Inspiration & Style – Historic Influences

As I mentioned in the Spring Seasonal issue – designing a custom home to suit my client’s personal taste is of utmost importance. In developing a design direction there are many considerations. The property’s location and its orientation for exposure to sun and winds is one to be addressed in the Fall Seasonal issue. The character of the neighbourhood can have an influence on our decision-making. Some areas have an eclectic mix of homes, built over a period of time and such was the case in Markham where Gary & Joanne (see Featured Home) found a property to sever and build their new home. The neighbourhood is a delightful mix of homes; the earliest are the original Brick Ontario Farmhouses built in the late 1800’s. As the area gradually developed, there is an amazing variety of Architectural Styles, each one identifying the era in which they were built. This mix of styles already prevalent in the neighbourhood gave us the confidence to proceed with an Architectural Style Gary & Joanne appreciated from having lived in Boston. The East Coast ‘Hampton’ style brings a blend of American Colonial, Georgian, English Manor/Tudor and Mediterranean architectural elements to the table. Characteristic barn-like rooflines, shingle cladding, white trimmed doors and windows, deep porches, upper balconies and brick chimneys all combine to create a welcoming, warm and relaxed impression. The challenge and fun as a designer is to combine all these historic components into a functional and aesthetically pleasing place to call “Home”.

Are you interested in researching Architectural Styles found in Ontario? A great resource website is, developed by Shannon Kyles who teaches the History of Western Architecture as well as the History of Ontario Architecture at Mohawk College.

Porch Screening

The need for screening depends on your location, orientation and your requirements for lengthening the porch’s usability throughout the year. If your location warrants screening from bugs and/or wind here are some time-tested options:

My favourite supplier for Insect Screening is Phantom Screens Phantom screens can be custom manufactured for large openings and can be motorized.

Where you want insect and wind screening combined, Weatherwall Systems manufacture a good-looking and efficient screening, although it is limited in its sizing options. It is a four-track window system in which four panels nest one behind the other, each in its own track. Push them all up to the top or down to the bottom. House #1 of the Portfolio section has Weatherwall Systems at the screened porch.

And for the ultimate in wind & rain screening, Lumon Systems is manufacturing and distributing now in North America a sleek, retractable glazing system with a lot of flexibility in sizing and operational methods. In the closed position, the porch is protected from the elements while maintaining a clear view through. To open, the glazing panels retract against each other compactly.

Welcome to the second issue of Life Home Design’s ‘SEASONAL’ !! Response to the Spring Issue was fabulous… thanks!... so here we go again! I will try to bring new and interesting information to help you with future home planning. We get ideas from many sources, and hopefully this will be one of them! Please pass this on to friends and family who might be interested or visit my website

LIFE ~ ‘On the Porch!’

Covered Porches and ‘Outdoor Living Areas’ are increasingly becoming a design requirement for new builds and additions. Many of us are combining home and cottage - so planning covered spaces to enjoy our backyards in the warmer weather is very popular. We are loving the thrill of sitting outside protected from a summer rain shower, rustic wood burning fireplaces, comfy seating and dining spaces and candles for evening ambiance.

This Featured Home, completed in 2012, is a short walk from the old downtown of Markham. The owners, Gary & Joanne love to spend time outside and they entertain frequently. High up on their ‘Wish List’ was covered space to BBQ and lounge outside.


What does every summer BBQ beg for? A good potato salad that’s what! For years I made my own version and after being repeatedly asked for the recipe (always a compliment, isn’t it?), the next time I made it, I carefully wrote down what was going in it. This is a big batch (seems I always need a lot) but you can break it down for smaller numbers.

10 # potatoes (cook with skins on in salted water, do not overcook, drain and cool)
1/2 c. chopped red onion
3 stalks celery chopped
1/2 red pepper chopped
1/2 green pepper chopped
1/2 c. parsley chopped
8 hard boiled eggs chopped
1 c. sweet pickle (drained & chopped)

Mix together
2/3 c. mayonnaise (depending on the type of potato you may need more)
2/3 c. plain yogurt
2/3 c. sour cream
1/2 c. sweet pickle juice
1 1/2 tsp. salt (add more depending on your taste)
3/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. Mrs. Dash Original Blend spice
1/2 tsp dry mustard

Peel potatoes and chop and put in large bowl.
Add next 7 ingredients and toss well
Pour over Dressing and mix well
Cover & refrigerate for min. 4 hours before serving.

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