Turkel Design’s Georgian Bay House Energy Conscious in the Canadian Shield

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By Turkel Design
Turkel Design’s Georgian Bay House Energy Conscious in the Canadian Shield - Photo 1 of 5 -

For many of us, it would be enough to build a dream home in the breathtaking surroundings of the Canadian Shield, in Ontario’s fabled cottage country. But Katarina and Wil Smith dream about platinum – LEED platinum certification, to be precise – and they didn’t just set out to build a home in which to nurture their young family, they set out to build a house that would respect its surroundings and teach their children the value of our precious natural resources. 

The Smiths turned to Lindal Cedar Homes and Turkel Design for a system-built house that allowed them to collaborate on a design that suited their lifestyle and their needs. Nestled into a rocky shoreline of Georgian Bay, 90 miles north of Toronto, the Smith house is a striking example of why Turkel Design is recognized internationally for its homes of classic simplicity and its respectful use of natural materials and environmentally responsible design principles. 

Wil Smith, a radiologist with a well-developed knowledge of building and mechanical systems, was impressed with the computer modeling work of design principal Joel Turkel, who ensured that "the roof overhangs were positioned to protect the house from hot summer sun and to welcome the warming sun deep into the house in winter. His calculations were right on. And our Lindal dealer made certain that the house placement preserved mature trees." 

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John Axmith, of Axmith & Company, was involved in the project as the local independent Lindal Cedar Homes dealer. "Lindal quality is always a huge factor in our clients’ buying decisions, but the added appeal of the leading-edge Turkel Design capability really pushed the envelope. This house offered minimal waste and totally predictable material cost. The Turkel Design team were so attentive and professional in their understanding of the client’s desires, while maximizing adherence to site specifics." 

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Georgian Bay House’s contemporary white interior is warmed by cedar, maple and birch floors, ceilings and cabinetry, and by Douglas fir laminated beams. Expansive windows showcase the surrounding pine forest, the dramatic sunsets and the sparking waves of the bay below. Signature Turkel Design communal living spaces make for lively gatherings when the Smith’s extended family – sometimes more than 20 of them – move into the home’s various small suites and private areas for some all-important bonding. 

According to Katarina, a teacher, "Our family is more than thrilled to be living in this house. Our children are developing a life-changing understanding of environmental responsibility, and Wil and I are committed to our goal of completing our LEED platinum certification." 

The upper roof of Georgian Bay House was designed to accommodate a solar panel array that is invisible from the street, while the lower level slab features radiant heating. And the Smith’s modest heating bills are a regular reminder of the benefits of the triple pane windows, the sprayed-in, closed-cell insulation (for air tightness), and the additional layer of rigid insulation around the entire house, including the foundation. 

Katarina and Wil are "enthusiastic and satisfied Lindal/Turkel customers." So enthusiastic, that the Smith family has built a second Turkel Design Lindal home on Canada’s east coast for another family member.

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