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Modern, Case Study

The Making of Natural Modern: David’s House

Mississauga, ON | Completed 2013

The Mission

Design a modern home that exemplifies the ideals of comfort and family living.

We’ve all seen them. Modern homes that display the virtues of simplicity, openness, and visual clarity; replete with natural light and laden with technology. But they lack one important characteristic: warmth. This is a common criticism of modernism. Its clean lines and sparse décor convey a cold starkness. In response, David Small set out to prove that a home can be equal parts artistic statement, residence and love letter to the environment that surrounds it.

David’s House is an example of a functional, welcoming family home that espouses the very best of contemporary architecture. It combines the simplicity of modern design with the comfort and elegance of a traditional home. Through the use of natural materials, familiar massing and a thoughtful design process, it blends seamlessly with its surroundings; being of the land, not simply sitting on top of it. David’s house is the epitome of the Natural Modern aesthetic.

Modern floating stair with wood treads, tile floor and black baseboard.
Modern home with grand piano, exposed stone and black frame windows.
Custom home floor plans.

The Design

Home in construction with corner windows, natural stone and black cladding.

The Build

Design Approach

The Natural Modern design philosophy is based on organic architecture, a school defined by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Organic architecture is about letting the surrounding land influence a building’s design. The design of David’s House is rooted in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie Style architecture; an aesthetic celebrated for its integration with the natural environment. Low-sloping roof pitches mixed with flat roof areas, angled walls and exaggerated eave overhangs are defining characteristics of the Prairie school. They reinforce the extreme horizontality of the home, which helps to ground the dwelling to its surrounding property. Natural materials – stone, wood, glass – mass the exterior and further connect the home to the natural environment.

When designing the interior, David was inspired by the things that bring joy to his life – his family, his cottage, hockey – and incorporated an element of each into the details of the design. The stone hearth of the fireplace was selected and shipped from David’s family cottage, the backyard was allotted space for a skating rink, and the oversized sliding doors that separate his twin daughters’ bedrooms allow them enjoy a shared space or private bedrooms. These are elements totally unique to the family and an integral part of creating a custom home.


BILD Renovation & Custom Homes Awards 2013
Winner of Best Custom Home

Ontario Home Builders’ Association
Awards of Distinction 2013
Winner of:
– Most Outstanding Custom Home (2,501 to 5,000sf)
– Most Outstanding New Home Kitchen
– Most Outstanding New Home Bathroom

City of Mississauga
Urban Design Awards 2013
Award of Merit for Site Layout and Context

Natural modern home with wood soffit, natural stone and covered deck.

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