Investment Property – Design Build


The Goal:

Figure out how to put a building on the one flat spot of a one acre plus piece of investment property that was severely constrained by steep cliffs, rocky terrain and an adjacent creek. The buildable area was “too small to build on” by normal standards.


The Challenge:

What you can’t see in the photos is (a) the creek – a mere 40’ from the house and (b) the cumbersome embankment at the rear. Also, because no municipal septic or water services existed, we had to design a solution that took into account the distance to the creek and applicable bylaws.


The Solution:

We applied for and were granted variances from the Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Environment, and Health and Islands Trust. We designed and built a compact and extremely efficient 20’ x 24’ (480 SF per level) – 3 level home, totalling 1440 SF. We maximized the use of vertical space when horizontal space wasn’t available. And of course we handled the sewer and water services absolutely to code.


Cottages & Cabins – New Cottage and Cabin Construction


The Goal:

Design and build the first of 3 cottage property buildings in accordance with local zoning which allows for one main building of any size and two auxiliary buildings with a maximum 500’ footprint and height restriction of 22’. We also wanted the building to complement – not compete – with the surrounding landscape.


The Challenge:

The first challenge was to decide which of the three buildings to construct and how to maximize the space for optimal use. The second challenge was water-only access. The third was the conspicuous absence of septic, water and power services.


The Solution:

We decided to build one of the auxiliary buildings first, and then use it as a stepping stone for the next project, a 2,200 square foot cottage. Because it was the first, and we needed to maximize the available vertical space, we chose to design a loft – with great living space – and we integrated it into the landscape. Delivering building materials to the site was a challenge. We waited for the lake to freeze, then we drove all the building materials across to the property, and stacked them until spring. The Sudbury Health Department marvelled at and approved our gravity fed biofiltration septic system that was designed without the need for any motorized or powered components. The water system utilized a small gas pump to pump lake water to a water tower that was constructed on a nearby rock bluff, 70’ above the cabin, such that gravity could take over and provide water without power.

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