by Janice Henshaw | photos by Andrew Bradley, Itty Bitty Sign Shop
Living in a townhouse has many advantages. In a lovely town like Sidney, local residents can enjoy the energy from the downtown core as well as amazing ocean views – and not have to worry about mowing their lawn. How about a relaxing walk to a nearby restaurant where you can enjoy a delicious dinner followed by a concert, a play, or the theatre? Grocery shopping is also convenient: you can buy fresh seafood, veggies and bakery treats without needing a car.
Sandy and Jim agree; they enjoyed living in a three-bedroom condo in downtown Sidney from 2010 to 2017. But, after Sandy retired from her career at Scotiabank, they realized that it was time for a change. Given that Sandy no longer worked from a home office, they thought it would be wise to downsize.
In 2018, they bought a two-bedroom, 1,464-square-foot townhouse located one block from the sea. It is part of a small, four-unit strata, separated from the other units by an entry hall, so it is very quiet. Their view extends south to the Anacortes Ferry and Dean Park and, once the previous owner’s furniture had been removed, Sandy and Jim found a terrific surprise: they had a diagonal northern view that takes in the Sidney dock and Mt. Baker.
Although the townhouse was perfect in many ways, there hadn’t been many changes made since it had been built in 1998. Sandy and Jim decided that before they moved in, there would have to be a major update, a renovation that would include the floors, kitchen, bathrooms, and all new cabinetry, paint, mouldings, and fixtures. Whew! Where to begin? They had their own ideas about what changes they wanted to see, but one thing was certain: they did not want to live in their place and do the work themselves over the space of a few years, so they met with Andi and Larry Hook of Sidney’s Hook & Hook Renovations & Design Inc., and the huge project began.
Sandy really appreciated how Andi listened to their ideas and brought all the design elements together to fit their style and personality. “Andi pares down a lot of the choices for you and then brings out samples for you to look at – that sure helps with decision making!”
Jim and Sandy wanted the look to be very contemporary, and, because they are tall, the countertops were built slightly higher. That means less bending over food prep work surfaces and less of a reach into the undermount kitchen sink to wash dishes. Sandy likes copper highlight elements, so Andi incorporated copper in the kitchen backsplash, which is a stone and metal mix, as well as in the kitchen light fixtures and the cabinet pulls.
Larry custom built the cabinetry, adding soft-close hinges and under-cabinet lighting. Santiago quartz countertops from Stone Trends Marble and Granite were installed throughout. Larry built a four-shelf pantry under the microwave, and a cabinet beside it with shelves to accommodate wine. The dark rectangular dining room table top didn’t seem to fit in with the new look, but that was no problem; Larry transformed it with a round top finished in a lighter stain.
Pot lights replaced track lighting, and the ceilings were smoothed and painted. The floor in the main areas is a lovely, earthy shade of engineered hardwood; it contrasts nicely with the lighter wood-grain ceramic tiles in the two bathrooms and laundry room. The dryer and washer were moved apart and a cabinet and shelf built between them.
The ensuite features a floating vanity with under-cabinet lighting and oval tilting mirrors. The two vessel sinks are, like those in the kitchen, conveniently higher, and allow more of the counter to show. The glass-enclosed shower has subway-tiled walls, a convenient bench and a pebble-tiled floor which feels nice on the feet, says Sandy. Light flows in from the window and from overhead pot lights, one of which is directly above the shower. Spotted bath towels add a cheerful note.
In the main bathroom, the floating vanity also has under-cabinet lighting and another set of cabinets provides more storage room. The bathtub has a large, curved glass door instead of a curtain, which swings out to create an easy entry. Slim, skirted toilets are two inches higher than normal, making them not only aesthetically more pleasing, but easier to clean, as well. Heated porcelain floors are the comfortable luxury that brings it all together.
A newly painted two-sided gas fireplace heats the office/den and living room. Light floods into the living room from the end wall which is almost all windows. New blinds can be adjusted for light and privacy. Warm tones of orange, golds and browns in the accessories, paintings and rugs throughout the home provide a cozy feeling that makes you want to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea or glass of wine. No-fuss plants and lovely flower arrangements add natural accents.
Soft beige carpet was laid in the bedrooms. Hook and Hook added a custom-built closet with sliding doors in the master bedroom to replace mirrored doors. Larry also built a cute little corner vanity for Sandy. Walls were painted in Balboa Mist from Benjamin Moore, and the trim was painted Frosty White to match the cabinets. New fixtures and mouldings complete the elegant look. Andi says: “We didn’t move any walls but we hit the interior and put it back together. The work went really well. Sandy and Jim were amazing to work with!”
The couple loves the open concept of their new home, especially the kitchen/family room area where they like to hang out with friends. A balcony provides room for their barbecue and an outside seating area on which to enjoy the sun. For entertainment, they can always watch the antics of passing dog walkers, cyclists and enthusiastic tourists.
Sandy says they are still in the honeymoon stage with their renovated home, “It’s still new, it’s fun, and I love how everything flows; it all comes together.”