scaling down - Our Homes Magazine

Scaling Down
styling up
B y M a r y H at t
// Photography by Jackie Noble
For the empty-nester crowd, the hunt is
on. Wanted? Easy-to-look-after main level
living spaces with finished lower levels to
accommodate visiting family and, of course,
the grandkids. Also on the checklist are many
special features and upgrades that wouldn’t
normally have been be afforded earlier in life
when hockey, dance lessons and university
educations drained their wallets.
Enter Gentrac Homes, an established builder and developer from
Tillsonburg, spreading its wings to London. Gentrac is helping an evergrowing number of baby boomers to downsize their space and upsize
their style.
In Sifton Properties Ltd.’s north London Woodholme Park, Gentrac
has recently opened a luxury model with approximately 2,500 sq. ft. of
living space, featuring three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a partlyfinished lower level. Working together with architectural designer
Bryan Moore of Orchard Design Studio Inc., Gentrac’s president John
Gilvesy says the home’s exterior makes a “soft English” statement. When
travelling, Gilvesy enjoys filing away ideas for Gentrac’s future use.
He adds that the original Woodholme estate home, which still stands
Continued on page 32
Rustic and textural influences, such as
the stacked stone fireplace surround,
dark-stained hickory floor and sturdy
china cabinet, complement the great
room’s sophisticated neutral furnishings
and wall colour (Ballet White by Dulux).
OPPOSITE TOP: Gentrac president John
Gilvesy and his wife, Sandra. RIght: The
Gilvesys’ travels inspired them to involve
touches of English country architecture in
the design of their Woodholme model.
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ABOVE: Teal blue chairs punctuate the den painted in
Ballet White (Dulux). BELOW: Trendy Edison-style light
bulbs in clear glass accessorize the kitchen’s white
Ceasarstone quartz counters, antique white cabinetry and
decorative range hood. A pocket door with opaque glass
panels allows extra light while cleverly hiding from view the
laundry/mudroom and exit to the garage.
nearby, also inspired the Gentrac exterior. It features narrower-thanusual windows with simulated divided lights (Golden Windows Ltd.),
dormer, authentically scaled shutters, roof lines reminiscent of what you
might see in the English countryside and symmetrical landscaping by In
Bloom Designscapes.
Starting at the front entryway, classic style transitions from the ledged
Arriscraft shadow stone (Schut’s Unit Step and Dyck’s Masonry
Contracting) and board and batten façade (Hardie Panel, installed by
Exteriors X Design) to the spacious foyer. Here, there are clear views
to the great room beyond, as well as the open stairway to the lower
level (Swain Custom Carpentry Inc.). While it makes a traditional
statement, the layout is open and functional, and includes important
elements of sophistication such as the rich, neutral colour palette
(Limited Edition Painting & Decorating Inc.). The interior ceilings,
vaulted, coffered and tray-style, range from nine to 12 feet.
The formal dining area opens off the foyer. With no walls to restrict
table size, it’s a space that can accommodate both large and intimate
dinner parties, says John’s wife and partner Sandra Gilvesy. She selected
the home’s finishes and fixtures, such as the dining room’s fabric shade
chandelier of polished nickel and crystal (J.D. Lighting and Pro Electric
Inc.). Kate Gielen of Gielen Design says she wanted to complement the
chandelier’s wow factor with strong transitional pieces including the
large round dining table, fabric covered chairs, sideboard with a framed
wall-mounted mirror and a mirrored chest of drawers. Continued on page 34
ABOVE LEFT: Sandra Gilvesy
chose a shimmery crystal and
polished nickel chandelier as the
decorative focal point for the
dining room. LEFT: A tray ceiling
finished with crown moulding and
White Sand (Dulux) walls, darker
than others on the main level,
offer decorative definition to the
open dining space just off the
front foyer. ABOVE: The great
room, conveniently open to the
kitchen, features yet another tray
ceiling and elegant crown trim.
French doors lead to a covered
terrace while transom windows
maximize natural light flow. The
terrace can also be enjoyed from
the cheerful, windowed dinette.
RIGHT: The main level includes
a full bath, in addition to the
ensuite master bath.
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45,000 sq ft
ABOVE: Like other main floor rooms, the master bedroom has
great ceiling detail. The room also features recessed lighting,
a large walk-in closet with plenty of built-ins, and windows
overlooking the back yard. LEFT: The main event in the spacious
master en suite is a Victoria and Albert volcanic limestone soaker
tub. The freestanding white wood vanity and ceiling-height mirror
also score high marks for artistic impression.
The open, airy great room is anchored by a dry stack stone fireplace
surround that features a rustic wood beam the Gilvesys salvaged from the
barn on their farm, and custom built-in cabinets on either side (Brent
Woods Carpentry Design). To match the weight of the fireplace wall,
Gielen opted for lots of texture, such as the weathered two-piece china
cabinet and casual seating. “I wanted the furniture here to be comfortable,
classic and not finely finished,” she says.
Sandra says every new Gentrac model sends her out and about in
search of unique fixtures such as the two large, clear glass pendant-style
lights with Edison bulbs above the counter separating the great room
from the kitchen work area. “I don’t like anything ornate,” she says. “I
prefer simple elegance.”
In the kitchen and throughout the home, there are neutral Caesarstone
quartz counter tops by Sloan StoneDESIGN. The kitchen also features
Cardinal Fine Cabinetry Corp.’s antique white cupboards with classic
pulls, glass tile backsplash (Stubbe’s Colours & Covers), designer GE
Café appliances from London Major Appliance Service Ltd. and a deep
Continued on page 36
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The master bedroom and en suite, as well as another full bathroom
and a den-cum-guest room, round out the home’s main level. The master
suite offers both luxurious and practical features such as the lovely tray
ceiling, spacious en suite with Victoria & Albert freestanding soaker tub
(Brouwer Plumbing & Heating), custom designed vanity with ceilingheight mirror (London Glass & Mirror Inc.), as well as a big walk-in
closet with Classica built-ins (County Heritage Forest Products Ltd.).
The street-facing den makes an ideal home office or quiet reading room
and is cleverly furnished with a desk that flips up to accommodate a
pull-out sofa bed for guests. They, as well as visiting family members, will
also enjoy entertainment or games in the comfortable finished lower level.
Bells and whistles throughout the home include a built-in audio
system (London Audio), in-floor heating beneath oversized Casa Roma
tiles, a towel warmer in the master bathroom, Caml-Tomlin Flow glass
shower doors, designer Kohler fixtures, rain shower heads, wide gothic
trim, Lauzon’s hickory wood flooring, vintage carriage house garage doors
by Garaga (Sofalvi Door Systems) and Driftwood Ultra High Definition
shingles (Haines Roofing).
Banks of windows and doors on the back walls of the house shed abundant
natural light throughout the main level. However, Gilvesy says that with
low-e and argon-filled glazing and upgraded insulation, Gentrac does not
compromise on energy efficiency. He adds that Gentrac’s Energy Star home
includes an upgraded high-efficiency furnace and water heater, fully ducted
HRV (Builders Choice) and a drain-water heat recovery system.
The Gilvesys worked to save two mature trees flanking the corners
of their model. Chopping them down was not an option. That wouldn’t
quite seem like the Gentrac or Sifton way. Instead, the gentrified gesture
to keep the trees most certainly is. And that’s not surprising in the
context of English craftsman-style architecture, landscapes, and of course,
historic Woodholme. OH
A single-storey home’s wide foundation enables a very
roomy lower level, ideal for visiting family and friends. In this
home, an open stairway connects the main level with the
cosy, carpeted lower level where there is a family room as
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