Millgrove House

A multigenerational home in every sense of the term, Millgrove House has been designed to accommodate three generations
Story by: David Renwick
Another view of the living room architecture, ceiling, daylighting, estate, hardwood, home, house, interior design, living room, property, real estate, window, wood, orange
Another view of the living room

Architect: Toms + McNally DesignAbout the project (text supplied): For Toms + McNally Design, Architecture is a response to context. Millgrove House, located in rural Hamilton, sits on a property that contained an abandoned apple orchard, and a hay-growing farm for local use.

Situated between mature treelines and forests, the site is gently rolling. As a result, the design strategy was to use the topography in order to maintain a modest appearance from the street while providing a spacious home for a middle-aged couple with four adult children.

A place to live in comfort, entertain and grow older, the house aims to accommodate their expanding family including the grandchildren. The kitchen, dining and living rooms – the spaces in which they cook, spend time and make memories together – are the focal points of the of the house.


The home is certainly substantial – although the architecture, building, condominium, corporate headquarters, estate, facade, home, house, mixed use, property, real estate, residential area, teal
The home is certainly substantial – although the site hides it well

These spaces are combined in one generous volume capped with a sloped douglas fir roof rising to the south, opening up expansive views of the meadows and forests. The lower level – a walkout made possible by the topography of the site – is kept almost entirely column free, keeping it bright and not obscuring views of the landscape.

In addition to building a house that responds to the context and unique lifestyles of the client, the team at Toms + McNally Design experimented with how space is defined and used natural materials and day lighting to bring joy to the residents. Using natural materials was very important to the client, thus the palette for the project includes three types of wood (douglas fir roof beams and deck, walnut and white oak flooring) as well as limestone, and zinc. Moreover, the use of high quality materials, including stone, resulted in a high level of sustainability with low maintenance requirements as the building matures.

The Mechanical System includes Geothermal cooling and heating as well as central boiler for in-floor heating and domestic hot water. To add to the home’s energy efficiency, the windows respond to their exposure (ie, north is different than south), deep overhangs provide passive shading, heat is provided through in-slab piping, and double stud exterior walls allow for continuous insulation.

This large island is ideal for family gatherings architecture, countertop, daylighting, house, interior design, kitchen, real estate, window, gray
This large island is ideal for family gatherings

The electrical system is comprised of LED lighting with solar panels on the roof of the nearby accessory building. Structurally, the foundation and the basement are in concrete with a post tensioned concrete beam at the main level; wood stud structure frames the main level with Douglas fir beams and tongue and groove decking on a concealed steel frame forming the main central volume. In addition to the wood, limestone (from quarries near Owen Sound) is used throughout the project as cladding, exterior hardscaping, interior tile flooring, and surround the real wood burning fireplace. Dark grey zinc flashings and wall panels give the building a polished, sophisticated appearance.

The team, at Toms + McNally Design, collaborates with their clients to creatively respond to their project and its unique characteristics. They see problems as opportunities, combining context, space, and a respect of materiality and environment to create enduring architecture. For this project, they provided Construction Management services as well as design. This approach allowed for a high level of finish and control of the finished product. Millgrove House is a globally-impressive architecture that intentionally appears to have stemmed from its context, in Hamilton Ontario, into a home for a growing family.

Nov 21, 2017
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