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LOCATION: Mulmur, Ontario


DESIGN LEADERSHIP: Michael Poitras, Principal-in-Charge of Design

CLIENT: Withheld


  • No. of storeys: 1
  • Total floor area: 4,500 ft2 (418 m2)


  • Rusty metal wall cladding & roof
  • Board formed concrete
  • Black curtain wall windows & doors
  • Composite grey decking
  • Glass guardrails
  • Ornamental grasses

General Program

  • Open concept living/dining/kitchen
  • Family room/library
  • Master bedroom/ensuite
  • 3 guest bedrooms/ensuites
  • Office
  • Sauna
  • I washroom
  • 2 fireplaces
  • Roof deck/barbecue area/garden/washroom
  • Detached 4-car garage (separate building)

Cost: Withheld

Completion: 2019

Rusty Metal House

The concept for this rural home was to create a familiar architectural form, tailored to addressing the predominantly windy conditions of the site, while also providing an accessible roof deck, from which to enjoy the long, uninterrupted views across the countryside.

As this house was for an older couple, with grown children who typically visit only on weekends, we took advantage of the children’s underutilized bedrooms and placed them on the house’s windy west side. These bedrooms, aligned with the family room (another underutilized room except for weekends), buffer the cooling effect caused by wind (convective cooling) keeping the house warmer, especially on cold winter nights. Simultaneously, the heating of these rooms could also be lowered throughout the week, saving on winter operating costs.

Primary living spaces, including the country kitchen, dining, living and master bedroom are located on the house’s less windy east side, the side with the “big view”. At the centre of the house both physically and socially, is the “country kitchen,” which is illuminated by a series of modern circular skylights overhead. The living room, at 30’ x 30’ (10m x 10m) is the perfect space for entertaining both indoors and out, as retractable sliding doors can fully open, taking in long country views to the east.

To enhance the experience of enjoying these extended views, an outdoor rooftop living space was created that is accessed via a rusty metal exterior stair on the house’s north side. This roof space has a terrace complete with an outdoor fireplace, a large barbecue station, an ornamental grass garden and a washroom. Protecting the terraces from direct sun are two large trees, which are planted on the roof, creating a perfect spot for a daytime picnic. By night, this same outdoor living space is naturally illuminated by twinkling starlight, inspiring socializing to carry on late into the evening.

The design of the house was inspired by the everyday simplicity of rusty metal agrarian barns, typically found in the countryside. Here, the familiar form of the barn has been manipulated into a more angular architectural language, resulting in an exterior form that feels both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time.

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