House of the Future

It’s constructed to be high-tech, low-maintenance, but designer Ramsin Khachi also made sure this is a beautiful, livable home.

Written by:Jill Kirchner Simpson
a traditional kitchen with white cabinets, white quartz countertops, a center island with a built-in table.

Cambria design shown: Torquay™

This 23-year-old split-level house in Oakville, a suburb west of Toronto, doesn’t look like some jet-set house of the future, all sleek, white and modern. In fact, it’s filled with classical details and timeless materials. But when Toronto designer Ramsin Khachi purchased and set out to redo the poorly constructed house, he gave a great deal of thought to how to make each room function as ideally as possible. He incorporated state-of-the-art technology and amenities, without capitulating to the idea that that meant creating a minimalist, sterile shell. “The idea of this house is to enjoy life, and not be at the mercy of caretaking. We do a lot of high-end projects with beautiful materials, but one of the biggest complaints from clients is that they have to be so careful about maintaining them. That’s why I chose to use Cambria throughout—it’s a beautiful and versatile material, and it’s incredibly durable and easy to care for. You don’t have to worry about every red-wine or coffee spill and when you do clean up, it’s just warm water and a cloth.”

A tablet sitting ontop of white quartz countertops in a traditional kitchen
a traditional kitchen with warm gray cabinets, white quartz countertops, and a large sink with fruit in it.

Cambria design shown: Torquay

Bathroom and Laundry Room

Khachi thought through every element in terms of convenience as well as energy efficiency: Instead of having to run water in the shower for several minutes until it gets warm, he installed a motion sensor that sends hot water through the pipes as soon as someone walks into the bathroom. When the hot water is not in use, the pump shuts off to save energy. He designed all the drains to funnel into one main pipe, where he installed a heat recovery system, saving 30% on hot water heating bills. All the tile floors—in the bathrooms, laundry room, and mudroom (including the shower bench and floor)—are radiant heated, for energy-efficient warmth. That also helps quickly dry up moisture, preventing mold and mildew. The laundry room and mudroom were separated (“Why have to look at the laundry when you enter your house?” notes Khachi) and a large multipurpose sink/bath was installed in the mudroom, where the dog can be bathed, a child can rinse off muddy hands, and the cleaning buckets rinsed. The laundry room was moved upstairs near the bedrooms.

a bathroom with double sinks, white cabinets, white quartz countertops, and two large mirrors.

 Cambria design shown: White Cliff™

a laundry room with dark brown cabinets, a large utility sink, gray quartz countertops to provide a granite alternative, and hanging storage for drying clothes.

 Cambria design shown: Brentwood™

The house is accessed by a biometric keypad rather than keys. “Keys are thousands of years old, yet we still use them, even though they’re not secure,” says Khachi. “When your child comes home from school, you can program the system to send you an email to let you know they’re home. You can give workers a numeric code and program it to let them in only at specified times. We’ve used systems in the past that were too complex; this is simple enough that everyone in the family can use it.”

Kitchen

In the kitchen, Khachi showed off the intricate beauty that is possible with Cambria, creating a custom inlaid mural above the range with Cambria’s Torquay and Emperador marble, cut into an ornate pattern with water-jet technology. He also thought through all the functional issues that arise in a kitchen. There is a stainless steel compost bin recessed into the island for easy, eco-friendly cleanup (it can also be used as an ice bucket for entertaining) and Khachi even made a custom walnut butcher block to curve around the compost slot. The trash pull-out can be hygienically opened with the touch of a knee (instead of a dirty hand) thanks to an automated door mechanism from Blum. The rich walnut table, echoing one wall of the cabinetry, was custom-built to extend out from the island, saving space.

a traditional kitchen with white cabinets, white quartz countertops, a center island with a built-in table.

 Cambria design shown: Torquay

a stainless steel compost bin recessed into the island for easy, eco-friendly cleanup

A stainless steel compost bin recessed into the island for easy, eco-friendly cleanup. 

a traditional kitchen with a gas range, unique tile backsplash, and white countertops.

A custom designed mural above the range was created with Emperador marble.

Garage

Nothing escaped Khachi’s consideration, including the garage. “With the price of property so high, to me, every space is valuable,” he says. “People use their garages as catchalls, they become the dump.” Here, the garage is fitted with stainless steel wainscoting, a porcelain tile floor, high-gloss cabinetry, and even a TV for watching DIY shows or how-to videos. (All the TVs and computers are networked on a home server, so you can download movies or access the internet on any screen.) The garage is heated, with hot and cold running water, so it can be used year-round for carpentry projects, hobbies, car washing, and more. The Cambria countertops stand up to grease and dirt, and there’s a touch faucet, so you can wash off grimy hands without getting handles dirty.

a high-tech garage featuring gray quartz countertops from Cambria.

 Cambria design shown: Windermere™

The backyard patio is as beautifully furnished as a living room, complete with a gas fire-pit table and a heated path to the grill for barbecuing in winter, which is activated by a sensor when it snows!

An exterior patio of a home with a luxurious bbq area, an outdoor dining area, and plenty of seating around a firepit.

The patio was designed for luxurious outdoor living.

None of these high-tech bells and whistles, however, are apparent when you walk into the home. The impression is one of luxurious, yet supremely comfortable living. There are as many carefully chosen aesthetic elements as there are nifty gadgets. The living room, for example, boasts beautiful old-world plaster moldings, including a ceiling design inspired by a century-old glass pattern (the glass itself can be seen in wall insets in the upstairs bath). The dining room’s wallpaper pattern is echoed in its plaster ceiling medallion. The master bedroom is a pampering two-level suite, lined with built-in cabinetry topped with illuminated display niches. The television swings down or retracts into the ceiling with the push of a button.

“I’m not interested in following trends,” says Khachi. “I like to use classical details with a contemporary twist, and materials that will stand the test of time. This was my chance to create exactly the house I wanted, without worrying about client demands.” The end result: a very livable house of the future, available today.

a gorgeous white living room with white furniture, white fireplace with sun shaped mirror, and wooden accent tables,

Classic details with a contemporary twist provide the foundations of a timeless design.

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