TIPS + TOOLS

My Favourite Project: From traditional to contemporary

June 16, 2020

Here’s the latest in our occasional series highlighting some of the favourite projects of our staff. Our Director of Design, Chuck, loved this award-winning project, which transformed a home from traditional to contemporary.

Tell us about this project, Chuck.

This was an interesting job, one of four phases we’ve done for these clients. In fact, we’re doing another one for them right now.

This was a very traditional two-storey home. The client had had an architect redesign the exterior to a more contemporary look but inside was very traditional with panelled mouldings on the walls. They wanted it contemporary on the inside as well and brought me in to design it.

The first phase involved most of the second floor, converting a bedroom to an ensuite, renovating the master and walk-in closet and redoing the main bathroom. The ensuite was an award-winner.

In phase two, we tackled the kitchen and family room, taking a very closed-in dark space with the strangest layout I’ve ever seen in a kitchen, gutted it, took out the wall between the two rooms, then did a very contemporary kitchen open to the family room.

The owner is also a gadget guy so it had a Crestron system run with a wall-mounted iPad and blinds that came down at sunset. We had to design all of that into every space we ended up doing.

Phase three was the dining room and the living room. We opened it up more between the two, with a contemporary tile-faced fireplace in the living room.

And the current phase is the side mudroom, powder room, front entry, staircase and all of the basement.

By the time we’re done this, we’ll have been around for the better part of 10 years, and the feel is still the same.

Why is this project one of your favourites?

The clients are part of that. They’re extremely knowledgeable and very particular, but it’s like going to see family. They’re great clients and a real interesting, nice, genuine couple.

Then there’s the home and just the fact that it has a very unexpected feel to it. If you saw them raking leaves out in their front yard and then you walked into the house and saw what the house looks like, you would not believe it’s the home of a couple who are probably in their 70s.

Were there any challenges?

There were fairly significant structural challenges when we took out the wall between the kitchen and family room because of the way the house had been framed. There are also structural issues with the headroom in the very steep staircase to the basement.

And, normally, I recommend against doing renovations in phases as it’s more disruptive and will cost you more. I understand why a client would want to do it that way, but you’re better to bite the whole thing off and go through the inconvenience of it once and be done with it. And if you cannot do it all at once, then I recommend doing floor by floor to minimize the disruption.

See more images of this project

Ensuite

Kitchen & family room