Midhurst home incorporates design with high-tech living
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A walking tour through 36 Lilac Lane in Midhurst will give you the impression of a well planned and fashionable home with a raised bungalow design. It's the features that are not so obvious at first, however, that just might be the ones that impress a visitor the most.
The home is an open-concept design with a main floor that flows seamlessly from the great room to the kitchen and bedrooms that are located on both sides of the house.
A large, uniquely styled mortarless fireplace dominates one wall in the great room with wall-to-ceiling windows that peak at the top of the gabled roof and look out to the backyard.
For homeowners Dan and Rosiland Saso, the construction phase of the property became an evolving project that incorporated structural design, personal taste, and a love of technology.
“The whole idea behind the house was to make it a low carbon-footprint home,” they explained. “The goal was to see how well we can run this house and how inexpensively we can do it.”
The home was completed in 2008 and has around 5,300 square feet of living space including a fully finished basement.
With a background in technology, Saso has a keen interest in using new technology to its full effect. That includes starting with the basics and the very foundation and walls of the house.
“This is really a big foam box – it's completely air tight,” he explained.
The exterior walls are constructed from insulated concrete forms. This design uses reinforced concrete forms that are coated with polystyrene foam, resulting in highly efficient insulating properties.
The forms were delivered to the job site in three full-size trailers and supplied by Nudura Integrated Building Technology in Barrie.
Paul Stevens Construction from Barrie built the walls, laid the joists and beams and installed the insulation.
Simcoe Building Centre – also a Barrie company – supplied building materials including lumber and drywall.
To eliminate the need for typical vent and duct systems for heating and to adapt energy efficient technology, the house was built with radiant floor heating. This system of built-in pipes that run hot water
under the floors and produce a constant level of warmth. Since heat naturally rises, the room is then warmed from the floor up to the ceiling.
“With this system the entire house costs less than $1,000 per year to heat,” Saso said.
The original exterior design was altered in consultation with an architect to “adopt the house to
fit the neighbourhood.”
The home, with its low profile,
peaked roof and red and black brick, blends into a neighbourhood of stylish, well-kept homes along a winding lane that backs onto a ravine.
It is set back from the road and has a long driveway that curves toward the three-car garage, built at ninety degrees to the main house.
“Lots of things start to change once you start constructing,” Saso said of the way they made simple changes in some areas and major adjustments in others.
The kitchen is spacious with a convenient layout that has counters and a large island made with a quartz and epoxy composite material. It is specifically designed to be non porous and therefore easily cleaned and resistant to bacteria.
Solid maple and made locally by Rice's Cabinets in Barrie, the custom-designed cabinets have been stained to a dark brown colour. They are enhanced with stainless-steel handles which compliment the silver-coloured appliances
including a Sub Zero refrigerator and upright freezer.
If you've ever cursed your stove-top burner for being too hot, this kitchen boasts an induction cook top that is highly efficient and cool to the touch – even when you've got a pot of water going at full boil – and takes up lass than two-inches of depth in counter space.
The water delivery system uses a reverse osmosis filtration system to purify the tap water.
The main floor has three bedrooms. A master suite with en-suite bathroom and walk-in closet is located on one side of the house with two bedrooms and two baths placed at the opposite
side.
One feature that is not apparent at first is the home's  solid construction doors and insulated interior walls that act as a sound damper and create a privacy buffer between rooms.
The bathrooms are a Euro-style design with tiles, glass and open showers with overhead water delivery.
In this home a trip down to the basement doesn't mean going below ground to visit the cellar. It means a few steps down to a wide open space that is a spectacular home entertainment area, where the love of technology becomes apparent.
“With a raised bungalow the ceiling is higher in the basement so we have nine-foot ceilings,” Saso said.
The main room is large enough to accommodate a full-sized billiard table with plenty of room on all sides to make that important shot to the side pocket.
With yet another bedroom and full sized bathroom with a glass-enclosed shower, the basement offers plenty of extra room and privacy for guests.
For some people, the kitchen or great room might be considered the focal point of a home. For others, the entertainment value of having twenty friends over to watch a movie might provide the real fun.
Two solid sliding doors open to reveal the home theatre that's will rival any movie house in the area.
With a screen that's 112 inches wide and a built-in surround-sound system with nine speakers that place you right in the middle of the on-screen action, it gives you the feeling that you are in the front row of a concert. This is a home
theatre designed with all the bells and whistles for a superior visual and audio experience.
“When we built the house I asked for a copy of the plans,” Saso explained, “I sent the plans to a company to optimize the theatre. All this technology is very important to me. We had the bar integrated into the theatre because we wanted it to be a social room.”
Saso sent the original CAD drawings of the home theatre design to Tannoy Ltd, an international company with a division in Scotland, to have the entire system optimized for the home's space.
This isn't a typical theatre with rows of chairs facing the screen. It's a comfortable place with chairs and sofas
arranged around the room, a wet bar with stylized lighting, and an adjacent climate controlled wine cellar.
The basement also has a large office area, a craft room, and a well-designed utility room.
It's a myriad of wires, components and electronic wonders that are the brain of the home's high-tech systems. Built right into a wall in the basement, the distribution rack supplies music, television, and movies to virtually every room in the house.
“It's not as complicated  as it looks,” Saso said. “It's  a multi-zone,  multi-source system.”
Every room in the house can have a different radio or television station playing at the same time.
Moving through the tour we enter the three-car garage through a purpose-built entrance from the basement.
Even this large shell designed to house automobiles, garden spades, and lawn tractors has a well-thought-out plan.
The floor is sloped to catch winter run-off and channel it into a drain area.
Fully insulated, the garage has cold and hot running water so you can wash the car in winter in an area that never freezes.
“The garage never goes below 50 degrees,” Saso said.
There are many features that may be overlooked until you see them in action.
Pathway lights are small, built-in night-lights with sensors that are strategically placed around the house and light a path though the darkness.
They're not an expensive addition, but are one of the features that give this
home a unique ambiance and style that compliments the modern design.
Stepping out into the back yard, the lawn stretches out then slopes down into a ravine with a flowing creek. It provides a perfect setting for outdoor activity with a fire pit and large stone and brick patio.
“The house itself is very appealing, but we do spend a lot of time out back,” Saso said.
Spending time on the patio doesn't mean missing the ballgame on television. A large wide screen TV is mounted on a movable arm that can be angled toward the patio and viewed through the main windows – a feature that means you can have dinner outdoors and still watch the game.
It is a home that was designed and built with a lot of thought given to convenience and functionality, while at the same time combining modern style with eco-friendly solutions to necessity.

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