This Modern Farmhouse Outside Toronto Makes Its Own Rules

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By Kelly Dawson
Designer Scott Posno's sleek-meets-rustic interpretation allows this sprawling property to follow its own playbook.

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." 

"Most of the house is on one level, where the connection to the ground is seamless," he says. Kolbe windows and doors are used throughout the home. 

"Most of the house is on one level, where the connection to the ground is seamless," he says. Kolbe windows and doors are used throughout the home. 

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. 

Caesarstone countertops are used in the kitchen. Skan pendants by Vibia hang above the island.

Caesarstone countertops are used in the kitchen. Skan pendants by Vibia hang above the island.

"The owner wanted some part of the house to be more cozy, and the vibrantly colored Roche Bobois sofa did the trick," Posno says. Bell Side Tables by Sebastian Herkner and a Coltrane suspension ceiling lamp by DelightFULL complete the look. 

"The owner wanted some part of the house to be more cozy, and the vibrantly colored Roche Bobois sofa did the trick," Posno says. Bell Side Tables by Sebastian Herkner and a Coltrane suspension ceiling lamp by DelightFULL complete the look. 

Interior design firm & Daughters built the dining table, and the Hiroshima upholstered dining chairs are by Naoto Fukasawa from Mjölk. Harouna Ouedraogo artwork hangs on the wall.

Interior design firm & Daughters built the dining table, and the Hiroshima upholstered dining chairs are by Naoto Fukasawa from Mjölk. Harouna Ouedraogo artwork hangs on the wall.

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."  

A 106 Harold Desk by Luca Nichetto sits in the study. 

A 106 Harold Desk by Luca Nichetto sits in the study. 

"The layout and circulation is straightforward," Posno notes. 

"The layout and circulation is straightforward," Posno notes. 

Harouna Ouedraogo artwork, the same artist shown in the dining room, is also showcased in the master bedroom. 

Harouna Ouedraogo artwork, the same artist shown in the dining room, is also showcased in the master bedroom. 

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." 

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 "It's a big property, so we had space to spread out," he says. "The pool is purposefully removed from the main house in order to make it feel like a destination." Ninix by Royal Botania furniture sits under Tucci umbrellas. 

 "It's a big property, so we had space to spread out," he says. "The pool is purposefully removed from the main house in order to make it feel like a destination." Ninix by Royal Botania furniture sits under Tucci umbrellas. 

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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.   

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Project Credits:

-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

-Others: Showcase Interiors, Haddad Geotechnical Engineers