The love of storytelling inspired this Hamptons-style home in South Surrey
Words Laura Goldstein
Photography Julian Plimley
If you’re one of the legions of fans of the indomitable screenwriter Nancy Meyers, you know that fabulous homes (especially kitchens) are synonymous with her storylines. In fact, actors Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton get equal billing with that timeless house in the Hamptons in the 2003 smash hit Something’s Gotta Give.
“You know, it’s so funny because we designed and built our home from a land purchase in 1998 over the next five years. Friends of ours asked us how we were able to see that house before the movie came out!” says the vivacious homeowner.
That’s because, if houses could have doppelgangers, the Hamptons-style Maplebrook Estate in South Surrey could be the double of the one in the film.
Many traditional homes in the Hamptons, located at the eastern end of Long Island in New York State, are passed down from generation to generation. So, it wasn’t surprising that storytelling inspired the owners to create an entirely fictitious back history of the home they envisioned might be inherited by their family.
Once the idea was presented to their award-winning Canadian architect, Robert Lemon Architect Inc., and interior designer, the late Robert Ledingham, the homeowner says, “They just ran with it and when completed, it really looked like the house came about over time.”
“Although the immense property on 2.95 acres was not right on the water and included a large, forested area, I knew they didn’t want a pretentious mansion, but instead, a shingle style, harking back to a bygone era,” says Robert Lemon from his new home, which he designed, in Stratford, Ontario. “The idea was to have a very casual feeling, slightly weathered. And that Dutch-gabled roof really brings the scale down and adds character, which the owners really wanted.”
“This house is like our third child, but took much longer to gestate,” laughs the owner, reminiscing about the close to five years of design, followed by construction stages.
But, oh, what a beautiful baby!
Maplebrook Estate evokes an emotional response, and not just visually: it captures all of the senses in incredible detail. For example, the driveway leading to the main house is gravel for a reason: “It’s hard to convince most clients to approve gravel. But you know the sound cars made coming up that long circular driveway to Downton Abbey?” Robert asks. “I wanted that same soft crunching sound, so you know when a car is approaching.”
With its central hall plan, all the principal rooms on the main floor have a languorous open flow into one another. The sentinel staircase anchors the entry with a spectacular soaring 35-foot-high cupola.
“It’s a nautical idea like the ship’s captain at the lookout, and a lovely oculus feature that you quite often see in east coast homes,” Robert explains.
The exquisite custom carpentry was created by Dean Marcantonio of River’s Edge Custom Woodworks. When asked if he felt a little like Michelangelo, painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, he laughed and said, “Not quite, but it did take seven tiers of scaffolding and a ladder laid across the ceiling from the second-floor balcony to get up there. Then we had to create the 12 curved panels of beadboard under the cupola.”
And in keeping with the subtle maritime theme, the owner designed a compass in the foyer, using exotic, multi-coloured woods that were inlaid like puzzle pieces into the cherry wood-stained black floor.
Recalling diaphanous sheers billowing in the breeze through elegant French doors in the set design of the home in both versions of The Great Gatsby, the owners had all the doors and windows reproduced by Dynamic Architectural Windows & Doors in their own home. The result is glorious natural light melding the outside with the inside. It streams through them and the multiple clerestory windows in the kitchen, octagonal dining room, living room and master bedroom. And, gazing outside, one can see views of the swimming pool, a fragrant magnolia tree in bloom and sometimes even meandering deer.
In the master bedroom, with its barrel-vaulted ceiling and fireplace on the main floor, the owner’s dressing room was inspired by the understated luxury of that of Gwyneth Paltrow’s in the film A Perfect Murder.
“At the time in the ‘90s, having a separate dressing room was still uncommon,” she says.
Below the timber-framed ceiling decoration in the living room, again created by Dean Marcantonio, is one of the home’s several fireplaces.
In a nostalgic tribute, Dean says, “My dad carved the finishing date, 2002, as requested by the homeowners, underneath the mantel.”
“We love to entertain with our friends and family, and this house is so conducive to that as people can wander at will from the kitchen through the other rooms because there is such a natural flow into the spaces,” says the owner. “We always have Sunday dinner with our children and grandkids here and after dinner the little ones go upstairs—we’ve redone the bedrooms—but they actually sleep in what were their mothers’ rooms growing up.”
The vast kitchen’s layout, which continues the all-white Hamptons palette that runs throughout the entire home, opens into a charming nook overlooking the garden. Surrounded by hand-brushed custom cabinetry by Intempo Interiors, the centrepiece of the kitchen is a beautiful island topped with a full quartzite slab and built-in oven that resembles a family heirloom.
“It’s just made to look like an antique and the craftsman and I had lots of fun taking whacks at it with a bag full of nails to give it that distressed look,” the owner adds.
The exterior landscaping of Maplebrook Estate is designed to reflect the owners’ vision of mature plantings that had been there for generations.
“That meant we brought in towering trees and bushy re-blooming rhododendrons and all the Japanese maples planted in front that would offer privacy as well as colour,” explains Daryl Tyacke, at ETA Landscape Architecture.
The owner’s desire for “little moments scattered throughout the property” included a meditative ornamental pond, with an idea to include at some future point a statuary of a young girl she saw in the film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
Daryl, along with now-retired landscape designer Gerry Eckford, suggested a more formal garden surrounded by low basalt stone walls, visible as you approach the home. They designed a geometric knot garden of boxwoods with fragrant rosebushes in their centres amid bluestone pathways. Multiple patios for entertaining dot the pool area behind the home and a lovely breezeway designed by Robert Lemon joins the main house to the multi-car garage.
