A Canadian Lakeside Charmer
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A Canadian Lakeside Charmer

Nestled on the shore of Ontario’s Otty Lake, this cheerful cabin boasts views from every room.

Written by Adam Headley

Photos courtesy of Discovery Dream Homes


It stands out in simple, semi-secluded splendor.

Otty Lake, a long, sleek watercourse in eastern Ontario near the town of Perth, stretches toward the horizon. The McLean home is visible from a distance – but not because of its size or an imposing facade. It’s the red siding that makes the hearts of owners Michael and Krista — and all who lay eyes on it — soar. 

“You can see our home from out on the lake, particularly when its lighting is ablaze. The amazing red structure is the only cottage of its kind on the water,” Michael beams.

He says they wanted a place that “looked like nobody else’s,” and contrasted with the more muted neutrals typically found in the region. “We had been to Newfoundland and had seen homes in bright and beautiful yellows, reds and blues; that’s where we got the inspiration,” Michael explains.

To bring it to fruition, the couple enlisted the help of Petersborough, Ontario-based Discovery Dream Homes sales-and-design consultant Chris Nolan to help them raze an existing summer cabin and build their year-round home on the site.

Chris guided the couple through the process of determining what could be built according to local codes and environmental restrictions, while producing a timber frame structure of eastern white pine and cedar that would maximize the stunning lake views from each room. Once the floor plan was finalized, contractor Blake Inwood of Westport, Ontario, stepped up to complete construction.

The cottage interior offers comfort in the form of quiet coziness and serene views. The open-concept layout allows the warm kitchen to spill into inviting entertaining areas. Just under the loft, a dining room offers an intimate space to host a dinner party. In the great room, a cathedral ceiling frames a magnificent, miles-long view.  

“The lake is visible from all areas,” explains Chris, “and the open-loft office has the direct lake view, making the whole main area feel wide open.” 

That office captivated Michael from the beginning. “My dream was to look at the lake from my desk. The cottage is built in an A-frame style with the office at its peak, and my desk looks four miles straight up the lake,” he says. “The idea was to build the home with big windows, and that is exactly what we did — as much glass as possible with triple-pane windows. I work from home, and in the winter months, I sit on the second floor with the fireplace on and look out at the frozen water.” 

Warm wood features take center stage throughout the home. The kitchen is wrapped in handmade walnut cabinetry with an island crowned by a slab of rich oak butcher block, 4 inches thick.

The flooring was obtained from a family friend who owns a mile of frontage on the Ottawa River, where old timbers from bygone logging days rest at the bottom. 

“Some of these pine logs are 300 years old, and they’re in perfect condition,” Michael remarks. Such unique flooring adds to the cottage’s relaxed ambiance, which carries over to the exterior stone patio and hot tub.

For Krista, a former high school teacher and a yoga instructor, the home is a source of serenity. “The kitchen is one of my favorite spots. I love looking out the window at the lake while puttering in the kitchen,” she says.

Krista is currently completing a two-year training program as a mindfulness meditation instructor while raising the couple’s nine-year-old daughter, Emery. “We have the perfect spot to work from home,” she explains.

“In the winter, my favorite spot is sitting by the fire with a cup of tea, a book or some knitting,” Krista continues. “It’s so cozy to be curled up by the fire and to be able to look out at those ever-changing views of the lake.” 


Home Details

Square Footage: 2,043

Bedrooms: 4

Baths: 2 full

Design/Timber Provider: Discovery Dream Homes

Contractor: Blake Inwood, Lakeview Construction and Maintenance 


See Also: Design Considerations for Lake Cabins

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