Charred cedar clads Ontario lake boathouse by Atelier Kastelic Buffey

Toronto studio Atelier Kastelic Buffey has designed this blackened wood holiday home and boathouse alongside a large deck for diving into an Ontario lake. 


Muskoka Boathouse by Atelier Kastelic Buffey

Atelier Kastelic Buffey completed the 2,300-square-foot (2137-square-metre) structure on a small, forested island in Muskoka – a region that is accessible within a two-hour drive from Toronto and is a popular vacation getaway.

Muskoka Boathouse by Atelier Kastelic Buffey

Anchored to the shore by an expansive wooden deck, it comprises a lower volume featuring three mooring points for the client’s boats and a second block on top that forms guest cabin and terrace overlooking the water, with the

Muskoka Boathouse by Atelier Kastelic Buffey

A black lattice screen creates a buffer between the water and path leading up to the main residence on shore, matching the blackened cedar planks that wrap the exterior walls of each. A paler, grey-hued wood covers the floors of the surrounding decks, highlighting the distinction between the two.

Muskoka Boathouse by Atelier Kastelic Buffey

Atelier Kastelic Buffey, which was founded led by Robert Kastelic and Kelly Buffey, likens the formation to the layout of the wooden decks featured on the lake.

Muskoka Boathouse by Atelier Kastelic Buffey

“Inspired by the simple and prevalent image of wood docks found along the edges of the Muskoka lakes, the boathouse was conceived as a series of planar elements that slide past one another,” said studio in a project description.

Muskoka Boathouse by Atelier Kastelic Buffey

The cedar planks are charred black using the ancient Japanese technique of shou sugi ban, which helps make the wood resistant to rot and bugs.

On the ground level, three slips allow the owners to moor their boats and store other marine equipment. These can be closed off by garage doors for additional protection.

Muskoka Boathouse by Atelier Kastelic Buffey

A wooden exterior staircase leads upstairs to the holiday cabin, which features deep overhanging roof that offers shade to large expanses of glazing.

Muskoka Boathouse by Atelier Kastelic Buffey

The architects included two bedrooms with a shared bathroom, and a lounge area with a small kitchenette. Glass doors provide access to the terrace that wraps around all four sides.

Muskoka Boathouse by Atelier Kastelic Buffey

Finishes are kept simple inside, with the walls and ceiling lined in the pale plywood, and the floor covered in polished concrete. Additional details include white cabinetry to form the small kitchen, a bright green sofa, and artwork.

Muskoka Boathouse by Atelier Kastelic Buffey

Kastelic and Buffey established Atelier Kastelic Buffey in 2004. The firm’s other projects include a pop-up reading nook in Toronto that allows the public to participate in a community book exchange and a monochrome chalet that echoes the traditional forms of nearby farmhouses.

Photography is by Shai Gil.


Project credits:

Architect: Atelier Kastelic Buffey
Principals: Kelly Buffey, Robert Kastelic

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