manitoulin island off grid house

This is what a luxurious off-grid home looks like in Ontario

A Toronto couple found the perfect escape from the city in a dream home built to blend into the landscape of Manitoulin Island.

Solares Architecture architects Christine Lolley and Elyse Snyder designed the off-grid house for a remote part of Manitoulin Island that doesn't have access to hydro, and therefore had to be self-sufficient, said Solares Architecture supervising architect Christine Lolley.

manitoulin island off grid house

The home on Manitoulin Island is off-grid because there are no services in the remote area.

"It is off-grid by necessity, there is no grid for them to tie into on that road," said Lolley.

The main power system is the solar panels that charge a battery bank to power the home, but propane is needed to provide enough power year-round.

manitoulin island off grid house

The home is run on solar panel power and propane.

"We just do not have enough sun in the wintertime to run a home," she said.

The building code requires homes have sufficient energy for appliances, hot water and heat, she added. There is a large propane tank that the couple will fill once a year.

manitoulin island off grid house

Inside the home there are high ceilings and plenty of light.

There is also a back-up generator to charge the battery bank.

"It is a proper home, you are never going to end up in a situation where the sun is gone and you don't have any power."

manitoulin island off grid house

The exterior is made with cedar milled locally.

Aside from the off-grid aspect, the home is beautiful. The cedar wood siding blends into the sandy landscape.

"It almost feels like a sandcastle coming out of the beach."

manitoulin island off grid house

The colour of the wood matches the sandy beach.

The owners are both artists, and have sophisticated taste.

"They see beauty in the organic nature of the wood siding."

manitoulin island off grid house

The home is modest — only one bathroom and one bedroom.

As much as possible, they wanted sustainable and local building materials. The wood siding came from a local mill.

The house is built on a piece of waterfront land that the homeowners bought about 10 years ago and used to camp on.

manitoulin island off grid house

As artists, the owners wanted space to display their work.

"Every room has a view of the lake with the exception of the bathroom, the front entry and the mechanical room."

The views of Lake Huron are stunning.

"It is really more like being on the ocean."

manitoulin island off grid house

There is also a lot of storage space in the home.

Because they are artists, the couple wanted space for large paintings and good light.

The home is modest, basically a one-bedroom, one-bathroom, 1,500 square-foot home, with a office that doubles as a guest room, and a detached bunkie. There is a walk-in shower and shelving for storage.

manitoulin island off grid house

The home has plenty of natural light.

Because of the remote location, Lolley said she didn't visit during construction and left it in the hands of Quantum Builders Inc. who went above and beyond to ensure the home was well-built, she said.

manitoulin island off grid house

The living space is clean and simple in design.

During the lockdown Lolley is finding there is more interest in this type of sustainable, custom-built, country home.

"In the past, we might get two (calls) a week and now we are getting two or three a day."

Photos by

Nanne Springer


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