With nearly 5,000 sq ft of living space, 3,350 above ground, this heritage home in Canada is anything but old-school. Matt Gilgan, son of billionaire home builder Peter Gilgan, tackled this renovation with an eye for beauty, detail, and delightfully unexpected sustainable features.
As Dave LeBlanc writes for The Globe and Mail:
After finding Milton-based architect Tom Kolbasenko of Our Cool Blue, Mr. Gilgan set to work on “deconstructing” the non-heritage elements of the house to prepare it for its green reawakening. Unfortunately, the old foundation proved to be so poor, extra time and money was spent re-supporting the home on steel beams, which he sarcastically calls “a minor setback.” New parts of the home would have walls made of straw bale sealed with earthen plaster, which, he says, most people associate with hobbit-like structures in the country (a myth he wants to disprove), so Camel’s Back Construction near Peterborough was brought on board as well. The home would have a large passive-solar element, a geothermal system, radiant floors and plenty of recycled material. Open concept passive solar design, Straw bale insulation, 100 year zinc roof, Bauhaus windows, Valcucine recycled glass kitchen, Finnish soapstone fireplace/bake oven, geothermal radiant floor heating and cooling, Oakville red clay floor, earthen interior walls, rainwater harvesting, living roof terraces, reclaimed and local materials.
The massive soapstone fireplace, he says, was a joy to watch go together. Plates of stone were “stacked to make this weaving, three-dimensional maze” that directs heat on a long journey before delivering it to the chimney; this, he explains, traps most of the heat within the stone (to radiate for hours and warm the house) rather than wasting it. “Fireplaces are getting a bad rap in some circles,” he adds. “Usually, they’re wide open and you’re not capturing much of the heat – but this, it burns very efficiently and we’ve been using it on the cold, cold days and it’s amazing.”
It’s so amazing the home doesn’t need a conventional furnace. In addition, free solar energy is captured in the stone-clad walls of the tall, south-facing solarium. Standing on the home’s second floor floating bridge, Mr. Gilgan points to a series of air intakes that can, if needed, direct that free heat via fans to the middle of the home or, if that’s too warm, all the way down to the basement, or, in summer, eject it outside. Beneath the solarium underground is a large cistern that collects rainwater.
Historic foundation component Soy based spray foam
Insulated Roof Straw bale insulation for most exterior walls (not on historic facades)
Double framed, double insulated walls on historic facades
Semi-local natural stone thermal mass walls
Bauhaus Sapele windows
Valcucine glass kitchen
Tulikivi Thermal Mass Heater from Finland
Geothermal radiant floor heating and cooling system
Reclaimed beech barn board floors ceilings and walls
Reclaimed ash door frames
Reclaimed oak custom made doors
Earthen plaster interior walls and ceilings
Oakville red clay floor
Rainwater harvesting system 100 year zinc roof
Living roof terraces
3rd story terrace
2 stage composting station
Fully landscaped yard including combination of food bearing, native, and good pollinator plants, as well as four more formal vegetable garden beds
Baril waterwise “made in Montreal” faucets in the powder room and master ensuite
Restored pedestal sink from the original house
Restored clawfoot tub serves as a utility tub in the basement
Canadian cedar cold cellar
Local stone used in the landscaping
Firewood shed with living roof
Vintage and/or re-used chandeliers and fixtures
Custom made from construction scrap stair lighting
Herb/plant ledge in the kitchen
Passive solar design elements including solarium and open concept interior
Reclaimed material art wall
Reclaimed medical cabinets for the master ensuite vanities
Bamboo vessel sinks in the master ensuite
Hand selected in small batches from within walking distance Lake Ontario shore stone shower floor
Tadelakt(Moroccan hand polished earthen plaster technique) finish in the bathrooms and laundry
Custom made Tadelakt sink in the 2nd bathroom
Reclaimed fir from barn beams custom designed stairs, with custom brackets and glass guards
Re-used, vintage, and or/made from reclaimed materials furnishings and decor throughout
Fully renovated single car garage with attached storage shed
Antique cabinet for powder room vanity
Heat recovery drain
Recessed coffer to expose original 1870s joists
Reclaimed metal beds in the landscaping
Reclaimed concrete core sample balance wall
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