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Reader's home - a local reno

I was SO EXCITED the other day when I received an email from Gillian, a local Ottawan who at one time had grand plans to turn a boring 1945 2 bedroom Ottawa bungalow into something modern and spectacular. Sounds kind of familiar. :-) Luckily for Gillian her plans were put into action and completed in November of last year - and the results are FABULOUS!! (and I'm totally going to hit her up for advice throughout my renos). Here's the scoop from Gillian:

The objective was clear: build an edgy, modern, sustainable home. The wish list included: 3 bedrooms; an open concept, chef’s style eat-in kitchen for entertaining and doing heaps of cooking; an ‘urban great room’ across the back of the house to let the sun shine in and provide main floor family space; a custom, “wow” open staircase (none of that pre-fab stuff!); a mudroom; a dog bath; and an exterior that pushes the envelope. And so ensued the design process and renovation by Moneca Kaiser Design Build.

The idea was to be able to stay put, and not be forced to move in future, ‘cause that’s a whole lot of waste.To do this, for example, we put the master bedroom with ensuite on the main floor, which also features an accessible bathroom, at the side entry, that presently does double duty as a dog shower!  The 2nd floor loft style family room on the ‘kids’ level’ can also easily be converted into a master bedroom (for now it’s our family room/ gym).

Using sustainable products, like bamboo flooring and parallam beams for the staircase (and it is “wow”), as well as choosing greener options, such as spray foam insulation and a condensing hot water tank (among maaaany others), we aimed to take a practical approach to sustainability.

This forward thinking was carried right through to the decorating, where we opted to make the investment in well-designed pieces with nice clean lines that are totally timeless. With the exception of our One Stools by Magis, we chose an all-Canadian roster of designers, with the help of two amazing Ottawa-based home stores, Alteriors and Blueprint Home. Proudly, our furnishings are among the coolest designs by IZM Furniture, Gus Modern, LucyAu and William—all Canadian. The work of Louis Helbig, an abstract aerial photographer and fellow Ottawan, ups the edge factor, and its organic, context-free composition pulls the interior together in an uncanny way. (Sources mentioned above are listed at the end of this post!)

Below is a before photo of the exterior (bleh), a couple after photos (WOW!), and one peek at the interior (YES!). The rest of the photos are after the jump. (Photos via Gordon King)

Moneca Kaiser Design Build

Louis Helbig Aerial Photography


Blueprint Home


IZM Furniture

Gus Modern


Duro Design

EnviroSense Condensing Hot Water Tank

Reader Comments (47)

I have no words for how AMAZING this house is!!!
LOVE IT :)))) my dream project.

17 May 2011 | Unregistered Commenternat

Congrats Gillian! :D
This renovation is amazing...I love how you played with the different layers and greys on the facade, the extreamely bright -and huge- kitchen with the marble top...and the GYM! Who needs to go out with an house like this?
Just a small note... the Eileen Gray stainless side table is not really canadian design. So, the Magis stools are not the only 'foreign' elements ;)

Great Job and thanks to Kim for sharing it!


17 May 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMid-Century Home

Nice interior work but I think the exterior looked better before they added on.

Cute how the before pic shows the telephone pole and wires but in the "after" shot they are cropped out of the image.

The dining room light would drive me crazy with that large stainless thing being off center.

I know I point out strange things but at least I don't just write love, love, love it with one eye closed.

17 May 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTom

love it, love it, love it!

17 May 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpolish chick

LOL polish chick :)

17 May 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTom

one additional comment - as far as the canadian furniture designers go, i do believe you mean IZM, not IMZ furniture. they are very local to us edmontonians, and we own one of their beautiful pieces as well. remember: IZM!

17 May 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpolish chick

Exquisite !!!! I'm speachlessssssssssss....................

17 May 2011 | Unregistered Commenterania

What a difference! Lots of work... Wow. The upstairs loft and the kitchen are my favourite. Not sure what to say about the intense angular wood on the front of the house... I'm trying to erase it with my mind and it's just not working.

17 May 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRosy

I have such high esteem for the thoughtfulness and principals the owners put into this remarkable reno. The dedication to local talent, sustainability and timelessness has paid off with a warm, clean and unique residence. The dog shower is so terrific I have to single it out. Truly, the owners have created a home to last their lifetimes.

17 May 2011 | Unregistered Commenterholland

Holy (expletive) Batman! Just goes to show what you can do with great bones. I would never believe this was the same house as before! What an incredibly beautiful transformation!

17 May 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKelsi

Love that cool staircase... amazing house!

17 May 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlaura trevey

I hear Apartment Therapy calling for a house tour! :)

17 May 2011 | Unregistered Commenternat

Love it! Great vision: I could've never imagined the modern exterior from the before shots.

17 May 2011 | Unregistered Commenterb.

Amazing job, i do renovation and i like more post like this one. thx again!

17 May 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLouis

Just stunning. I love the marble in the kitchen. Everything is so well done and cohesive. Thanks for sharing. xoxo

17 May 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRLG

Tom, I will die of shock the day you leave a comment that isn't full of negativity.
polish chick - you are correct and I will change Gillian's blurb. THX!

17 May 2011 | Registered CommenterKiM

I'd love to know what type of wood was used for the stairs - the grain is art.

17 May 2011 | Unregistered CommenterrtU

Well done.... would have been GREAT to see all the 'before' shots too!

17 May 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRache'

OMG I am dying of jealousy! What a gorgeous home! I love that you used all Canadian for your furnishings.

I have a question for your readers - I have no experience with a renovation. I don't understand - what is the benefit to a renovation? I mean, why don't you just build a new house? Is it cheaper to renovate a home?

17 May 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpeggy

they did good, looks great.

Oh how I wish I could see a before and after floor plan! Love, love, love the stair case!

17 May 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret

Great work! I am wondering if someone could point me in the right direction for the striped bedding in the bedroom, which I am in love with!

17 May 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKarol

It's very nice - I can see why you are excited if this is within your grasp too!
I like the way the front of the house is a sympathetic reinterpretation of the 'before' house. I love the clean lines of the outside - it's not showy, it looks welcoming, unpretentious.
The interiors are also very clean and light - would love to see some pics of the interior 'before'!

My fave part of these shoots is always the pics of the animals of the family - they make a house a home.

Thanks for sharing. I'll never be able to afford this, but I love seeing what people have done - it gives me ideas. I really, really want a mud room!!!! Thankfully my cats don't need a cat shower :0)

17 May 2011 | Unregistered CommenterjEN

PS yes - I second Margaret - can we have a before and after floor plan? Even handdrawn would be ace!

17 May 2011 | Unregistered CommenterjEN

I came back to comment again. Can't believe this house is in Ottawa! Creativity+sustainability, form+function. The dog shower is brilliant. LOVE the mudroom. Exquisite use of white. The before photos would make this home 10 times more WOW than it already is. Very inspiring.

17 May 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRosy

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