Design & Planning/ Renovation Progress

Cottage Floorplan & Foundation

Introducing the cottage floorplan and foundation for our Rocky Retreat! This 28×32 cottage is located on a small lake in Northern Ontario.

ICF foundation

I’ve got a big cottage build update for you!  Figured it made sense to share what I can now, because things are starting to move construction-wise, and it will be very different in just a few weeks.  Today I’ll be showing a progress update on where we are, and some sneak peeks (ie: renders) of where we’re heading.  Come check out our Rocky Retreat cottage floorplan and foundation details!

Last time I talked about the cottage, I introduced you to the lot(s) we bought and talked about why/how.  You can also follow the cottage highlight on Instagram for more.

cottage floorplan and foundation

Anyways, most of the clearing was done in April, and it looked like this:

digging for foundation

That was the view from mid-lot to the road.  We bought 2 lots that are 1 acre each, and are only (currently) developing one of the lots.  TBD on what we do with the other one (sell, build again, etc?).

prepping cottage site

And then in the photo above, it’s the view from the road down to the water at the start of May.

setting up footing forms

We had started building in the forms for the footings and mapping out where the plumbing drains would go.

adding rebar to footing forms

A few weeks later, the rebar was in and we were just waiting on our permits at this point.

trees in may

The trees were just starting to get their leaves then too, so it was looking really different.

kids playing in dirt

I should mention that most of the work is being completed (to this point) by the Husband, his dad and maybe some friends/family members.  I’ve been saying “we”, but I haven’t been involved too much with the physical labour parts (because of three little monkeys, ha).

view towards water

We went back at the end of May to mark out the septic location and meet for that permit.

Cottage Floorplan

rocky retreat cottage floorplan

Our cottage isn’t going to be super huge at 28’x32′ (just a bit bigger than our 24×24 garage).  But, it will be two levels, and will have at 3 proper bedrooms, 2 baths.


The upper level will have one bedroom, the kitchen, TV room and dining room.  There will be a full bathroom with a closet laundry room and mudroom-ish entry.  The stairs aren’t shown, but they are in the upper right section of the floorplan.  The entire ceiling on this level will be vaulted, so it will seem a lot larger!


The basement level will have 2 additional bedrooms, plus a nook where I’ll have 2 twin beds.  That side of the house won’t have any windows, so I didn’t want to make another enclosed bedroom.  There will be a bathroom with a shower (sloped under the stairs), and a utility room that’s accessed from a bedroom.  It will all be open under the stairs, so we’ll have that additional storage for random leftover construction stuff.

rocky retreat cottage elevations

The front part of the house (along the road) will be more buried in the dirt.  It will slope down to the back where they’ll be a walkout.  I didn’t show the side view of the deck, but there will also be steps coming down to the ground.  I originally wanted 9′ ceilings in the basement, but we had to add 1′ below our foundation for insulation… So they’ll just be the standard 8′ height (minus some ducting spots).

I’ll share all the design (finishing) details in a separate post, but have a couple of renders showing how some things look below.

Cottage Foundation

And back to the progress!

poured concrete

Once the permits were approved, we poured the concrete footings and prepped for the deck too.

concrete deck tubes

They’ll be a walkout from the basement below the deck, and you can see more details in the floorplans above.

ICF cottage walls

We ordered our ICF blocks in April-ish and they just came at the end of June.  Doesn’t it look like a little cottage now!?

ICF foundation

Although, it will be much higher since this is just the basement level!

inside of ICF foundation

We went to visit the site last weekend and the kids insisted on bringing their chairs.  In the photo above, you see the 6′ door and the pipes for the bathroom.

comparing views render

The stairs will go up along that wall.  The bathroom and utility room will be in that area too.

ICF foundation walls

Looking the other way, we have a couple of large windows for our living room.  I’m picturing a loungy basement living room, with possibly a pull-out sofa for more guests.

3D render and current view

For some reason my renders have the deck supports stopping way high, but the posts will be all the way to the ground, ha.  The Husband says he wants to get a feel for the layout once everything is in before we decide on furniture.  So I’d say my estimates are around 75% correct.  I’m planning on doing a mix of new/old furniture, and I’ve already started getting a few items.

view towards the lake

Here’s the view out the basement door.  There was a lot of flack for all the windows I had in the basement, but the Husband had already made me cut a lot out, ha.

climbing ICF forms

And here’s a view to the front/road side.  We’ll be adding the insulation and the concrete floor once the walls are poured, so it will be about a foot or so higher from this point.

rocky retreat cottage floorplan and foundation

Cottage Construction

back view of cottage

Personally, I would have liked a lower cottage.  But there were so many rocks in the ground, it was easier to build up.

side wall of ICF foundation

We do still have a lot of dirt/fill to add back, but we had to wait until the ICF walls were up and poured.

They are getting filled TODAY – so things are moving along!  If it was up to the crew, it would have been done last week, but we had to wait for a concrete truck with a pumper.  (They poured the footings with wheelbarrows/shovels BTW).

ICF foundation frame

This is the front/road side.  So just imagine it with dirt all the way up to the top.

ICF foundation wall

There will also be a covered porch in the front, but that won’t get built until after the rest of the house goes up.

front view cottage render

Here’s a render of how it will look once it’s up.  I couldn’t get my ground to line up properly as it is in real life, so I have a version with grass and one without.  Picture something in between both, ha.

view of road to cottage

And here’s the same view.  I think it will be such a cute little scene once it’s all done :)

lake view cottage render

Oh, and here’s a view from the back/lake side.  Again, the ground isn’t there, and the deck posts will go all the way down.  We still have to figure out the steps down (there might need to be a landing, depending on the height).

I imagine a BBQ on the top level, and maybe a couple of chairs.  Possibly an outdoor dining table on the bottom/covered section, and in the future, a hot tub!

DIY cottage floorplan and foundation

Can you picture it?  The next time I have an update to share, most of the framing should be done.  For sure in the basement part, but most likely the upstairs/exterior shell as well.

Luckily, lumber prices have been going down, so that’s good for us :)

OH and I’ll also share the the overall design plan for the house, and then maybe go into detail for each room later?  Either way, you can check out my Country Cabin Pinterest Board for inspiration on what I’m thinking.

PS: YES I designed the cottage!  I’m a building code certified designer in Ontario, Canada, so contact me if you have any projects in mind :)

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