How to plan your coach house in Ottawa
Coach / Tiny Homes, House Design

How to plan your Coach House in Ottawa

Intrigued by the possibility but uncertain about the details?

Interest in building a Coach House continues to come from many Ottawa residents, but along with that interest comes a lot of questions and a little confusion. We invariably have to point folks to the City for specific details pertaining to their property, but there is a lot of good information now available that can help residents to do their own research and feel comfortable in understanding their options in the early phases of planning.

The new Coach House legislation is a great boon for many. The potential in particular for an income-generating property right where you live is really appealing to many and it’s a seriously smart investment. But where to start if you have a property and you need to figure out what you can obtain permission to build?

In the fall of 2017, the City of Ottawa published a 32-page document on How to plan your Coach House in Ottawa, and here we break it down into small, easily understood parts. You may still end up reading that 32-page document, but starting here will give you the key information more quickly. We’re also able to clarify some information that is not currently available in that document.

What is a coach house?

Meant to be a gentle form of intensification, coach house are smaller dwellings – usually up to 40% the size of the principal dwelling – on residential properties with detached, semi-detached, duplex or some rowhouse dwellings (the latter must be on a corner lot or have access to a travelled lane).

In fact, any primary residence under 125 m² can accommodate a 50 m² house. For example a 90 m² house would still be allowed to have the coach house of 50 m² just like the 125 m² home. This is welcome news for homeowners of small, post-war homes in Ottawa.

The initial requirements list below is important – if your property doesn’t meet these basic guidelines, you can’t build.

Coach houses must be:

City of Ottawa coach house zoning example

Zoning / building footprint: click to enlarge

  • secondary to the principal dwelling
  • remain as an accessory use to the main dwelling (and cannot be severed)
  • designed and located to be in harmony with the neighourhood and immediate neighbours
  • serviced by the principal dwelling’s water/sanitation connections, or by a direct connection when the main dwelling is on a private well/septic
  • designed and located to preserve mature trees

Additionally:

  • development is not allowed on the floodplain
  • for urban lots, the coach house must be in the rear yard (in rural lots larger than 0.4 hectares exceptions are permitted)
  • in the urban area, the main dwelling and the coach house must share the same parking area and yards
  • the coach house must not exceed lot coverage of 40% of the yard
  • max. height not to exceed the height of the primary dwelling (up to 3.6m, or a flat roof of 3.2m in urban areas; 4.5m or up to 6.1m when a garage is included in village/rural areas)
  • it’s not possible to have a secondary dwelling unit inside the principal dwelling and a coach house; you may only have one of these
  • existing accessory structures may be permitted to convert in part or whole (e.g. garages, sheds or stables) up to a max. footprint of 80m2 (urban area) or 95m2 (rural area)
Capital Coach house plan

EkoBuilt’s Capital Coach House with garage (988 sq.ft. ) 1 of 8 designs

2 Storey Coach Houses

“An application to allow the height of up to a two storey coach house in the urban area through a minor variance may be considered where the conditions for minor variances have been considered and the coach house is proposed to contain a garage on the main level.”

From How to Plan Your Coach House in Ottawa, City of Ottawa

Pre-planning considerations

All coach houses require a Building Permit, and any to be sited with private septic/well will also require a Site Plan Control Approval application.

Make sure your planned investment will be viable first by understanding these key factors:

Servicing feasibility: water/sanitation

Your coach house will need full water/sanitation service, just like the primary dwelling. For urban lots with municipal service, you will need to extend that service to the coach house, and this “may mean modifying or replacing the service at the point where it connects with the City’s water and sewermain”. For lots with private well/septic, the coach house will need to connect to these.

In either case, you will want to consult the appropriate professionals to help ensure that you have the best plan and infrastructure in place so that approval is given.

The City of Ottawa does also recommend that any new coach house also have an independent water heater; Ontario building code does not require this, but it’s strongly recommended.

Servicing feasibility: electrical

Naturally you will need to investigate the electrical service for your primary dwelling to see how it may be extended to your planned coach house. Additional capacity will almost always be needed, and you need to develop an electrical plan that will be approved.

