Connect with H&H

Suzanne & Arriz's Cottage

An off-the-grid Haliburton retreat.

H&H editor-in-chief Suzanne Dimma and her husband, 3rd Uncle principal Arriz Hassam, designed this cottage with the environment in mind. Built completely off-the-grid, they wanted a cottage that would blend in with its natural surroundings. They removed the fewest number of trees to build, never even considering razing the site. To the left, a box-like structure is actually a concealed tool shed and workspace, and elevates the home 24 feet into the views of the lake. Inside, the floors are made from reclaimed Douglas fir, adding a warm and cosy feel to the open-concept kitchen/dining/living room. Even the island is encased in reclaimed wood. The house runs on solar power (even the fridge), and a high-efficiency wood-burning stove provides heat. To round out its self-sufficiency, the cottage also features a propane stove and a compost toilet. "There's something so satisfying about living in a place that runs off sunlight and earth and connects so fluidly with nature," says Suzanne.

Take a video tour of this cottage, and for more eco inspiration, see our Green Design photo gallery.

See more sheds in our photo gallery.

  • Photographer: Michael Graydon
  • Source: House & Home October 2011 issue
  • Products: Architecture, design, project management, Arriz Hassam, email; builder, Michael Carty, Level Design Build, Barrie, Ont. (705) 791-5385 or visit; solar system, Sean Flanagan, Flanagan and Sun, Buckhorn, Ont. (705) 875-3132 or visit; structural engineer, Christopher Cucco, Blackwell Bowick Partnership, Toronto (416) 593-5300 or visit; table and benches design, Arriz Hassam, email; artwork, George Whiteside, Toronto (416) 778-9777 or visit; framing, SoHo Art & Custom Framing, Toronto (416) 531-2047 or visit; millwork, dining table fabrication, Brett Schramek, email; sheepskins (on bench), Ikea; small chair cushion fabric, Joanne Fabrics (to the trade), visit for locations; wood vessel (on table), ChairTableLamp, Toronto (416) 934-1021 or visit
  • Designer: Suzanne Dimma & Arriz Hassam

Comment Guidelines

We welcome your feedback on H&H reserves the right to remove any unsuitable personal remarks made about the bloggers, hosts, homeowners and/or guests we feature. Please keep your comments focused on decorating, design, cooking and other lifestyle topics. Adopt a tone you would be willing to use in person and do not make slanderous remarks or use denigrating language. If you see a comment that you believe violates any of the guidelines outlined above, please click “Flag as inappropriate.” Thank you.