Moving from your home is one of life’s most significant events, and it can prove to be a stressful and emotional undertaking. Embarking on a new adventure in a new home can be exciting and scary all at once. It can spark inspiration for new possibilities, while at the same time make us wistful and sentimental as we say goodbye to the place where many fond memories were created.
When John and Judy Rietkerk began their latest new home adventure, it was certainly not easy for them to say goodbye to their family home. Located on a country road in Eramosa, with sweeping views of the surrounding area, the Rietkerk farm was their home for more than 25 years. John and Judy raised their family, started an Elk farm which was intended to be a hobby but turned into a thriving operation, and painstakingly renovated the original farmhouse to call it their own. Looking towards the future, they severed a one (1) acre parcel of land on the northeast corner of their farm with the intention of eventually building a bungalow/ranch home there. It had long been their dream to live out their retirement in the area with which they had fallen in love.
Now empty nesters, in 2018 they decided to begin their new build on the severed piece of land, and they hired Bill Spira of Spira Architectural Design to help them come up with a plan. Their wish was to replicate the back of their neighbours cottage in Port Severn, (using glass and wood, and featuring an outside space that would span the width of the home) and combine it with a front exterior that would offer curbside appeal and the look and feel of a modern rustic home that would stand the test of time. Over a four-month period, Bill was able to essentially marry two plans in order to come up with a design that met all their requirements.
Once they had a plan finalized, the Rietkerk’s contacted Derek Martin at HFH Inc. HFH has a long-standing reputation for quality and integrity. With more than 20 years of experience building quality custom homes, barns and outbuildings, HFH Inc. prides themselves on their premium craftsmanship and top-notch customer service skills. “Listening to each client’s individual needs is one of the most important things we can do. Each project is different, and we strive to create a masterpiece for every client, no matter the size and scope of the project”, says Derek of HFH’s company objective. “We work closely with our clients throughout the building process, and we use the most skilled people to design and build homes that will be unequalled in quality and aesthetics”.
I was invited to come out and view the Reitkerk home, and on a wintery Wednesday in January I made the trek out to the fourth line of Eramosa. Pulling up to the house, one can immediately see the pride of workmanship and loving attention to detail that went into the design and construction of this home. The exterior construction is a conventional frame, but features timber frame accents and deck construction, giving it an authentic, modern rustic farmhouse feel. The front is a combination of natural stone (from Elora Rubble) and pre-painted Maibec siding installed by Sider-Man. The horizontal shiplap and genuine cedar shakes offer texture and character. The red vinyl windows made by Strassburger are unexpected and stunning, and they feature custom wood interior finishes that flow beautifully into the interior design concept. The rear view of the home is quite simply, breathtaking. The timber frame deck spans the width of the home, and it offers multiple access points from inside. The glass railings allow for an unobstructed view of the rolling hillside and nearby river – a view that is literally worth a thousand words. The three-season room on the north end of the home allows for bug-free enjoyment on warm summer nights or chilly fall evenings, and the 180-degree views are perfect for relaxing or enjoying al fresco dining with family and friends.
The exterior landscaping (being completed by Pioneer North Landscaping) is still in the final stages of completion, with an objective to enhance the natural beauty of the home and the surrounding area.
It is difficult to articulate the feeling you get when you enter the Reitkerk home. Love, warmth and family all come to mind. Although this home is certainly elegant and grand, it exudes a feeling of hominess that is difficult to come by in new construction. The main floor is completely open concept, and it manages to feel spacious and airy but cozy all at the same time. The soaring 25’ ceilings are accented with solid timber beams, and the reclaimed beechwood wood plank flooring (Installed by Everwood Contracting in Grand Valley) offers a touch of rustic farmhouse/ranch house feel. The main living area is filled with an abundance of natural light and sweeping views of the surrounding farmlands. The stunning stone floor-to-ceiling fireplace with a unique reclaimed wood beam mantle is, perhaps, the centerpiece of the main floor, and it brings to mind something you might find in a mountain ski lodge or a Montana ranch house.
The oversized chef’s kitchen is an entertainer’s dream, designed by Enrich It Woodworks in Guelph. It features extra high, solid maple wood cabinetry with ample storage and an oversized 9’ island with a stunning reclaimed red pine wood countertop from Century Wood Products Inc (Marsville). Entry to the large walk-in pantry is through a one of a kind set of wooden antique beeswax doors from Artifacts in St. Jacob’s, accented with an authentic metal “Crimone” opening system imported from France. The apron sink, leathered granite countertops, wrought iron light fixtures with Edison bulb lighting, and bronzed hardware are a thoughtful departure from the typical rustic farmhouse design, making it interesting and unique. Finally, the distressed maple dining table from Gibson’s in Kitchener provides a smooth transition from kitchen to living area. Not only is it a gorgeous piece of handmade furniture, it easily accommodates large family gatherings and adds to the character of the open concept space.
All three of the bathrooms in this home are breathtaking. The master suite is a spa-like retreat with a standalone tub and bronzed antique-looking fixtures. The step-in shower with river rock accents is encompassed by a unique barn board feature wall for hanging towels and robes. The powder room is most definitely a statement room, finished with patterned wallpaper, leathered granite countertops and an antique vanity with a round farmhouse sink. The shared main floor bath is large enough to be a master ensuite, and it pulls in touches from the other bathrooms, including the stone and river rock tiles and barn wood accent wall.
Aspen & Ivy Interiors specializes in quality home furnishings and design services, and designer Kate McNaught was instrumental in assisting the Rietkerk’s with much of their lighting and décor selection. Her innate ability to incorporate the old with the new, and her eye for detail was critical in pulling together the overall look and feel of this home. “We wanted to bring in touches and pieces from our family home of 25 years, and to incorporate them into the design of our new home. We wanted to feel like we were bringing a piece of the farmhouse with us!”, says Judy Rietkerk.
Clearly a labour of love, the Rietkerk home is a testament to true craftsmanship and design. It can be best described as a mountain style ranch home, with a farmhouse twist and a Muskoka flare. Although the decision to sell their family farm was a difficult one, John and Judy have created a space where many new memories will be built, and new generations will be welcomed. “We raised our family in our farmhouse”, says Judy. “We may have built a new home, but we brought much of that place with us in so many ways, and we look forward to raising our grandchildren here. We are thankful to HFH Inc, and everyone else involved, who have guided us on this journey and helped us to create our dream home”.
Elegance, quality craftsmanship, location and design are among the timeless features that make this forever home a place for John, Judy and their growing extended family to enjoy for many years to come.
HFH Inc. has been offering quality in design and craftsmanship in Wellington County and beyond for more than 10 years. They are located at 6006 Highway 6, Elora | 519–821–2040 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written By: Tanya Bottomley
Photography: Kurt Brown, Owner of Twotone Studios