Posted On May 31, 2017 By In Home & Garden, Top Stories With 629 Views

Contentment & Gratitude: A Successful Renovation


story by Janice Henshaw | photos by

When homeowners Marie-Andree and Martin opened the green-and-white paneled front door in welcome, I felt an immediate sense of warmth emanating from them, and from their sunny yellow walls. Martin, a community health worker, explained the reason for their recently completed renovation: “I’ve seen a lot of houses where people have been living in them for 40 years or more, and they have a lot of old ‘stuff.’ And I would come home and see some of the same old pieces that we had, and I didn’t want that look anymore.”

Their 2,400-square-foot brick and stucco duplex was built in 1975 and includes a games room, two bedrooms downstairs and three bedrooms upstairs. The six-week renovation included the kitchen, which was previously enclosed, the living room, dining area and main bathroom.

Marie-Andree, who works as a licenced practical nurse in Sidney, said they went to home shows for years before deciding to go ahead with the renovation. “We didn’t know anyone in the building trades. It was at a home show that we first met Vivienne and Jeff Scott from Cabinet Works. Jeff is an artist; he loves perfection and is only satisfied when every inch of everything is a perfect fit. They were both fantastic. It was through Vivienne that we obtained our contractor Terrazza Builders and interior designer Chantelle McLarty.”

“Martin and Marie-Andree were seeking inspiration from ideas and photos that they had gathered over time, but were still not seeing anything that truly spoke to them for their home,” said Vivienne. “They knew they wanted some real contrasts in the space, and possibly black and white tones.” In an early meeting with Chantelle, we landed the ‘vision,’ and then the floodgates opened! The overall black-and-white theme became a combination of grey, charcoal, black and white.”

The renovation requirements included plenty of storage, a large pantry, a place for office equipment, and everything organized in its place. The challenge for Chantelle was to design a new layout that would work functionally and aesthetically since the kitchen would now be open to the main living and dining area. Structural changes included new crossbeams to create a coffered ceiling, removing two walls to open up the kitchen, and adding an opening window beside the dining room table.

Because Marie-Andree and Martin wanted to achieve a definite visual contrast, Cabinet Works created different-coloured bases for the cabinetry. The white countertops are built on a Carbon Ash coloured base, and the black island countertop is built on a Grey Eucalyptus coloured base.

The black granite on the island has a unique textured leather finish and provides a contrast to the rest of the quartz countertops, which are a soft white with grey marble effects. “The cabinets are so attractive, this is like a dream,” laughed Marie-Andree as she opened the doors to display their organized contents.

“The cabinet fronts themselves create a European look,” said Vivienne, “and are made from a LEED+ Green Certified laminate manufactured in Vancouver. We custom built and painted in black the two upper corner mullion framed cabinets.” The contrast is really striking. To avoid creating a “dark cavern” inside the boxes themselves, they finished the interiors in a colour tone that blends with the light grey-and-white pattern of the surrounding upper cabinets.

“The functionality of the cabinetry should always be the priority topic with any new kitchen design, and our clients had specific requests that we incorporated into the new cabinetry space,” explained Vivienne. These included a charging station drawer alongside the seating area in the island and secret touch latch doors with interior rollout drawers facing the dining area. “We created highly customized usage while maintaining the streamlined look of the panels.”

In the living room, the renovation included a large fireplace, which was faced with the original white brick. “Often bricks are removed during a reno,” Chantelle said, “but in this case, we covered the fireplace wall with a textured wall tile that tied in with the kitchen finishes.” An attractive storage place was required for firewood, so she designed compartments that met the criteria of functionality and aesthetics. “We did not want to make the wall feel too heavy. Stacking the wood in vertical openings on one side made the ceiling feel higher, and visually made the wall feel not so large.”

The walls are painted in Dulux Paint Prairie Grass. Dimmable pot lights and sleek pendant lights add to the elegant and sophisticated ambience. The finishes, similar tones, and textures give the whole space a warm and welcoming feel.

Builder Anthony Faiazza of Terrazza Builders said that everyone who worked on the renovation was proud of the result. “Marie-Andree and Martin had a vision for their new space, and we all did our best to bring it to life. “Working with Cabinet Works and Chantelle made the process that much easier. The grand fireplace feature wall is a highlight and the tile work by Versa-Tile and Stone turned out great.”

When he arrives home from work, Martin often takes a moment just to sit and admire their newly renovated home. “We’re empty nesters, and this is a fresh start for us. We have bought all new furniture, new dishes, and cutlery, everything.”

Marie-Andree said that the most challenging part of the renovation was moving outside of their home for two months and not having the space to cook. She also missed the comfort of their bed. “Renovating was very time consuming because we had to go shopping for everything. I love shopping, but by the end of it I was tired of shopping.”

However, that is all behind them now, and their home is truly lovely. “We are not rich people, so it was a big step for us to take,” said Marie-Andree. “We feel lots of gratitude for everything that we have. We loved the people who worked for us on our reno. And what we both like about our home is its character; there is a soul in this place.”

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