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LOCATION: Craighurst, Ontario


DESIGN LEADERSHIP: Michael Poitras, Principal-in-Charge of Design

CLIENT: Withheld


  • No. of storeys: 2
  • Ground floor area: 1,235 ft2 (115m2)
  • Second floor area: 685 ft2 (63 m2)
  • Total floor area: 1,920 ft2 (178m2)


  • Stepped sand blasted concrete block
  • Vertical tonge & groove cedar siding
  • Aluminium windows & doors
  • DensDeck soffits (painted white)
  • Composite wood decking
  • Concrete benches & landscape walls
  • Maple hardwood floors

General Program:

  • Sunken entrance forecourt
  • Open concept living/dining room
  • Kitchen/pantry
  • One fireplace
  • Screened outdoor dining room
  • Large outdoor decks
  • Loft master bedroom/ensuite
  • Office
  • Detached 2-car garage (sunken below grade in the forest)

LEED: Certified

Cost: Withheld

Completion: Unbuilt

42 Marcus Trail

Located north of Barrie, Ontario, on a five-acre forested site, this small house sprung from the idea of going “back to nature” and being “one with the forest”. With this in mind, we felt the house should merge seamlessly with its surroundings, with little intrusion into the existing ecosystem. The path for the meandering driveway was designed to avoid cutting down trees, and a natural clearing within the forest became the site for the detached garage – a buried mound of earth from which only the glass garage door is visible. From the garage, a narrow gravel path edged with rocks leads to the house.

The house itself is conceived of as a “giant boulder” in the forest, with moss-covered, stepped, splayed walls of sand blasted concrete block forming a majority of its exterior materials. The closed, energy efficient, north facing entrance façade with its sunken forecourt is narrow, made primarily from translucent glass and horizontal wood screens. Unlike the front of the house, the back of the house is open, like a cave, allowing the warm southern sunlight to penetrate deep into the interior.

Internally, the house is split into two angled halves with sunken living/dining rooms to the east and circulation stair/kitchen/screened porch to the west. Upstairs, a single loft bedroom overlooks the living room, with its ensuite strategically screened from the front entrance forecourt below.

Two wooden decks, on the first and second storeys of the house’s south side, provide additional space for outdoor entertaining, and ample space to relax and enjoy the distant views and sounds of the forest beyond.

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