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The Globe and Mail

Here's the cottage an architect builds for himself

Charles Gane's summer house has an urban feel in a rural context

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Toronto architect Charles Gane is looking forward to April, when he will open up his 2,000-square-foot Georgian Bay cottage for its first complete season.

Paul Orenstein

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Mr. Gane’s flat-roofed, glass-walled, long-lined cottage has as its most obvious material siblings the several mid-rise condominium blocks the architect has recently executed in the downtown core for developer Peter Freed. From these structures come the cottage’s sturdy, tall glazing system, imported from the condo culture of the city into Georgian Bay to withstand wind and rain.

Paul Orenstein

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Because he trusts a standard mass-produced window system to keep the interior snug and dry – Mr. Gane does not share the trepidations of critics about the durability of contemporary high-rise glazing – he has fully exposed the two-storey cottage to the weather by boosting it to the highest place on its four-acre site. From this vantage-point, the house is very open to the shifting lights of the summer sky, to the gleam off the deep, rock-ribbed inlet it hovers over, to the low, variously green, stony and watery horizon.

Paul Orenstein

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An expanse of dark-framed glass, 70-feet long, affords a panoramic view of the surroundings from the open-plan living, dining and kitchen area.

Paul Orenstein

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Like the exterior fabric, the interior appointments are simple and straightforward. The floors are polished concrete, the ceilings, dining table and millwork have been fashioned from Douglas fir.

Paul Orenstein

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The wood surfaces and trim relate the building to the traditional cottages of the region, though the overall sense of it is that of an airy, high-ceilinged, generously glazed loft in a converted downtown warehouse.

Paul Orenstein

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Paul Orenstein

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Paul Orenstein

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Paul Orenstein

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