Talk with John Caliendo about his new home on Loyalist Parkway in beautiful Prince Edward County, and you’re in for a bit of a history lesson. “This was once part of a farmstead of several hundred acres,” he says, his sweeping arm indicating the rolling lawn surrounding the stunning 6,000-square-foot home designed by Brampton’s Huis Design Studio. “After the Revolutionary War in the U.S., those who remained loyal to King George were given land grants along the north shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, and this property was part of that.” Contemplating the lake’s sparkling water from the expansive courtyard behind John’s home, it’s difficult to imagine a better thank you gift .
For Kurtis Van Keulen, founding partner and architectural designer at Huis Design Studio, John’s vision and enthusiasm for the project were big pluses. “John’s ambition was to have the home incorporate a lot of traditional Cape Cod styling,” explains Kurtis, “but also to pull in elements of colonial architecture out of respect for the history of the property, and to incorporate modern elements, especially in the lake-facing exterior.” Getting such a design just right involved some invigorating creative challenges. For instance, a wood-burning fireplace built from reclaimed handmade brick functions as a stunning focal point in the Great Room, but positioning it in just the right place was tricky. “Aesthetically, we had to centre it on the vaulted ceiling,” recalls Kurtis, “but not too far away we have a widow’s peak in the master wing, so we had to work with code restrictions as far as how close that could be to the chimney.”
The home is effectively designed as three distinct joined buildings. The east wing includes spacious guest quarters and a yoga studio; the centre holds the Great Room, kitchen, and den; and a luxurious master bedroom and ensuite— along with that magnificent widow’s peak—are housed in the west wing. The separation was designed to emphasize the particular purpose and experience of each section, and to create discrete spaces within the home. “This house is all about public and private spaces,” Kurtis explains. “For example, you have an extensive outdoor courtyard with a lap pool and a breathtaking view of the lake, but you also have broad eaves inside the centre courtyard that create perfect spaces for smaller groups and one-on-one conversation.”
When it comes to talking points, the only question, really, is where to begin. Entering through the front door, visitors are immediately treated to a spectacular view of the lap pool and courtyard behind the house. “We centred the pool on the window,” explains Kurtis, “so that when you walk in, if the sun’s shining, the first thing you’ll see is the blue water of the lap pool sparkling and the courtyard surrounding it. There’s a huge wow factor there.”
The widow’s peak, or, as John and Kurtis came to refer to it, “the lighthouse” provides the home’s most distinctive feature, both inside and out. Arrived at by way of a remarkable winding staircase, it offers a quiet place for contemplation and the perfect vantage point from which to sit and watch the sunrise or set. “Architecturally, it was a challenge,” recalls Kurtis, “but it was well worth it in the end. You can’t pass this house and fail to notice it.”
With trends of the day often favouring variations of white on white, the house’s bold interior design gives it distinctive character. For John, this was another way to incorporate colonial influences from the late Georgian– early Victorian era. “The blue we used in the kitchen is a historically accurate shade,” he explains. “We also installed herringbone flooring in the Great Room and kitchen, and hung chinois wallpaper in a couple of the washrooms. These are all evocative of that time, and they really add something in terms of texture and depth.”