Equestrian Élan
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Luxury residential developments have dotted golf courses for decades, but a groundbreaking new trend embracing the farm-to-fork movement is shaking up the housing industry. They're called agrihoods – planned communities built around a working farm – and they are redefining neighbourhoods.


The latest to appear on the map is in Davis, California. Incorporating a seven-and-a-half-acre urban farm into its public space, The Cannery offers residents community gardening plots, solar energy and edible landscaping (a fruit or nut tree in every front yard). The demand for this new way of going back to the land without ever leaving the convenience of suburban life has spawned agrihoods from Hawaii to Colorado to Illinois, and now, finally, Ontario has its own.
Braestone is Georgian International's flagship development and they have taken a truly inspired approach in their luxury “Down Home, Up Country” 229-home residential development in Oro-Medonte by integrating a robust recreational component into the plan. 
The working farm at Braestone will demand none of the chores from residents but they will reap all of the rewards of fresh berries, apples, pumpkins, honey, corn, wine and the maple syrup that the property produces. Braestone's resident farmers will handle all the heavy lifting, allowing homeowners to focus instead on the abundant recreational perks at their disposal.
Travel down Horseshoe Valley Road, dipping through the hills and valleys of the bucolic countryside, and turn south at the 9th Line and you enter a length of tree-canopied roadway that leads to this full square mile of nirvana. The acres of black equestrian fencing that define the property remind you that you are in horse country. The land on which the homes will be built boast horse paddocks, a modern barn and even a Christmas tree farm where residents will collect their annual noble fir. There is also an on-site skating rink, fishing pond, baseball diamond, children's campsite, celestial outdoor observatory, toboggan hill (with an eighth-of-a-mile incline) and an extensive hiking, biking and cross-country skiing trail system that winds through a majestic red pine forest. And it is all purposefully there for the pleasure of Braestone residents.
While Braestone harkens back to the simple country joys of the past, the chic residences with a refined design style are set firmly in the present. Home models are dubbed with equestrian names since this development will most likely draw the horsy set. Award-winning architect William Hicks was brought in to achieve this dream and create “a sense of place and belonging” that is Braestone's mission statement.
Interior design elements were executed to perfection by the dynamic Redman Watson design duo and the theme throughout is decidedly equestrian. Before construction even began, the homes began selling like hotcakes. Today, there are two stunning country estate models to tour and we have all the delicious details.
The Morgan three-bedroom loft bungalow is a 2,658 square-foot ranch sitting on nearly an acre of land and it is a tour de force of pure light. Windows are the prominent feature of this residence, allowing stunning views of the horse paddocks, orchard, vineyard and a stately tree line that is hundreds of years old.
The warm Ralph Lauren style that Redman Watson has employed is in evidence as you enter the Morgan's foyer and find a cowhide rug under foot. To the left, a Holstein-Friesian pouf is the spot to rest your laurels while kicking off the riding boots. Veer right off the foyer and you enter the open concept living area where the kitchen, dining area and great room are surrounded by windows that extend to the towering 18-foot ceiling.
Dual walkouts off the dining section lead to the sizeable covered porch at the front of the house (built with B.C. fir) and conversely to the rear terrace at the back. Five-inch- wide engineered wood plank flooring allows an uninterrupted visual flow from kitchen through to living room.
The sleek kitchen is supplied with Raywal cabinetry and feature spacious 39-inch uppers and nifty two-tiered kidney-shaped LeMans pullouts for blind cupboards below. Cabinets are tobacco finish and the sizeable island, which sports handy power outlets, is in a handsome linen finish. It's all topped with luxurious Cashmere Cream granite that hides potential stains. An open pantry is situated on the south wall for extra storage.
All appliances here are GE with a five-burner range, professional refrigeration unit and dishwasher that get the job done. A deep, double undermount stainless steel sink with Koehler faucet and pullout vegetable sprayer is backed with a ceramic subway tile backsplash in soft taupe.
