SKY HOUSE – A net zero lakeside home.

Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster are all about the unexpected. According to the Canadian designers, who have been collaborating since 2003, they seek to create spaces, objects, and situations that “interrupt the ordinary in critically engaging and playful ways.” 

A prime example of their approach, which so creatively underscores the value of surprise, is this home in Stoney Lake. 

Located in Ontario, Stoney Lake forms the eastern boundary of the Kawartha Lakes region. It’s a scenic area sought after for its bodies of water; it is prime cottage territory for city dwellers in the Greater Toronto Area. 

This cottage is seemingly a contemporary twist on a classic A-frame. It’s almost as though, in their quest to interrupt the ordinary, the designers chose to multiply that traditional silhouette and set the whole thing askew with a playful dose of asymmetry. 

The land upon which the cottage is built is a steep lakeside site. Working with this challenging topography, Jamrozik and Kempster designed the cottage with two volumes stacked on top of each other. “The lower volume nestles into the landscape so that it is barely visible as one first approaches the house,” the designers share via press release. “The upper volume rests on the lower one and on a concrete pier to form both a bridge and a cantilever. This massing strategy allows for increased access and permeability of the site and emphasizes the charged relationship between the building and the ground.” 

Materials on the exterior of the cottage were chosen for their simplicity, durability, and the fact that they require little maintenance. This means, on the roof, a reflective standing seam metal and a lapped heat-treated wood cladding (in other words, petrified wood). The interior is lined with formaldehyde-free plywood. 

One choice we love about this cottage is its bold use of the colour blue in the interior design scheme. There’s something about the colour that feels like an unexpected choice for the woodsy setting. The colour moves throughout the home like a bright tributary stream. Everything from the sofa and dining room chairs to the pendant lighting fixtures and glazed brick socle (which plays triple duty as a low room divider, hearth, and seating area) sport vibrant shades of azure, robin’s egg blue, and cobalt. 

These blues are given centre stage against an otherwise pale, airy palette. The living spaces are bright and open, with factory-inspired skylights admitting light from the north (which minimizes heat gain) and large windows lining the lake-facing side of the home. A covered walkway similarly minimizes heat by shading the lengthy glass wall from direct summer sun, whereas in the wintertime it allows the weakened sunlight to passively heat the dark-dyed concrete floor. 

Further playful details throughout the cottage include colourful coat hooks, which are scattered like a pop-art installation along a wall near the entrance, and a custom undercroft swing-bench. 

As much as we love the interiors of this beautiful cottage, it’s the silhouette of the exterior we adore most. Those slanted peaks seem to rise towards the treetops like a row of mountain peaks. After a day of canoeing and swimming on the water, it would be the perfect retreat to return to for a hot cup of evening cocoa and a home cooked meal. 

Photographer: Doublespace Photography
General Contractor: Timberline Custom Homes
Structural Engineer: Jim Thomson
Landscape Design: Gray Landscape Construction

Courtesy of V2com