L-Shaped Home Designed Around Mature Maple Tree


London architect preserves mature yard in home rebuild; every room has a tranquil view.

OUR HOMES London Fall 2016A version of this article originally appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of  OUR HOMES London & Middlesex County, p.22. Find local businesses in our London directory.

London OUR HOMES Fall 2016

On evening strolls through the neighbourhood of Old South in London, a young couple regularly passed by and admired one property in particular that was secluded and tucked away. After several years, they noticed a for sale sign on it and excitedly made the purchase. The home was small and in need of repair, so they removed it and started with a blank slate in the mature neighbourhood.
They enlisted Brad Skinner of Skinner & Skinner Architects to design a new home for the lot. The architect noted a massive old maple tree in the rear portion that begged to be an integral part of the design. It led his inspiration for the shape of the Maibec wood-sided home with shed dormers.
He created an L-shaped plan around the tree that allows for many views of the expansive property through windows on both levels of the home (Dashwood Industries Inc.). The shape also forms a practical division between living spaces on the main floor, as well as between bedroom wings upstairs.
Builder Crown Homes of London broke ground in the summer of 2014. One year later, the family of four moved into 6,000 square feet of living space. The front spacious foyer provides views to backyard and an open stairway leads to the upper and lower levels. Walnut, matte-finish hardwood floors run throughout the main level. The high-ceilinged great room includes the kitchen as well as living and dining areas. A wood-burning Rumford fireplace from Elmira Stove Works anchors the living area. Original art from Zita Art Studio adds drama to the timber frame mantel from Valley View Timberworks Inc. The fireplace surround matches the stone on the home’s exterior.
A grouping of tables and comfy seating purchased at Austin & Taylor Home Furnishings Inc. has been placed around the fireplace. A built-in unit opposite to the fireplace hides the family’s television. The owners enjoy a substantial island in the kitchen, a walk-in pantry, built-in wet bar and computer centre. The adjoining dining area includes a table and chairs from Austin & Taylor, as well as a fixture from Living Lighting London North
Upstairs, two bridge-style hallways create a sense of openness between the dormered wings, the master suite on one side, and the children’s bedrooms on the other. Riverside Millwork Group looked after the interior door systems. Dormers add charm to the children’s bedrooms. The two youngsters share a large Jack-and-Jill bathroom.