In addition to the eight full-sized windows that stream in light  from the upper storey, the kitchen is illuminated by recessed lighting and an industrial-styled Clemson Classic pendant lamp from Restoration Hardware that is suspended over the island. But with all the natural light available, it is unlikely to be needed until well after sunset.
This entire space is so generous in size (36 feet x 17 feet) that there is none of the usual crammed-in feeling you can get in open concept living spaces. There's room enough for a seven-foot Cortona dining table from Pottery Barn. The Seagrass chairs also have plenty of district to move freely in and out from the table without concern of bumping into the island's leather Manchester barstools behind.
The dining table also resides a respectable distance from the main living area. There, a plush dark grey Barnaby sofa from Elte is where the crowd will gather to unwind while a fabulous chandelier from Currey's (the Bella Luna) dangles above.
The mantel over the stone-faced gas fireplace is simply stunning in its raw simplicity.  Constructed of a distressed wood beam, it gives the room that extra punch of country and offsets the orderly built-in shelving on the left side of the fireplace. While the fireplace is conveniently gas-fired, Braestone is one of the few remaining developments that do allow for a wood-burning upgrade.
As you continue through to the master bedroom in the east wing, you pass a deep, elongated window seat with deluxe padded cushion that is grand enough for an extended catnap.
The master suite is secluded from the action in the quieter rear of the property, away from road traffic. Clean yet rustic finishes fill this space, including the leather club chair in the corner and the unusual Diego leather suitcase bedside tables that appear like they could have travelled on the Pony Express.
The 11-foot vaulted ceiling will relax the gaze while reclining on the tufted upholstered Chesterfield king-sized bed. Above, a stunning orb chandelier (the Rondeau from Currey's) is brightly poised.
Ahead, garden doors with sidelights lead out to the terrace on the north allowing for morning coffee. At the foot of the bed, two distressed sitting stools hold a breakfast tray at the ready. The adjoining master's en suite is tiled in porcelain and enjoys an oversized Mirolin soaker tub, frameless glass shower, Koehler fixtures and an architectural sink.  The commode is by Gerber.
Travel back down the hall and a gallery of charming sketches of hounds will lead you into the main floor office. A leather Jenkins bookshelf from Elte that holds books and treasures greets you. The sylvan Printmaker's desk is the spot where business responsibilities are accomplished but the cheerful equine art on the walls (from Artful Solutions) reminds of the rewards that follow.
Back through the front foyer, you will find the west wing's guest bedroom with its lovely Pottery Barn ‘Addison' headboard carved with dentils. Etchings of sparrows flit above it to gentle the night. Navy and cream is the colour palette used by Redman Watson here with paisley blue and cream curtains custom-made by Salnek, which provided all of the window coverings throughout both model homes. The chandelier in this room is from Currey's Marcello line with Nero Oro Antico frame.
The west wing's three-piece bathroom offers yet another large shower. Grey porcelain flooring carries through to the laundry room situated next to it, which is serviced by an LG steam washer and dryer and deep stainless steel laundry sink. A side entrance here provides access to the detached garage.
While all rooms on the main floor enjoy a minimum of nine-foot ceilings, the loft on the second level still has plenty of headroom with an eight-foot height as standard. The games room there is equipped for play with a sturdy Brunswick Kicker Foosball table from Sanders Recreational in Barrie. Open to the floor below, the games room is the fortunate recipient of views that are miles long through the eight upper windows in the great room, which are now magnificently set at eye level. The distant outline of Bass Lake is visible from here. The loft also contains an extra bedroom with twin beds and yet another designer bathroom with spacious shower.

The two-storey four-bedroom Thoroughbred model next door is even larger at well over 3,100 square feet. Like The Morgan, you are welcomed to the residence by handcrafted gas-fired copper coach lanterns at the front door (from Legendary Lighting.) The front porch is poured concrete that has been tiled with non-slip tiles.
