Monday, December 22, 2008


I have been afraid to go in the basement and getting in anyones way.    I finally took a look when everyone was off work this weekend.    It is pretty overwhelming and way beyond anything that I recognise, save for a breaker box or water tank?    
The geothermal is installed, and so is the radiant heat.     The wind turbines will not go in until spring, along with the solar and photo voltaic paraphernalia.    Wow!  Who knew going green would require all of this and more?
I took some photos but I don't know what most of this stuff is, or does?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Not much is happening on the interior yet,but I took these pictures just so I can remember how it looked "before".
The top photos show the pool and the start of the cabana from the viewpoint of my little reading alcove in our bedroom.  Looking through the bedroom and the arched window is in the  en suite bath. 
The last two photos are looking into the family room into the morning room, the kitchen is on the left and also has an arched window.    

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


As you can see we are not too far along on the interior of Hillwood.   I am standing in the foyer looking towards the staircase location.  There is a temporary staircase in the back for access to the second floor,so the workmen won't get in Olegs way.
Once the elevator is installed it will make it easier to access the second floor.

I needed to choose a very simple lighting fixture to hang in the middle of the second story window.    It had to be something that would not compete with Oleg's staircase.

This DaVinci fixture is 36 inches in diameter.   I did not purchase the LED coloured light kit, I think it diminishes the elegance of the fixture.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Oak Ridges Moraine And Happy Valley Forest

Our new house is situated on 108 acres on the Oak Ridges Moraine, and 53 acres are in the Happy Valley Forest.

We have planned and permitted for three years, as we care deeply about the health and integrity of the Moraine.
Our intentions are to put the land back to a more natural state; it was left in quite a mess by a prior owner.

We're installing 5 wind turbines,and solar panels. Our heating and cooling system will be geothermal and plan on adding photovoltaic cells to compliment the solar.

We have been trying to use all "green" materials and recycled products throughout our home.
It's a tremendously exciting and educational process!

Sunday, September 28, 2008


We have been very fortunate to find a master artisan of hand wrought iron.  His name is Oleg Shyshkin and his studio can be viewed at  (I don't know how to cut and paste)

Oleg is creating our grand staircase, exterior railings, and chimney caps, skylight details and our entrance gates.

I am amazed and awed by his talent and passion.  He is truly a unique and brilliant artist.

I look at what he is designing for us and view these as an art installation.  They truly are works of art!
I can't wait to see them unveiled.
I have only seen sketches and some of the components that are ready.  I am trying not to be too anxious, as they can only be installed at the right time.

I am really looking forward to the staircase!    My inspiration was a blossoming Cherry tree.
I envisioned the branches espaliered along the ballustrade.   Perhaps a tiny bird or nest hidden in a branch?
My stair treads are going to be a man made quartz product with tiny bits of mirror imbedded in the surface, called Night Sparkle.
I wanted a silver plated handrail; but so far that has been unsuccessful.
Oleg found me someone to nickel plate a brass handrail and I think we will choose it?
It looks almost like silver and will be easy to maintain.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I started this blog to post the pictures of our latest project. It keeps me out of trouble more or less, and it one of my passions.
I think this is the last house we will build? I hope so. lol
As much as I love the process I look forward to a day when I can simply enjoy the life I've been blessed with.
At the moment I'm in a state of flux and surrounded by chaos.
I don't handle being surrounded by samples, boxes, magazines,fandecks,blueprints, etc....very well.
As much as I love building, is as much as I don't love the mess!
My current home looks like a warehouse,while I cram in all the things I find,and have to have for the new house!

I had to think of a name for this new house,and I wanted something that started with an H.
That way my Hermes H logo blankets will kind of fly under the radar.
People will assume it is simply a Monogrammed blanket? Hopes?

Since we are on a hill and 53 acres are in the Happy Valley Forest, I thought Hillwood was appropriate?

My old workmates and husband call me "the duchess. " Hence the name, the duchess of H!

This blog is dedicated to pictures of Hillwood.
I hope that you enjoy them.
My husband was flying one of his little planes, and our Pilatus pilot was snapping the photos.
Just so no one is confused, and to answer any question; the answer is no, Michael Tonello was not the co-pilot in taking the photos. But I hope he enjoys viewing them.