/Who to Hire/Architect

Ben Homes

Todd and Kristen McMillan

The design-build firm is renewing mid-century modern architecture and design

By Designlines
Photography by Arash Moallemi

Lovers of mid-century modern architecture and design take note: if you’re thinking about renovating your home or building from the ground up, put design-build firm Ben Homes on your list. Founders Todd and Kristen McMillan have built their mom-and-pop practice on updating and interpreting the style for their clients, and with their expertise extending from initial design to the closeout of the construction process, no detail goes unaccounted for. As you might expect, their designs emphasize warmth, materiality and practical, everyday use, but they’re not shy of embracing novel concepts, either, like using shipping containers as living spaces. Read on to see a pair of their homes that we featured in the past.

Ben Homes

Spruce Ave.

“A lot of people,” says Todd, “mistakenly associate modern architecture with coldness.” As if to correct the misunderstanding, Ben Homes opted for a series of contrasting textures and bright, complementary colours, recreating the human-scale proportions and warmth that seem to have been forgotten about since the heyday of mid-century modern design. To wit, the bungalow features teak millwork, terrazzo tiles and thin-plank oak flooring throughout, all in a modest 110 square metre package. After all, as Todd says, “mid-century design was all about giving people what they need. Not more and not less.” See the full home here.

Ben Homes

Green Street

It was supposed to be an investment property, something the McMillans could buy, renovate and sell for a tidy profit. But the project – at least as it was first conceived – got off to an inauspicious start, with Todd and Kristen opting to ignore features that would get them the highest returns. Instead, they did their own thing, taking inspiration from the iconic mid-century architecture of New Canaan, Connecticut. Outside, the facade is characterized by a ledge rock wall, exposed steel beam and straight lines. Inside, the palette is clean, with warmth coming by way of knotless Douglas fir flooring and iconic pieces from the likes Vitra and Herman Miller. In the end, the McMillans ended up moving in. See it here.

Categories: Architect