This centuries-old Muskoka island cottage was transformed into an energy efficient building through this historic restoration project built by Tamarac North. The existing structure was reused and reconfigured to improve and expand interior spaces. The renovation was a complex, full-gut job, an undertaking that’s often more difficult and comparable in price to a new build. In this case, the interiors were fully removed, including the finishes, windows, electrical and plumbing systems; the existing structure was repaired; and new insulation, windows, and building systems were installed.
This was a full-gut renovation of the existing cottage structure, because new bylaws put in place after the home’s original construction made it impossible to build a new structure in the same location. The house sits on a small island that is less than an acre in size, and it is very close to the shore – as close as 10 ft. in some places. The new regulations state that a new-construction home on the island would only be allowed to cover 10 percent of the island’s area and be built 66 ft. from the shore. Renovating allowed us to work within the footage of the existing building, while still complying with building regulations.
Spray-in-place polyurethane insulation was used between existing studs to seal and insulate the building envelope and extend the seasonal use of the cottage. Original features, such as wood beams, were exposed and celebrated, leaving the classic character of the cottage renewed and restored.