Inspirations – Life… Cottage Traditions Carry On!

I’ve written in previous newsletters about inspiration for design being multifaceted. There must be consideration for the property’s features, topography & orientation. Research is required into local municipal zoning data for setbacks, lot coverage allowances and overall height restrictions. Then the homeowner’s budgets, preferences for architectural style & exterior materials and spatial requirements are woven into the equation.

In the case of Phil & Marcia’s cottage, three generations would be using the cottage on a regular basis – creating the need for specialized zoning of what I call ‘common’ and ‘private’ spaces.

The ‘common’ spaces are used by everyone – so entry space, mudroom, kitchen, dining and living have to be sized to accommodate multiple users and ages. There is equipment storage required for all seasons; skis & boots, coats, hiking & rain gear. Planning for large numbers means ample food storage space, an extra fridge, servery and coffee bar.

The ‘private’ areas for sleeping and bathing need to be zoned for privacy. By locating the younger families on a different level and sound proofing the floor system this can be achieved effectively. I always advise that bathrooms with multiple users be designed with the toilet in a private stall, and the tub and/or shower be separated with space for drying off and changing.


In-floor Radiant Heating

For twenty years, in every custom home or cottage I have designed, in-floor heating has been specified and installed at the time the basement slab is poured. With new construction, it just makes sense to install the loops of tubing required for the system. New OBC code requires insulation to be installed below the basement slab – just one more reason to take advantage of the benefits of a warm floor.

Back in 1997, the very first home we installed it in was a large two storey home. The dry-walling was being done in late September and the owners wanted to move in by Thanksgiving. The summer had been damp and cool- not good conditions for drywall and taping to cure efficiently. When the basement in-floor warming was turned on, it was remarkable how the effect was felt throughout every level of the house.

In bungalows, the effect of basement floor warming is felt even more. The warming of the concrete floor produces a consistent, comfortable heat. Gone is the old view of basements being ‘damp and chilly’. Installation of floor warming means basements can be comfortable and utilized well for extra living and bedroom areas.

At Phil and Marcia’s cottage, in-floor heating was installed in the slab and the concrete floor was ground, polished and sealed, creating a functional, hard-wearing and practical floor.

Well – Winter has arrived in full force!! It was a white Christmas and wonderful to see the grandchildren and kids enjoying sledding. The crisp snow makes the landscapes look pristine and fresh. As we head into the New Year of 2018 – I send my sincerest wishes for good health and prosperity!

In this 20th issue of Seasonal, we’re heading to cottage and ski country – featuring a new build completed in 2017. For any previous Seasonal newsletters, please visit my website

LIFE ~ Cottage Traditions Carry On!

In January of 2016, Phil and Marcia invited me to visit them at their cottage. Originally built in the 1960’s and purchased by Phil’s father in the 1980’s, many generations have spent their summers there swimming in the lake and winters skiing at the nearby slopes. The original structure was in need of demolition, so Phil, Marcia & I began the process of designing a new cottage that would suit them, their children and their grandchildren. The tradition of year-round and multi-generational use was a key requirement. Interior and exterior finishes needed to be hard-wearing and long-lasting. The layout needed to allow three generations to be together at times but also needed quieter areas to which people could retreat.

1. Architectural Design: Jane Cameron, Life Home Design
2. Builder: Bill Gostick 519- 477-5678
3. Structural Engineering: C.C. Tatham Engineering
4. Mechanical HVAC Design: McCallum HVAC Design
5. Wood Siding: Goodfellow
6. Exterior Stone: Shouldice Designer Stone

Sausage Sweet Potato Bake

This casserole is simple, quick to prepare and tasty! It’s a perfect winter dish served with baked rice (the Baked Rice recipe is in the Seasonal Fall 2015 newsletter and can be cooked at the same time). Serves 4 to 5.

Brown in skillet:
1 lb. bulk sausage (I use Sweet Italian or Honey Garlic)
Drain excess fat and cut into 1 inch pieces

Arrange in a 2 quart casserole dish:
2 medium raw sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
3 medium apples, peeled and sliced
Add the browned sausage

Combine in a separate bowl:
1/2 c. water
1 TBsp. flour
2 TBsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Pour the water mixture over the sausage, sweet potatoes and apples, stir all together, cover and bake at 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until potatoes and apples are tender.

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