Charles Gane, a Toronto architect and founding principal of CORE Architects, created this 2000-square-foot space as a family haven away from the big city. Although it may resemble a downtown condo, the Georgian Bay retreat is completely self-sufficient. An impressive mix of off-grid functionality and urban style, the home is powered by solar panels, uses its own water filtration system, and has on-site sewage treatment.
While Gane may have been inspired by lofty downtown spaces, the cottage was constructed with the surrounding environment in mind. Its long beams of wood and floor-to-ceiling windows integrate the Monument Channel landscape into the design.
Large windows and skylights create 360-degree views in the living area, filling it with warm, natural light. When night does arrive, electricity is supplied by rooftop solar panels. There is also an impressive wood-burning fireplace to keep everyone cozy and warm during bad weather.
The open-concept layout creates an accessible living space, allowing guests to join together in one of the large communal sitting areas. The kitchen has a built-in breakfast bar made from untreated natural wood, a dining table, and even a window seat, perfect for early-morning tea drinkers.
The majority of the building is made from Douglas firs, including the deck, ceiling, interior walls, cabinetry, and exposed exterior walls. A clever post and beam design gives each room a breezy and bright atmosphere that invites nature inside.
Like many off-grid structures, a bio-filter septic system is used to treat all the water waste that comes from the cottage. But at this cabin, practicality never subtracts from style—the bathroom has the same chic, polished-concrete flooring used in the kitchen and communal space. The city-meets-country design is further displayed in the high ceilings, modern tiles, and clean surfaces.
Using only minimalistic materials—everything had to be brought in by boat—Gane created as much outdoor space as he did in. Traditional cottage designs inspired the deck, where the wood flooring, tall beams, and outdoor fire pit create a perfect place to sit and reflect.