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home of the week

Sunflake Film & Video

The listing: 16 Kanata Rockeries, Kanata, Ont.

Asking Price: $2,475,000

Taxes: $16,300 (2019)

Lot Size: 136.06 feet frontage, 134.58 feet depth (0.4 acres)

Agents: Richard Rutkowski, Engel & Volkers

The back story

On the northern edge of Kanata near the beaver ponds are some of the last projects of legendary Ottawa builder Bill Teron, sometimes known as the father of Kanata.

Mr. Teron was the driving force behind the 1960s development of 3,000 acres of farmland that would become the Ottawa suburbs of Kanata and Beaverbrook. He practically gave away land to encourage employers to locate headquarters there, forming the foundation of Ottawa’s high-tech scene. He later went on to head the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, helped redevelop the Hermitage Museum in post-Soviet Russia, and was a founding trustee of the National Arts Centre. Mr. Teron wasn’t actually an architect, although later he was named an honourary fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.

In the late sixties, Mr. Teron sold his remaining stake in the Kanata lands, but kept a 15-acre parcel that he finally began to develop in 2003, carving out of the Canadian Shield an exclusive enclave he called The Rockeries.

He and his daughter Kim Teron developed 10 parcels on the land, including his own dream home (a curving palace to his unique vision that still attracts classes of architecture students). Mr. Teron died in 2018, but there are still plots for sale for anyone interested in partnering with his heirs. Among the homes he built here was 16 Kanata Rockeries. Finished in 2008, the 6,000-square-foot house is sometimes referred to as Kanata Rockeries Two, since it is built next door to Mr. Teron’s home.

Gabriel Szabadi bought the house a little less than two years ago, but had admired Mr. Teron for a number of years. “This was his little heaven and a perception of what houses should be,” he said.

“What we found out about the house was really spectacular: Some of that glass is amazing, it’s probably six to eight inches thick [triple-glazed]. The accessories, everything was way head of its time, a lot of it was Grohe [plumbing fixtures], a lot of high-end euro taste. It looks like a modern seventies house, but it’s only 10 years old.”

The house today

Approaching the front door, the house feels imposing and geometric, and a concrete pergola runs above the entrance and garage door (and continues around the right side of the house), above which is one of the glassed-in pavilions that define the house. Mr. Szabadi says he has fit 11 cars in the driveway for parties.

To the left is a wall that follows an earthen berm, on top of which is a 1,500-square-foot terrace.

The driveway can fit upto 11 cars.Sunflake Film & Video

Through the front door is a foyer with views of the courtyard and to the left is a vast office space (originally a lab for a former Nortel exec) that Mr. Szabadi uses as his home office and board room. A glass wall opens up into the courtyard.

Back through the foyer, you enter a central hall with a vast two-storey window wall facing the wooded courtyard, with twin glass staircases rising up to the second level on the right and the left of a loft/balcony. A sitting area under the overhang forms part of this reception area.

This space is an open box and the structural frame is hidden between tall, narrow windows that give the space some of the feel of a mid-century modern commercial office. The design is intended to evoke Frank Lloyd Wright, but there’s some Mies Van Der Rohe here, too.

A sitting area under the overhang forms part of the reception area.Sunflake Film & Video

Two of the house’s three bedrooms are on this floor with full ensuite bathrooms – the house was built with mobility issues in mind – and to the rear is a home gym.

The upper level is defined by three spaces topped by glass pyramid skylights, all supported by a square grid of beams. Where there is colour it is green and sea foam, according to Mr. Szabadi, and despite the strong right angles, the house is intended to evoke flowing water.

Two of three bedrooms in the house have full ensuite bathrooms.Sunflake Film & Video

A family room sits between the staircases on the balcony above the central hall. It serves to separate the kitchen and dining spaces toward the front of the house from the master suite in the rear.

The kitchen is filled with blond wood and blue-glass tile, and the pantry cabinets are also faced in blue-glass sheets. A curving projection of glass extrudes from the side of the kitchen to form a solarium sitting space. Through a set of open shelves you can see the dining room, its pyramid and exterior windows on three walls flooding the space with light.

Exterior windows on three walls in the dining room flood the space with light.Sunflake Film & Video

The other two pyramid skylights belong to the a master bedroom and the ensuite bathroom. The bedroom is surrounded by glass (one of the walls looks into the central hall, another into the courtyard). In the ensuite, there is a full freestanding mirror wall surrounded by windows, with privacy protected by the hills and berms around the house.

“Oh my God, we had to buy square acres of drapery in order to close all the windows,” Mr. Szabadi says. "We did put in some mechanical blinds in the kitchen, but we decided not to close the skylights. When I fall asleep, I see the moon and the clouds, snow and rain, it’s a beautiful canvas to look up to.”

Pyramid skylights allow ample natural light in the dining area and master bedroom.Sunflake Film & Video

The best feature

Mr. Szabadi said that for him, the best feature is probably the ground-floor office. A 75-foot long rectangular room (25 feet wide) with a massive TV monitor at the far wall “where I connect with customers all over the world.” He put a 22-foot boardroom table in the space, where he entertains clients and colleagues.

“I have three companies of my own; this is my personal home office and that’s where I spend most of my time. For 30 years I was involved in the recycling industry, I wanted to help mother Earth. This house answers all my wants.

“It advances your state of mind, when you come home to that environment.”

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