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www.ourhomesmagazine.com/mississauga
THE HOUSE THAT BY JOYCE TURNER -G IONET
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASON HARTOG
The exterior of Small’s new modern home is a showstopper with landscape lighting by Global Green. BELOW: Ipe Brazilian hardwood was chosen over concrete or stone on the back porch for its warm, organic feel leading onto a terrace of black Banas flagstone. BOTTOM: Uncommon Ground left a deep section of the rear yard completely natural with broadleaf trees and conifers.
DAVID BUILT
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AA style that emerged in the early 20th century, modernist is characterized by a simplicity and clarity of form that emphasizes structural elements. Award-winning custom home designer David Small of David Small Designs predicts a resurgence of the simple and clean style in the GTA. He is building his own family home as proof to homeowners that modern can be warm, cosy and family friendly.
A recent issue of Architectural Digest mused on what it means to be modern. David and wife, Jackie, have had similar conversations. Working with Tony Ferkul Construction Management Group they’re putting the finishing touches on the 3,800 sq. ft. home in Gordon Woods. Let go of every preconception you harbour about modernist homes being cold, stark and dated. With a soft spot for the low-pitched roofs, horizontal lines and open floor plans of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie Homes, David takes the best of modernist and makes it better. Revolutionary modern to be exact: a space that stops passersby in their tracks and has them excitedly pulling out their phones to take pictures and ringing the doorbell to give their compliments and kudos – all day, every day.
ABOVE: The kitchen is sleek with a built-in Miele cooktop, a gooseneck faucet and
stainless steel fan. RIGHT: The open concept living space has various ceiling heights to
create spaces within the space. The soaring ceiling over the table calls for a spectacular
chandelier supplied by Watts Current.
David chose to focus on livable space, forgoing a formal living room, and creating a family space that serves many functions. ABOVE: Windows surround the space and bring the outdoors in, ensuring that the home and the environment are one. LEFT: The six-ton hearthstone was trucked down from David’ family cottage in French River. The Copper-clad stone chimney flu is a modern design with old-fashioned warmth.
Continued on page 34
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“Even in a neighbourhood like ours, where Arts & Crafts, English Manor and French Country hold sway, modernist, or even a house just a little bit different from the rest, can be a friendly neighbour,” he says of his ground-breaking design. “It’s all in the execution.” The modern house must be of the land, not simply on it, rising up in elemental fashion, intimately tied to the surrounding landscape while respectful of the neighbourhood’s established character. If a house stands out like the proverbial sore thumb, it’s not a success. Gary Van Eijk, principal at Uncommon Ground Landscape Design & Outdoor Living, charged with executing David’s vision for the exterior, puts it succinctly: “In this design, I am most proud of what is not noticed – the fact that this very special structure and the natural landscape are one. If they appeared different or out of step we would not have succeeded.” When the sliding doors leading out to the covered porch are open and the scent of the oiled Ipe Brazilian hardwood deck floats up, one is on vacation, lost to the fact that suburbia lies just beyond the artistic fence line.
ABOVE LEFT: The walk-in closet is functional and has a place for every accessory. ABOVE: The grand foyer is simple with glass and steel railings balanced with warm hardwood. LEFT: The music room flanks the hallway and provides a dramatic view from the street, adding to the home’s curb appeal. RIGHT: David’s office is a clean and functional space to design or meet with clients.
LEFT: The home designer’s twin daughters get the run of the second floor with a space designed for homework, friends or relaxing. BELOW: One child’s room reflects their sporty personality. BOTTOM: Another daughter’s room is far more artistic. Both rooms open up so the girls can share a space or shut away for privacy.
Continued on page 36
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David chose a corner lot. Where others might have seen the drawbacks, he visualized the possibilities. The space allowed him to emphasize frontage, and the established trees presented the perfect backdrop for the structure taking shape in his mind. Contemporary modern architecture makes extensive use of concrete, steel and glass in a context of clean lines. David’s take is far more sensual. “Horizontal lines are friendliest,” he says, exaggerating these aspects throughout. Wooden gates and stone pillars extend the architecture to the perimeter. David maximized the roof’s visual impact by disconnecting it from the walls: stonework ends two feet shy of the roofline and only metal cladding or windows touch the soffits, creating the illusion that the roof floats above the house. Horizontal windows by Pella Windows and Doors, the majority of which stretch floor-to-ceiling, provide uninterrupted sight lines.
A home is a social space to which the open-concept nature of
modernist lends itself well. The home’s hub, the great room, is comprised of dining room, kitchen and family room. In the dining room, the ceiling soars dramatically to 21 feet. On either side, kitchen and family room ceilings drop to a more intimate 12 feet. Structural steel beams and columns serve double-duty; painted Pratt and Lambert’s Flint Grey, they delineate where one room ends and the next begins, assigning order to the open concept. Interior finishes were the realm of Tania Parkyn of Parkyn Design.
“To achieve the warmth that David and Jackie wanted, wall colours were kept soft,” says Tania. “We contrasted the textures of the modern elements like stainless accents, industrial windows and contemporary lighting against organic elements like the six-inch reclaimed elm floors, interior ledge rock walls and stone hearth. No matter where you look, interior and exterior sight lines are harmonious,” she says.
FAR LEFT: The en suite contains a freestanding bathtub set off by a glass mosaic tiled feature wall. LEFT: Honed Vienna White marble contrasts with a floating double vanity topped with Blizzard caeserstone. BELOW: Three-inch-high pieces of horizontally oriented Wiarton Ledge rock creates a focal point.
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“This home was designed with such accuracy that anything slightly off in the kitchen would have resulted in a domino effect throughout,” says Domenic Sicilia of Cameo Kitchens and Fine Cabinetry. A thoroughly modernist and balanced milieu is present right down to the island’s stainless steel surround and Miele appliances from Miele Canada. The unusual Douglas fir ceiling, Lagos Blue Ceasarstone counters and Echo Wood gunmetal ebony and pewter grey cabinets keep things organic.
Sentimental details – a massive stone fireplace hearth shipped from David’s family cottage in French River, the sliding wall separating the twins’ bedrooms and the kitchen’s large custom baker’s board for passionate baker Jackie – illustrate how elements of the family’s lifestyle were thoughtfully incorporated.
According to the principles of modernist architecture, form follows function and a building’s design should be derived directly from its purpose. In this case, the purpose was simple – a warm, welcoming family space. Judging by the enthusiastic response from the neighbourhood, the design is upstaging the typical play-it-safe aspect of custom building. David hopes he’s getting people to stretch a little, design-wise. “By straying from the norm, you have something unique to offer when it’s time to sell. We have people knocking on the door regularly wanting to know if our house is for sale,” he smiles. Modernist can be more affordable. Its open-concept nature cuts down on square footage and the absence of elaborate details means lower labour and material costs.
Of the land not simply on it; minimalist in its bones; Zen in its ambience; warmed by stone and wood and grounded in the forested mosaic; this house that David built is redefining modern. OH
TOP: Small’s home is reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s prairie homes, with its low-pitched roof, overhanging eaves and natural materials. ABOVE: The lower level is bright and the pool table from Hallmark Billiards allows the family extra space to entertain or spend time together.
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