A tricky Minden design and build project delights two torontonians

Steve and Gloria Gidman knew their cottage expansion would be difficult given restrictive lot considerations—but Cedar Winds managed it without a hitch


This stunning lakeside retreat maintained its original footprint due to lot restrictions, but its square footage has nearly doubled.

  • Applied for minor variance and received municipality’s approval to move cottage closer to the lake
  • Open-concept main level
  • Timber-frame cathedral ceiling with factory-finished wooden planking
  • Heat system featuring radiant floor heating on the lower level
  • Innovative double bathroom design in the basement features a two-piece powder room and a separate shower room with a vanity and sink for extra company


Bedrooms: Five
Bathrooms: Three
Area: 1,442 sq. ft. (lower); 1,442 sq. ft. (main plus 240 sq. ft. screened porch)
Levels: Two
Location: Bob Lake, Minden Hills
Completed: June 2014

From the home owners:

When Glenn Evans suggested dynamiting the Gidmans’ existing rocky cottage foundations to gain a walkout from the basement, Steve and Gloria were skeptical but hopeful. “We have 34 acres, but we are stuck between a cottage road and the lake, so we couldn’t expand in either direction,” says Steve. “We also had height restrictions, and the existing cottage was built on solid rock.” It’s not the first time Cedar Winds has deployed dynamite, and the Gidmans, who rented a nearby cottage during construction, would boat by to watch the crew blast the rock. Here’s the Gidman custom design and build story:

Thorough Design Process
“Glenn and Teresa were really good about leading us through the process and exploring what our lives are like. They knew we wanted the cottage to be a place our kids would visit years from now with our future grandkids. They even visited our Toronto home to get to know us better.”

Strategic Design Ideas
“They had really great suggestions, especially around the central living room and kitchen area and making it an open space. We also probably wouldn’t have gone with such an impressive cathedral ceiling if they hadn’t suggested it, and we really like it.”

Clear, Consistent Communication
“We did a renovation at our Toronto home a few years prior, and we felt the communication level we got from Glenn was way higher. He stayed in touch with us as needed, sometimes texting two or three times a day.”

On-target Budget
“Once we had the design locked down, Glenn came back with a list of costs, right down to every last shingle, staple and nail. He also gave us different cost options in case we wanted upgrades – for example, cedar instead of pressure-treated wood for the deck. Everything pretty much stayed on target.”

Bonus Interior Design Services
“In the beginning, when I heard there were interior design services, I was hesitant. Once I got to know Teresa, I saw that we had a lot in common and she was very easygoing. She never forced her ideas on me, and in one case, I was set on a paint colour for my son’s room. As it turns out, once they started painting, I could see Teresa’s original colour suggestion was better. So, she’ll give you lots of great ideas around paint, lighting and more, but let you decide what you want.”

Help With Selection Of Products And Materials
“They took us around to stores and spent hours with us, helping to choose cabinetry, lighting, floor tile and more. Most [general contractors] expect you to have an item available for them at the last minute. It was a lot less stressful working with Cedar Winds.” 

Delays Were Within Reason
“We were delayed by over two months. But they did pause work for us so we could enjoy a two-week vacation at the almost-finished digs with our family. I’ve been involved with a lot of these kinds of projects, commercial and residential, and I can tell you that they are never on time. In fact, this project was probably the closest to being on schedule I’ve ever encountered.”

Take a Look Around

“We had a harsh winter, and when a minor problem resulted, Glenn was there. That’s the thing—they’re all right there. Glenn’s told us if we ever have a problem to just call them. That’s very comforting.”

~ Steve and Gloria Gidman