Tour this Canadian lakeside retreat, designed to endure extreme climates

Using sintered stone, this home has been created to survive Canada's extreme weather conditions.

By Hugh Metcalf | 11 January 2021

Impactful but not imposing, this captivating self build home has been designed to withstand all weathers.

large black self build home in canada - grand designs

Image: Adam Letch

Far from your average lakeside holiday home, this 17,222 square foot build is located on the picturesque shoreline of Lake Huron – approximately one hour from London, Ontario.

Intended to be a family retreat for the homeowners to enjoy year round, architects from SAOTA in Cape Town, South Africa, in collaboration with Ontario-based firm, matter architectural studio inc, were briefed with bringing a hard-wearing yet harmonious lakeside home to life.

Made of strong stuff

Building a home that was visually captivating, while also being able to withstand Canada’s extreme weather conditions, was of the utmost importance to the homeowners. In order to achieve this, Neolith was specified for both the exterior and interior of the home. This sintered stone is highly durable, low-maintenance, and scratch and tag resistant – perfect for a home surrounded by wilderness.

‘Faced with the challenge of working in an environment as demanding as this one, the product choice and its longevity were critical,’ says SAOTA architect and designer, Johan Basson. ‘When the client, in collaboration with Ontario Panelization, introduced us to Neolith, we immediately fell in love with the brand and its wide variety of high-quality finishes, as well as, of course, its durability.’

huge black self build home in canada - grand designs

Image: Adam Letch

A free-flowing space

Intended as a space for entertaining and bringing the whole family together, ensuring that the property had a fluid and laid-back feel was crucial. The homeowners invisaged an open-plan ground floor, but still felt that it was crucial for there to be a sense of structure and order throughout. To achieve this, separate rooms were swapped for spaces better more reminiscent of interlocking segments seamlessly seeping into each other – giving a casual and effortless feel to the property.