Weekend Cabin: Pointe au Baril, Ontario

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Location, location, location. Molly’s Cabin, three and a half hours north of Toronto, is built on the bones of the continent eight miles from the nearest road or marina. Anchored to the igneous Precambrian rock of the Canadian Shield, it’s perched on a 2.8-acre island in Georgian Bay, a wing of Lake Huron, where it feels both sheltered and exposed, a signature tree next to the house giving it a sense of rootedness, while still letting the wild blow through. And it does blow.

The location is no accident. Owner Adam Thom grew up in Toronto and as a child his family made regular trips to Georgian Bay, staying in cabins on many of the seemingly endless islands. Each island has its own light, wind, and personality, and even neighboring islands can take on different characters. After careful consideration, Thom and his wife Katja settled on a long, thin, fingerling of granite that, in addition to a palette for their design, offered two small cabins built in the 1940s, which they use a guest houses.

The couple met while in architecture school in Southern California and, through their firm Agathom, are the designers behind the cabin. They drafted it with an L shape — though just 1,000 square feet, there’s still a sense or privacy and retreat, whether tucked into the library nook, the bedroom, or the small loft. Most of its wood is reclaimed from Ontario barns; that which isn’t was logged within 200 miles of the site. The outhouse is composting, and power is provided by solar panels. Heat comes from the wood-burning stove and fireplace, and at the night the Thoms go old school and warm their bed with rocks heated by the stove.

Architects: Agathom

Remember, clicking on the magnifying glass enlarges the images.

Weekend Cabin isn’t necessarily about the weekend, or cabins. It’s about the longing for a sense of place, for shelter set in a landscape…for something that speaks to refuge and distance from the everyday. Nostalgic and wistful, it’s about how people create structure in ways to consider the earth and sky and their place in them. It’s not concerned with ownership or real estate, but what people build to fulfill their dreams of escape. The very time-shortened notion of “weekend” reminds that it’s a temporary respite.

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{ 3 comments…read them below or write one }

  • Sylvester

    meh. i thought this was supposed to be weekend ‘cabin’…not weekend ‘retirement mansion’. this has no cabin feel at all. Cabins are small, quaint and filled with character.

  • Nate L

    Wonderful place, and a gorgeous house! The Architect must have had a field day putting this together.

    We fish this same area on the Georgian Bay – I wonder if this family is seeing the same, devastating drop in water levels . Levels are down 3′ (yes, that’s feet, not inches) in under two years. The environmental impact, not to mention the number of boats running aground or striking rocks, has been huge.

    Add this to the continuing coverage of environmental change, as it relates to the outdoors – they need snow at this cabin just as much as the ski resorts do.

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