Costa Rica Meets Lake Simcoe at Casa Canarrican


Mindful practicality and a hip brand of design come together near the water in Barrie's Tollendale neighbourhood.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of  OUR HOMES Barrie Orillia Midland Innisfil, p.28. Find local businesses in our Barrie directory. 

This two-storey lodge embraces its Cape Cod styling and offers the proximity to nature considered essential by outdoorsy homeowners Michelle and Alejandro Dada.
The addition of Craftsman details to the blue exterior hint at the couple’s appreciation for creative efficiency and mindful practicality. Not surprising perhaps, given that Michelle is an entrepreneurial civil/environmental engineer and owner of MNT Consulting Group Inc., which focuses on environmental building practices. Alejandro is also an entrepreneur in environmental investing and the real estate market. He also teaches eco tourism at Georgian College.
The active duo decided to put down roots in Barrie’s Tollendale neighbourhood where a short walk has them at the water's edge. “That’s important to us – to be able to get to nature very quickly,” they explain. They met several years ago when Alejandro came from Costa Rica to do a masters in Environmental Studies at York U as an international grad student. Married last year, they recently welcomed newborn son Rafael. 

In creating their new 2,550 sq. ft. home, they envisioned an eco-friendly beach/mountain hybrid to match their cross-climate union. After moving in last year, they claimed their joint stake with a sign declaring: “Casa Canarrican House – established 2017.”
Michelle's firm MNT Consulting Group Inc. is a multidisciplinary engineering company working with land development clients across central Ontario to create practical and sustainable solutions to environmental, design and planning issues. Although their new home offered a smaller canvas than the subdivisions she works on, they were determined to incorporate low-impact building practices in line with their nature-loving values. 
Across the threshold, modern practicality meets rustic beauty as hexagon tiles transition to wide panel white oak installed by Precision Edge Contracting, which also installed the exterior Maibec siding. The hexagon tiling repeats in the second-floor laundry and rear entrance mudroom, where they included a dog wash station.
Oversize windows framed by Barrie Trim & Mouldings Inc. flood the great room with natural light, minimizing the barrier between inside and out. Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray and Sherwin Williams Sea Salt provide neutral walls, while palm frond wallpaper from Walls Republic lend a taste of the tropics to the nearby powder room, featuring fixtures from Bathworks.

Reinforcing the natural, knotty pine beams surround the gas fireplace in the living area, and echo in the exposed rafters above. Not so rustic is the high tech Nest thermostat that conveniently regulates the Palm Air Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. system via their smart phones.

Thoughtful choices were made in the kitchen as well. While wine fridges have become a standard fixture in many new homes today, the clean-living Dadas included an urban cultivator within their package instead. Built into their kitchen, beautifully designed and installed by Lindsay Schultz Kitchens & Cabinetry, the indoor garden provides an ever-ready source of herbs and microgreens to complement the bounty expected from their newly planted summer plot and fruit trees.
To complete the exterior, they enlisted Bradford Greenhouses for foliage – with a shout out from Michelle for Alejandro’s green thumb.