In the next year or two, Colleen and I are hoping to find a nice piece of land outside of Toronto and to build a house there. It's a design challenge that we're both super excited to tackle. My biggest design inspiration so far is The Not So Big House series of books, by Sarah Susanka.
Sarah's approach is to prioritize the quality and craftmanship of the spaces in the house over the size of the house. Most of the rooms can serve multiple purposes, rather than having lots of single-purpose rooms that are infrequently used. By designing this way, and investing in the details, you can make a house that immediately feels like a cozy home.
Here's a series of videos on YouTube where Sarah walks through the details in a showhome she designed in Libertyville, IL. The house isn't really my style, but I love the underlying design ideas.