662 Harvest Rd, Hamilton
Asking price: $2,999,000
Taxes: $5,072.65 (2022)
Lot size: 82 by 482 feet
Listing agent: Stella McCollum, Broker, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada
If the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Hamilton is smokestacks, steelworks or maybe a giant bridge that flies over the harbour, think again.
As locals know, Hamilton has many faces: the historic downtown core, the beginnings of urban intensifying on the waterfront, McMaster’s leafy campus and surrounding suburbs, the stunning views of “The Mountain”, and if you’re outdoorsy you might know about the many hiking trails near Mineral Springs, Canterbury Falls, Dundas Valley Conservation Area and the Christie Lake Conservation Area.
The latter is the Hamilton the owners of 662 Harvest Rd. got to know when they moved with their three children to Steeltown in 2019. The couple decided to rent for a year to figure out where they wanted to live long term.
As the COVID pandemic gripped the city the family spent more and more time outdoors, the pieces began to fall into place.
When a piece of land came up for sale in the area around Christie Lake, it got the couple thinking about the renovations they did at their previous home in Ottawa – a process they quite enjoyed. Why not take it a step further and build something from scratch?
The homeowners brought in architect Joel Tanner and his firm SMPL Design Studio, which has made a name for itself building “gnarly” (his own words) modernist homes in the region. The couple had one focus – they wanted a home that felt like they were living in nature.
Their love of the outdoors was even incorporated into the plan for the garage, which features a blue epoxy floor, custom shelving, high-end custom tool cabinets, and tracks for hanging tools and equipment. There’s even a special area built to store kayaks.
The adjoining mud room is also designed to support the mission of outdoor adventures with deep shelving and cubbies for winter wear and other gear; something they became acutely aware of the need for in their old house in downtown Ottawa where kid’s stuff was scattered around the house.
The house today
Sitting 300 feet back from the main road you’d be forgiven for thinking it was an industrial building with its dark exterior and deceptively simple rectilinear profile. A blank brick wall of the garage (the door for which is on the side closest to the main entrance) practically shouts “nothing to see here.”
The only hint that an open and light-filled home hides behind that dark exterior is the two-storey glass atrium for the floating staircase that’s next to the front door (tucked behind the garage).
Stepping into the house you’re welcomed by an open flame fire feature set into a square pass-through that looks into the kitchen and living room. Glass railed stairs head down to your immediate right, and entrance to the mud room/pantry that connects to the garage and main floor powder room is on your left.
This space is filled with elements that play off each other: The wide-plank oak floors have a warm nutty stain that transition to slightly darker walnut cabinets under the countertops in the kitchen. The slab/ledge of the floating fireplace is black as is the fridge-concealing cabinet and the range hood and the black extends around the room in the trim of the window wall that covers two-thirds of the combined kitchen and living room space. Otherwise, walls and ceiling are plain white with some more walnut accents in the living room furnishings and outdoor panelling on covered portions of the rear patio (accessible by a huge floor-to-ceiling sliding wall behind living room). The eat-in kitchen is light-coloured where the built-in banquet connects to the walls but is balanced by a chunky black table and chairs.
With its long island, the large kitchen is a space for family and friends to gather. Best of all, the adjoining pantry with more walnut shelving allows this functioning kitchen to need no upper cabinets and makes it easy to keep this open space clean and uncluttered when they have guests over.
The walls of windows perform two functions: draw nature in and provide sightlines to important elements of the home.
Every space takes advantage of the home’s location at the top of the escarpment. And in terms of safety with three kids at home, the kitchen looks down a hill to the pool.
The mud room – a gorgeous space with curving slats of walnut panelling – and whimsical goldfish-themed powder room are also accessible from the pantry.
Upstairs the oak planks continue and there are more floor-to-ceiling windows with black trim, but there’s also a bit more colour on walls: one child’s room in a rich green, a light lavender in the other, some greenish tile and brass fittings in the Jack-and-Jill ensuite between the two. The primary suite remains white walled with some dark textured tiles in ensuite shower-surround with matte black fittings and hardware. The primary suite also has walkout to a large balcony overlooking the rear of the property.
The fourth bedroom is in the basement, which is well lit thanks to deep window wells. This level also features a den/recreation room next to a glassed-in gym and yoga studio and a full bath with dramatic black subway tile.
The Great Outdoors
Behind the kitchen is a very handsome outdoor patio eating space and barbecue area, but off the side of the house and down the hill – the long staircase has plenty of broad landings to break up the trek – is the new heated pool.
The pool has black railings on the sides facing the house and a wooden wall on the sides facing the escarpment and neighbours and is surrounded by trees. Perhaps the most dramatic view of the house is also found from the pool deck: look up you can see all those windows and the light flooding out. Unlike the view from the street this side of the house says “Look at me!”
The one unfinished job? Turning the pool shed into a full-on cabana. It’s wired and plumbed for electricity, water and gas and the couple had grand plans for an outdoor bar and lounge. Other opportunities beckon though, and this professional couple hopes to be on the move again soon so the next owner can make the call on adding a cabana or guest house to this woodsy oasis.
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