For landscape architect Victoria Taylor and chef Jamie Kennedy, a pioneer in Canada’s farm-to-table movement, it was all about the location: “The creek running through the property, the bluff overlooking the village, and a perfect south-facing slope for growing pinot noir,” says Victoria, were what they loved about their farmhouse in Ontario’s Prince Edward County. It certainly wasn’t the 100-year-old structure itself, which, while charming, lacked both heat and running water (hello, outhouse!). Still, they cherished their stays there.
That said, as soon as Vanessa Fong, an architect and Victoria’s cousin’s wife, launched her own business, “we got her on site to start talking!” Their collaboration led to a striking new addition that prioritizes both the couple’s emotional connection to the land and their wish to be as eco-conscious as possible.
“Jamie and Victoria had a strong guiding principle of using as many local materials and suppliers as possible,” says Vanessa. “They found heavy timber from an old barn literally just up the road from their property. (It doesn’t get much more local than that!) We assessed each piece and its usability. With the structural engineer, we then had to figure out where each piece could go and how to work it in with some steel structure to complete the ’skeleton’ of the home.”
It was an involved process, but what they ended up with—a lofty, low-impact kitchen and entertaining space that takes full advantage of the bucolic views—was well worth it. Let’s take a tour.
Above: The large new addition connects to the original smaller farmhouse. “We wanted materials that would complement yet have a more contemporary angle,” says Vanessa, “hence, the stained wood siding (harkening back to barn board). The red metal roof is something that the existing farmhouse had and is prevalent in the area.”
Above: The open space in the addition features polished concrete floors, white-washed pine walls, and salvaged timber ceiling beams. The slatted dining chairs by Canadian designer Thomas Lamb were a gift from Victoria’s parents: “They are such a great design. To stack them away, you unbolt the seat frame and its slides flat,” she says.
Above: The kitchen cabinets, island, and shelves are custom-made from salvaged cherry wood. Oversized Ikea Hektar Pendant Lamps pick up the gray of the cast concrete countertop and backsplash. Above the concrete backsplash is a galvanized steel backsplash, from a reused sheet from the farm. Note the custom-built cooling rack on top of the oven, one of Jamie’s favorite features.
Above: A peek at the various pantry items stored on the open shelves for easy access.
Above: The kitchen floor (behind the island) is made from wine corks. “Jamie is a wine lover, chef, and sommelier with a fascination for the flexible properties of cork,” shares Victoria. “Our local steel fabricator made a grid frame that sits on the subfloor and provides the structure to hold the corks, vertically, in place, positioned on a sand base. It creates a wonderful surface to stand on for cooking.”
Above: Champ, their beloved canine companion who sadly passed away this summer, in front of one of the many generously sized windows in the space.
Above: A dramatic fireplace spanning two floors sits directly across from the kitchen. The surround is made up of charcoal-colored concrete blocks.
Above: A collection of ceramic vases from Cylinder Studio on the farmhouse table. The sconces are by Anony.
Above: The entrance to the home. The stairs are made from the same reclaimed wood as the ceiling beams.
Above: “We splurged on the windows to gain lots of natural light with high R-value,” says Victoria. (The higher the R-value, the better insulated the product.)
Above: Champ in front of the the 1o-foot sliding doors. The clerestory windows on the second level are Vanessa’s favorite part of the project.
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