Midhurst Oasis
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For these home owners, their home is more than a house; it's a story like no other, 50 years in the making.
It was winter in the early 1960s when they first went trudging through knee deep snow in the village of Midhurst, scoping out the lot of their dreams. The crisp winter air nipping at their cheeks, they gazed around at the evergreen trees and the ravine access to Willow Creek, and then
fell in love.
“I loved it from the moment I saw it and I've never changed my mind. It was the type of community where children could play safely and neighbours kept an eye out for you,” says the home owner, adding that many of their original neighbours are still present in the area and that sense of community still exists.
This was the first subdivision developed in Midhurst and Belmont Crescent was initially a gravel road. There was no municipal water, it was septic tanks and tile beds, and the house was electrically heated --much has changed since then.
They started to build their first house in 1961 and moved in December 23, 1962, two days before Christmas, ‘to a slightly unfinished house'.
Now, to fully appreciate this house, one must understand its history and progression from a 1050-sq. ft., two-bedroom, one-bathroom home, with a kitchen, living and dining room, and unfinished lower level, to the stunning 5000-sq. ft. architectural beauty it has evolved into today.
While the house was built in multiple stages, the interesting fact is that the original house was the original house, it was to go no further, and there was no master plan. It's almost fortunate it worked out as well as it did. It just progressed naturally over time, as the family grew from one child to four, and extra space was needed.
Situated on just over one acre of property, the new owners of this home may possibly still get these home owners as neighbours, as they happen to own 1½ acres adjacent to the property. Purchased with the original land in the '60s, the homeowner had the property severed off in 1995 with the intension of downsizing to a smaller house one day.
For now the acreage remains a lot and the possibility of building a smaller home to better suit their needs is still up for discussion. The bottom line is there's just too much house and property to continue to maintain today.
 “When you look at the house, it really does wander all over the place. This is partly because as an architect, we tend to build around the trees, rather than take them down. Subsequently, a maple tree started to grow into the dining room, so we had to take it down, and an oak tree was doing the opposite at the front. So we ended up removing the two trees we initially built the additions around,” husband says with a chuckle.
The first main addition was the dining room and hallway, followed by the kitchen and then the garage. The living room at the rear of the house and the basement below was the final large addition, allowing the new master suite to be built (the old living/dining room and kitchen) on the upper level. Small changes and renovations continued over the years, while rooms were redecorated with the times.
It's a unique home that will appeal to an owner who appreciates spaces, textures, colours and finishes, not technological features and upgrades. It's for someone who seeks semi-contained spaces, rather than open concept, and who values a certain amount of separation in their life.  
Of the original home, “there's virtually nothing left apart from the shell structure of the house – the light fixtures, flooring, exterior siding are no longer the same,” says the home owner. “The old house was black brick end walls and white board and batten, and as our love affair with wood continued and our budget got a little better, we started using cedar. Later we put the metal standing seam roof on the house, which we felt was in keeping with the natural environment.” Stone veneer is now intertwined with the cedar siding on the exterior, giving the home a warm and inviting feel.
Once inside the front foyer, gazing around one will notice the house is spread out over a large horizontal footprint. To the right, the fieldstone stone hallway leads to the formal dining room, which has a large window and great view of the backyard. Light also pours in through the floor to ceiling window along the hallway, adding a warm glow to the soft mauve walls. A step down from the hallway and dressed with modern decor this dining room is far from conventional, yet every bit inviting.
Just steps away on the right is the kitchen addition. German engineered, the kitchen is the favourite room for both homeowners, and is truly the hub of the home. Even now, when their grown children return, they each seek out “their” chair and special place at the round family table that they each have such fond memories of.
The kitchen is situated north/south along the home with large solarium windows on the eat-in nook and over the sink, in which the morning sun that shines in from the east and the setting sun they get in the evening. While modern and eclectic in design, “I have always felt the new and the old can work together. I think there's warmth in old things and we've been able to merge our modern and old pieces together in this space,” says the wife. Expansive in size it has an island in the centre, with spaces and enclosures for every gadget around. When the pantry is opened the shelves slide out, the drawers glide, and there lots of storage for even the smallest elements. Natural maple cabinets run throughout and are topped with light and swirly limestone counters, offset by the burnt orange and earth toned walls.
Off the back of the kitchen lies a small powder room, a large walk-in closet off the mudroom and a double garage, with an additional door that leads to the driveway.

Heading out of the kitchen towards the back of the home is the living room. With built-in, floor to ceiling bookcases, knotty butternut panelling throughout, a vaulted ceiling and a gas fireplace surrounded by a stone veneer, it's a combination of old and new. Sleek charcoal swivel chairs rest in front of the fireplace, in a room that has a rustic cottage feel to it. “We've grown from having things that are modern and not comfortable to everything comfortable,” says the home owner.
While large south facing windows flood the room with sunlight,  “this is a really warm and cozy room, and a great place to sit and read, while enjoying the view.”
Head down the spiral staircase to a bonus room in the basement. Currently used as a workout room, it can also serve as a recreation space or a playroom. From here, slider patio doors walk out to the backyard, which is ideal for ease of access.
The original home was a split-level design with a solid birch staircase leading to the upper level, which includes the master bedroom and dressing area, and two additional bedrooms. The main bath has both a shower stall and a jet tub on a sunken level.
The now master bedroom was the original living/dining room and kitchen, but by looking at this calm and tranquil retreat, one would never know it was ever anything else. Enter into a custom dressing area, with floor to ceiling closest space and drawers, along with a double vanity for prepping. Move through the space into the main master area painted a soft blue/grey tone and gaze through the large south facing window at a panoramic view of the back garden and Willow Creek. High vaulted cedar ceilings frame the space, while a wood burning fireplace, surrounded by fieldstone veneer, is situated in the corner of the room. With a couple of chairs to cozy up in, this room is complimentary to a boutique style hotel suite.  
Cherry wood floors run throughout and lead down the hall into the two additional bedrooms. Both a fair size there's room for queen beds and dressers, and both receive an ample amount of light. One traditional and historic, and one set up as den, both rooms contain built-in closets and vaulted ceilings, adding even more depth to the space.
The main bath is spacious with a double vanity and shower stall on the main level, while a jet tub is situated down one step, with a pocket door added for privacy. The white washed pine walls and ceiling (a little Finnish influence) gives it a spa like feel, while accents of crisp red in the towels are a nice highlight.
Heading back down both flights of stairs to the lower level, the space is comprised of a custom laundry/storage room, a family room, a full bathroom and an additional bedroom, which could also serve as an office or hobby room.
The spacious family room is again flooded with light as this area is also a walkout to the backyard. With a large couch and table set up, there's ample room for a family to relax and play together. Floor to ceiling bookcases, painted a crisp white currently display a fine selection of books, family portraits and artwork from favourite artists, while the gas fireplace naturally divides the area, which is also a workspace, complete with a historic mahogany desk.
A second full bathroom adorned with floor to ceiling pine and a full sauna at the back is an added bonus and is sure to be a hit when it comes to hosting parties.
Heading out the back sliding door into the garden the area, the landscaping is immaculate and the lawn is golf course manicured. Multi-level patios and decks lead to various areas of the house, while the yard is framed by mature trees, giving it a natural privacy. A round inground concrete tiled pool and cabana sit at the edge of the property, while plentiful perennial gardens are spread about. Even the 90-year-old peonies, moved from a family home, continue to thrive year after year in this park like setting.
As the home owners gaze around at 50 years of hard work, you can sense their fond affection for this home and property. An architect's dream home, the home onwners, “this was my personal workshop and with strong guidance and discipline from my wife, we made it our own.”


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