Inspired by the shingled homes on Maine’s picturesque shoreline, Susan Sinclair-Brockelsby and Gerry Brockelsby hoped to recreate the charm of New England architecture when it came to building their own weekend home. They enlisted architect Gus Ricci to help make their dream a reality. Built on 100-acres on the Niagara Escarpment in Caledon, Ontario, the New England-style house affords vistas of emerald hills that tumble out in Technicolor splendor, and a 2 1⁄2-acre pond that shimmers in the distance.
Designer Sarah Richardson provided another major source of inspiration; Susan admits she is a longtime fan. “I watched Design Inc. for years and loved it,” she says. “I just thought everything she did was yummy, so I contacted her office, and they came out right away.” Click through to see the beautiful property by Natalie Hodgins of Sarah Richardson Design.
The exterior’s twin gambrel roofs are typical of the vernacular Maine architecture that the homeowners love.
An allée of trees and split-rail fencing lead up the drive.
Hand-dipped wood shingles and local stone lend a time-weathered softness to the exterior. Matching urns and lanterns play up the orderly, symmetrical façade.
Susan and Gerry with their cockapoo, Sam, in the crisp white panelled hallway of their Caledon weekend home.
The sunken great room offers many spots to gather and chat, or enjoy a quiet read.
Antique elements add the requisite vintage touch to this new-build home.
Built-in cabinets topped by Tuscan columns separate — but don’t visually close off — the kitchen and dining room from the great room. Soft green chenille armchairs enlivened by crisp white piping create cozy seating, a spot to debrief after a horse show or leaf through a favorite magazine. Tonal striped throw pillows in a pale palette pulled from the floral rug are a Sarah Richardson trademark. A cluster of brass candlesticks and a crimson-leafed maple branch clipped from outside are simple decor touches that lend impact.
Cozy sofas and a clean-lined flagstone fireplace make the great room the quintessential spot for a lazy weekend. Painted freestanding hutches have a country-casual charm and provide display for antlers and antique bronze copperware vessels that accentuate the high ceilings.
Striped-back chairs with nailhead trim add a fresh contrast to a traditional turned-leg dining table. The contrasting stripes add energy and visual interest around the table when viewed from a distance. The wrought-iron chandelier is a rustic touch, while a collection of patinated pewter is perfect for a fall setting. “The floors are gorgeous reclaimed elm that’s likely over 200 years old. They were stained dark to ground all the pale colors in the house,” says Susan.
The library features a gold bar cart, rich alder wood panelling and pure linen drapes with a duck motif by Schumacher (not shown). “The only thing missing are cigars,” jokes Natalie. A coffered ceiling suits the country setting.
The vanity was custom-made to look like furniture, while vine wallpaper “has a beautiful organic feel that brings the outside in,” says Natalie. A large nautical-style window recalls New England architecture.
Intricate chinoiserie-style wallpaper turns the hardworking laundry room from utilitarian to charming.
A vintage kilim in warm fall colors dresses up an alfresco dining area, adding a hit of global chic. “If you removed the tablecloth, the vignette would look flat,” notes Natalie.
In the portico located off the great room, another stone fireplace and a basket of blankets keeps the lounging area comfortable well into the fall. This space is approached as an extension of the interior, equipped with a cozy striped rug, cushions handsomely upholstered (in indoor-outdoor fabrics), and woven textures for added warmth.
The weekend home is in the heart of horse country. Susan and Gerry’s daughter, Lawren, is a competitive rider who stables her horse nearby.
Set on 100-acres on a hilltop perch, the house was designed to maximize views of the Niagara Escarpment, including the nearby pond equipped with a canoe for a leisurely paddle, and a dock that doubles as a perfect spot for sunning.
Author: Iris Benaroia
House & Home October 2013
Sarah Richardson and Natalie Hodgins, Sarah Richardson Designs.