Servicing feasibility: grading/drainage

EkoBuilt's Pinewood Paradise coach house designs

EkoBuilt’s Pinewood Paradise (659 sq.ft.), 1 of 8 coach house designs

A formal grading and drainage plan will be required by the City of Ottawa as part of your application for a Building Permit for any coach house “55 m2 or larger in size and/or for coach houses which are within 1.2 metres from a property line”. It makes good sense to consider grading and drainage as part of any coach house project.

All of these steps are a fundamental part of the planning process, and EkoBuilt can help ensure that you go about this properly. Our team of professionals can make this part of the process much easier, navigating key steps along the way.

Design and placement

Some commonsense factors come into play with the placement and design for your coach house:

  • setbacks from property lines will apply and must be adhered to
  • height permission will depend on location and lot size (see above)
  • privacy for neighbours will be important; entrances and windows will generally face towards the principal dwelling and not outwards toward neighbours
  • the Zoning By-law requires a walkway from the coach house to the street of 1.2m in width (for pedestrian access and emergency services), however the walkway may not be used to expand parking on the lot
  • the City’s 32-page guide provides excellent visual examples of different urban and rural coach house configurations

Additional costs

Tiny Canuck coach house plan

EkoBuilt’s Tiny Canuck (499 sq.ft.), 1 of 8 coach house designs

Finally, remember that your new coach house will require insurance coverage and it will also increase the property taxes that you pay.

For a coach house that will be used as an Airbnb rental or another form of income generation, the total cost of a coach house may be well worth it.

Looking for a great solution? The EkoBuilt team is ready to help make your coach house dream a reality, with our expertise, experience and 8 Coach House designs. We can also create a custom design just for you.

Give us a shout today: paul@ekobuilt.com or 613-227-4663.

Download the City of Ottawa’s 32-page document on How to plan your Coach House in Ottawa

Ottawa's Saddlebrooke Estates
Home Building Resources, House Design

Secluded country lots available just a hop from Kanata

The Saddlebrooke Estates offer a special opportunity to live surrounded by protected park land in the Carp Hills just a short hop from the bustle of Kanata. Although more than 70% sold, around ten lots are still for sale ranging in size from 2.1 to 3.6 acres. This is a pretty unique opportunity and a bit of a hidden gem within Ottawa.

The Estates run along two very quiet roads that are already home to many large, established homes with natural gardens and well established trees. Because the lots were sold in two phases, choosing a lot here means that you won’t feel like you’re in the middle of a housing development.

Enjoy protected rural living on secluded, affordable 2 to 3.5 acre lots just minutes from Kanata

Location map for Ottawa building lots at the Saddlebrooke Estates

Click to enlarge

In addition, you’ll enjoy:

  • the rolling hills and trees of 300 acres of protected park land that surround the Estates
  • a guarantee of a lifetime of privacy with no further development
  • being able to ski or hike right from your back door
  • rural living with the convenience of nearby city amenities

Priced from $160,000 to $200,000, the lots represent excellent value and interested buyers can discuss details with Burnford Realty, a family-run company in Ottawa which originally assembled and owns the lots.

Saddlebrooke Estates Contact

Krista Aselford of Burnford Realty
613-726-8000
krista.aselford@burnfordrealty.com
http://saddlebrooke-estates.com

Braeburn Estatest just west of Ottawa
Home Building Resources, House Design

Waterfront lots just west of Ottawa

The Braeburn Estates offer a special opportunity to live on gorgeous waterfront just outside of Ottawa. Prime building lots along the shores of the Madawaska River offer classic Eastern Ontario landscapes. Picture your dream home with beautiful vistas of the Madawaska River, nestled in a forest of hardwood, pine and spruce. Hill-top vistas beg for homes to be set in the trees overlooking the river.

These beautiful building lots are designed to have prime views of the Madawaska River and lots of privacy.

  • The terrain is blanketed with a beautiful mature forest – wildlife is abundant
  • Enjoy shared community access to the Braeburn Estates dock and swimming area
  • Swim, paddle, kayak, row and fish on the beautiful Madawaska River!

Enjoy one of Ontario’s cleanest, longest rivers – swim, paddle, fish, and row – or just relax and enjoy the view!

  • Alpine Skiing is just 15 minutes away at Calabogie Peaks
  • Walk or bike to the local cafes and galleries in picturesque Burnstown
  • More shopping awaits in Renfrew and Arnprior (10 minutes by car)
  • The Burnstown Beach is right across the river, with beautiful sand beaches, play structures and a boat launch
  • Hop over to the Neat Café in Burnstown where live music performances are a regular occurrence
  • Ottawa is a short drive away with its museums, restaurants, theatre, and the Rideau Canal

Location

Located within the historic and picturesque Township of McNab Braeside, Braeburn Estates is Ottawa’s newest and most beautiful river-front community.

  • Easy commute to Ottawa, with Kanata just 25 minutes away
  • Located at Burnstown, Ontario – an historic Ottawa Valley Hamlet

Directions from Ottawa: Take Hwy 417 west, continue on 17 west. Turn left at Cty Rd 508 / Calabogie Rd. At Burnstown, turn left on Burnstown Rd. Turn left at the top of the hill on Building Supply Rd. Drive to the end and you are at Braeburn Estates.

Available Lots

  • Lot sizes vary from 1 – 3 acres; all have at least 145’ water frontage;
  • Lots will have Bell & Hydro service brought to lot line, and will have frontage on a new paved road
  • All lots in the community will enjoy shared access to the community dock and swimming area
  • Phase 1 Lots will be available for possession late spring/summer 2018

Please click on the diagram of available lots below to see a full size version.

Community Development Vision

  • Community Covenants will help ensure the protection of the environment and encourage common design standards
  • Friends and family of homeowners in the community will enjoy shared access to the community dock and swimming area
  • As is typical of all property along the Madawaska River, the water frontage is owned by OPG (Ontario Power Generation). Home owners may apply to OPG for a license to use the waterfront and build dock facilities.

Work with EkoBuilt

As one of the select builders in the closest new waterfront community to Ottawa, we are excited to offer the opportunity of a passive or timber frame home to anyone who shares our vision.

Contact us to discuss available property, design approaches (both for the dwelling and its heating/cooling) and cost to build.

Braeburn Estates Contact

Website
Facebook
Contact: Susan Anglin, susan@braeburnestates.ca, 613.319.3136

Lot division for the Braeburn Estates

Ottawa infill project for EkoBuilt
Coach / Tiny Homes, EkoBuilt News & Happenings, House Design

A taste of our current projects

A snapshot of some of our current projects is actually a great way to get a feel for how some homeowners are using EkoBuilt’s energy efficient house plans as well as our design expertise. We thought we’d share this round up for a bit of home design and planning inspiration:

Ottawa Urban Infill Project

We’re excited to be working on preliminary drawings for an urban rebuild project close to Lansdowne Park and the Rideau Canal. A young, forward thinking family are the clients and we are excited to design their new family home. There is an existing post-war type house on the property that will be recycled, and a new home, designed for the 21st-century, will emerge.

We typically prepare a site plan, and it’s particularly important in this case as we’re working with limited space and need to design to maximize space on the property within the setbacks required by the City of Ottawa. There is a basement involved and we have given a couple of options for feedback from the client.

Photo Gallery – click to enlarge

Coach House Over Garage

This design started as a garage with a workshop and kennel area for three dogs. The clients decided to take advantage of the new Coach House Bylaw in Ottawa and put an apartment over the garage for affordable investment income.

The utility area will be the only heated area in the garage section, so we will super insulate the floor and follow passive principles for the second-floor apartment. The Coach House will face due south.

Photo Gallery – click to enlarge

House with Attached Garage

The property of this design is sloped, but not by much, which meant not having a basement, but also that it wouldn’t be slab on grade. A conventional poured concrete foundation is going to be installed, the only difference being R32 insulation beneath the slab instead of R10, as required by current code. With energy costs rapidly rising, it only makes sense to install more insulation, if reasonable to do so.

