Allair Media


Out To Launch


Steve Jobs once said, “Design is not just what it looks and feels like. Design is how it works.” Naturally, the late entrepreneur was speaking in the context of Apple’s sleek technology offerings, but the principle applies in any discipline with a design element, where the marriage of luxury and utility is always the ultimate objective.


A recently built launch house on an island property in Lake Muskoka’s central corridor seems to have achieved that objective strikingly. Built by Fitzmaurice Bros. Carpentry over one winter, the launch house offers exceptional functionality and has charm to spare. A HOME OF THEIR OWN Many cottagers take pride in their role as shared keepers of the area’s storied history. At the same time, our desires are affected by new technologies, advances in materials, and the ebb and flow of style.

Jamie Doran, partner at Fitzmaurice Bros., sees this in his clients. “Much of our core business exists in servicing clients who own some of Muskoka’s longest-standing estates and properties,” he explains. “Many of our clients are actively concerned with maintaining the original architectural and historical value of their property’s past, while integrating modern conveniences.” It’s a similar impetus that drives those who collect, restore, and care for antiques. Owners of launch houses recognize the value in these unique structures and understand the part they play in helping to maintain and serve the historical integrity of their treasured classic and antique boats.


“Many of our clients are actively concerned with maintaining the original architectural and historical value of their property’s past, while integrating modern conveniences.”
Jamie Doran– Fitzmaurice Bros. Carpentry


As recently as 30 years ago, this lakeside project would have been built on wooden cribs. Today, steel has taken over as the substructure of choice for most shoreline builds. Its stability and longevity are second to none, maintenance is almost nonexistent, and it has a lesser environmental impact on lake habitat. For the launch house, Fitzmaurice Bros. coordinated with long-time associates, Coulson Bros., who fabricated and installed the steel substructure for this sizeable lakeside project.

The four-slip launch house includes a lift in each slip supported by an overhead steel structure. Also, a sizable workshop area within the launch house, gives the owner plenty of room and access to his boats for maintenance projects.

Powered bay doors on the south and east walls open up wide access points for golf carts and oversized loads and equipment. The south side bay door was designed to open in close proximity to a rail elevator, helping the homeowners easily move heavy loads up to the main cottage.



Built to harmonize aesthetically with the main cottage, the launch house draws inspiration from traditional Beaumaris architecture. With a gentle slope and shed-style window dormers on all sides, the complex roofline had to be custom framed. Striking corbels at the east side bay door add a touch of architectural intrigue while supporting an extended overhang. The exterior of the launch house is clad with Cape Cod siding in a soft pewter grey, which complements its woodsy background as well as the lake tones in front. An extended soffit overhang on the dock side creates a tidy shaded strip, perfect for a place to sit away from the sun’s glare. Finally, an expansive cedar-decked dock makes a great spot for gatherings, or to lounge in the sun after a swim.

Thanks to careful planning and masterful construction, this lovely launch house achieves the best aims of good design. It is both classically stylish and perfectly tailored to its purpose.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply