Building a custom cottage: the Fowler’s story

When you find a good thing, you stick with it. That’s the philosophy that prompted Bruce and Pat Fowler to partner with us in building not one, not two, but three personal projects over the years.

The couple’s experience with us began when they needed a place large enough to accommodate their newly blended family of eight. We fit the bill with a custom house in the city.

Fast forward a decade. The Fowler’s children had grown up and moved on, and the Toronto house that had once been bustling with activity felt cavernous for the two of them. They needed something cozy. We were ready to help with that, too.

Bruce and his wife began making plans for a custom cottage. Their search for lake properties led them to Burleigh Falls — “a booming metropolis of 80; we bring it up to 82,” laughs Bruce. It also led them back to our door. “We had already had a great experience with Marshall Homes so it was a natural decision,” he says.

After visiting Marshall Home’s Port 32 sales office in nearby Bobcaygeon, the couple settled on the Haliburton plan. “We didn’t need as much space but still wanted to make sure everyone could visit and be comfortable,” he explains.

On the main floor, comfort is key. Large, open spaces are perfect for family gatherings, which often include upwards of a dozen people when the couple’s children and grandchildren are all in town. The dining, kitchen and great room flow together, allowing the family to move and mingle with ease.

The chef’s kitchen is a big draw. An island with a trio of stools is ideal for lingering over food and drinks. “Everyone ends up there eventually,” Bruce says.

“We upgraded from the basic package and it was absolutely worth it,” says Bruce. Sleek espresso cabinets, polished nickel hardware, stone tile backsplash and granite countertops give the kitchen an on-trend look. “The quality of the trades was extremely high. After ten years, everything is still in excellent shape,” Bruce says.

As much as the Fowler’s love their kitchen, the adjacent screened-in porch wins the prize for the home’s most popular gathering spot. With cathedral ceilings, skylights, and expanses of glass and screen that play up the views “you feel like you’re outside without the bugs,” Bruce says.

Connected to the great room by sets of double French doors, the space beckons good conversation and relaxation. When the first light of morning peeks over the trees that descend to the water’s edge, everyone gathers with cups of coffee in hand. In the evening, it’s a favorite spot for casual dining.

Of course, when the couple and their guests are ready for a secluded respite, the cottage offers that, too. A master on the main floor features a walk-in closet and spacious bathroom. Below the 2,700-square-foot main level, a walk-out basement includes three guest bedrooms (along with a multipurpose recreation room and covered patio with hot tub). A detached garage built to match the design of the home includes a bunkie for additional sleeping space.

Having completed two projects with us and a third underway—an 850-square-foot sound studio addition—Bruce has plenty of advice to offer first-timers.

Choose the right team. When you’re building a house, everything won’t go right always, but Marshall Homes does everything they can to keep those inevitable hiccups to a minimum. I keep coming back because of their quality of work, and because they’re committed to their clients.

Knowing that Marshall Homes has their back no matter what makes coming home to the cottage that much better, says Bruce: “Every single time we walk in, my wife and I say to each other, ‘We love this place. It doesn’t get any better than this.’”

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