Manitouwabing Lake Residence, Township of McKellar, District of Parry Sound, Ont.

MJMA, Toronto

Photography by Shai Gil

The client asked, “Can you design a Canadian cottage where Frank Sinatra would hang out?” The popular crooner‘s mid-century-modern Palm Springs home is long, low and flat-roofed; the interior and exterior feel like a continuous space focused on the piano-shaped swimming pool. Ditto MJMA’s cottage, except that here the focus is a pair of boulders in the central courtyard that mimic chunks of Canadian Shield on the hill overlooking Manitouwabing Lake. These boulders seem jarring and surreal because they beg the question “Are we indoors or out?” The 2,746-sq.-ft. cottage features an expansive terrace and deck that seemingly levitate several inches above the ground. Deep overhangs and large glazed areas on the south and west protect against solar build up in summer and allow for heating gains in winter. North and east faces are opaque, minimally articulated and highly insulated to protect from wind and heat loss. Concrete radiant floor heating contributes to energy conservation, creating heat sinks through the day and night.