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Clear Lake, ON, Canada







MJMA, Toronto​

In the pristine Lake Muskoka region of Ontario, Canada, approximately 200km north of Toronto, the Clear Lake Cottage stands as a beacon of refined interior design and innovative architectural solutions. Far removed from the hustle and bustle of urban life, this dwelling is a harmonious blend of space, light, and materiality, offering a serene retreat amidst nature's embrace.

The cottage's design is inspired by the simplicity of a tent, yet its sophistication lies in its ability to seamlessly integrate both the summer home's program and the sheltered outdoor spaces under a singular vernacular form. This design choice is more than aesthetic; it's a deliberate nod to the essence of a retreat, where the boundaries between the indoors and the outdoors blur, and nature takes centre stage.

From a distance, the cottage's roofline presents what might seem like a child's drawing of a house—rectilinear, symmetrically ordered, yet with a playful skew in its volume. This design choice isn't arbitrary. It's a reflection of the balance between order and whimsy, structure and fluidity.

As one ventures closer, the cottage reveals its true architectural prowess. It's nestled within the forest, its form sculpted and stepped to not just sit on the land, but to become one with it, modelling the natural grade. This design approach ensures that each room, be it the bedroom with its tranquil views, the kitchen that looks out to the forest canopy, the bathroom that feels like a private spa amidst nature, or the living room that serves as a sanctuary for relaxation, offers a unique perspective of the surroundings.

The open and closed faces of the cottage are a masterclass in design. They either open up to the breathtaking shoreline views or turn inward, offering a quiet introspection of the wooded depths. This duality strengthens the experience of the 'cottage'. It ensures that while one can revel in the panoramic views of the lake from spaces like the living room or bedroom, there are also corners designed for solitude, offering family members the much-needed privacy they sometimes seek.

The porosity of the building's envelope is another design achievement. It doesn't just amplify the experience of being in a 'cottage'; it redefines it. The interplay of light and shadow, the gentle breeze that wafts in, and the muted sounds of nature all contribute to an ambiance that's both luxurious and grounding.

In essence, the Clear Lake Cottage is more than a summer retreat. It's a celebration of interior design and architectural solutions that honour nature, cater to the nuances of family dynamics, and offer a haven of tranquillity and elegance in the heart of Ontario's lake region.

MJM Architects
Ted Watson
Olga Pushkar

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