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A stately estate

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A stately estate

A contemporary outdoor colour palette blends seamlessly with a garden rooted in history

Photography By Gillian Jackson

Since the beginning of time, humans have toiled to impose order over the terrain and create art from the landscape. Formal gardens have a long history; from the Middle Ages, English country manors borrowed from the jardin à la française (literally, garden in the French manner) who learned horticultural pursuits from Italian Renaissance gardeners. Before that, planned gardens can be traced back centuries to the Middle East.

But some present-day residential lots defy order, and pose a dilemma to new homebuilders, especially when the lot is on a corner; it’s curve-shaped and it’s not level. Where do you situate the house so it will embrace the terrain?

When realty and history collide

For these homeowners, building a stately, French chateau-style home on an irregular lot wasn’t the only plan. In spite of the curves, they also wanted lush formal gardens. David Small Designs, located in Mississauga, created the home – reflecting the best of French Renaissance architecture, which embraces the irregularly-shaped lot. The hardscaping, landscaping and pool design was entrusted to ProScape Land Design Inc. in Oakville who formalized the exterior plan.


Making a formal, first impression

The large gables, bold, steeply-pitched rooflines and warm, light-coloured stone on the entire exterior of the home set the tone. The landscapers replicated those warm tones in stone pillars, walls and raised garden beds. The placement of the gated entry with ornate wrought ironwork was carefully considered to preserve the mature trees on the property. Boxwood hedges, natural stone pavers and symmetrical plantings were added to give a formal air to the public side of the house.

Layered and lush

The formality of the stone pathway gives way to a wonderful mix of contemporary, traditional and cottage-style elements that work beautifully together on the entertaining side of the yard.

Here, symmetry and balance add a contemporary element poolside; graduated steps lead you from the ankle-deep shallow end to the deep end; gas-operated fire bowls flank the pool and three modern, bronze waterfall features spill from the expansive stone wall.

Traditional plantings

Like a traditional garden, boxwood hedges and cedars frame beds of Chanticleer pear trees, Hosta plants and Japanese and native grasses. Even the white hydrangeas seem to pay homage to historical English Rose gardens, while adding to the understated green-and-white scheme. However, a jolt of electric teal, blues and lime green in the lounges, chairs and ottoman fabric remind us this is where we have fun!

The stone path continues to lead us to a stone wall and pergola-framed lounge area with lots of cosy seating around a large, gas firepit. It’s perfect for roasting marshmallows on a long summer night.

Loggia-style outdoor, covered deck

With entertaining in mind, the homeowners wanted an outdoor living and dining room with a wood-burning fireplace, large table for dining and an unobstructed view of the pool. A medium stained, bead-board ceiling adds a cottage feel, even at 11-feet high! Surprisingly, the curved, wicker seating arrangement by the grand, stone fireplace and the glassed-in balcony work harmoniously together. Stone steps that connect the deck to the pool level offer yet another place to perch and enjoy the view.

So, where is the lawn?

Instead of grass, the homeowners opted for artificial turf for the rest of the yard, now a large dog park devoted to their two Portuguese water dogs. Can you say, “spoiled”?

Contemporary or traditional, formal or wild, gardens are meant to be enjoyed; after all, they are our little piece of paradise.

SOURCES HOUSE, designed by David Small Designs, Built including covered porch, CMA Group POOL, Gib-san Pools LANDSCAPE designed & executed ProScape Land Design Inc. (front yard, dog yard, pergola & pool side) FIRE BOWLS, Grand Effects OUTDOOR FURNITURE, Southport Outdoor Living DECOR, Home Sense & Pier 1 COVERED PORCH LIGHTING Pottery Barn

Designer, spokesperson, author and television personality, Jane Lockhart is one of Canada’s best-known experts in the world of design and colour. janelockhart.com


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Tarion names winners of 2019 Homeowners’ Choice Awards

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Tarion names winners of 2019 Homeowners’ Choice Awards

Tarion web

Tarion Warranty Corp. has named the winners of its annual Homeowners’ Choice Awards for outstanding builders who received the highest ratings from homebuyers across the province. These are the only awards that focus solely on customer service and are based on feedback from homeowners.

