Ontario Lakeside Cabin

Guest Post by Andrew Macklin

My family and I have been self building our off grid small home for the past 4 years. I have been documenting the process on youtube and I thought you might be interested in it for your blog.

Our off grid, water access cottage is just over 500SF the minimum allowed by our county.

Situated on the granite crest of a hill the cottage is securely bolted to the rock. The steel roof is designed in three sections to direct rain into a central 1800 liter water cistern.  Extreme weather dictated a well insulated structure and wood stove with plenty of windows and a roll up door opening to a screen porch allowing a cross breeze in the summer. The screen porch creates a raised lookout into the surrounding oak trees and the lake beyond. All interior surfaces are clad in rough cut pine with no chemical finish, creating the warm feeing of a log cabin or a wooden ship.

All electrical requirements are met by a single 100 watt solar panel.  Minimal artificial lighting is supplemented with candles and lanterns where necessary creating a natural rhythm with the cycle of day and night. Heating and cooking is accomplished with wood harvested on site, a propane stove and water heater are the only appliances that require imported fuel.


The design process focused on the practical aspects of building off grid and in a remote location. All building materials were barged across the lake and hauled up a cable lift to the site. Ease of handling and assembly was a primary concern. The design also focused on using salvaged materials and adapting them to new uses.

With no motorized vehicles on the 9 acre site there are many options to explore the lake and surrounding oak and pine forest by trails and numerous staircases in wood and stone.

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Margy - October 15, 2016 Reply

That’s an interesting shape for the cabin. We have a new section of homes here in town with something similar. We live in an off-the-grid float cabin in British Columbia. Thanks for the link to your YouTube channel. I’ll check it out. – Margy

Skyval - October 15, 2016 Reply

Pretty cool .. can you tell what town the cabin is near ? I was going to do something similar and would have had to go across the border to Hibbing , Minn. or Grand Rapids to go to Home Depot so did you get the materials in the U.S. ?

    Andrew - October 16, 2016 Reply

    We are 2 hours north east of Toronto, all the materials came from the local lumber yard.

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