A breathtaking home designed by Toms+McNally Design in Millgrove, aptly named The Millgrove House, sits hidden from view amongst the Flamborough countryside.
The approximately 8,500 square foot house, completed in 2016, was built on a 50-acre lot with 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, and 4 fireplaces. The importance of topography in the design of the house is immediately felt. It fits naturally into the landscape while playing into the elevations of the site. From the road the house looks unassuming, the honed limestone façade and large overhanging canopy at the entrance are really just a teaser of what’s to come.
Nature also played a huge role in the design of the house. The Natural House philosophy of Frank Lloyd Wright comes to mind, because of its use of materials, its use of light, its layout, its organic characteristics, and its connection to the surrounding environment. Bordered by farmland and forest, the house does nothing to impede views, only enhance them, with a strong relation to the landscape like a contemporary reinterpretation of the ranch style vernacular.
The southern façade opens up with expansive floor-to-ceiling glazing, clad in zinc, as well as rough limestone (extracted from the same quarry as the honed limestone) below the datem line of the house. Orthogonal and irregular in plan, the primary focus of the design was driven by the programming, conceived from the inside out, for functionality and connection.
The main living areas (dining room, living room, and kitchen) occupy the highest point of the main floor, with beams of Douglas fir above, separated by functional partitions, and flanked by corridors. Clerestory windows surround the space, allowing light in at all hours, and an overhanging roof to the south extends for a functional purpose: as passive sun shading to shield direct sunlight during the equinox.
Its not just about openness. There are also many hidden nooks, like the hearth room. This room has the only wood-burning fireplace, made of the same rough limestone as the exterior, and a connection to both the kitchen and breakfast nook through direct sight lines. The master bedroom has its own segregated, separate wing, with a walk-in closet, ensuite bathroom, and private entrance to the pool.
Below grade the basement space is designed for family visits and features a recreational room, two bedrooms, and more. A noticeable touch is the poured concrete. A post-tension beam extends the length of the house with an exposed concrete pillar, bringing plasticity to the space.
Being connected with the environment also means green features. The house has geothermal heating and cooling; natural materials for low maintenance; cisterns for roof rainwater; triple and double glazed low e-coated windows; LED lighting; double stud exterior walls for continuous insulation, and thick R-58 roof insulation.
Situated on the Grindstone Creek flood plain and the watershed to Spencer Creek, the Carolinian forest makes a perfect backdrop for a house in-tune with nature. The tiered landscaping by Adesso Design Inc., pool extension, and panoramic features add to the scene.
It’s like finding an oasis in an unexpected place. Tranquility abounds at The Millgrove House.