House in Frogs Hollow by Williamson Chong Architects

Frog's Hollow Approach © Bob Gundu



Just 35km west of Clearview Residence the sun shines the same but the atmosphere is entirely different.

Where Clearview is polished and contained, Frog’s Hollow is understated and accessible.
Where Clearview is a limousine, Frog’s Hollow is a high-end SUV.
Where Clearview is introverted and sublime, Frog’s Hollow is a moderate extrovert.
Where Clearview complements the land, Frog’s Hollow embraces it.

A primary site strategy was to resist the inclination to build on the top of the hills where one could survey the property in its entirety and instead carve out a building area at the base of the hillside.

The homes are both luxurious, but clearly different personas.

You could imagine how the proposal discussion from Willimason Chong Architects might have gone:

Yes, we’d like to bury about half of the main floor space. Concrete. Underground.
Sure, we think plywood is a great exterior finish for a home in Southern Ontario snow country.
No, we’ve never actually done anything quite like this before.

And that’s before you get to the discussion about skipping traditional forced air heating and cooling (as found in 76% of Ontario homes according to Statistics Canada – Households and the Environment: Energy Use) in favour of well-placed windows bolstered by radiant heat loops under a concrete floor.

The whole thing doesn’t sound quite like a comfortable, contemporary vacation home – more like something experimental from a catalog of shipping container conversions or modified quonset huts.

But, of course, the Williamson Chong vision, plan, materials and execution are top notch and are a great match for the client’s brief and lifestyle. The home serves as a base camp for hiking, mountain-biking, snowshoeing and skiing. No garage full of all-terrain vehicles here, even though the large property is land-locked and far from the watery cottage country that typifies Southern Ontario recreation property dreams.

Obviously, we’re talking active adventures for this site, but the passive features are also abundant. The views northeast from the sheltered patio area are only hinted at in the available photographs, but naturally follow the northern fantail of the Beaver Valley as it slopes down to Georgian Bay and the town of Thornbury some 5 miles distant. This vista is truly spectacular.

The indoor views are eye-catching as well, including the sculpted wooden staircase (more birch plywood) and clean lines and proportions of the main floor space, surrounded by glass on three sides, drawing you back outside for fun and games.


House in Frogs Hollow by Williamson Chong Architects
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Frog\'s Hollow by Willimason Chong Architects 44.529346, -80.530943 Frog\'s Hollow by Willimason Chong Architects

The sunlight reflecting off the BBQ at Frog’s Hollow is like a beacon (Bing satellite).

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Property Location

Location: Grey Highlands, Grey County, Ontario, Canada
Grey County, ON

House in Frogs Hollow by Williamson Chong Architects


  • Architects: Williamson Chong Architects,
    Betsy Williamson, OAA (registered architect) and Shane Williamson, Principals
  • Photography: © Bob Gundu
  • Engineers: Blackwell Bowick Partnership Ltd.
  • General contractor: Wilson Project Management
  • Completion Date: September 2009
  • Gross square footage: 2000 sq. ft.
  • Property Size: 100 acres

Completed in 2009, Frog’s Hollow continues to rack up awards. Among other kudos, this project has been recognized by: