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TimberNorth Home and Design

A perfect boathouse starts with a creative vision

A boathouse isn’t just a garage for your boat or an extra shelter for your water toys. It’s an extension of your cottage, an opportunity to boost your cottage’s water-side curb appeal, and an added hub for entertaining and enjoying your Muskoka retreat.

For Darren Huck and Ray McFalls, owners of TimberNorth Home and Design, the boathouse is as important as the cottage itself.

“You want to consider how it will look to boaters from the water, how well it will match with the style of your cottage, and how well it will enhance your cottage lifestyle and make it more enjoyable for your family and friends,” says Darren.

Determine your style At TimberNorth, every construction project begins with an introductory call and on-site client meeting, where clients meet Darren, Ray, and their in-house design team to discuss the style and design options.

“We know that any custom build can feel overwhelming, which is why we offer a 360 approach from design to build phase that allows our clients to relax and enjoy the building process,” says Darren.

To start, Darren says it’s important to determine what your dream Muskoka boathouse looks like.

Darren notes that boathouses often fall into two broad categories: ones with an Old Muskoka look and others with a Modern Muskoka look.

“The Old Muskoka style is often characterized by a white and natural wood colour palette, trusses, pickets, and cedar shakes,” says Ray. “New Muskoka offers a more streamlined, modern design, often featuring flat roofs or those with unexpected inclines, often with metal roofing, glass railings, and sleek garage doors.”

While these two Muskoka styles are in sharp contrast to each other, Darren and Ray note that there are no firm rules around design.

“Neither style is king,” says Darren. “The beauty of custom design is we can add the aspects that you love, and create a boathouse that’s unique.”

When developing your boathouse design, Darren and Ray suggest taking a trip around the local lakes and bringing a cell phone or camera to capture the boathouses that you love.

“The good thing about building in Muskoka is there is no shortage of inspiration. Simply hop in the boat, and pay close attention to your neighbours’ structures. If you see a design you love, take a picture,” says Darren.

While the pair suggest matching your boathouse to your cottage’s style to create visual consistency, you can lean on neighbouring boathouse and sites like Houzz, Pinterest, and magazines for inspiration for your boathouse design.

Consider the structural components Whether you like modern or traditional Muskoka design, Darren and Ray like to look to modern structural components that will extend the lifespan of your boathouse.

“With the right materials and techniques, you can enjoy your boathouse worry-free for 30 years or more, without any maintenance,” says Ray.

While there’s nothing wrong with traditional building materials, the industry has developed many alternatives that can improve the longevity of your boathouse. By spending a little more to increase the quality of your materials, you’ll keep the upkeep low for years, if not decades, to come.

Design your interior In addition to the style and structural components of your boathouses, it’s also important to consider how you want to use it.

Think beyond where you’ll put the Muskoka chairs, or how many boat ports and bays you’ll need for your boats. This is the time to consider how your boathouse can extend your cottage experience.

Darren suggests thinking about what you love about your cottage currently. “If you love to entertain and cook for your family, consider adding another kitchen to your boathouse, or an outdoor kitchen to make entertaining easy at the water.”

“You can also think about what your cottage experience is lacking currently,” says Ray. “Have you always wanted a cigar room, a yoga room, or a golf simulator, but didn’t have space in the cottage? Why not make space for them in the boathouse?”

If you have a cottage that’s far from the shore, or has a limited view of the lake, making your boathouse feel like a secondary cottage can give you the lake view you’ve always wanted, with the beach house atmosphere you’ve been missing.

“The biggest thing is to think about how you envision using your boathouse, then find a builder that can bring it to life,” says Darren.

TimberNorth Home and Design’s 360 building process allows each client to work directly with a custom home builder, in-house architect, and interior designer that will handle every aspect of their projects, from start to finish. “From plans and permits to finishes, we’re here to pull all pieces together so you can sit back and enjoy watching your dream house become a reality.”



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