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Inside designer David Small's Mississauga home

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The Mississauga, Ont., home of David Small. Over the course of his career as a custom home designer, Mr. Small has tailored his work to fit the tastes of all manner of clients. He has done Arts and Crafts bungalows, Tudor mansions, French Provincial chateaux and Cape Cod cottages.But when the time came to fashion a new 3,800-square-foot dwelling for himself, his wife and twin daughters, Mr. Small threw that popular book out the window and took a chance on modernism.

Jason Hartog

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Prominence has been given to rural materials, inside and out. The soffits under the deep roof overhangs are lined with warm unpainted wood, and the rhythmically opening and shutting exterior is a combination of glass and stacked Wiarton limestone blocks. At the heart of the interior is a fireplace of limestone, and a hearth made from a huge chunk of the Canadian Shield quarried in Ontario’s French River district.

Jason Hartog

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Mr. Small has delivered a relaxed design that is forthrightly modernist, though it has none of the sharp elbows and knees that some people think of when they hear the words “modern” and “house” mentioned in the same breath.

Jason Hartog

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Mr. Small has learned a thing or two from the European pioneers of the modern movement in architecture - things like economy of gesture, the importance of flow between inside and outside, and compositional clarity.

Jason Hartog

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The ‘prairie style’ ideas of Frank Lloyd Wright are also evident, for example in the overhanging eaves of the strongly horizontal roofline, which handsomely cap each tall exterior wall and hold the vertical thrusts of the façade in check. And there are those clerestory windows high up the double-height walls of the open-plan dining area.

Jason Hartog

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The spacious family house also owes a design debt to the Ontario cottage, and to the cottage country where one finds these dwellings.

Jason Hartog

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Jason Hartog

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Jason Hartog

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Jason Hartog

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