The spacious main-floor master bedroom is found directly off the foyer with a four-piece en suite and walk-in closet that has a window inside for natural light. A mahogany king-sized sleigh bed is the focal point here with colour-matched dresser and gorgeous leather chest bedside tables from Elte. A second smaller master bedroom with a three-piece ensuite is found on the second level (dressed as a children's playroom in this model), which means this is a home where residents can age in place. If stairs ever become challenging, there is a fully equipped master conveniently on both floors.
Like the Morgan, the Thoroughbred uses an open concept design for kitchen, dining and great room which spans a fulsome 36 foot x 15 1/2 foot with vaulted ceiling.
White upgraded Raywal cabinetry in the kitchen, with the au courant painted look, extends right to the ceiling where lighted glass uppers provide extra storage. Appliances here are from the ‘ultra-premium' professional Brigade line by Viking with a six-burner range, built-in wine fridge and microwave. The dishwasher is concealed inside the cabinetry below a double window that lets you gaze out at the cantering horses during clean up.
There's ample counter space for culinary exploration in the Thoroughbred and the high-gloss, three-inch subway tile backing the granite countertops will deter stains. The generous island has a warm, contrasting coffee finish with architectural moulding and extended seating posts that permit the Decker distressed leather barstools (Pottery Barn) to slip under the granite overhang. The overall effect is country sophistication, but it's really the extra touches – like the fabulous Restoration Hardware Industrial Pulley Double Pendant over the island that make the design choices distinctive.
Steps away, in the dining area, an acacia Monastery dining table set for dinner accommodates a comfortable six on Belgian linen French Round chairs. Over the table, the delicate Trademark chandelier in classic bell shape provides dining ambience with six andelabra lights.
The adjacent living area, with cozy sea green sofa and armless casual seating, enjoys a direct vent gas fireplace (by Superior.) The firebox is flanked with built-in shelving and storage on both sides.
This area is lit by the Blythwood Chandelier, a two-tiered umber rust wrought iron candelabra with classic Empire styling that demonstrates just how essential high-quality lighting fixtures are to the overall look of a home.
The west wing of the house is where you'll find the home office with its unique sawhorse desk with glass top and matching bookshelf (Elte) and an inimitable desk chair constructed from reclaimed wood. Around the corner, the main floor laundry room with LG TrueSteam appliances doubles as the boot room with an exit to the rear of the property, where the detached garage/coach house is located. Seating is provided with cubbies and hooks to hold barn jackets.
On the second level, we find the children's play room (or second master with three-piece ensuite) and a spacious children's bedroom with twin beds that share a nightstand in the pretty princess-pink colour scheme. A festive glass chandelier overhead is situated between the beds so that naughty children jumping on mattresses won't bonk their heads.  A roomy window seat in pink and green plaid fabric is the place to read stories and wish on stars.
A third airy adult bedroom resides on this level as well. This bedroom also includes an oversized window seat that provides forest views. The colour scheme is restful blues and greys with a blue linen wingback chair and Belgium linen Warner upholstered queen bed with nail heads from Restoration Hardware.
In the centre of the second storey, a balcony overlooks the great room below to keep an eye on family activities. The extravagant shared bath for this floor is found directly behind with a stand-alone Mirolin soaker tub, double sinks set in dark grey cabinetry and a round buttoned velvet pouf for seating. An oversized frameless glass shower with rain head and large porcelain wall tile complete the modern look.
Oak stairs lead to the carpeted recreation room on the lower level, which is supplied with deep window wells landscaped with stone to provide ample light and emergency egress, (permitting extra bedrooms to code). Another three-piece bathroom is available here with shower, quartz counters and a very blingy flush-mount light that resembles little diamonds.
The media room on this level is pre-wired with receptacles at eye level to hide cords on those coveted flat screen TVs. The main recreation area has space enough for a full-sized billiards table and the bar area has been pre-plumbed, leaving no luxury stone unturned.
Indeed, the agrihood has truly come of age at Braestone. While urbanites may dash from subway to office to condo without ever venturing outdoors, this is the place for those who relish an evening ski with friends through a pine forest followed by a bonfire and glass of wine that was bottled from their own vineyard.
It is the place for the special few who seek a deeper connection to nature while still savouring the finer things in life.

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