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House tour: Colourful contemporary home

House tour: Colourful contemporary home

It's all about indoor-outdoor living in this home. Author: Robin Stubbert

House Tours

House tour: Colourful contemporary home

It's all about family, friends and indoor-outdoor living at Marina and Blake Farrow's residence near Collingwood, Ont.

Sometimes it takes a faraway place to remind us of what matters close to home. That was the case for custom-home builder Blake Farrow of Blake Farrow Project Management and his wife, Marina, a designer who co-owns design studio and retail store Farrow Arcaro Design. “Three years ago we took our kids, Kyle, Jake and Olivia [now 21, 19 and 12 respectively], on a beach vacation,” says Blake. “We spent every day outside, swimming, kiteboarding and hanging out together.” Not wanting the idyllic family time to end with the vacation, the couple decided to rejig their real estate. “We lived in Collingwood, Ont., where our businesses are located, but our trip reminded us that the long-term plan was to have some land where we could connect as a family,” he says. “As soon as we got home, Marina called our real estate agent and said, ‘Find us a place in the country.’” It was serendipitous, as a listing for a 1970s two-storey house on three and a half acres popped up while they were on the phone. “We put in an offer that moment,” says Marina. “The house is a mile from town but feels like a world away.”

It was also a world away from move-in ready, with a cracked foundation, rotted roof and wildly overgrown lot, but the couple was already envisioning a space that would reflect their lifestyle. “We like things simple, not over the top,” says Marina. “We wouldn’t be comfortable in a home where things have to be kept perfect.” Given their professions, they were able to parlay those laid-back preferences into bricks and mortar – or in this case, barnboard. “I immediately imagined a barn,” says Blake. “Its clean shape lends itself to casual living.”

 

Photo Gallery

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House tour: Colourful contemporary home

Charcoal grey exterior

The home's exterior features vertically positioned barnboard painted charcoal grey.

By: Christy Wright Source: Robin Stubbert Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Colourful contemporary home

Entryway flowerbeds

Homeowner Marina Farrow came up with this pretty solution to stop her dogs from digging up the flowerbeds: an aluminum tub filled with a variety of perennials.

By: Christy Wright Source: Robin Stubbert Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Colourful contemporary home

Comfortable living room

Proponents of fuss-free comfort, the couple designed the living room with real life in mind. The fireplace, a hotly in-demand spot for lounging in front of during the cold months, is fitted with a simple yet dramatic rusted-metal facade.

By: Christy Wright Source: Robin Stubbert Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Colourful contemporary home

Firewood storage

The living room's firewood storage opens to an exterior shed so it can be loaded from the outside.

By: Christy Wright Source: Robin Stubbert Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Colourful contemporary home

Kitchen design

Marina designed the kitchen's 18-foot-long Caesarstone-topped island with two levels and different seating options at each.

By: Christy Wright Source: Robin Stubbert Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Colourful contemporary home

Extra seating

The slipcovered bench is on wheels and can easily slide into place at the dining table to accomodate extra guests.

By: Christy Wright Source: Robin Stubbert Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Colourful contemporary home

Canary yellow appliances

The pizzazz of a canary yellow gas range energizes the kitchen with a jolt of colour against the warm tones of the grainy oak cabinetry.

By: Christy Wright Source: Robin Stubbert Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Colourful contemporary home

A simple lifestyle

Before the home was finished, the couple was already envisioning a space that would reflect their lifestyle. "We like things simple, not over the top," says Marina. "We wouldn't be comfortable in a home where things have to be kept perfect."

By: Christy Wright Source: Robin Stubbert Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Colourful contemporary home

Dining area

The 10-foot-long dining table is on wheels, "so we can move it outside [through the glass bifold doors] for a dinner party or push it aside for one of our huge get-togethers," says Marina.

By: Christy Wright Source: Robin Stubbert Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Colourful contemporary home

Bedroom decor

"I love to create new looks for our bed with colour and texture," says Marina. Her affinity for both is reinforced by the bench covered with an antique Turkish rug.

By: Christy Wright Source: Robin Stubbert Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Colourful contemporary home

A vintage touch

"When Blake saw this vintage French poster at a store in New York City, he fell in love with 'the girl' and asked to bring her home wtih us," says Marina with a laugh. "In fact, the front entrance was designed to accomodate her." The rattan loveseat, a piece the couple's had for years, was painted cobalt blue to match the artwork.

By: Christy Wright Source: Robin Stubbert Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Colourful contemporary home

Salt-water pool

The heated fibreglass salt-water pool is framed on one side by a row of apple Muskoka chairs. The vintage sign, an antiques market find, is a favourite item. "It makes the house feel relaxed and lived in, and I love decorating outside walls," says Marina.

By: Christy Wright Source: Robin Stubbert Credits: Style at Home

House tour: Colourful contemporary home

Connecting old to new

A stone-clad hall links the new barn (in the foreground) to the renovated original building. Blake's ingenius plan was to gut and rebuild the original 1,300-square-foot structure as a modern barn with three bedrooms, a bathroom and a large living area for their sons an dlink it with a hallway to a new house for themselves and Olivia. "This set-up is perfect for the guys," says BLake. "They have their own space where they can hang with their buddies. When they're back at school, we close it off to save energy."

By: Christy Wright Source: Robin Stubbert Credits: Style at Home

 

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House tour: Colourful contemporary home