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Communal Lakeside Vacation House in Ontario

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On a lakeside plot outside Toronto, four friends forge a new kind of vacation house. 

  • 
  For Karina Inzunza, Graham Barker, Melana Janzen, and John McMinn (pictured left to right), a shared vacation home on Georgian Bay was the perfect opportunity to pool resources, split costs, and create an extended family unit.  Photo by Lorne Bridgman.

    For Karina Inzunza, Graham Barker, Melana Janzen, and John McMinn (pictured left to right), a shared vacation home on Georgian Bay was the perfect opportunity to pool resources, split costs, and create an extended family unit.

    Photo by Lorne Bridgman.
  • 
  The vacation complex is designed to promote an easy flow between the two families' spaces, which include guest cabins and a shared porch for hanging out and eating.  Photo by Lorne Bridgman.

    The vacation complex is designed to promote an easy flow between the two families' spaces, which include guest cabins and a shared porch for hanging out and eating.

    Photo by Lorne Bridgman.
  • 
  The large wraparound porch links the two main houses and two guest cabins, and is the site of many impromptu shared meals.  Photo by Lorne Bridgman.

    The large wraparound porch links the two main houses and two guest cabins, and is the site of many impromptu shared meals.

    Photo by Lorne Bridgman.
  • 
  Two-year-old Annika and five-year-old Soren make music on the "nap swing," a popular hangout spot for kids and adults alike.  Photo by Lorne Bridgman.

    Two-year-old Annika and five-year-old Soren make music on the "nap swing," a popular hangout spot for kids and adults alike.

    Photo by Lorne Bridgman.
  • 
  McMinn, an architect, helps Soren construct a TinkerToy tower. The cowhide rug is from Perfect Leather Goods, and the Wassily Chair is by Marcel Breuer for Knoll.  Photo by Lorne Bridgman.

    McMinn, an architect, helps Soren construct a TinkerToy tower. The cowhide rug is from Perfect Leather Goods, and the Wassily Chair is by Marcel Breuer for Knoll.

    Photo by Lorne Bridgman.
  • 
  A view of the exterior of the structure, showing the two families' separate living spaces anchored by a single broad porch.  Photo by Lorne Bridgman.

    A view of the exterior of the structure, showing the two families' separate living spaces anchored by a single broad porch.

    Photo by Lorne Bridgman.
  • 
  Barker, a software executive and former professional drummer, describes the challenge of the project as such: "It’s the expression of two commingling family structures, with respect for the need for individuality at times."  Photo by Lorne Bridgman.

    Barker, a software executive and former professional drummer, describes the challenge of the project as such: "It’s the expression of two commingling family structures, with respect for the need for individuality at times."

    Photo by Lorne Bridgman.
  • 
  As shown here, the orientation of the two houses provides both privacy and occasional moments of permeability; a peek through the window above the master bed reveals neighbors across the way.  Photo by Lorne Bridgman.

    As shown here, the orientation of the two houses provides both privacy and occasional moments of permeability; a peek through the window above the master bed reveals neighbors across the way.

    Photo by Lorne Bridgman.
  • 
  The structures share a solar panel, but the families control their own home's heat level with a wood-burning stove.  Photo by Lorne Bridgman.

    The structures share a solar panel, but the families control their own home's heat level with a wood-burning stove.

    Photo by Lorne Bridgman.
  • 
  Soren and Annika share a lofted bedroom and a pair of bunks. In Barker and Inzunza's house, this space is used as an office and music room.  Photo by Lorne Bridgman.

    Soren and Annika share a lofted bedroom and a pair of bunks. In Barker and Inzunza's house, this space is used as an office and music room.

    Photo by Lorne Bridgman.
  • 
  McMinn and Janzen's kitchen opens onto a double-height living and dining area.  Photo by Lorne Bridgman.

    McMinn and Janzen's kitchen opens onto a double-height living and dining area.

    Photo by Lorne Bridgman.
  • 
  In addition to spaces for dining and napping, the porch shelters a kayak and this hanging bench-cum-balance beam made of salvaged tree trunks.  Photo by Lorne Bridgman.

    In addition to spaces for dining and napping, the porch shelters a kayak and this hanging bench-cum-balance beam made of salvaged tree trunks.

    Photo by Lorne Bridgman.
  • 
  What else is the porch good for? Tricycle races, of course.  Photo by Lorne Bridgman.

    What else is the porch good for? Tricycle races, of course.

    Photo by Lorne Bridgman.
  • 
  Here, a floor plan of the shared structure, called the CP Harbour House, which was designed by architects (and residents) Melana Janzen and John McMinn.  Photo by Lorne Bridgman.

    Here, a floor plan of the shared structure, called the CP Harbour House, which was designed by architects (and residents) Melana Janzen and John McMinn.

    Photo by Lorne Bridgman.

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