8 Quintessentials of Building in Southern Georgian Bay


A homebuilder offers his insights on a modern home on the mountain.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Ski Season 2019 issue of  OUR HOMES Southern Georgian Bay, p.52. Find local businesses in our Southern Georgian Bay directory.
The owners of this modern new home knew that they were building it arguably at the epicentre of winter’s microclimate in Southern Georgian Bay. But its location was just one of the reasons that builder Jason McLean of McLean Contracting was excited to work on this project with the homeowners. Jason and his team completed the home last year, and the seasoned builder of 14 years says it represents eight quintessentials of custom homes in the area.
1. LOCATION: While this particular home has an escarpment location, there is no shortage of lakes, rivers, valleys, mountains, ravines, rock outcroppings, rolling hills, farms, bush lots or even endearing towns in the region to create a home upon, says Jason. 
2. VIEW: “The view from the great room is incredible,” says Jason. “From one side you look out at the bay and the other over Beaver Valley. This area is so rich with interesting geography that it’s important to spend that bit of extra time in planning a home to make sure you’re appreciating what nature has to offer.” 
3. DESIGN TEAM: Collaborating with and leaning on creative designers can bring the vision for a home to fruition. The owners of this home brought their drawings Barill Engineering Ltd. to actualize. In the interior spaces, the owners worked with Jennifer McCulloch Design to bring the home’s contemporary look together.
4. TRADESPEOPLE: “I’ve had some of the same trades working with me for years, and their work speaks for itself,” says Jason. “The quality they are able to produce is outstanding.”
5. OPTIONS: Getting to know a client’s approach and style is key to gathering the options that will be meaningful to them. “When I’m scoping out a project for a client, of course, cost per square foot guides us, but within that there are so many decisions to consider,” says Jason. 
6. CODE: “All my builds exceed the current building code,” says Jason. His homes go above code for many reasons, including wanting to ensure his clients are able to take advantage of the latest technologies and techniques that might not yet be reflected in the code. 
7. PLANNING: Timing is a big portion of Jason’s responsibilities at McLean Contracting. Queuing up supplies to arrive when workers are ready to use them is an art. Planning is a skill Jason honed from many years of owning Georgian Bay Sprinklers and servicing its base of 2,000-plus seasonal clients. 
8. HOME AUTOMATION: Integrating technology into a home’s design has become a pursuit of Jason’s. “There are so many new ways to use technology to enhance your home,” he says, from solar systems and backup generators to automated window coverings and wireless sound systems. The owners of this home can connect with their security system and adjust the heating and lights when they’re on their way up for a ski weekend. 

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
The home is nestled into a hillside, using the topography of the land. The driveway gently sweeps up to the south-facing and protected front entrance.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
The lower level gives the family access at ground level to enjoy the acreage surrounding the home.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
Builder Jason McLean of McLean Contracting.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
This door exits from the front foyer. The stairs have been integrated into the stone exterior with large armour stones acting as the stair rail.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
The main entrance has walls of glass on both sides. The sliding barn door can be closed off from the front door. Built-in LED spotlights in the floor light up the space at night.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
The extra-wide dining table allows for two chairs at each end. The LED light over the table adds a beautiful design element and does not obstruct the view.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
A view of the plentiful cabinetry in this modern kitchen. Horizontal pulls break up the white.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
Try to keep your eyes on the dominoes game, while waiting for the snow squalls to roll in. Two sofas flank the wood-burning fireplace.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
A floating vanity in the guest bathroom has the view reflected in the mirror.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
Automated shades blend into the frame of the windows in the master bedroom. Windows on three sides let the winter sunshine stream in.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
The floating feature wall in the bedroom is the backside of the open-plan master closet.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
The custom closet in the master bedroom has a view to the bay. The integrated bench is a useful addition.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
The master bath is a zen retreat. The custom cabinet at the end of the vessel tub is an innovative and practical design. The fixture over the bathtub is LED. Not one detail was overlooked.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
The floating stairs with tempered glass railings to the lower level showcase the texture and colour of the stone.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
An Eames lounge chair sits by the linear fireplace in the lower-level family room. The stone used on the inside of the house is the same as the stone on the exterior.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
Platform beds are ready for a sleepover in one of the bedrooms on the lower level. The flooring throughout is Terrazzo, a composite material.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
A bed with integrated side tables is a serene spot. LED wall sconces fold back completely when not in use.