The recipients of the 2019 Homeowners’ Choice Awards are:

  • Brookfield Residential – Highrise Category
  • Hayhoe Homes – Large Volume Category
  • Timberland Homes – Medium Volume Category
  • Chris King and Sons Construction Ltd. – Small Volume Category

In 2017, Tarion introduced a new honour – the Ernest Assaly Award – for an Ontario builder that demonstrates a commitment to building quality and innovation, customer service and community involvement. Similar to a lifetime achievement award, a builder can receive this recognition only once.

The recipient of the 2019 Ernest Assaly Award is The Daniels Corporation.

“A new home is a place to make memories,” says Tarion President and CEO Howard Bogach, “and a builder has a big role in determining whether a homeowner’s first memories are positive ones. Thanks to their exemplary customer service, this year’s award recipients not only met – but exceeded – expectations and by so doing set an example for others to follow.”

The Homeowners’ Choice Awards are presented annually based on the results of surveys completed by new homebuyers from across the province. In 2018, Tarion polled 54,518 new-home buyers, asking them about their builder’s performance before, during and after they moved into their new home. More than 11,376 homeowners responded and their feedback determined the recipients for outstanding customer service in the four categories.

The Ernest Assaly Award recognizes the highest level of excellence in Ontario home building while honouring the legacy of Ernest Assaly, a highly respected leader in the residential building industry who was Tarion’s first Chair. Only a select number of Ontario builders met the rigorous criteria required to receive an invitation to make a submission. The recipient of the Ernest Assaly Award is determined by Tarion’s board of directors.

“A well-built home backed by excellent customer service equals a satisfied homeowner,” says Bogach. “Through Tarion’s awards program, these happy homeowners are able to recognize their builders for going the extra mile, and this helps build confidence in the new home building industry as a whole. We congratulate this year’s recipients for their success in creating a positive home-buying experience that their homeowners are happy to share.”

For the full list of Homeowners’ Choice Awards finalists, click here. For the full list of the Ernest Assaly Award finalists, click here.


Consumer Protection: The Homeowners’ Choice Awards



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Buying a new home and have some questions? Ask now, and ask often

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Buying a new home and have some questions? Ask now, and ask often


“Got questions? We have answers.” If you’re a prospective new-home buyer in the GTA, you may have noticed an advertising campaign with these and other similar messages lately.

The “we” is GTA homebuilders, and through a Building Answers public awareness campaign launched by their representative body, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), they aim to provide the answers.

Indeed, this six-week program that began in early April should be just beginning of ongoing communications with homebuyers.

Comprising billboard, transit and media advertising and other communications, Building Answers strives to do just that – provide answers to many of the questions GTA homeowners and prospective homebuyers have.

It’s a long list. Here are some of them:

  • Why is there so much development in the GTA?

  • Do we really need all these condominiums and other developments?

  • What makes up the cost of a new home or condominium?

  • How does transit benefit from new development?

  • How much do homebuilders make on an average project?

  • Why does the price of homes in the GTA keep rising?

And the big one, for those who have been saving to buy a home, only to watch on the sidelines as prices continue to rise:

  • Will I ever be able to afford a home in the GTA?

These are not fictitious, marketing-oriented questions. They are actual queries from would-be homebuyers who legitimately wonder when, and how, they’ll be able to buy a home here. And if they can’t, should they look, and consider moving, elsewhere?

There are countless other questions, of course, and you can view the detailed answers to all of them – and ask your own – at a dedicated website buildinganswers.ca.

If you’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars – or beyond a million – on a home, you have every right to ask all the questions you want. And if you don’t get an answer that satisfies you, ask again. Or move along to another builder.

With Building Answers, the companies that provide these new-home buying opportunities in the GTA have demonstrated they are open to the discussion.

Even beyond the scope of this program – raise your hand and ask all the questions you need to.


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