Hilltop Estate

Hilltop Estate

Sophisticated, high-end country retreat combining new builds, restoration, custom interiors, and landscape design.

This was one of my favorite projects. Located in the Hockley Valley in Ontario Canada, the project began with a 1,200-square-foot, British Columbian log home with an addition, sitting on thirty acres. The property also consisted of a garage with a flat above, though it was a little bit away from the home and a grass airstrip.

It had been previously owned by a pilot, and everything about the estate was linear, with no organic movement at all. Even the road to the house went straight up. The new owner wanted to showcase the historic BC logs and build a larger addition that kept with the period to some degree focusing on the use of locally sourced materials.

We started by taking off the addition and discovered it was actually two log structures. Given the size of the property and the adjacent hill, we decided to move the log structures to allow for a garage, a pool and pool house, and a significant landscape design surrounding the main house.

Stone was going to be a big component in this renovation. I personally picked out two large semi-trailer truckloads of sustainable local stones and incorporated them into multiple designed areas. We raised the log structures over two feet, adding a substation stone base, and then joined them together with beadboard. This allowed us to incorporate ten-foot ceilings on both levels of the house. This design and architectural detail turned this dark closed in log cabin into light filled paradise. The interior of the addition required two large I-beams to support the structure. There were over thirty-six large, hand-honed, solid beams in the ceiling to support this addition. I a bit of an engineering master piece!

The wood flooring throughout was locally sourced sustainable hemlock, which needed to be cured for two years in a temperature-and humidity-controlled area prior to installation. Given the vast climate differences in that area great care was taken in the selection and installation of all building materials to handle these large temperature swings .We designed four fireplaces (two of them in the master suite on the second floor) all with locally sourced sustainable stone. The living room and family room both had huge custom double French doors that opened to the wraparound porch and pool. There were two entrances, one in the front of the house that opened into the living room and one that opened into a mudroom off of the kitchen.

The landscape design was a huge part of the project. We moved over two tons of dirt onto the property. The driveway was previously three hundred feet long, straight up the hill to the house. We curved and wound it up to the house, creating a much grander entrance. We designed and built and a large saltwater pool complex, with a changing house that included an  bar, bathroom, and an outside shower. We also constructed a sustainable seventy-foot stone wall to address the different grades in the landscaping.

One of the most interesting aspects of the exterior of the house was the curved bell roof of the wraparound porch, which had twenty hand-cladded posts for its structure. An elegant and beautifully designed detail.

The interior design was somewhat secondary to the design and build aspect of this project, but the owner wanted it to be about comfort and ease—nothing fancy. There were multiple areas of custom built-ins, the kitchen being the largest.

The home was designed and built to be welcoming and comfortable, with a touch of years-gone-by and understated elegance. The project lasted four years and was featured on the cover of the Homes section in The Globe and Mail.

Project type

Residential Design

Location

Ontario, Canada

Services

Architectural Design

Landscape Design

Construction & Installation

Consulting

Project Management

Interior Design

Project Liaison

This 1800’s log exterior host’s details including an octagon gazebo, bell roof, and twenty cladded porch posts. The front walkway consists of local flagstone. The front garden provides a varying display of flowers, decorative grasses, and trees.
Hilltop Estate – Exterior
This log home's living room includes high ceiling, transom windows, and French doors leading to a wraparound porch. With hewn beams, a red glazed tongue-and-groove ceiling, and plush furnishings, it seamlessly blends luxury and rustic warmth.
Hilltop Estate – Living Room
Formal dining room with custom stone arches, 12” stone baseboard, and unique design elements. Hand-hewn beams, an ocher glazed ceiling, and distinctive hemlock flooring create a sophisticated space.
Hilltop Estate – Dining Room
Oversized kitchens with hand-hewn beams, a red glazed ceiling, and custom Old Dutch style cabinetry. Cream and charcoal hues, soapstone counters, and classic toile fabric enhance the space.
Hilltop Estate – Kitchen
The upper-level master suite offers panoramic views, providing natural illumination from sunrise to sunset. Divided by a custom stone fireplace, the traditional decor features crystal chandeliers, silk draperies, and antique elements for a warm atmosphere.
Hilltop Estate – Master Suite
The upper-level master suite offers panoramic views, providing natural illumination from sunrise to sunset. Divided by a custom stone fireplace, the traditional decor features crystal chandeliers, silk draperies, and antique elements for a warm atmosphere.
Hilltop Estate – Master Suite
The family room houses French doors to a stone patio that leads to a salt-water pool. There are hand hewn beams and a glazed tongue and grove ceiling. The custom stone gas fireplace warms this space. The décor is transitional.
Hilltop Estate – Family Room

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