Stephen Grant is one of Toronto’s top divorce lawyers, the man one-percenters like David Thomson and Michael McCain go to when their marriages falter. He’s also a city guy who never dreamed of owning a cabin in the woods. That is, until he met his wife, Sandy Forbes, in the early ’90s. She’s a lawyer too, a partner at Davies who specializes in commercial litigation. She yearned for a weekend escape from their frenetic schedule. “Sandy wanted a cottage,” says Grant, “and like any sensible husband, I said yes.” (His line of work has made him an expert on matrimonial arbitration.) Their decade-old retreat is on a forested lot in Haliburton facing a quiet lake. But its design, by architects Brigitte Shim and Howard Sutcliffe, is thoroughly urban. The structure is encased in Shim-Sutcliffe’s signature rusting steel, and the burnished concrete floors belong in a downtown loft. In these modern surroundings, Grant has learned to enjoy the relaxed pace of country life: while Forbes lounges for hours with a paperback, he passes leisurely afternoons trying out recipes from Saveur and Bon Appétit.
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