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The Globe and Mail

A home by Ian MacDonald comes country chic

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A new home by Toronto architect Ian MacDonald in the Georgian Bay resort community of Collingwood. Too many homes in non-urban Ontario riff off traditional farm buildings, silos, milking sheds, but not this one. Its architectural vocabulary is entirely modernist, its atmosphere quietly rich and complex, free from even a hint of farm. Designed to fit its site by Mr. MacDonald for a pair of Toronto lawyers and their two small children, the 3,400-square-foot weekend residence responds to all that is around it.

Tom Arban

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The home’s lines and rhythms are taut, but not severe. And its interior surfaces – plain white walls punctuated by tempestuous abstract paintings, ruddy jatoba flooring, sapele millwork – communicate a subtle sensuous electricity that is distinctively urbane, like Prada.

Tom Arban

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Mr. MacDonald is one of Canada’s best devisers of the architectural equivalents of the poetic line and stanza, the sequencing of space and material to create the memorable events we call places.

Tom Arban

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The kitchen is compressed by a low ceiling and a raised floor: intimate, business-like – not the beating heart of the house, but rather something practical and necessary and well-articulated, like a hand. Yet even here there is surprise, in the form of an unexpected window that provides anyone working in the kitchen (which feels like the “back” or innermost precinct of the house) with a precisely edited peek at who stands before the front door.

Tom Arban

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Sitting at the large dining room table under the double-height ceiling, the observer can look out through tall walls of glass and take in the rear garden, with its long swimming pool, and the little mountain from base to crest.

Tom Arban

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The house shuns the visual clutter of the neighbourhood by withdrawing from the street as far as possible. It turns an inert, black-clad face to the world. But while the neighbours get a shrug, nature gets the dwelling’s undivided attention. Blue Mountain, locally famous for its hiking trails and ski runs, rears up immediately behind the house from a deciduous forest floor, and the L-shaped building yawns wide to capture as much of the slope as possible.

Tom Arban

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Tom Arban

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Tom Arban

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Tom Arban

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Tom Arban

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