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A Picture-Perfect Timber House in the Hills

A family-designed modern timber-frame home is ready for its close-up

By Jeremy Freed
Photography by Arash Moallemi and Riley Snelling

With its soaring gabled roof, white-stained pine board sides and black-framed windows, this house doesn’t exactly blend in amid the rolling hills of Erin. There are plenty of wood-framed structures here, but none quite like this one. Instead of fading into the background, the home’s traditional typography pays homage to its bucolic setting on a former working farm while creating a spacious, light-filled and modern living space.

timber house
Porcelain tiles from Mettro Source surround the living room’s fireplace, where the Douglas fir timber reaches a nine-metre-tall vaulted ceiling.

This unique hybrid is the work of Caledon Build, a family-run specialist in custom-built modern homes, including timber-frame and energy-efficient Bone Structure dwellings. “Your typical post-and-beam is more of a ski chalet, and has a rustic feel…That’s been done to death,” says Patrick Skuce, Caledon Build’s president. “We were going for more of a Scandinavian aesthetic, which is a bit cleaner.”

A true family affair, the house was designed by Skuce’s wife Martina, an interior designer, alongside their son Roland. Roland trained in timber-frame construction in British Columbia (and now lives in the house with his partner Jade); his brother Charlie assists in project management.

Like the aesthetic, the construction methods the Skuces used are a combination of old and new. The bones of the house are seven traditionaltruss frames made of B.C. Douglas fir, with walls framed in wood and enclosed with polystyrene structural insulated panels. These are then covered in an additional layer of windproofing material for maximum energy efficiency – no gappy barn boards here. The lack of roof overhang, inspired by the clean lines of Scandinavian design, emphasizes the building’s vertical lines and simple geometry.

Beyond the barn door is the master suite, where a vintage teak bed, plus Crown Wallpaper and a soaker tub in the bathroom, take centre stage.

With over 465 square metres of interior space, the home lends itself to expansive minimalism, accented here and there by design flourishes like geometric tiles around the fireplace and a sliding barn door to the master bedroom. Large blank interior walls, meanwhile, are an ideal canvas for large-scale contemporary art.

This hallway leads to a loft above and walk-out basement below. Inline Fiberglass windows;  engineered oak flooring from Brampton Hardwood Floors.

A hint of the property’s farming past remains in an adjacent silo, which Roland plans to equip with interior stairs and a rooftop patio. From there you’ll be able to see the picturesque rolling hills, barns and horse farms of Southern Ontario stretching to the horizon. Unlike more modern building styles, this timber-framed home links the traditional function of the land to its new residents – a beautiful merger of old-world sensibility and contemporary design.


Timber Truths

Building with wood may seem an unusual choice when so many more high-tech materials  are available, but there are good reasons the centuries-old style is still popular:

  • Eco-friendly: Aside from the natural beauty of exposed wood beams, they are sustainable, non-toxic and safe to handle

  • Efficient to build: Using a pre-fitted frame that’s assembled off-site, an average-sized home can be erected in two or three days

  • Energy wise: Wood has a lower carbon footprint, and the structural insulated panels are more energy efficient than fibreglass

  • Spare materials: Depending on the style, timber-frame homes use less wood than stud-wall structures, and produce less waste

  • Versatile: The limited number of load-bearing walls allows for a wide range of flexibility in the floor plan and placement of windows

Originally published in our Fall 2018 issue as Post Production.


Categories: Spaces