A Lakeshore Home For
Seven Receives Modern Upgrades
Story by Karen Paton-Evans
Photography by Michael Pietrangelo
When Heidi and Joe fell in love, one plus one equalled seven. Between them, they had two sons and three daughters, ages six through 12. In order to build a life together, they needed to build a house large enough for them all.
The local man and woman had met at a grief counselling group, each mourning the loss of their beloved spouses. Once they felt ready to begin envisioning a new future, they started attending regular meetings again, this time with an architect.
“It took over a year of getting together weekly with our architect to design the house,” Heidi recalls. “With blending two families, we believed building a new home would be the wisest option for us. We wanted to design something that would give everyone their own space without feeling on top of each other. We quickly found ourselves adding more square footage than we originally thought necessary.”
On the day they signed off on the plans, the couple committed to a 4,800 square foot house, containing five bedrooms, five bathrooms and a finished basement with a much-needed second laundry room.
Everyone was excited to see the house rise on a half-acre lot in “a nice new subdivision” in Lakeshore. The homebuilder, Dave Reaume of Reaume Homes, “didn’t cut any corners. He put the finest details into our home to achieve timeless appeal coupled with classic, modern flare,” Heidi says.
The family took up residence in 2004. Suggestions made by the architect proved smart. “He paid attention to the placement of lighting fixtures, electrical outlets, audiovisual systems, furniture layouts – everything was well thought out,” says Heidi.
The open concept floor plan feels even more spacious with high ceilings. “We requested taller and wider doorways than normal to fit my husband, who is 6’-5”. I wanted tall windows to let in a lot of natural light.”
“The architect recommended double staircases that lead to the quieter section and noisier section of our home,” the mom says. “Our place has always been the hub for our kids and their friends to hang out. There is a bonus area above the garage that allows the kids to have their own fun space where they can jump around and be noisy and we don’t hear a thing.”
The years have flown for the busy family. When the eldest daughter announced her engagement, the parents began planning the party to be held at home in 2019. Looking around, they determined their home was due for an update.
Urbanhome Interior Design owner Jody Mason and her interior design consultant Philip Chouinard were called in to decorate several key areas.
Playing on the existing palette of taupe, cream and light grey, “Philip did a wonderful job mixing contemporary with classic. The outcome looks elegant yet casual. He worked with what we already had and updated with new Canadian-made pieces,” Heidi says.
Beginning in the foyer, the design team was inspired by the existing curved dark oak staircase with squiggly custom railing by Art Metal. Philip injected lighthearted notes with a new stylized grey button-tufted wingchair and a chrome pedestal table. Sunlight bounces off the oval wall mirror and a brushed antique gold table lamp with a whimsical branchlike base.
Anything that could be changed in the great room was replaced, excepting the original Hunter Douglas Silhouette privacy blinds and Details’ earth-toned jacquard fabric draperies dressing the 18’ tall Palladian windows.
“This room is nestled between the family room on the right and the kitchen on the left. It’s our gathering place after meals and our conversation area with guests,” Heidi notes. “Warm and inviting” was the ambiance she sought.
Fusing together transitional pieces, “Philip helped me create a cohesive flow, combining hard and soft surfaces. A pair of new down-filled, extra deep supple brown leather sofas with furry throws and velvet and faux fur accent pillows provide comfortable seating for our family,” Heidi says.
Two new Brittany chairs are by the fireplace. On a deep pile shag rug is the coffee table bought at Art Expressions, made of reclaimed 100-year-old railway ties from India, resting on a sleek chrome base.
Casablanca ceiling fans suspended from the 22’ tall ceiling keeps air circulating, pushing warm air down in wintertime. Zone heating is generated by the lofty fireplace, crafted of natural travertine stone.
Black walnut hardwood flooring has withstood frequent use. Heidi says, “We just have the hardwood redone every few years and the floors look new.”
Next to the great room is the family room, with cozier 11’ ceilings and the original built-in dark wood entertainment centre designed and built by Wayne’s Custom Woodcraft. “With a big family, we wanted something to neatly house and conceal all the entertainment devices. This smart storage organizes CDs, DVDs, photos and blankets,” says Heidi.
“To add brightness, I chose a burnt orange curved suede sofa and threw on plenty of down-filled pillows in varying textures. Philip suggested a rawhide rug and a glass-topped coffee table with a crisscrossed metal base.” The bold accents instantly modernize the room.
Withstanding the test of time is the kitchen created by Wayne’s Custom Woodcraft 16 years ago. “We wanted clean lines and a style that wouldn’t fade. The warm tones reflect the warm spirits of our kids,” says Heidi. “I like the way Wayne incorporated stainless steel doors, frosted glass and pecan-stained maple cabinetry. The monochromatic palette is very calming.”
Making certain “everything is very durable,” Heidi selected travertine tile for the backsplash and floor.
Brownish-black granite with gold flecks comprises the countertops. At the end of the island, a raised pub table is topped in black granite with silver sparkles. “The kids have places to sit and keep me company while I prepare meals,” Heidi says.
The huge kitchen also contains a big granite table illuminated by a stainless steel chandelier. A bar area features a built-in desk, sink, wine fridge and coffee machine. A walk-in pantry extends behind a full kitchen wall. “I need a lot of storage: I’m one of those crazy people who have dinnerware for every season.”
“Our kitchen is the heart of our home. My family loves to eat. I spend much of my day cooking and baking for Joe and our three kids still living at home,” says the mom.
Formal dinners are served in the dining room. “We’ve kept the original warm neutral palette. When I sit at the dining table, I feel like I’m in Tuscany,” Heidi muses. The ash and mahogany table glints with metallic accents. Its shape is framed by a contrasting black slate inlay border set into the brown and rust slate flooring.
Casting soft light around the dining room is a chandelier Heidi bought with her first husband for their house. Spiraled gold metal and curved branches bloom with glass tulip-shaped shades handblown by an Italian artist. Seeing the chandelier reminds the woman how blessed in love she and her family are.
Heidi says happily, “Our older daughter was married last year and a son just got engaged. So we’ll be planning more parties here!”
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