Steve and Katie’s Haliburton Highlands Cottage

Steve and Katie wanted to replace an aging seasonal cottage on a Haliburton Highlands lake with a winterized building they could enjoy with their children, family, and friends year-round. Cedar Winds Design~Build helped them realize their dream in near record time. 

Property Details 

  • Four-season cottage
  • 1/2-acre sloping lot with 120’ of sandy shoreline
  • 3 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • Open-concept design with cathedral ceiling
  • Basement walkout to the lake
  • 144-sq.ft. screened porch 
  • Forced-air heating with a supplementary woodstove

Timing is Everything 

Steve and Katie had an ambitious goal to get into their new cottage around Christmas 2018. They hired Cedar Winds Design~Build and started developing their plans in the fall of 2017. Over the winter, the plans and budget were revised and finalized. The following May, the original cottage was torn down and construction began. 

“Within eight months, 95 percent of the job was done,” says Steve. “We got the keys on December 23 and spent New Year’s at the cottage.” 

“Communication is key,” says Katie. “If we asked a question, they’d get back to us right away. It was very impressive.” 


Quality Control 

The design-build model was key to keeping the project running on time. “Having everything done in-house is a big help. You’re paying for the service to make things happen on time,” says Steve. 

“Cedar Winds uses really good trades, people who do really good work,” says Steve. “They were amazing,” adds Katie. “They were always very welcoming when we got there. Glenn [Evans, Cedar Winds’ co-owner] leads a great team.” 

Onsite visits elicited some helpful advice from the tradespeople, including the trim they should use. “A lot of our guests comment on the trim,” says Katie. 


Processes in Place 

Living about three hours away in Toronto, it wasn’t always feasible to visit the jobsite, but the Cedar Winds team kept them up to date on progress throughout the build. “They sent us pictures at every stage,” says Katie. 

The couple was also impressed with how Cedar Winds managed to overcome the inevitable little hiccups that occur in any new construction project. “The flooring that we originally wanted to use was on back order for three months. They found a solution. They’re very good at that,” says Katie. 


Rooms with a View 

The cottage was designed to maximize the property’s east-facing view. Katie describes the lake-facing side of the building as, “All windows. When you walk in the front door it’s quite spectacular to look at the amazing view across the lake.” 

The master bedroom is on the main floor, with two additional bedrooms and an entertainment room in the lower level. The property’s sloping terrain allowed for a sliding glass door that walkouts out directly to the lake. 

The family is also very fond of the 12 x 12 screened porch that faces the lake. “The screened porch is probably our main entertaining area,” says Katie.  


Client-to-Client Advice 

Not every project can or will be completed as quickly as Steve and Katie’s cottage. “It’s a fairly simple design,” admits Steve. For potential Cedar Winds clients looking to keep to a tight timeline, he has some advice to share. “There are literally thousands of questions that have to be answered over the course of the project,” says Steve. “So, the longer we took to get back to them with answers, the longer the delay.” 

Finally, when asked if the couple would recommend Cedar Winds to others Katie had a definitive, one-word answer: “Absolutely.”