TIPS + TOOLS
April 6, 2020
Today we’re beginning an occasional series highlighting some of the favourite projects of our staff. Our Director of Design, Chuck, stepped up first to share one of his favourites, an Arts & Crafts inspiration that became an award-winner.
Tell us about this project, Chuck.
This home was originally a tiny two-storey. It was old and cut up into a lot of little odd-shaped rooms, with a microscopic kitchen that had very little space.
The owners really liked the Craftsman style, which is my personal sweet spot.
We basically gutted the inside of the entire house, we stripped the exterior, and then we added on a big addition to create three bedrooms and two bathrooms upstairs, including a gorgeous ensuite with zero-threshold shower and nice freestanding soaker tub and a big master bedroom with walk-in closet.
The clients wanted the main floor to emphasize entertaining and to be as open as possible.
To start, we created a new front entry porch for sitting out in the front yard. And inside we replaced the staircase, which had been a straight run to one side of the front door. Because we created an addition to the back and side of the home, there was room for me to design an open staircase with open risers, done in wood and metal. We installed windows on both the front façade and the side of the home, which made the staircase really bright and open.
On the other side of the main floor, we converted the front living room to a dining room, keeping the fireplace that had been there and cladding it in stone. We added coffered ceilings and then a butler’s pantry, powder room and side entry because the garage was detached near the rear of the property and the clients wanted a drop zone when coming home.
On the rest of the main floor we created a home office for one of the owners, who worked from home, and beyond that is an open family room and kitchen with glass across most of the back of the home.
Outside, the exterior is all stone, board and batten siding and shingle siding with interesting peaked roofs. And the backyard, which is set in a hill, is an interlocking patio with a terraced garden.
Why is this project one of your favourites?
The clients were fun to deal with. They really didn’t have any pre-conceived notions as to what this was going to look like, so it was them giving me their wish list and the creative licence to come up with what I thought was the best solution.
And they were really open to using vibrant colours. The home has got a lot of colour to it and the combination of it being fairly open and having these brighter, almost tropical, colours — it had a real cool feel to it in the end and I know they loved it.
And it ended up winning a couple of awards, too, so that never hurts.
Were there any challenges?
This site was one of if not the biggest challenge. It’s got a fairly steep hill from the sidewalk to the house and then once we added on to the back we were kind of into the hill and we had to make sure they could get usable outdoor space. It was important for the clients when entertaining to be able to spill out from the kitchen/family room onto the patio, which was created through multiple retaining walls and terraced gardens.
The clients were a big part of what made this a fun experience. Every renovation project has its challenges, more so than a custom home because you don’t necessarily see them when you’re starting and they can end up becoming an issue.
This was no different, but this was a really fun project to work on.
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