This modern waterside home is nestled on the shoreline of Lake Huron, one of the five Canadian Great Lakes.
The awe-inspiring modern house spans 17,222 square feet (plus 20,000 square feet of surrounding land) and is used as a retreat / second home by its owners throughout the year, for all three generations of the family to enjoy.
The homeowners requested a space that was durable, versatile, low maintenance and visually captivating from the inside out. They brought on architects and designers, Mark Bullivant and Johan Basson at SAOTA, in collaboration with Steven Cooper and Phil Sharron at Ontario-based firm, matter architectural studio inc., to design the build.
Contemporary design and durability were the two key themes for this property's design.
This whole property is clad in Neolith®, the pioneering brand of Sintered Stone, which proved the ideal choice for the home’s façades due to both its durability and its ability to be shaped in an unusual way. It's also scratch resistant and immune to high impact—all essential traits for a home surrounded by wilderness.
Architects Bullivant and Basson also incorporated two other materials to help blend into the landscape; a cream-coloured Strata Argentum to blend in with the snowy landscape in the winter and bright skies in the summer, and a darker charcoal Nero Zimbabwe to match the lower-level forest and the rest of the surrounding environment.
Its monochromatic exterior delivers impact, yet sits well in the natural setting.
The project is unique both in its appearance and its construction, as it was designed in the same way a commercial project would be, due to its size and complexity. However, with its sleek lines and earthy tones, it still manages to encapsulate the warmth of a beautiful, modern home.
The first challenge the architects had to overcome was that the lake wasn't easily visible from the home as it sits on a bluff, occupying a transitional space between the water and acres of forest land.
The architects therefore wanted to make sure that the first moment you see the lake has a real impact.
Conceptually, the architects stacked a series of rectangular boxes to embed the building into the ground plane, and suspended one overhead so that the living level could exist in between.
The architects then placed an indoor-outdoor volume to the south in order to anchor the building and allow the various spaces to capitalise on the views. The architects have designed it so the setting sun creates a dramatic view from the living room in the summer.
A giant pivoting door swings open into the entrance hall. Neolith was a key material for the design, and was used for this entrance hall and stairwell (which is three storeys tall), as well as all of the home's flooring, bathrooms, the kitchen ceiling and several corridors.
The interior's colour palette was chosen to complement the Neolith material, with a strategic balance of light and dark.
The seamless transition of material from the inside out was further aided by Stone and Textures artist, Eva Chylinski, who hand-painted the edges of each surface to match its pattern.
The kitchen also features a relaxed breakfast area and lounge corner with wall-mounted TV.
The open-plan scheme flows from space to space, and the kitchen, dining area and living area all sit within the same great room, cleverly zoned by partitions, rugs and lighting.
The open-plan layout gives the house a casual, effortless feel—a big driver given the home was built for the whole family to relax and entertain.
There's a separate, den-like games room where kids can retreat and relax separately.
A stunning staircase with illuminated treads lead up to the bedrooms.
The master bedroom features wrap-around windows with floor-to-ceiling views over the lakes.
Even the bathroom capitalises on the striking lake views.
Patio and swimming pool
A heated swimming pool is the cherry on the cake, framed by lake views, an outdoor patio with fire pit and an alfresco dining area.
The outdoor patio is covered, protecting it from rain making this an invitnig space year-round.