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The Post-and-Beam Home on a Small Lakefront Lot

One designer uses a simple, staggered cabin plan on a challenging triangular lakefront lot.

Photography by Robin Stubbert


A blank canvas upon which to develop the perfect lakefront home sounds like a designer’s dream. However, it becomes less a dream and more a puzzle when that canvas is a 40-by-20-by-45 foot triangular lot, and one side has restrictions because it is shoreline on Stoney Lake in southern Ontario.

Adding to the conundrum, the home was to be a prize in The Princess Margaret Welcome Home Sweepstakes, so everyone was a potential owner.

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Craig McFarlane of Linwood Custom Homes sought to solve that puzzle through a tiny 740-square-foot footprint, which gradually decreases in width from 13 to 9 feet. His goal was to minimize impact on the lot while maximizing views to attract a broad range of clients.

Set within an inch of the township’s waterfront setbacks, the post-and-beam cabin is essentially a set of different-sized squares stacked together to create an open, passive-solar-oriented plan that captures solar gain through the skylight in the upper-level bathroom. The two-story design is a departure from the preferred one-and-a-half-story layout that would allow you to view the woodwork overhead. A two-story design enables the house to live more comfortably, with the extra square footage accommodating a bonus bedroom and bath. The narrow footprint provides additional vistas of the lake. “You can basically see through the whole house,” McFarlane explains. “The windows let the natural outdoor environment come right into the house, which gives it a bigger feel.”

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Also appealing is the home’s consideration of the environment — namely its adherence to Canada’s Energy Star guidelines (comparable to those in the U.S.) and inclusion of energy-efficient construction materials, an Ecoflo septic system, green finishing touches and a low-maintenance landscape. Linwood Interiors staged the rooms using hand-made solid-wood furniture and vintage-inspired accents to create a loosely coastal theme and a welcoming atmosphere for the very lucky owners.

Home Details

Square Footage: 1,432
Designer; Timber Provider: Linwood Custom Homes, 888-546-9663; linwoodhomes.com