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Dream home: $12 million Ontario retreat with six lakefront villas built as a resort-style family getaway

waterfront house

Bringing home a few souvenirs from your travels is one thing. But Brian Beatty picked up the best design ideas and artifacts from an entire continent.

Then he built a $12 million, South American-inspired waterfront family compound complete with six multi-level villas, 7,000 square feet of terraces and decks, and even an Argentinian-style barbecue.

“The Destination,” as Beatty calls it, looks and functions like an all-inclusive luxury resort with amenities and activities to suit all ages and interests. That was always his vision, according to the Ontario businessman who describes feeling “joyful, comfortable and welcome” on trips to South America.

outdoor pool

“I wanted to evoke a similar feeling in this property, and to entertain close friends and family members with this relaxed mindset,” he told the Star in an email. “To create a true lifestyle feel, I wanted to ensure amenities were close at hand wherever you are, from grabbing a cool drink at one of the many outdoor lounge areas to enjoying fresh vegetables grown in our own garden.”

The 32-acre property on Charleston Lake, about 70 km north of Kingston, Ont., comprises 10 structures, including a bar with a karaoke stage — modelled after one in Peru — a games house and two boathouses. There’s also a wading pool, multiple outdoor kitchens and a greenhouse.

The villas, with room for up to 30 people, provide guests their own private spaces for cooking and sleeping while communal areas bring them together for meals and activities.

The idea for the project began in 2001 when Beatty bought his first cottage on a promontory of natural rock formations, thinking “That’s the view! I have to build something great here.”

After purchasing additional nearby cottages and properties over several years, he planned the compound around villas built on the existing foundations. Grandfathered bylaws made it possible to develop close to the water’s edge, explains Beatty, who spent five years on construction and even took his team to South America for inspiration.

The topography was used to advantage in the design, exemplified by a firepit located on top of a Canadian Shield outcropping.

“You can sit in the evenings with a cocktail just on the edge of the lake and enjoy a fire,” says Beatty, calling it “truly a special spot.”

The property’s romantic essence and terracotta roof look-alikes (they’re actually durable custom-designed steel shingles) are evocative of a Mediterranean resort, according to co-listing agents Marilyn and Reba Wilson of Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties Inc. and Christie’s International Real Estate.

kitchen area

“It feels like you’re somewhere else, yet you’re in Canada with this safe, cleanest lake and cleanest air,” says Marilyn.

Every villa, balcony and terrace boasts “spectacular views” of pristine Charleston Lake, which is a natural for water sports and fishing, says Reba.

“You’re literally on the cusp of the water’s edge – it’s so beautiful.”

Beatty says he saw the property from an entirely different perspective when the pandemic kept him there last winter, “One of the best winters I have ever had in my life!”

After building skating and hockey rinks and creating 10 km of trails on the frozen lake, he realized the residence “can be greatly enjoyed year-round … (giving) happiness to all my friends and family.”

As summer unfolds, the turnkey retreat is ready and waiting, says Marilyn Wilson. “Just bring your suitcase!”

Aerial shot of a beach

The numbers

Price: $12 million
Size of living space: 7,383 square feet
Waterfront: 535 feet
Sleeping accommodation: 30
Outdoor seating areas: 20+


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