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As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, our crew from Level Design Build worked long hours and through the winter, and here you can start to see the results. Arriz and I went up as many weekends as we could. It was far too cold to stay in the bunkie so we would stay at the Domain of Killien, a lovely relais du silence on the lake, for a little getaway.

Photo of Suzanne Dimma and Arriz Hassam Aug 28

Here is what the exterior of the cottage looked like before the siding went on.

Photo of cottage before siding was installed


Suzanne Dimma August 28 blog exterior view with siding up

Here is a view from the front with most of the charcoal stained siding installed. The steel poles that support the cabin are an industrial grey, but we eventually painted them black to coordinate with the dark siding and to blend in with the trees beyond. We also stained all of the wood framed windows dark as well.

Suzanne Dimma August 28 blog shed wrapped in wood

This is the shed below the building as it looked at the start of spring. All of the decking you see here (above and below) is made from cedar that will weather to silver over time. The tall vertical strips on the side of the shed are red meranti (similar to mahogany) that will also weather. It has a tighter grain and is a better choice for vertical treatments like this — no bending. There's a window behind the slats that casts a cool striped shadow at night when the lights are on.

Suzanne Dimma August 28 blog rock face side of the entrance

This is the rock face side of the entrance to the breezeway that runs between the bedroom and the washroom side of the house and the living, dining and kitchen side. The door at the opposite end leads to a back deck that hangs over the trees in the back valley.

Suzanne Dimma August 28 blog interior view to the rock face

This is the interior view to the rock face, showing the Douglas fir interior siding. Yes, designers make mistakes too! We chose knotty narrow boards for the walls but once it was up I realized I didn’t like the look at all. It threw our clean, modern design way off so we had to take it down. Luckily, only one wall was finished and we used the materials for the floor instead.

Suzanne Dimma August 28 blog Arrize staining pine floor

This is Arriz staining the old siding after it was laid on the floor. We stained it a bit darker than the walls for some contrast and to cover the knots a bit.

Suzanne Dimma August 28 blog interior new wall panelling

This is what the new wall panelling looks like — a wider plank Douglas fir without any knots in the wood. Just past the wood stove is the interior of the breezeway. We wrapped it in the same dark-stained wood as the exterior siding so that when you’re in this interior hallway with sweeping views out the doors on either end, you feel as if you’re standing outside in between two buildings.

Suzanne Dimma August 28 blog West Elm old door

I was recently in the West Elm store in Toronto’s Liberty Village and took a picture of this old door that is part of the space. It’s my inspiration for the 8 ft. wide reclaimed wood sliding door we will hang between the breezeway and the bedroom.

Suzanne Dimma August 28 blog place the outdoor shower will be

I’m so excited that we will have an outdoor shower, which will be right here. It backs onto the interior bathroom so that we only need one plumbing connection, which cut down costs.

Suzanne Dimma August 28 blog temporary old log cabin

I haven't mentioned our log cabin yet. There was an old hunting cabin on our property that we used to store our tools and materials during construction. It was super handy but once the new house was nearly complete it needed to come down. We struggled with the decision because it had so much history and was beautifully sited at the water's edge. But it was in bad need of repair: the roof was caving in and the floor was rotten. It had become a safety hazard.

So Arriz invited three of his friends — Alfred Engerer, John Robinson and Andy Gearing — to join him, Mike, Kenny and Aaron in a testosterone-filled, beer-and-break-down-the-cabin fest. 

Suzanne Dimma August 28 blog Mike pulling off the roof of the log cabin

Here’s Mike pulling the roof in on itself.

Suzanne Dimma August 28 blog Mike breaking the roof

And breaking it down.

Suzanne Dimma August 28 blog log cabin before the walls come down

Here it is before the walls came down. You can see the growing pile of debris on the top left of the shot. By the time they were done the pile was unfathomably large. Luckily I wasn't there or I would have had a mild heart attack!

Suzanne Dimma August 28 blog loading up the log cabin pieces on the barge

It took about four hours to take down the cabin but two weeks to clean it up. There was so much debris that needed to be barged out (mostly old asphalt shingles and tar paper). All of the old floorboards and rotten wood had to be burned. And I personally picked up four wheelbarrows full of cement chinking (the stuff between the logs) and at least 1,000 old nails. We kept all of the logs from the old walls and sawed them into smaller logs that we will eventually chop into firewood. We must have enough wood to last us 10 years!

Suzanne Dimma August 28 blog after the log cabin tear-down

This is what the site looked like when the walls were down and the guys were done with most of the demo. I think they had a blast! The root ball in the background is the remains of a huge pine tree that came down in a crazy windstorm a few weeks earlier and clipped the back of the log cabin (another reason it had to go). It took us yet another weekend to pull the root ball back using a 'come along' and to clean up the rock face. This entire mess set our timing back by a lot. Did I mention that we're getting married here in less than 3 weeks?!

The good news is that with the cabin gone the entire site opened up to the water and there's a flat spot close to the water where we can build a fire pit and it is the perfect spot for the ceremony.

For more on the construction and design of the cottage, check out Arriz's blog

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