This Modern Farmhouse Outside Toronto Makes Its Own Rules
Modern and farmhouse architecture are commonly thought to be on two separate ends of the design spectrum: where one is sharp, the other is soft. But designer Scott Posno would suggest otherwise. To him, they’re more alike than they seem. "People may not think of modern architecture and barn buildings as being similar, but for me, they are," he says. "Both types of buildings are stripped down to the basics, without ornament or frivolous details."
Posno’s fluid definition of these aesthetics are best exemplified by the vacation home his namesake studio designed about an hour outside of Toronto for a man who was seeking an escape from city life. The owner claimed 65 acres of open land near the Ganaraska Forest, a secluded area filled with rolling hills and protected trees—and dotted ever so often by farmland. He wanted an address that would be connected to its surroundings, a refuge where he and his three grown children can gather in peace. And when Posno arrived, nothing obstructed the site but an old farmhouse.
"The old farmhouse was demolished to make space for the new house," he says. "The house sits at the top of a low ridge, looking out over the site's rolling meadows, pond, river, and woodlot." Its position in such a setting—which would seem to be connection enough—informed other construction decisions that heightened the presence of nature even more throughout the property.
Posno decided to keep the majority of the build on one level, as a nod to the original farmhouse and the others nearby. He gave the living areas and master bedroom 22-foot-tall ceilings that turn the outdoors into a reliable yet ever-changing feature. He kept the other bedrooms cozy with lower, loft-like ceilings. "There are also spaces within the house where people can have privacy," he says. "The study area is detached from the rest of the house via a separate stair, although still under the same roof."
It took more than two years for Posno to create the escape, and when it was done, the one-time idea of a wooded getaway turned into a reality of more than 4,000 square feet. And while it was all connected to the land, the different parts of the home—the 600-square-foot pool house, bedroom, and yoga hut (all of which Posno refers to as "destinations")—needed to appear shared, too.
That’s where a straightforward interior design came in. Posno and the interior design team behind & Daughters strove to blend modern touches with farmhouse sensibilities to make it all feel like simple parts of a united whole. "The polished-concrete floors work with the marble tile, which work with the countertops," Posno notes. "Wood millwork, a timber structure, wood windows, and wood ceilings were also carefully selected to closely match each other."
Looking back, Posno thinks that the time he and the owner took to consider every aspect of the home ended up being a great asset. And sure, they had the room to dream big, but Posno’s flexible attitude toward design helped, too. "Approaching a house design project with an open mind can yield great results," he says.
-Architect of Record: Scott Posno Design
-Structural Engineering: Blackwell Structural Engineers
-Builder: Den Bosche & Finchley
-Civil Engineering: Husson Engineering
-Landscape Design: Verbancic Tree Supply
-Interior Design: & Daughters
-Cabinetry Design: Lakeland Interiors