Photo Gallery – click to enlarge

Shooting Star – Modified Bungalow

This design started from our Shooting Star house plan, a 2 bed/2 bath bungalow of just over 1200 square feet. The client took our original plan and customized it to best suit their needs. It is a home designed to be off the grid because the client does not want to depend on the grid. We find this pretty inspiring. Why connect to the grid if you don’t have to?

Building to Passive House standard — the original inspiration behind our 13 energy efficient house plans — it’s easy to take the home off-grid. A generator is required, but we use a generator that burns oil from sun derived energy, including vegetable oil, reclaimed vegetable oil or bio diesel.

Photo Gallery – click to enlarge

You can download the original Shooting Star plans here

Ottawa Custom Bungalow

If you can’t find a design, not to worry, we can help! The clients of this design came to us with a rough idea and, after a few revisions, we transformed the idea into a computer assisted drawing. It’s a unique situation because this home will sit in a forest but still consume 80% to 90% less energy than its building code equivalent, reinforcing the reality that every house should be passive!

Photo Gallery – click to enlarge

These examples show that we are ultimately a custom design/build firm. If you like our minimalistic, modern and sustainable approach to design, we can help in any capacity. Feel free to reach out to discuss your project!

Couple viewing potential land for their home
Energy & Household Trends, Home Building Resources, House Design

Tips for purchasing land on which to build your home

Hoping to build your own home some day? Does it seem like a dream? It’s best to start planning as far ahead as possible. Here’s why:

The excitement and potential around building your own home are pretty special, but there is a lot of work that needs to go into the process before you ever get there. If any process deserves a long lead time, home building is it.

Considerations around location, availability and zoning of available land, whether to share or become part of a community with others, whether to build in an income component, and the type of structure you would build are just the starting points.

With land availability increasingly scarce in some areas, and energy costs rising, it’s important to get all of these things as right as you can.

1) How do you want to live?

  • Are you building for where you are now, or where you will be in a few years or more? Are you building a family home or for a single/couple? Will you work from home?
  • Do you like the idea of building a home with a community of other like minded folks?
  • Does your household have special needs?
  • With rising costs for home ownership, does it make sense to build in an income/rental component?

2) Where do you want to live?

It’s never too soon to start looking at available land and considering your options.

Urban or rural?

In an urban environment you will likely have to take land that’s available or find a property with an existing older home and rebuild. The rebuild may be the preferable option for most in order to be in the neighbourhood of choice and also for the property not to be subject to development costs which can be as high as $25,000-$30,000 in the city of Ottawa. If the property has an existing home on it, regardless of condition or age, the development fee is waived.

In rural areas or smaller towns it is still a good idea to pay attention to development fees. Using Ottawa as an example, the $25,000-$30,000 development fee within city limits could be reduced to as little as $3,500 in the surrounding townships.

Other factors to consider:

Lay of the land. This is important for some because it may dictate the style of foundation. For example, if you want a walkout basement, a sloped piece of land is necessary. On the flip side, if no basement is preferred, then a relatively flat piece of property is required.

Orientation. In order to maximize solar gain, it is important to have access to the sun and this means designing the house to face within 20° of due south. In a town or city, streets that run north to south are preferred instead of east to west for privacy reasons. For example, if a street runs east to west, a house on the north side of the road has its south side facing the street. As living areas would normally be placed on this side of a home, there is a potential loss of privacy particularly if the home needs to be positioned very close to the road.

Water quality. It’s a good idea to research depths of wells if the property is located outside of a municipal area. Deep wells (greater than 250 to 300 feet deep) normally have higher concentrations of minerals which may require a large water treatment system. Well records in the province of Ontario are public information so it’s very easy to see the results.

3) Budget: To build & to live

There is a budget for building, and then there is a budget for living, and as energy prices rise the latter is getting more attention from homeowners.

Ottawa coach house plans by EkoBuilt

EkoBuilt’s Mooneys Pad tiny house plan

EkoBuilt offers pre-existing energy efficient house plans to suit many different lifestyles, including tiny/coach house options. Many of our clients like to start with one of our plans, and then customize to best meet their personal needs and preferences, but we can also start from scratch. Working with pre-existing plans provides great benefit in terms of proven models of energy efficiency, layout convenience, and – of course – budget.

