80 ML BLUE FALL 2018 In the summer of 2017 construction began. Raising the roof, Swartz’ design added a single-storey extension, a second floor and two more bedrooms. This created a home that is now 3,000 square feet. “Productivity was slow in the beginning; as soon as we ripped the roof off it rained for two months,” he recalls. It was a challenging build. “They’re pretty tall ceilings. You can’t stick-frame that,” he says. “There are four steel columns and a huge beam to get all that stuff out front. We had a massive machine to drop in all that structure. I think we were done in 10 or 11 months.” While Swartz works with plenty of builders in the city, he wanted the majority of the work to be done by local contractors. “I came up here through all the framing,” he says. “I was here about two days a week. But I was in good hands, those guys were great.” Those guys include Mike Shaw Carpentry, Andy Riddell Carpentry and Sean Wood of Woodcraft Custom Carpentry. While there is still some landscaping to finish off, the building is beautiful. From the open kitchen, the high-ceilinged living room, the master bedroom, or even the ensuite, incredible views of Georgian Bay flood into the home bringing light and serenity. “It’s pretty unassuming from the outside and that was intentional,” he says. “I didn’t want it to look like a big place from the front. I wanted to keep the vernacular of the street.” Swartz and his wife befriended the previous owners, even purchasing 18 of the previous owner’s artworks which still decorate the home today. “They called this place the Beach House,” he says. “It had that kind of coastal feeling, and that’s what I rode with, that whole vibe: white, very neutral, celebrating the water, keeping everything clean looking. And so we call it the Beach House. And when you close your eyes it feels like you’re on the ocean, so it feels like a coastal home. It’s not a cottage, it’s not a city home.” Currently working on a campus building for Queen’s University, Swartz has worked on countless custom homes in Toronto. But this was the first time building something for himself. A triathlete who regularly rides his bicycle from his home in Toronto to his home on the shores of Georgian Bay (it takes him about five-and-a-half hours), this was a fun project for him. “It’s easy building new,” he says. “You have no restrictions. But the nice thing about transforming something, is it’s very rewarding; taking something that was and making something really cool with it. I enjoyed that about this place.” And there’s little doubt Swartz and his family will enjoy living in it too.