October 25, 2013

Little House in the Big Woods: Superkül Builds Ontario Cabin

Never mind the knee-high snow. Andre D’Elia and Meg Graham braved it to survey 30 forested acres in remote Bracebridge, Ontario. “And I was six months pregnant,” Graham adds. For hours that winter day, the two principals of Superkül festooned trees with orange ribbon to mark a proposed building site before driving back to Toronto to wait nervously for spring—and whatever construction hazards the melting snow might reveal. Luckily, they proved to be nothing more than a tangle of underbrush and fallen trees. 

Preserving the maximum number of living trees was paramount to the couple who commissioned the Stealth Cabin, as D’Elia and Graham call it. Empty-nesters, both doctors, they requested three bedrooms and two bathrooms in a compact 1,500 square feet. A further goal was to merge the husband’s desire for a log cabin with the wife’s wish for a contemporary look, then add comfort to the equation. Case in point: While the house is entirely sheathed in cedar, outside and in, flooring is polished concrete straight out of an art gallery. The floor is furthermore radiant-heated in two zones, so the side of the house with the kitchen, living and dining areas, and master suite stays warm without needing to heat the side with the guest rooms and the office nook where the wife likes to write short stories. 

She also likes to cook, hence the prime location of the open kitchen. Here, snow-white solid-surfacing tops cabinets painted warm gray, complementing backsplash tile in sandblasted gray glass. The most unusual feature is a window seat. “It’s one of the smaller, intimate moments in the house,” D’Elia says. “It allows you to have two people doing completely different things. Even if the husband is reading, he’s still part of the action.” 

To make reading and relaxing on the porch more comfortable, Superkül overlaid the screens with closely spaced horizontal cedar lath. It screens views of the driveway and helps tame ferocious northwesterly gusts most of the year. Yes, that lovely water view from the porch and the kitchen’s window seat is of Bigwind Lake.

Project Team:
Shawn Gallaugher Design: Landscaping Consultant. Halcrow: Structural Engineer. Wilson Project Management: General Contractor.

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