January 18, 2018

Ontario Home by Williamson Williamson Is Open in All Senses

For a certain anesthesiologist in Ontario, there was never any doubt. He always knew that he would take care of his mom and dad in their old age. When the time came, they moved into the basement of the bungalow that he shared with a social worker, the man he planned to marry. After an initial adjustment period, they truly became a family.

The stairs to the basement, however, became a problem. So the couple considered building a new home. They found a teardown in Ancaster, near Lake Ontario and the hospital where the anesthesiologist practices. The 1⁄2-acre lot was unusually wide for its neighborhood of stucco McMansions.

Its base is oiled oak. Photography by Ben Rahn/A-Frame.

A search for an architect led the couple to another couple, Betsy and Shane Williamson of the firm Williamson Williamson. For the exterior, they selected cedar, echoing the cedar trees that grow there, plus slabs of limestone from a local quarry. Between the slabs, the horizontal joints are raked deep, a detail inspired by the brickwork of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House in Buffalo.

“Everything was designed to be accessible,” Shane Williamson notes. The self-sufficient in-law apartment is on the ground level of one wing of the L-shape, 3,800-square-foot structure. Perpendicular, the other wing contains the open-plan living, dining, and kitchen zone, shared by all.

Brightening the double-height kitchen, the sloped ceiling soars 20 feet to a large skylight. The tall backsplash in Calacatta marble is washed by LED cove lighting. Glass cabinet doors are back-painted a snowy white.

The living area’s chair is by Sauerbruch Hutton. Photography by Ben Rahn/A-Frame.

Gray takes over in the upstairs master suite’s spa bathroom. Its striated marble slabs cover both the floor and the walls—the slabs on the walls in graduated heights, with a consistent width, to emphasize the verticality. Meanwhile, Betsy Williamson points out the “softness to the solid-surfacing” of the white sink vanity.

The master bedroom occupies a cantilever. Besides sheltering a terrace outside the living area, this extension positions the bedroom’s windows for a better view of Ancaster Creek, a popular fishing spot.

> See more from the January 2018 issue of Interior Design

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