A treehouse cottage
It used to be that off-grid cottaging was synonymous with moth-plagued oil lanterns and hissing propane. Not anymore. Great advances in green technology mean that many of the creature comforts of home are just one well-considered solar-power system away, even in the middle of the Canadian Shield. For many, building off-grid is a deliberate lifestyle choice. So it was for Toronto designers Arriz Hassam and Suzanne Dimma, who shared the story of their Haliburton off-grid getaway in the October 2012 issue of Cottage Life magazine. Harnessing the power of a simple but efficient solar system and the latest in green building practices, they are able to live luxuriously and stylishly at their remote, boat-access retreat, all while maintaining a small eco-footprint. Their cottage is an inspiration to those who crave beautiful design and an eco-friendly lifestyle.
A deck with a view
The cottage is surrounded by decking, offering many places to stand and take in the stellar views around the structure, including a private bay and a pristine forest.
Off the grid
Three small solar panels perch atop the cottage’s standing-seem roof. Together they power a fridge, a pump for water from the lake, a composting toilet, a stereo, a few small lights, and a fan for the woodstove.
An elevated escape
At one point, the 1,200 sq. ft. building hovers more than seven metres above the ground.
A large sliding door, made from harvested wood, separates the master bedroom from the living area. It is often left open, as above, to maximize the breeze coming off the lake.
Spacious and flexible
The kitchen opens up onto a generous dining area and beyond to the living room. The day bed at the far end of the space can be hidden by a curtain system to create a guest sleeping area.
A perfect place to lounge
There’s another daybed on the screened porch. It offers an unobstructed view to the water—an ideal spot for an afternoon nap.
Natural elements, such as these bird feathers, are a repeating theme in the décor.
Keep things interesting
The décor is also peppered with hits of the unexpected, including a white tribal juju.
Everything in its place
Bedroom storage includes a simple Pax wardrobe from Ikea, painted and mounted on the wall. Woven baskets add extra storage and a layer of texture to the space.
Dimma and Hassam mounted another piece of furniture in the dining room—a vintage armoire that Dimma has had for years.
A collection of charm
The coffee table in the living room is its own gallery of objects, including deer antlers, reading materials, and stones from the property.
How cozy is this space? In the evenings, Dimma lights wax candles throughout the cottage. She also uses battery-powered pillar candles, set on a timer, to showcase the beautiful ceiling.
Drag Lake landscape
Haliburton’s Drag Lake is firmly in Shield Country, with dramatic rock cliffs such as this one along shoreline.
A lake journey
Although on the mainland, the cottage is water-access only.