crafted by photobiz

About Us

David Gillett Design Ltd. was started in 1986 and has gone on to become a designer of some of the premier cottages, boathouses and country houses in Central Ontario, particularly in the Muskoka Lakes and Georgian Bay regions.

With an emphasis on design that is tailored to the intricacies of the site, the firm has created some of the most iconic landmarks on the lakes, specializing in boathouses, cottages and guest cabins, country houses and restorations of classic buildings. With a client base living around the world David Gillett Design emphasizes the importance of communication and coordination, assembling a team of engineers, technicians and designers for each project tailored to the special demands that each building brings.

Founded and headed by David Gillett, a graduate of The University of Toronto School of Architecture in 1983, the firm’s work has been featured in several books, The Globe and Mail, Cottage Life magazine, North of 89, Canadian Architecture magazine, The National Post, Canadian House and Home, The New York Times and numerous other publications.



Architecture is about place, use and beauty. So... projects ideally start with a discussion on site. The topography, light, views and the clients’ wish list are all part of the opening dialogue.

This website is a brief introduction to the work we do. Please go to our Contact Us page and get in touch. We can then send you additional information, client references, and additional project photos.


About... David Gillett B.Arch MRAIC

David graduated from The University of Toronto School of Architecture in 1983, but his architectural education began long before that, building houses during his summer holidays and travelling with a sketchbook and camera. After university, he augmented his formal education by studying the waterfront homes of the Maritimes, New England and California, touring and sketching the grand country houses of the United Kingdom and researching and writing about cottage life in Muskoka.

A long-time hands-on connection to the residential construction industry, an interest in the craft of building and a tendency to climb ladders on job sites has helped him build a rapport with contractors and trades on the many projects he has designed. It has also infused his work with a practical, real-world technical sensibility.

David’s connection to architecture is multi-faceted: in addition to his design work he writes occasional pieces for various national publications, sketches buildings wherever he finds them and travels as often as he can, especially to England where he conducts an on-going study of country house architecture and landscape design.

Operating out of a studio overlooking a fifty acre cornfield on his farm west of Orillia, Ontario, David’s connection to the land and nature has informed his creativity and helped him develop a feel for landscape and the environment.


For a sampling of some of his writing on Architecture, Creativity, Travel and Life, visit his blog.

  • David is also active as an illustrator specializing in editorial pieces that enhance the text, with work published in various national publications.
  • Recently, David created the cover image for the Ontario Association of Architects journal, PERSPECTIVES, plus illustrations for each of several stories in that issue (see Publications gallery).
  • David was featured in the fall edition of Canadian Builders Quarterly, in their special edition featuring alumni of the University of Toronto Faculty of Architecture. Link to the article.



We have completed a variety of projects in recent years for clients from all over the globe, including China, Australia, The United Kingdom and The United States. We have compiled an extensive reference list of recent clients who would be happy to discuss our capabilities with you by phone or email. Once you have made contact with us, we can share that list with you. (Note: we do not publish it on the web for confidentiality reasons.)

The individuals listed have asked for our help on projects ranging from small guest cabins to horse barns to large lakeside family compounds. These people will gladly speak to you about the design and administration services performed by our office.

• A great design team is very much that: A team. We see relationships and compatibility as a big part of a successful design process, and at the end of most projects, we’re asked along to help to celebrate.