Catchacoma Cottage

A multi-generational cottage is characterized by three soaring volumes that harmonize with its dramatically sloping lakeside site

Designed for an extended family of three generations, this one-storey cottage offers a highly functional space in a compact footprint. A central gathering space includes a kitchen, space for living and dining with high sloped ceilings, and a loft space tucked above the kitchen. On each side, distinct wings house family bedrooms and guest bedrooms as separate volumes. The cottage includes 6 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a family room in a footprint of 205 square meters, emphasizing social connections and shared experiences. Steeply sloped rooflines articulate the three volumes, each sitting at a different floor height that follows the natural grade of the site.

To sustain a continuous connection to the landscape, the design approach minimizes visual and physical barriers between interior and exterior spaces to enhance enjoyment of the cottage experience. Views and access to the exterior are featured along every axis; each circulation route culminates in openings to the exterior ensuring a constant connection to the surrounding landscape. Sloping rooflines with vaulted ceilings offer increased light and natural ventilation, while retaining a cozy and human scale within.

On the interior a palette of white, wood, and dark accents carries throughout. Maple plywood sheets clad the interior walls, with two standouts: a wall of cold rolled steel surrounding the wood-burning stove and a wall of reclaimed wood in the entry foyer. In contrast, the kitchen features charcoal grey material accents, including a greystone island and metal elements. These components strike a balance with the warmth of the wood throughout. Outside, charred wood siding allows the cottage to blend into its setting, harmonizing with the dark tree trunks that surround it. Rather than leveling the site surrounding the structure, the landscape is celebrated and left as unaltered as possible. The sloped site’s challenges are addressed by an expansive deck that spans multiple levels. This deck effectively bridges the grade difference and offers various areas for different groups to gather. It stretches along the lake side of the cottage, providing ample space for family gatherings and outdoor relaxation, and cascades down in multiple tiers towards the water’s edge.

To minimize energy use, the four-season cottage is designed with zoning capabilities that allow for the closure of specific portions or separate wings when not in use. With sustainability as a priority for the client, the design incorporates other features such as high-performance glazing, strategically placed operable windows that maximize natural ventilation during warmer months, a heat-recovery ventilation system combined with a tightly sealed building envelope, as well as wall and roof insulation levels that exceed minimum code requirements.

  • The Wall Street Journal, “Catchacoma Fireplace”

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