A Modern Boathouse in Rustic Cottage Country

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An Ontario island cottage gets a handsome boathouse – designed by Weiss Architecture & Urbanism – brimming with function and fun.

For an island cottage, a welcoming dock is essential. Both a beacon and landing site, this delicately executed boathouse and dock by Toronto’s Weiss Architecture & Urbanism sets the bar high. Located on Georgian Bay, smack in the heart of Ontario’s cottage country, the modern insertion mixes clean lines with rustic materials. Anchored seems an apt word to describe it; its two covered structures — one for storage and one for seating — carefully balance a long and lean dock. The sleek, modernist scheme and natural textures blend the sizeable dock into the rocky landscape with a timber and rock frame, cedar dock, and black-stained re-sawn cedar siding.

Boathouses in this area are historically wood-clad buildings resembling small houses. While charming, they often don’t offer much in the way of lounge space or provide much shade for cottage-goers. Weiss’s take on the concept extends to create central outdoor living space replete with shade, storage and multiple seating areas. There are several elements at work here with housing for boats and equipment, a kitchenette and bar area, and a covered seating pavilion with integrated soft uplighting for evening use.

While functional, the pieces are also elegantly thought out. A thin horizontal canvas shade stretches the length of the main dock and visually disappears when looked at from the water. Equal concern for sightlines exists for the people on the dock itself with bold steel supports framing the million-dollar view of the water and majestic pines. The idyllic set-up makes it easy to lounge, play, swim, boat, and generally while away the summer.

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