INSPIRATION & STYLE – Looking to the Land

In continuing the discussion about where ideas come from for home design, we can’t go too far without ‘Looking to the Land’ for inspiration. The landscape, the property’s orientation and its exposure to the elements should always be determining factors in decisions related to the design of a home. Some of these factors include where the sun rises and sets, the direction of prevailing winds and the proximity of existing trees to provide shelter. Designing a custom home on an acreage is like an artist’s ‘empty canvas’ ready for the inspiration of shape, form, colour and texture. Gerald & Judy’s home featured here was just that. Set on the highest part of the land for views, the intention was to hug the landscape using lower sloped rooflines and a series of pods. Orienting the main living areas and the lower walk-out to face south means most of the house is filled with natural light all day and year round. The garage wing protects the front entry & service entry from prevailing westerly winds. The angle of the Outdoor Living Area and its Lumon retractable glass panels provides a cozy retreat - in fact, with our cool summer, the glass panels were only opened twice. The use of quarried stone, Douglas fir glulam timbers and a slate roof connects the home to the surrounding landscape.


Glulam Beams are more accurately known as glued-laminated timber. They are routinely used for their strength and ability to span long distances. Design options are limitless because of the shapes and forms that are possible with the beams; straight, arched or trussed. Glulam beams are manufactured in a factory by laminating multiple strips of wood. Commonly used species are Douglas Fir, Spruce-Pine, and Alaskan Yellow Cedar. Depending on whether they are used for interior or exterior applications, the glues employed in the laminations are modified. Manufactured using controlled atmospheric conditions; the timbers can also be stained or finished before installation in the field, reducing on-site costs. From a design perspective, exposing the structural form creates an organic aesthetic.

You are receiving this newsletter because you are a client, former client, a builder, engineer, consultant or supplier with whom I work. Some of you are friends & family who have an interest in home design and building. In this 7th Issue of Seasonal, let’s celebrate the start of autumn with its cool nights, crisp mornings, clear skies and collage of colours! We’re visiting the rolling hills of King Township, where life ‘On the Land’ takes on a fresh new meaning.

LIFE ~ ‘On The Land!’

When Judy & Gerald contacted me in 2010, they were looking for property in King Township. Out of three possible locations, all with very unique features, they settled on a beautiful 15 acre parcel with nice views, good soils and a gently sloping topography. With some visits to the site and meetings to establish a well-defined wish-list, the design process began. Gerald and Judy’s appreciation of the proportions of European farmhouses inspired the design. The spaces needed to function well for two people, yet be comfortable and spacious enough for entertaining and family visits. The master bedroom suite is on the main floor, the second floor space has 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. An elevator accesses all three levels.

Home Design – Jane Cameron, Life Home Design
Builder – Peter Reynolds, PWR Construction, 416-606-6895
Interior Designer – Bennett Design Associates Inc.,
Structural Engineering – Steve Boyd, Quaile Engineering,
Site Engineering – Gunnell Engineering,
Quarried Stone – Commonwealth Brick & Stone,
Windows – Weathershield,
Composite Slate Roofing – Inspire Roofing,
Glulam Beams – Timber Systems Ltd,
Outdoor Living Retractable Glass Walls – Lumon,
Landscaping – Willow Garden Services Inc.,


For cool fall days there’s nothing better than the smell of soup simmering on the stove. This recipe is inspired by what’s still growing in our garden and a few add-ons. It makes 16 cups.

1 1/2 pounds ground beef (ground chicken or turkey works too)
2 medium onions – chopped
1 large clove of garlic – diced
8 c. beef broth (can use beef, chicken stock)
3 c. tomatoes - skinned & chopped
4 c. cabbage – shaved thinly
1 c. swiss chard (you can use spinach or kale too)
2 c. corn
1 can chick peas
2 tsp. salt (start with a smaller amount depending on the saltiness of your stock)
1/2 tsp. ‘Herbemare –Zesty’ (or pick your favourite zing)
Freshly ground pepper (to taste)

In a large soup pot brown the meat, onion and garlic until onion is transparent. Add all the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil stirring often. Turn the heat down and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add some fresh parsley for garnish and “Voila”! The taste of fall!

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