Race cars & relaxation

A forever country home set amidst the idyllic Niagara escarpment is the perfect antidote to life in the fast lane

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A forever country home set amidst the idyllic Niagara escarpment is the perfect antidote to life in the fast lane

Photography by Candice Manastersky

With a need for speed, a professional race car driver and his family wanted to slow life down a little by investing in a custom home outside of Toronto. The goal was to escape the hustle and bustle that comes with living in a big city and create a forever country home, complete with all the modern amenities. As homebuilders, we wanted to infuse a cosy yet sophisticated modern vibe in an open-concept, two-storey home that’s both inviting and suitable for entertaining. Alair Homes worked with design firm Aspen & Ivy, and Custom CADD architects to help bring this family’s country dream home to life.

Landscaping permits protect the environment

The Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC) does an incredible job of environmentally protecting the area, and that’s why it took over a year of planning to gain permission to break ground. Even a lighting plan had to be submitted, as the NEC has a dark sky initiative, which forbids any exterior light to pierce the sky. Many site meetings were held to obtain landscaping approvals, which included identifying all of the trees that couldn’t be cut down and generating a tree-replanting schedule. Once we sought out all the necessary approvals, the team started work on a home surrounded by natural beauty, while ensuring the land was protected during the construction process from start to finish.

Spectacular views

For a home located near the Niagara Escarpment, it was only natural for the design to revolve around the location’s stunning 360 views. We took advantage of the design’s high ceilings by installing large floor-to-ceiling windows that would allow natural light to flow throughout the home. Warm wood, natural stones and black hardware materials were combined to enrich the natural brightness. The family wanted to have an inviting open-concept floor plan because as much as it is a place to escape the city, it also needs to be a place that was perfect for hosting social gatherings for friends and family. With the sunlight-drenched dining room and the connecting Muskoka room taking in the vista that overlooks the Escarpment’s treetops – which is extremely scenic during any season – it’s truly a place to marvel at the natural beauty that surrounds the home.

Heart of the home

It’s all in the details – that was the was the designer’s approach when designing the great room. One of the most striking elements is the eye-catching 20-foot custom natural stone fireplace with an old barn beam mantle, handpicked by Alair Homes. We wanted to steer the focus towards this beautiful, charming feature, and of course, there’s nothing like hearing the sound of the fire crackling during the long winter months. To complement the fireplace, warm design elements were added to the great room: layers of whites, panelled walls, tongue-and-groove ceilings, and natural granite stone. The integrated living space expands into the spacious kitchen where the family can enjoy countless meals together in an inviting dining area. In the kitchen, every aspect is truly custom. From the shiplap ceiling, to subtle uses of colour, and white oak pocket doors, no detail was overlooked.

The oasis bathrooms

The bathrooms in this home are designed to be a retreat away from the busy household with the intent to inspire a space of well-being. The oasis incorporates beautiful materials like herringbone slate floors, porcelain tiles that mimic natural stone, and faucets in luxurious brushed gold and dramatic matte black that are paired with custom vanities and his-and-her sinks. We even added a dog shower for the family’s furry friends to maintain an organized and clutter-free home.

Wade Swyer has been building houses and cottages in Ontario for more than 28 years.

And in 2015, he joined Alair Homes by opening an office in Bradford, where his team provides high-quality modern renovations and custom-built homes.


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