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Their Story: An Ontario family turns their dreams into the perfect lakefront cottage

Sue and Greg, and their teenaged son Jake, are not new to the lake life! However, after spending 6 years renting on the same lake in Muskoka, they decided they were not going to wait any longer to turn their dreams of building their very own cottage into a reality. 

“We’d always dreamed of having our own place where we could spend our summers and not be limited to the same allotted two weeks each year.”

Because the family spent plenty of time on this particular lake, it was an easy decision for them to decide where they were going to build – that very same small lake they came to know and love. So when did this journey get off the ground? Sue says the search started in the winter of 2020. “While we were leaning towards building, we thought we’d look at existing cottages to make into our own, but having the intention of one day making this our primary residence, nothing existing felt right to us and needed a lot of work.” Sue says they looked at the lot they would eventually purchase at least 3 times. “Once we decided a custom build was the answer, we made an offer and luckily got it before the cottage market in Ontario exploded,” Sue says this lot is truly perfect for them. ‘It faces north and will provide a wonderful view of both the incredible sunrises and sunsets we’ve witnessed on the lake.”

Once the land was purchased, it was time to find the right company to build their dream cottage/retirement h0me. However, it wasn’t as easy as they thought it would be. “We started by looking at thousands of plans online and researching builders. We tried to find the look and layout we thought would work while keeping our budget in mind. We reached  out to companies but we were surprised about how many didn’t respond and when they did, didn’t seem all that interested in getting our business. We’d both spent our careers in sales and were shocked by the lack of interest in helping us realize our dream.”

Sue says the frustration and doubt started creeping in, but thankfully, they came across Timber Block’s website. “We found their designs contemporary and very different from the old tired designs of many of the prefab companies out there.” It wasn’t long until they were introduced to who would become their Timber Block Home Consultant, Tamara Gould. “We reached out by email and Tamara got back to us almost immediately.  To be very honest we were impressed before we even had our first meeting because this wasn’t what we’d come to expect.”

So, what happened during this initial conversation? Sue says her husband explained what they were looking for and what their budget was.  “Tamara invited us to come and see what Timber Block had to offer. We agreed not only because we loved the contemporary design and look of the Timber Block homes we’d seen online, but we loved the wood feature both inside and the fact it was energy efficient was a huge bonus to us.”

The trip to Timber Block’s Innisfil location was a success! “To say we were blown away at the first meeting would be an understatement,” says Sue. “Not only had Tamara found a design she thought would work she also gave us preliminary costs. This was unheard of in our short but frustrating experience of trying to build a custom home. As salespeople ourselves we were very impressed and I told her that, ‘she had us at hello!'”

They started with the McKinley model – but it needed a few tweaks to make sure they were going to build the home they had envisioned. “Once we gave the go-ahead and signed the contract, the next meeting was to meet the design team and discuss the modifications we wanted. The McKinley was designed as more of a house and we needed to make it into a cottage – our cottage,” says Sue. “We took the deck from the front and added it to the back, we moved the main bedroom and ensuite to the back with the walkout to the deck. This was much to the dismay of our teenage son Jake who thought he deserved the bedroom with the sliding doors to the deck, we quickly squashed that idea.”

In addition, Sue and Greg mentioned how much they loved the high vaulted ceilings with the rectangular windows in the front and back they had seen in one of the Timber Block designs. “Kate – our Timber Block designer –  indicated that although this wasn’t a feature of the McKinley, it could be easily added to our design. We loved that idea and as I’ve seen this cottage come to fruition, this design element is the highlight of our home. It adds so much light and airiness to the entire space. “

Now that the building process was in full swing, Sue says they were in for another pleasant surprise. “It was another sign from the universe that we made the right choice when we found out our Construction Manager Chris happened to have a cottage on our lake, so not only did we make new friends, we’re getting even more of that personal touch that Timber Block is known for!”

How is their new homebuilding journey going today? Sue says it couldn’t be going any better. “From the start, we felt good about our choices, and although we’ve added a garage, finished the basement and upgraded our kitchen, and gone over the original budget we as novices came up with, we couldn’t be happier. The entire process has been fun, exciting but most importantly, completely stress-free. Everyone we’ve met from the sales and design team right down to the trades brought into our build has been fabulous, accommodating,  professional and easy to work with.”

The project is nearing the final stages, and Sue says they are more than excited. “We are so looking forward to spending our summer hosting all our friends who’ve been following our journey on social media and are almost as excited as us to see the finished product.”

Sue says they are very happy they chose to build a Timber Block home. “Timber Block helped bring our dreams to fruition and we are forever grateful. We will sing their praises and have sung their praises, to anyone thinking about a custom build.”

Stay posted to the Timber Block blog as we continue to follow Sue, Greg, and Jake’s journey to their dream home!

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