I was invited to re-design the beachfront of a cottage property in Catalone, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia that I had previously designed in 2000. The beach has been used and continues to be used by a dozen or more families every summer. The challenges for the 2017 project were to create a shareable common space between the two properties joined at the beach, to provide a 360 degree view life guard station, to reuse parts of the existing removable dock structure and large boulders, establish an area for kayaks, provide safe and easy access for kids to the water, flexible seating arrangements, create a seawall for erosion control including a bridge over a freshwater stream. That's kind of a long list, right?
The result was a concept with three part:
1. A large shaded deck to share between properties
2. The screened gazebo/lifeguard station on the point
3. An elevated winding boardwalk to connect the two
The boulders and rocks used as foundation for the structure shore up parts of the beach against erosion. The light framing for the boardwalk span over sensitive slopes and vegetations, and care was taken to maintain trees and shrubs whose roots help protect the bank, as well as to keep prized blueberry patches easily accessible to tiny passersby!
One of my favourite outcomes of the project was that children LOVE to run back and forth along the boardwalk, just as I had hoped. The semi-submerged boulders became welcome rest spots during swimming, and were nicknamed "mermaid rocks". This new beachfront will be enjoyed by many families for years to come.
*A special thanks to Rose Taljaard for many of the photographs.