For most, when you see someone's home for the first time, your reaction to the decor and architecture is immediate; either the combined elements speak to you or they do not. But those with an eye for design tend to ponder further the different influences and years of evolution that may have coalesced to create the current aesthetic. Take, for example, a $2.85M home that just came to market in the Whitchurch-Stouffville area of Ontario.
Welcome to 37 Greenvalley Circle, a 5 bed, 5 bath classic country home perched on a private 1.5-acre rural estate with a three-car garage and outdoor swimming pool!
Does the charm of the exterior speak to you? The whole property has a pastoral serenity to it, doesn't it? Before we peek inside, let's jump in our imaginary time machine and leap back to 1991, when this very property was featured in a six-page Chatelaine magazine spread, titled, "Family-Friendly Formality". (Evidently, the editors at Chatelaine love a little alliteration!)
The author's own observations of the home are paired with an interview with then-owner Joanne Campbell, who, as a graduate architect, designed this 1500-square metre home for her growing family. Take a peek, but be prepared for all the 90s design staples: primary colours, faux florals, and loads of wicker - oh my!
As you can see, the furniture is very classic, with enough rustic elements to nod to the 'classic country' aesthetic. Present here are primary colours typical of the time, as well as a slew of floral prints and patterns (gingham was a favourite of the 90s and since resurfaced as trendy in the 2010s!) If you're a child of the '90s doesn't this just drown you in nostalgia?!
(Minutes before being wrangled into this photoshoot, I imagine that the boy pictured was probably ordered to put down Duck Hunt, was wrangled out of his neon windbreaker and chucks, and promised Dunkaroos or Fruit-By-The-Foot if he sat still long enough!)
Cut to modern-day! After 30 years and changing hands a couple of times, the house - an American Colonial Farmhouse of sorts - presents differently, with many modern upgrades, but retaining much of the formality of its early 90s iteration and historical references.
Notice how much of the wood has been painted out over the years and that the wicker furniture has been replaced with leather?
It appears Classic Contemporary in its interior design. Despite the evident cohesion of the largely-pastel palette and the even distribution of form and weight, I'd argue that the current owners have quite eclectic tastes (they've simply blended them very well!)
The decor is still family-friendly, with an infusion of antiques and unique artwork, that suits the architecture. The kitchen specifically exhibits a refinement that only comes with the illusion of age, paired with modern conveniences. Shaker cabinetry painted glossy white bridges the gap between the pre-existing classic forms in the room with the contemporary stainless steel appliances and stone countertops. Even the pendant light fixtures, which are reminiscent of antique bird cages and classic in material, exhibit a contemporary sensibility through their shape and the asymmetrical installation.
Then there are rooms like this sunroom that look almost untouched since Chatelaine's article was published (despite possibly being a later addition to the main level). Why is that, I wonder? Perhaps to those who became homeowners or heads of households during that decade, this design style will always hold a special place in their hearts and be what they picture when somebody says "Home". That's just how humans are; once our tastes solidify, we seek the comfort and safety of the familiar and can be resistant to change. Don't believe me? Try to get your 65-year-old father to listen to and appreciate Justin Beiber.. or anything other than Classic Rock!
Here's the bedroom that the boy was pictured in three decades ago. Gone is the primary colour on the walls, replaced by more calming soft gray. Similarly, the red brick of the fireplace has been covered by more quiet but elegant dark stone slabs.
And those busy rugs and all that broadloom? Poof! Hello, hardwood!
Yet not all the updates move forward in time. The angled four-poster bed has been replaced with a gorgeous hand-carved sleigh bed and simple wood dresser that are throwbacks to an even earlier design period and style of craftsmanship than the 90s. As I said - eclectic!
I think it's interesting to note that in the '90s, this residence was called a 6-bedroom home. Now, it is set up as a 5-bed home with an office/music room - and likely some of those other bedrooms could become a nursery, a home gym, a gift-wrapping room, etc. This reduction in dedicated bedrooms could be about wasted space, but it is likely more indicative of the trend toward having more 'flexible space' that has emerged in the past two decades. Today, we largely favour the open concept space plan that allows us to delineate our own zones; we don't like our activities in any given room to be prescribed or limited. The same goes for the second or third bedroom in a condo - it's often a flex space that serves multiple purposes.
I believe this more recent desire for domestic flexibility arrived with advances in technology. We no longer feel the need to strictly adhere to the rules of a formal dining room when dinner is served; we want to eat in the family room while watching the big screen HD TV - or at least be able to see it from the kitchen where we're cooking! Similarly, how often do you carry your laptop around the house, using it wherever you please? Want to set up on the porch for some natural scenery? Sure! Or maybe get some work done in the peace and quiet of the second bedroom (read: office)? Perfect!
When it comes to caring for your property, the outside is just as important as the inside. These owners have cultivated some excellent curb appeal with lush, almost wild-looking gardens and the preservation of the many mature trees. The view is perhaps one of the biggest selling features for this property, which looks out onto adjacent conservation lands.
As this property is currently looking for a new owner, we want to share with you some of what the listing agent, Tina Sibbald, had to say the property:
"One and a half private acres. Breath-taking, panoramic views from every room and the extensive decking, so that the pool, lush gardens, woodlands and meadow brimming with nature become an integral part of the complete experience of this magnificent property. Imagine working/dining/entertaining in your spacious Muskoka room while being serenaded by the soothing trickle of a nearby waterfall and a symphony of birdsong!"
Also, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it's worth mentioning that this property makes an excellent work-from-home retreat; there's lightning-fast Fibre internet and a home office! Plus, with so much square footage, excellent acreage, and a pool, the kids won't get in your hair being home all day!
I'd love to check back in with this property in another 10 or 20 years and see how it has evolved with whoever becomes the new owner and puts their unique stamp on it! Could that be you?
If you'd like to book a private viewing, contact Tina @ 416-530-1100 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please let her know you saw the property here, on Houseporn.ca!
~ Posted by Steven Fudge, the purveyor of houseporn.ca and proprietor of Urbaneer.com, a division of Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage.