Sitting serenely on the shores of a remote island in the Muskoka Lakes region north of Toronto, a minimalist boathouse stands out with strong horizontal lines that run parallel to the shore, dominating the architectural scape with quiet grace.
The striking black colour is a result of an ancient Japanese technique of treating cedar with fire, called Shou Sugi Ban, an element that was chosen by the owners to protect the house from substantial temperature changes that can occur in this part of Canada. This Japanese technique is gaining popularity in contemporary architecture around the world, as it’s able to seal the wood cells and protect the wood.
In contrast to the dark cedar structure, the interior of this 2,300-square-foot home is light and fun. Clad in Douglas fir and Baltic birch, the minimalist modern décor is punctuated by pops of colour carefully selected by the owners, such as a bright green couch and a vibrant painting of a butterfly.
Although wooden docks can be seen throughout the Muskoka Lakes region, this house expands upon the typical design to create a massive outdoor space on the water, adding significant area to the footprint almost as big as the house itself. The outdoor space is divided by a large, cantilevered trellis that provides shade and privacy for some portions, while the added area allows for additional boat docking, optimal for outdoor gathering and entertaining in nature’s surroundings.
Above all, this boathouse is a refuge, a place to gather and enjoy the slower pace of life as it honours its surroundings of forest, water, and sky.