EkoBuilt also offers a key array of house performance models for your home, including Code Plus (a home built to the Code standards projected for 2030), Passive House (a home that is 90% better than Code), and even Net Zero (a home which produces as much energy as it uses).

The best investment you can make is in the most energy efficient home that you can afford to build, as you will get the best return on that same investment. Imagine simply not having to worry about steeply climbing energy bills.

4) How will you build?

Finding a builder who understands what you want to achieve and can work with you to do so, is critical. At EkoBuilt, we welcome clients who want to save on the build cost by doing some or all of their own work, when circumstances allow. We also work with clients who need us to do everything from start to finish.

The earlier in the process that we can have a conversation, the more we can help you consider the best and most cost effective ways of achieving your dream. Make time to sit down with us today, even if you can’t foresee being in a position to build for two or three years.

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash
Energy efficient home under construction near Kazabazua
EkoBuilt Projects, House Design

New house build in Kazabazua

A modified version of EkoBuilt’s Primrose house plan is currently being built on Danford Lake near Kazabazua, about an hour north of Ottawa. This is a great illustration of the process that we find works the best with the great majority of homeowners: take on one of our 13 house plans and then modify or customize to best suit your needs.

This homeowner is working with us for the design and construction process, and will implement finishes themselves – another great example of the myriad of ways it’s possible to realize the build and finishing of a new home.

When to Include a Basement

We often get asked the question, can we have a basement? This project is a good example of when you can.

The inclusion of a basement in house design comes down to the property and its slope. Some properties will easily support a basement, as with this project, which is situated on natural sloped ground leading down to a lake. A walkout basement was cost-effective to include in this case.

Other properties may not easily support a basement and our demonstration home is a good example of this, being on a clay-based soil with a high water table. A basement in this case would be a bad idea so we instead installed a super-insulated slab on grade foundation over top of an elevated gravel pad. Basement design should always be dictated by the ground on which the home will be constructed.

The Primrose

The Primrose bungalow, on which this home in Kazabazua is based, encompasses just under 1,600 square feet of living space, and features 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.

Click to view full size images.  You can also download the Primrose plans.

Kazabazua Home’s Modified Plans

This project takes the Primrose plan as its basis, and introduces changes to best suit the lifestyle of the homeowners. The ground floor grew to 1,955 square feet and features the addition of a sunroom. The sloping ground on which the home is being built also supports the inclusion of a walkout basement, and the storage/mechanical room is situated on this lower level.

Click to view full size images.

Construction Gallery

 

Child's bedroom in energy efficient home plan
Energy & Household Trends, Energy Efficiency, Home Building Resources, House Design

Energy efficient home plans are essential

If you’re planning on building a new home, you’ve got a chance to get it right from day one. Low energy bills, a healthy and supremely comfortable living environment, great design – what’s not to love?

Energy efficient home plans are the key ingredient to an energy efficient home, along with energy efficient materials and building technologies, and – of course – a builder who understands how to make the most of all of these.

Energy efficient home plans from EkoBuiltWhy are they so important?

Home plans that have been developed by an experienced home builder over time will take into account myriad factors, including the best distances for work areas in a kitchen, ideal corridor and flow pathways, orientation of private spaces to public ones, relationships of the indoors to the outdoors, etc. But there is much more to a home than floorplans.

An energy efficient home plan will also take into account things like roof slope and style, overhangs, maximizing window size on south and west facing walls, etc.

Will you know an energy efficient plan when you see it?

Possibly not. Unless you know the right things to look for, you may not be able to pick out the best options. An energy efficient home builder will be able to guide you in selecting from the best plans, can work with you to further customize those base plans to best suit your needs, preferences and budget, and will know the appropriate building materials and systems required to realize the build properly. The right builder will stay abreast of the best home building technologies and approaches for reducing a home’s energy footprint.

Why EkoBuilt?

Child's bedroom in energy efficient home plan

A child’s bedroom in the EkoBuilt model home. Although curtains have been added for light control, they aren’t needed for warmth. The Munster windows are incredibly well sealed and energy efficient.

