A portage lake cottage rebuild blends classic lines with modern style

Vicki and Paul Semotiuk trusted Cedar Winds to expand their existing cottage and are thrilled with the result


This charming rebuild of a 1970s cottage makes the most of lakeside living with a stunning walkout and screened-in porch.

  • Completely maintenance-free exterior, including composite deck surfaces and aluminum railings with glass inserts
  • Wood-clad cathedral ceiling
  • Screened porch with trifold door
  • Stone fireplace
  • Level walkout to the rear driveway
  • Custom landscaping that includes armour-stone walls and stone steps leading down to the water’s edge


Bedrooms: Four
Bathrooms: Three
Area: 2,000 sq. ft.
Levels: Two
Location: Portage Lake, Haliburton County
Completed: July 2012

From the home owners:

At first, Vicki and Paul Semotiuk just wanted to add onto their small Portage Lake two-storey, where they spend weekends with their two almost-teenage daughters. But when it became clear that an addition wasn’t the best approach logistically or financially, Cedar Winds assisted with a full tear-down and built them the cottage of their dreams. “Everyone will probably think I am just saying, ‘Oh, it was wonderful’ and not meaning it,” says Vicki. “But it really was a good experience.” Here’s the Semotiuk custom design and build story.

Customer-focused Attitude
“Glenn was willing to work with our existing structure and drew up plans to add onto it. He never told us what we can’t do. He’d say, ‘Okay, I’ll investigate what’s possible.’ Then he came back with options, and we could clearly see what was feasible and what wasn’t. In the end, it became quite clear that trying to keep the existing cottage would require more manpower than it was worth. So we kept the foundation and built on that.”

Responsive Design
“Glenn and Teresa sat down with us and talked through things we wanted—screened porch, expanded living space on the main floor, a second bathroom. We also showed Glenn clippings and said we wanted to preserve the lines of the old cottage and the Viceroy look. We went back and forth several times on design, and Glenn was always very receptive to making changes.”

Valuable Interior Design Assistance
“To be honest, I really didn’t think we needed the interior design services. But Teresa was a huge help. Even if you think you know what you are doing inside, it is wonderful to have someone to bounce ideas off of, and she has great ideas and great taste. The design services, complimentary with project management, really work well together.”

Excellent Trades
“Glenn’s subcontractors were wonderful. I had met most of them, and we trusted Glenn when he said that there would be a delay because he preferred to wait for his subcontractor.”

Proactive Problem-solving
“No build goes perfectly. And we did have a few minor problems. In one example, the pattern of the ceramic tile we picked for the front entrance did not look good in such a small area. Glenn and his tiler took charge, helped us figure out what needed to be done and changed it out. Glenn even got the supply store to cover the cost of the new tiles and grout, and he covered the labour.” 

No Surprises
“Cedar Winds gave us a spreadsheet at the beginning, and estimates of everything were broken down. At the end, Glenn gave us another spreadsheet of what we actually spent. And the areas that were higher were almost always because of upgrades and changes Paul and I made.”

Take a Look Around

“Glenn and Teresa would always answer our calls. I was also pleasantly surprised when they emailed us photos from the work site. I thought that was a really considerate way to reassure us when we couldn’t get out to visit.”

~ Vicki and Paul Semotiuk