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Architect Leo Mieles

Leo Miele’s Georgian Bay Cottage was one of five first-class cabins we featured in our November 2009 Concepts feature—which showcased works with a modern twist to the familiar log model, Swiss chalets, and Swedish friggebods. Here we present an online-exclusive interview with Mieles for a closer look at the lodge he designed.

Georgian Bay Cottage deck

The Georgian Bay Cottage treads lightly on the land—as the natives whose reservation this cabin is built on once did. Because the lots are leased, architect Leo Mieles explains, “the approach is: ‘Let’s not clear the hell out of the land but instead quietly embed our cottage and enjoy the landscape.’” This attitude prompts residents to distill their desires to the basic elements needed to escape from the city and relax in nature. Here, the solution is a “long-shed” construction featuring a large sliding door and pull-down bug screen, a translucent corrugated-fiberglass roof, and exposed studs and ties.


  • Photo by Tom Bies

    First-Class Cabins

    From the familiar log model to Swiss chalets and Swedish friggebods, cabins are the simplest of structures, made from local materials in forms that respond to climatic and cultural needs. However, these no-frills wilderness escapes no longer require giving up modern comforts and aesthetics. Today’s cabins synthesize traditional typology with present-day design know-how and allow architectural explorations in a way traditional homes rarely do. Here we highlight five modern retreats that might give you cabin fever of a different sort.

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Hey Leo, Great work! I love the open space it creates, allowing nature to come right inside. What a beautiful site too. How early in Spring, and how late into the fall can they visit the cabin? I noted the wood stove - ideal for taking the chill off of cool nights... but I wonder if the space can possibly be used in winter?

The public ferry stops running in winter so there was less incentive for the clients to make it a year round cottage. How early in spring / late in fall? I suppose it depends on one's constitution and flexibility with creature comforts.

The cottage looks wonderful - and the beach there (it’s on a body of water called “Big Sand Bay”) is among the most lovely in Canada.
Actually the public ferries do run most of the winter. The car-ferry runs until the ice is too thick for it to operate on (usually by January), then the passenger ferry which can break through the ice takes over, until the ice is too thick for it as well. Then you can cross by the island operated hovercraft, or by scoots, or by snowmobile, or for those who are not too anxious, with your own vehicle. The issue with the north shore of Christian Island is that the road to that side of the island is not ploughed during the winter, so accessibility is an issue. .

Nous aimons la simplicité de la conception. bien fait Leo!

Felicitaciones Leo!!! Bellisima espacialidad.
Podrias mostrar alguna documentacion; seria interesante ver algunos detalles constructivos, planos, cortes, plantas, etc
Gracias y felicidades nuevamente.

Leo , this is a gorgeous cottage.
Mine, also in the Georgian Bay area, is one in need of renovation and I would like you to give it some needed updating. However, first I think we will address some re-forestation on the property.
Congratulations on your continued success.

Hey Leo,
it was pretty cool to have found this while surfing pics of Christian Island. I haven't seen you since helping with your thesis project ... 1995? Anyway - it's a beautiful cottage and I'll look for more of your work to check out. Hope you are well. Cheers,