"Flawless." That's the verdict of the architects, designers, and builders who've toured this extraordinary Rockcliffe residence. The consensus? It's the city's new "best": proof that a full sized manor home can be timelessly well-constructed, contemporary in feel, and truly 'future ready', with remarkable energy efficiency. »cont'd
The location in Ottawa's exclusive Rockcliffe Village is impeccable of course. With its horse and carriage era streetscape, mature trees and stately century - old homes, leafy Park Road is one of the Village's prized addresses.
Take in the features that have the professionals talking. There is the deep continuity with the past in the Tudor Revival façade, alloyed with advanced ICF (Insulating Concrete Form) construction. As it should be, the first floor is clad and finished in stone, while the upper floor is detailed in half-timber style. Detailing throughout is masterful.
Notice the custom limestone side door frame, with it's traditional bush-hammer finish. This is quality you'd expect to encounter on an Ivy League campus – rarely in a private home. The finely detailed cast stone door and window surrounds on the ground floor are painstakingly crafted and fitted as of old.
On the second floor a magnificent Oriole window projects prominently. Even minor details reflect craft and historical consideration from the quatrefoil motif in the Oriole surround to the shadowbox detailing.
Open the paneled oak front entrance door. You barely notice its vault-like mass – nearly 450 pounds – thanks to the ball bearing hinges. Inside, sense of quality is seamless – nearly subliminal. The double foyer is impressive without ostentation. Deeply inset windows are finished with custom cabinet-quality casements in the tradition of centuries past. Crafted baseboards, massive plaster crown moldings, welcoming chandelier, recessed lighting and limestone flooring are perfectly harmonized. Conspicuously, every room is incredibly quiet in this highly insulated, ultra solid home. Chances are you've never experienced another residence like it.
Glance at the refined powder room, strategically near the entrance, and explore the hall to the front side entrance with it's charming alcove dressing bench. The deep windows and "essence of home" form could remind you of a Vermeer painting. It's that good.
Make your way to the living room, noticing the thick interior walls, scaled to match exterior walls. With its beautiful windows and antique quarter-sawn oak floors, this lovely room surprises with "human scale". Imagine welcoming guests to this elegant but cordial, meant-to-be-lived-in space, anchored by an antique carved marble hearth – a European import found in the original home.
Near the formal living room a truly elegant Edwardian-era formal dining room with deeply coffered ceilings promises unforgettably glamorous soirees. What makes this extra delightful is the contrast it offers to the relaxed spirit of the informal public spaces of this home.
Discover this spirit of ease in the great outdoor room, finished in light sand stone. This big relaxed entertainer features a stone hearth with an elegant Rumford fireplace to warm guests on fall evenings. The feel is California contemporary, open to anything – yet there is history here, and deep roots. The fireplace is an homage to its designer – the 18th century energy efficiency pioneer Sir Benjamin Thomson. The stone floors and walls were recovered from the original home's patio and glass-blasted to achieve a clean modern look.
Architect Dennis Kane and engineer Stewart Hall used strategy to create the sense of well being you'll discover in the ultra spacious kitchen and family room space. This room is wise in the use site-lines, balanced openings, and triptych windows. Details appeal too: an oversized island bar, abundant cabinetry, prep-sink area and built in cherry desk. Superior grade appliances include a six burner Dacor range with two ovens. An adjacent pantry room has a smart walk through hall to the front side door. The family room area is graciously scaled with an inviting hearth in native stone.
A beautifully crafted paneled oak stairway with three landings takes you to the upper levels. On a separate level, a stunning office space opens on the bayed Oriole window with a window seat. Custom cabinets, cathedral ceilings with massive Douglas Fir scissor trusses plus private powder room shape a work space equal to grand enterprise.
The upper hallway bathes in natural skylight. The master suite located off this hall is a study in privacy and comfort. The suite's hallway creates a processional feel with a series of paneled doors concealing wardrobe and storage plus access to the master bath. A second solid door opens on the bedroom --a design enabling early risers to avoid disturbing their partners. The master suite bath is simple elegant and practical with heated floors and marble finishes, Victoria and Albert soaker tub, and walk in shower. You'll appreciate the natural light from deeply recessed windows.
In the relaxed master bedroom with its large attached porch, light and space prevail. The large porch is a summer retreat you'll treasure for private moments, from morning yoga surrounded by the trees of Rockcliffe, to stolen afternoons, reserved for reading in the breeze.
Two of the three additional bedrooms on the second level share a bath. The larger of these is fitted with an adventurous play loft and Juliette balcony. The third is the largest and designed to maximize privacy – a space of slyly dazzling light and form with high cathedral ceilings and exterior French doors opening to the porch.
Descend the wide oak stairway to the basement, designed to admit natural light. Here you'll find a full nanny suite, exercise room, recreation room, and more. Admire the bricked medieval style wine cellar with its groin vault complete with restored antique iron gates. Study the wall mounted "on demand" gas boilers too – a sophisticated leading edge system that keeps floors and rooms warm with remarkably low energy use.
A large garage is ingeniously tucked away at the back of the home designed to maximize space.
From its custom crafted oversized cedar fences to its extra thick red cedar shingles and primly aligned exposed rafter tales, virtually every detail of this residence exceeds all expectations. Those who appreciate "best" will recognize the exceptional value.
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