Friday, February 09, 2018

Cottage Threes

Ask both homeowners and Home Hardware design consultants what they love about Beaver Homes and Cottages’ Dorset II and they will give the same answer: its versatility. The spacious, 1300-square-foot home allows owners and designers to bring their vision to life—from bigger windows to more bedrooms to, yes, even secret passageways! Let’s look at how three families with very different needs adapted the Dorset II to make it uniquely their own.

The Retirees

Danny, a retired industrial engineer, and Janet, a dental hygienist looking to retire within the next few years, were looking for a cottage that would also become their permanent home. The Dundas, Ontario couple had purchased an existing structure in Oliphant four years ago, but soon discovered it had been rotting away and needed to be torn down. They went to the Wiarton Home Hardware Building Centre and talked to Design Consultant Jason Stevens about their options. The Dorset II gave them the space they wanted, the flexibility to get the most from their picturesque location, and options to make it a home that will work for them as they grow older. With only one level, they won’t have to trek up and down any stairs. They also opted for a propane fireplace to avoid the strenuous task of collecting and carrying firewood. Danny also explains, “We moved the fireplace from the south-facing wall, and instead added a third window for an unobstructed view of the lake.” Because everyone seems to gather in the kitchen, Danny and Janet wanted to add a few extra feet of space. They also upped the ante on their exterior with rich Fraser Fir shingles. After five months, their new cottage was ready to go. Over Thanksgiving weekend, they celebrated with family while their golden retriever, Muskoka, got to chase raccoons outside. “We moved the fireplace from the south-facing wall, and instead added a third window for an unobstructed view of the lake.”

The Permanent Residents

Erik Carlson, Design Consultant at the Espanola Home Hardware, had met the Sabourins five years ago when they were looking to build a custom home. When lakefront property on Manitoulin Island became available, their plans quickly shifted gears. And work began almost immediately. Sarah Sabourin is a manager of The Island Jar, a health food store, and her husband Kyle is a instrument technician. They have two daughters who are 4 and 6 years old. They chose the Dorset II because, “It gave us the flexibility we wanted, and it fit within our budget,” Sarah explains. “It was just as easy as buying a pre-built house, but a lot more fun!” Erik worked with contractor Shawn Taylor, of Taylor & Son Construction, to add a full basement for additional living space for the young family. And Kitchen Designer Derek Sisson helped create a kitchen that was both beautiful and functional for everyday use. The features and fixtures have a sleek, modern look. Sarah would see something in a magazine or online and send it to the Home Hardware design team who worked to bring her ideas to life. “It gave us the flexibility we wanted, and it fit within our budget.” Sarah explains. “It was just as easy as buying a pre-built house, but a lot more fun!” “I feel lucky to have had such an amazing team,” she says. During construction, she came to Erik with an odd request: “In our old house, the girls shared a room. But here, they each have their own. We still wanted them to share some space, so I asked Erik if he could build a secret passageway into each girl’s room through their closets.” Erik was happy to accommodate, but Sarah expressed a concern: “Once the girls are teenagers, I feel like I will be asking him to plaster over it again.”

The Siblings

“My father bought the property in 1954 as a bachelor getaway that soon became a beloved family retreat. I’ve spent all my summers here, gazing at the same rocks and water of my childhood,” she says. But, with three families now wanting to share one cottage, they needed something bigger. Maggie explains, “The Dorset’s layout and size were what attracted me. Thirteen hundred square feet was just right.” The three siblings worked together to create a space that accommodated the tastes and needs of not just one family, but three. “I closed in a porch overhang to make a screened porch –much appreciated when blood-thirsty mosquitoes are swarming outside, and I turned a second porch overhang into a mudroom. My brother chose the pine flooring, and he and my sister-in-law planned the kitchen, while my sister chose the door and closet hardware.” But getting the three siblings to agree was the easy part. The cottage’s remote location provided some unique challenges for Design Consultant Dave Traviss and builder Tim Hodges. “We had to clear a passage through the thick forest to drag all the materials up to the top of the hill by Bobcat. And because it’s only accessible by water, in the winter months we had to slide the materials across the frozen lake,” says Dave. Furthermore, Maggie lives in Peterborough, so she and Dave had to quickly develop a sense of trust when communicating their ideas solely over phone and email. She says, “Dave was terrific to work with. He had practical suggestions, and he always wanted to hear my opinion. He was quick to return calls and emails.” But all the effort proved worth it, with their uniquely stunning cottage resting on pillars on top of a lush mountaintop overlooking 6 Mile Lake.