Four Friends Joined Forces to Realize This Idyllic Forest Retreat Outside Toronto

Two homes combine under one roof in this unique lakeside structure.

Sharing a vacation home is a common arrangement. But sharing an architectural and conceptual experiment—as well as a linked basement, sprawling deck, and utility bills—takes more imagination, and that’s the idea architects Melana Janzen and John McMinn developed for their "cottage" near Toronto. Together with a couple of friends they built a complex, not quite one house and not quite two, that can accommodate both families at once under the shelter of a giant covered porch.

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