After years of building custom and energy efficient homes for customers, the EkoBuilt team has years of experience in designing and building homes, and this experience has translated into the 13 energy efficient home plans from our Passive House line, as well as 8 tiny/coach house plans for secondary dwellings/rental properties and tiny home enthusiasts.

The 13 passive house plans that we’ve developed encompass both two-storey and bungalow styles, all boast low-slope roofs with large overhangs, and each one is designed to maximize the placement and size of south and west-facing windows.

These house plans also build on years spent accumulating knowledge of the best kinds of home floorplans to cater to different lifestyles and life phases. Some of our plans will be better suited to individuals, retired couples or those without children, while others are more clearly family/multi-resident homes.

All of the plans include an optional basement with lower-level access, and all can be paired with an energy efficient garage, as required.

Homes designed to take advantage of electricity – the fuel of the future

These homes are easily and cheaply run using an air to air source heat pump which can heat a home for less than $30/month (electricity) during the coldest months of winter. Really!

And, as noted above, we’re always delighted to work with clients to customize one of our plans to best suit their design preferences, budget and needs. We can help you think through how you live and how your home’s design can best support that.

Most importantly, we can help you end up with the most delightfully comfortable and healthy home, that is also the most energy efficient one possible to build currently.

Get in touch

Tell about your dreams and plans; we’ll help you choose the best energy efficient house plan and show you how to make it your reality.

Read more about the EkoModel Home, which demonstrates all of these principles.

Wood engineered siding on the EkoModel Home
House Design

Engineered Wood Siding: Beautiful & Sustainable

In spring 2017 we installed siding on the EkoModel Home. If you’ve followed the build of this passive house that we’re using as a showroom for what we can build, you’ll be familiar with its two-storey, flat-roofed visage.

This 2,506 square foot home includes 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, and beautiful, sun-filled rooms from its south-facing rear orientation. When it came time to clad the exterior, we wanted to choose a product with a high degree of renewable or recycled content that would also be:

  • affordable
  • a natural material
  • extremely low maintenance, and – most important of all –
  • look great!

We choose an engineered wood siding product, GOODStyle by Goodfellow (a Canadian company), that comes with a 40-year guarantee and has 100% recycled content.

Offered in planks, shingles or panels, GOODStyle siding is available in a vast array of colours. We opted for a mix of grey and mustard tones, giving the house depth and interest (actual colours: Galet, Barn, and Cedar). You can realize your own perfect exterior with the many options and colourways available from Goodfellow.

For more detail, view the GOODStyle by Goodfellow brochure.

Before and After Photos

The rear, south-facing aspect of the house is where the common living areas are focused.

The front of the home, which is north-facing, has smaller windows.

Goodfellow Engineered Siding Photo Gallery

Find out more about the EkoModel Home passive house, and Goodfellow siding. Contact us today!

Graphic courtesy of TheFix.com
Energy Efficiency, Home Building Resources, House Design, Simply Sustainable

Add a little inspiration to your spring

It’s feeling like spring really has sprung, and it seems like a good idea to share some of the inspirational ideas we’ve been storing away over the winter. Fun and clever stuff that will get the cogs in your brain whirring!

Making your old wood ‘pallet-able’

How to upcycle pallets into “rustic-industrial” stuff for your home

Pallet safety infographicThis article from theFix.com was recently shared on Treehugger.

It helps to determine which pallets are safe to use, and which are not, and also contains a fun and informative infographic on how to prepare pallets for whatever project you might have in mind.

Also from theFix.com is Home Improvement Projects You Can Do with Reclaimed Wood, which gets the same cool infographic treatment, making for a quick and lively review of some neat design options.

 


Passive house on wheels anyone?

Cargo van conversionDigital nomad’s ultra-minimalist van conversion includes hidden bike rack (Video)

We’ve all seen our fill of tiny home projects, including many models designed for hitting the road. This sleek cargo van conversion is a really cool addition to the options available to anyone wanting to live on the road.


Just plain cool

10 Ways to Repurpose Vintage Furniture (Apartment Therapy)
All-in-one cube is ‘room within a room’ that hides bed, bike, closet & office (Treehugger)
Genius Trash to Treasure Crafts (Good Housekeeping)

Happy Spring!