Bennington House Is a Heritage Home Reimagined
Post Architecture’s farmhouse reconstruction is a nod to the past, reinterpreted within a contemporary design language
Photography by Riley Snelling
After nearly two decades in their Bennington Heights farmhouse, owners Susan Nickerson and her husband decided their dwelling needed an upgrade. The 1910 build, just minutes away from Toronto’s scenic Beltline Trail, was too frail a structure to renovate. So, Nickerson appointed Gloria Apostolou of Post Architecture, known for her skilful handling of heritage homes, to take on the sensitive architectural reconstruction of Bennington House.
The new build pays a formal ode to the original: true to its predecessor in size and scale but with high-contrast design strategy peppered throughout. A new two-storey white gabled structure sits in composition with sleek, flat-roofed additions on three sides.
New wood cladding is reminiscent of the painted pine boards of the original, but was first charred with the Japanese Shou-sugi Ban technique for longevity, and then stained white.
To contrast the once bright form, a new floor area was introduced through a series of discreet, black, steel-clad volumes of folded sheet metal in varying widths—further modernizing the reincarnation and embodying a fresh, Scandinavian farmhouse style.
Similar to the façade, light-coloured materials meet the soaring ceiling of the gabled structure indoors. Operable, linear windows and skylights help control the indoor temperature while welcoming natural light and views of the surrounding landscape. The open-concept main floor of the new farmhouse allows for relaxed and informal circulation throughout, starting from the entry where a four-sided millwork cube divides the front room into unique zones of function: bench, coat closets, office space, and a powder room.
Walking past the entry is the formal living room with seating arranged around a large wood-burning fireplace, built with a streamlined flow to eliminate turbulence. Distinct yet understated, a floating hearth is clad in grey quartz, ribbed, and textured. The dining room is on axis with the rest of the living space, delineated by a free-standing whit- oak unit separating it from the snug family room.
In the kitchen, a comfortable 12-foot island with a waterfall counter acts as the central meeting spot for breakfast and lunches. Here, elements of farmhouse and contemporary design are streamlined for a modernized homage to the original Bennington House.
Light-filled, the staircase leads to the four bedrooms on the second floor, two of which sit under the soaring roof, each with dropped ceiling fans to help circulate air and control the climate, despite having a multi-zoned high-velocity cooling system.
The two bedrooms in this wing also feature metal shutters on the exterior of the large windows, filtering light and ensuring privacy. From the second floor, this makes for optimal views of the neighbourhood and towering trees.
The principal bedroom hovers over an open space below, providing shelter for the deck and including a walk-in dressing with floor-to-ceiling built-in storage for the owners.
The airy ensuite, protrudes from the main walls of the house towards the east, allowing for two narrow, full-height windows to face the front and rear without looking onto a neighbour.
Designed for four seasons, the yard of Bennington House has a fire pit and a water feature. Under a pergola structure, a gathering spot sitting amongst the low-maintenance plants is a comfortable hangout for starry winter nights or sunny summer days. POSTARCHITECTURE.COM