Living the Dream
E-Mail to a Friend Print Article Comment Smaller Larger Share on Facebook
Many indulge in the romantic notion of one day living in a log cabin in the woods. The dream is often dashed however by the reality of the seclusion of remote locations. 4072 Second Line in Schomberg is neither ‘a cabin,' nor is it remote. This handcrafted executive log home possesses all the benefits of a private forested property but in a prime locale close to every amenity.
“You can see our soldier trees from the 400,” says owner Thomas Giffin, who is referencing the immense towering white pines that stand true at the foot of his driveway. “They are well over 100 years old. One was blasted apart by lightning, and then just grew again, strong as ever.” With a constitution like that it's no wonder white pines have a lifespan of 400 years, and isn't it fortunate that this superb home has been constructed from just such a timber.
Giffin has always been partial to living in a country setting. His family has lived on farm properties for decades and bought here because the land simulated the tranquility of a farm.
“The peace, the quiet and the wildlife are the main draws,” says Giffin. “There are more dog walkers than there are vehicles that come up here, which is great.” But working in Toronto also required immediate access to the main corridors into the city and the mere minutes to 400's Newmarket exit was the clincher. “The proximity to Highway 400 and Highway 9 is unparalleled. This close to the highway and as quiet as can be.”  

A small streambed runs across the northeast corner of the property and runs down the eastern boundary. “It's a perpetual stream. Runs all year long. In the winter, it's just a gentle trickle but it never dries up.” Which accounts for the deer, fox, and various animals that are frequent visitors to his land.
Built in 1991, the residence was constructed on a severance lot from the Mills Farm. “It wasn't usable farm land due to the slope,” says Giffin. The severance took place in the mid-‘80s but the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority didn't approve construction until July 10, 1989.
Giffin, who works in the metal fabrication and combustion business, pores over the original ‘as built' drawings for the property he deeply respects. “I really appreciate the quality and craftsmanship of the home. The full log construction, hand hewn beams. This is not a post and beam home. There's no wood siding. No drywall in the interior, other than the ceilings. The main section of the home is all magnificent hand hewn white pine logs, with mortar chinking outside and in.”
The home indeed strikes an imposing figure on the crest of the hill. Ensconced by beech, white pine, hemlock and shagbark hickory trees, you can almost feel the presence of the dwelling as you drive up the extended driveway onto the property. There is a discernable energy and hospitality in those grand wood beams. It is like the soul of the forest remains alive in the very structure.
At the base of the stairs that climb to the main entrance, a great red granite millstone embedded in the asphalt driveway is your welcome mat. “It came from a mill in Belfountain,” explains Giffin.  
Flagstone steps take you up a level to the cedar wraparound deck that leads to the front door – the perfect spot for an evening nightcap when the tree canopy is lit. State-of-the-art, environmentally friendly landscape lighting was installed on the trees. “They're on photocells that trigger on when it gets dark. It's a peaceful, easy feeling.  People have actually stopped to say, ‘I can't believe the lighting you have here. It's magical.'”
Once inside the doors, you step onto handsome Spanish mission red terracotta tile flooring that winds through the foyer all the way into the powder room and then on to the kitchen and dining room. Quiet music plays gently in the background as you drink in the calming atmosphere. Soaring vaulted ceilings are the first impression, but it isn't a vacant hollow effect as some cathedral ceilings can impart, instead it's warm and comforting, like you are being held in the embrace of nature.
Industrial pendant lights hang from the peak for evening light, but are not needed during daylight hours. Premium European Sikora windows that both tilt open from the top or alternatively swing open from the side are installed throughout the home on all levels. Two even sport decorative etchings of wild geese and blue jays in the transoms above. They complement the wildlife art pieces Giffin has sprinkled throughout his home, like the exquisite Walter Ruch bird carvings of Baltimore oriels, Canada geese and blue jays. “My mother and father collected them over many years. He was a famous artist from Muskoka.”
There are also numerous taxidermy pieces throughout the home, including a red-tailed hawk in mid-flight attack atop an antique armoire. “There's a story behind that piece. The hawk was in hot pursuit of a mourning dove and the dove took a sharp left and the hawk did not. It flew right into the sliding glass door, killing itself instantly.”  
Red-tailed hawks are a protected species, so Giffin took the bird to Ministry of Natural Resources in Aurora where it is was determined by a conservation officer that he had indeed not killed it, and it was so tagged allowing him to have it mounted. “I mounted it in a testament to the way it died, in attack mode. The taxidermist had to go to a game farm to acquire a pheasant as its prey because doves are also a protected species.”
Moving onward through the home, the floor plan unfolds in a series of cozy nooks and crannies. The living room, tucked behind the fireplace, is filled with captivating antiques, like two unique dough boxes for bread making that act as side tables. A wood-burning cast iron fireplace implanted in the brick fireplace surround that reaches to the vaulted ceiling provides warmth and atmosphere. “You light that and it heats this home unbelievably fast. There's also a high-efficiency propane furnace and air conditioning, of course.”
The white dining room set and light grey kitchen behind with Jenn Air stainless steel appliances, black granite counters and island bring a perfect break from all the wood. The range is electric and convection with centre downdraft exhaust. The sink has a garburator and RO (reverse osmosis) water due to the home's location in the Oak Ridges Moraine. “We spent nearly $25,000 on our water filtration treatment system. There's UV sterilization, a mechanical strainer filter, tannin filter, water-softening system, a very deep high capacity drilled well and a brand new constant pressure VFD (variable frequency drive) pumping system, which means the pressure will never fluctuate. But I know what's coming out of the tap. When I go the office and smell the city water, it smells like a pool.”
Around the corner from the kitchen, you'll find the lovely wallpapered powder room with vessel sink and granite counters as well as the generous master bedroom and en suite with California shutters. Double vessel sinks rest on a black granite countertop and the tempered glass spa shower with dark porcelain tiling holds a rain head shower.
Down a level and you're in the recreation level that is both tile and laminate floored. A spacious living area with walkout is roughed in for a fireplace. Two more bedrooms with an above grade window in one and the laundry room are on this level. As is a three-piece Jacuzzi bathroom with onyx-styled vanity countertop and mosaic tiling, which lives directly next door to a second bathroom with spacious walk-in shower. “It was converted from a sauna room to a shower by previous owners.”
The well-loved open loft on the second level is the location of the home office and main reading area. Overhead fans spin above the oak-pegged hardwood floors, dressed with an elegant Indo Tabriz rug in understated grey and rose tones. Valuable antique stone picture chairs and a carved leaf table here delight the eyes. The doweling in the beams is visible from this angle and the immense windows at either end of the loft along with two dormers provide tremendous views of the forest beyond.
“You can see the whole world from those chairs,” says Giffin, who tells the story of how his forest fills with thousands of blue jays for two weeks every year when the beechnuts ripen. “It's something to witness. They clean out the forest and then they're gone.”  

4072 Second Line is currently listed with the Faris Team Royal LePage First Contact Realty. MLS#1509727

Comments

Be the first to comment on this story!