When the path to renovating their home reached a dead end, a recently retired couple decided to start anew with a custom build on their treed property in a coveted central location. “I wanted to build an eco-home where people could live for hundreds of years and not just decades,” says the homeowner. The pair tasked Michael Knight of M Knight Construction with the build and requested a sustainable home that would include an insulated concrete form (ICF) with solar panels, a green roof and reclaimed materials where they could.
Taking on your own head-to-toe interior design is not generally recommended, but for this creative couple with concise design goals, plotting their interior came down to consulting a kitchen designer and pulling the rest of the aesthetic together from design magazine inspiration and countless conversations with friends. The result is a highly efficient four bedroom, three bathrooms, 3337 square-foot home designed with a minimalist industrial touch.
Eschewing her initial love of purist industrial style after staying in an über modern hotel in Berlin, the owner adopted what she calls an “industrial lite” aesthetic favoured in design-savvy Paris. Drawn to the French sense of pared-down architecture and seemingly effortless interiors, she wanted to incorporate the use of humble materials like concrete, metal, wood and in this case, a whole lot of neolith.
Looking for natural products that were easy on the environment, the owners turned to neolith supplier, Giovanni La Fauci at Beyond Surfaces. “Giovanni and staff were wonderful and incredibly patient with me as I changed my mind many times enthused by so many variations,” says the homeowner. La Fauci adds that “while some people are still using quartz or granite for their countertops, she wanted a completely eco-conscious product with a unique look. Fitting with the home’s theme of sustainability, neolith is composed entirely of natural materials, is 100% recyclable and practically indestructible. The owner fell in love with the versatility of it so we used it in multiple applications through the entire home.”
To contrast the kitchen’s overall pale palette, the owner chose neolith in Iron Moss for the main countertop. Iron Moss is an iron oxide-inspired style with an aged greenish brown tone and a subtle metal shine. A precise interpretation of Carrara marble with its classic grey veining, Estatuario neolith adorns the backsplash.
Inspired by concrete, Beton neolith was used on the kitchen island surface to maintain the home’s industrial feel while the cantilevered neolith countertop adds to the functionality of the hardworking island. Rustic wood beams on the soaring ceilings warm the open concept living area while the dramatic metal beam, sourced from Demxx Deconstruction in Coombs, brings a heavy-duty industrial touch to the open landscape.
Operating as either an open fire or a glass-door stove, the industrial cool double-face Belgian Stûv fireplace brings an inviting focal point with thermal benefits. Basalt Black neolith on the hearth offsets the coolness of the steel pipe and creates the illusion of a floating fireplace.
Respecting the home’s naturally raw vibe, the owner intentionally exposed the concrete feature wall’s “plug holes” (hideous orange plugs removed, of course) to allow the building elements to feel more interesting and authentic. And what else would you pair with an exposed concrete wall but a Roche Bobois Profile sofa in velvet from Paris? Meticulously designed by architects and designers, Roberto Tapinassi & Maurizio Manzoni, the tufted sofa pairs perfectly with a mid-mod coffee table in white from Gabriel Ross.
Artist and designer, Hans Hopfer, originally designed the modular Mah Jong sofa in 1971, making it a signature collection at Roche Bobois. In step with this nonconformist home, the versatile sofa encourages experimentation and breaks the rules of formal living. With limitless options that can be combined or stacked, Mah Jong sofas come “dressed” by European design royalty, Missoni Home or Jean-Paul Gaultier.
Floor-to-ceiling height windows wrap around the open plan living area and allow the home’s stunning vistas to steal the show. Repurposed pine flooring from their previous home brings a warm west coast feel to offset the cool concrete.
Iron Grey neolith adorns both the statement wall and floor to create a striking minimalist backdrop for the sculptural freestanding bathtub in the guest bathroom. La Fauci adds that “we used four-by-nine foot slabs of neolith on the floor for a smooth minimalistic look that is almost seamless.”
For the ensuite, Textil White neolith was used for its subtle texture that mimics the interwoven fibers found in fabric. Completely grout-free, neolith in a shower surround allows for a clean modern look that is low maintenance. “For the ensuite floor, we used a large panel of Beton neolith cut to size to minimize the joints and keep the look as smooth as possible,” adds La Fauci. A thin profile (12mm thickness) of Basalt Black neolith on the vanity grounds the airy space.
Concrete, metal, wood and porcelain slab neolith combine in this unassuming design to create a clean and functional sensibility that lends just the right amount of Euro-chic without feeling pretentious. The neolith exceeded the homeowner’s expectations and became the design’s principal material to neutralize any coolness from the metals and concrete. “We’ve been carrying neolith for almost five years and we can’t keep up with the demand; this home is really the perfect example of how neolith can be used in multiple applications,” concludes La Fauci.