Two years ago the owners of Maplebrook Estate were given the ultimate compliment: “You know, over the years we’ve been approached by many film and TV location scouts to use our home, but this really took us by surprise,” admits the owner. “A very VIP couple, then living temporarily in Victoria, were looking for a home that would be really private and accommodate children and their nannies. We were so excited when they made an offer on our home, but at the time we just weren’t ready to move. And then COVID-19 set in and we were so happy to be here.”
Maplebrook Estate is for sale for $14.8 million through Capulet Properties.
如果您是不屈不撓的編劇家Nancy Meyers的眾多粉絲之一，就會知道美妙的家-特別是廚房，是她故事情節的代名詞。事實上，演員Jack Nicholson和Diane Keaton在 2003 年紅極一時的電影 “Something’s Gotta Give”中與漢普頓(Hamptons)那座永恆的房子獲得了同等的讚美。
那是因為，假如房屋可以分身的話，那麼南素里這棟漢普頓風格的Maplebrook Estate 可能就是這部電影裡房子的分身了。
一旦這個想法被提交給屢獲殊榮的加拿大建築師 Robert Lemon Architect Inc. 和室內設計師——已故的 Robert Ledingham後，她說，「他們只是跟著它跑，當房屋完工後，它看起來真的像已經完成了時間競賽。」
Maplebrook Estate 不僅在視覺上喚起了人們的情感反應，而且以令人難以置信的細節激活了他們的所有感官。例如通往主屋的車道上鋪設了礫石，這是有原因的：「很難說服大多數客戶接受礫石。但是你知道汽車在通往Downton Abbey那條長長環形車道上行駛時的聲音嗎？」Robert問：「我想要同樣柔和的嘎吱嘎吱聲，這樣你就能知道汽車什麼時候駛近了。」
精緻的訂製木工由 River’s Edge Custom Woodworks 的 Dean Marcantonio 建造。當被問及他是否覺得有點像米開朗基羅在西斯廷教堂天花板上作畫時，他笑著說道：「並不完全是，但確實需要利用七層架子和從二樓陽台橫跨天花板的梯子才能夠爬上那裡去。然後我們必須在沖天爐下方製作 12 塊彎曲的珠紋飾板。」
回想起 “The Great Gatsby”兩個版本的家居佈景設計，透過優雅的法式門在微風中飄揚的透明薄紗，業主在他們家中亦擁有由 Dynamic Architectural Windows & Doors 複製的所有門窗，效果是燦爛的自然光將外部與內部融為一體。光線流經廚房、八角形餐廳、客廳和主臥室的多個天窗。而且，凝視外面是泳池和自然景致，一棵盛開的芬芳玉蘭樹，有時甚至是跳躍的小鹿。
在擁有桶形拱頂天花板和主樓層壁爐的主臥室中，業主更衣室的靈感來自電影 “A Perfect Murder”中Gwyneth Paltrow的低調奢華。
她說：「在 20 世紀 90 年代，擁有一個單獨的更衣室並不常見。」
起居室的木結構天花板裝飾下方是家中的幾個壁爐之一，同樣由 Dean Marcantonio 設計。在向懷舊致敬中，Dean說：「我父親應業主的要求，在壁爐架下面刻上了 2002 年的完工日期。」
寬敞的廚房佈局延續了貫穿整個住宅的全白色 Hamptons色調，通向一個可以俯瞰花園的迷人角落。廚房中心是一個美麗的島台，四周環繞著 Intempo Interiors 手工打磨的訂製櫥櫃，頂部是一塊完整的石英岩板和有若傳家寶的內置焗爐。
Maplebrook Estate 的外部景觀，旨在反映業主對世代相傳緑樹成蔭的願景。
ETA Landscape Architecture 的 Daryl Tyacke 解釋道：「這意味著我們引進了華蓋高聳的樹木和會重新盛放的濃密杜鵑花，以及所有種植在屋前的日本楓樹，它們既能提供隱私又為景觀提供色彩。」
業主希望「散落在整個物業中的小時刻」包括一個可以冥想的觀賞池塘，並預留位置今後某年某月時加入她在電影 “The Midnight Garden of Good and Evil”中看到的年輕女孩雕像。
Daryl Tyacke 和現已退休的景觀設計師 Gerry Eckford 建議建造一個更為正式的花園，周圍環繞著低矮的玄武岩石牆，當您走近房屋時就可以看到。他們在青石小徑中設計了一個由黃楊木組成的幾何結狀花園，花園中央種植著芬芳的玫瑰花叢。住宅後方的泳池區設有多個娛樂露台，Robert Lemon設計的一條可愛走廊將主屋與多車位車房相連。
兩年前，Maplebrook Estate 的業主得到了終極讚美：「你知道嗎，多年來許多電影和電視外景場地勘探員都曾聯繫我們，想使用我們的房屋作為拍攝之用，這確實讓我們感到驚訝，」業主承認道：「當時暫時住在維多利亞的一對貴賓夫婦正在尋找一個真正私密的房子，可以容納孩子和他們的保姆。當他們向我們的房子提出報價時，我們非常興奮，但當時我們還未準備好要搬家。 然後 COVID-19 來了，我們很高興來到這裡。」
Maplebrook Estate 將通過 Capulet Properties 以$1,480 萬的價格出售。