Tanya’s cottage featured here has plenty of room for their young family and extra space for visiting guests and grandparents. It is their year-round retreat for all the fun stuff of family life- vacations, swimming, building sand castles, boating, campfires, skiing, and just plain-old hanging out! Tanya says, “I get a real sense of peace every time I walk in there.”

1. Cottage Design: Jane Cameron, Life Home Design,
2. Structural Engineer: Steve Boyd, Quaile Engineering,
3. HVAC Mechanical Design: Doug McCallum, McCallum HVAC Design Inc.,
4. Builder: Bill Gostick Construction, mobile: 519-477-5678
5. Stone: Owen Sound Ledgerock,
6. Stone Mason: Citadel Masonry, email:
7. Wood Siding: Ipe, Goodfellow,
8. Steel Roofing: Mrazco roofing, email:
9. Windows and Exterior Doors: Alumilex Windows,
10. Wood floors: Fuzion Flooring, Meaford Carpets,
11. Kitchen: Southgate Cabinets, Michael Landman,
12. Landscape Design: Darren Bosch, The Landmark Group,
13. Landscaping: John Pedlar, Rock Solid Landscape,

Baked Rice and the Sixty-Minute-Meal

I realize there is a new measure for assessing ‘Best Recipes’! - they are the ones your kids ask for when they move out! This Baked Rice recipe is one of those. When all of our 4 kids were at home, my solution to getting a healthy dinner on the table was the Sixty-Minute-Meal. The baked rice, meat and a vegetable (like squash or beets) all went in the oven for 60 minutes. I prepared a quick salad in the last 10 minutes, and dinner was ready. This was, and still is, my mealtime mainstay!

Baked Rice
You need a 1.5 quart casserole baking dish with a lid.
Put the kettle on to boil. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put in the casserole dish:
2 cups of rice (I use 1c. long grain brown, 1/3 c. each of wild rice, mixed rice and white)
2 tsp. of salt (I use 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. of McCormick’s Table Shake)
Some fresh ground pepper (to your liking)
1 TB. butter or olive oil

4 cups of boiling water

Put the lid on and bake for 1 hour.

Experiment as you like with the types of rice you use. We like a hearty rice and baking it is really a fail-proof method. It’s great reheated for left-overs or served cold in salads..

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