Looking Back

living room
Opening up the main floor allowed furniture placement to define various spaces like sitting areas for quiet conversation. Accent walls also provide the homeowners with the ability to showcase their collection of artworks.

A Renovation in Retrospect

To sell or renovate? That is the question that faces many homeowners after decades in a home. Londoners Jennifer* and Jack* found themselves at this crossroad in 2018. They built their home in 1992 on a lot given to them by Jennifer’s parents and her dad supervised its construction. They didn’t see it as dated but there were elements that were no longer meeting their needs.

kitchen sink
A neutral palette is offset with splashes of colour. For instance, the lime backsplash and stools brighten up white counters and grey cabinetry in the kitchen.

“We have such a sentimental attachment to the house,” Jennifer explains the decision to stay. “We raised our children here; this is the only house my kids have known. My dad’s hand is evident in it. And the property is lovely.” The pie-shaped lot with mature trees was an initial attraction, and they transformed the lush backyard into a relaxing oasis with a patio and pool. The couple turned to DUO Building Ltd. to give the house a facelift, which became an extensive nearly-year-long project, lead by Keelan Malloy.

living room
Neutral walls and flooring provide the perfect backdrop for vivid shades in accents and decor.

Three years after completion, DUO co-owner Gayle White-Malloy wonders if the result is still meeting their expectations. “You don’t often get the chance to go back years later and say how is it? Do you love it?” For this couple the answer is resoundingly positive.

dinning room
Renovating versus building: homeowners are able to enjoy the lush backyard oasis with its mature trees and greenery.

“We don’t have any regrets with any decisions and DUO was great. We’re enjoying the update,” Jennifer says. Malloy says Jennifer and Jack were ideal partners to work with, helping to realize DUO’s vision of creating “clients for life.”

The expanded kitchen is ideally suited for entertaining with a large island, curved to facilitate maximum seating capacity.

The home’s main level is now a more open space. The floor of the original sunken family room was raised, allowing the kitchen to be expanded and for the creation of a pantry, including an office for Jennifer, that had previously been part of the kitchen. “I love it,” she says. “I feel like I’m in a little cocoon back there.”

An original two-storey ceiling in the dining room was replaced with a flat one, creating space to enlarge the upper-level primary bedroom.

The expanded space also allowed the addition of a mudroom off the garage, Keelan Malloy notes.

An unused three-sided fireplace between the kitchen and family room was removed and a large indoor-outdoor fireplace was added, linking the family room and patio.

The newly created pantry has a workspace for Jennifer.

“Much of the project was about connecting inside and out and having a place for family and friends to congregate with a view of the backyard,” he says.

The dining room’s original two-storey cathedral ceiling was replaced with a flat ceiling, making room for a new much larger primary bedroom suite on the upper level and creating a showcase wall for the couple’s art collection. The original bedroom has been repurposed as a large walk-in closet.

dinning room
Eliminating the dining room cathedral ceiling created an upper wall to showcase larger pieces of art.

Another major change has been in the home’s colour palette with neutral tones and light ash hardwood flooring highlighted by accent walls, as suggested by interior designer Myra Tuer.

“I used to have fuchsia and purple walls, but Myra told me ‘that chapter’s done,’” Jennifer says. “She said to stay with subdued colours and let our accessories do the talking.” Jennifer describes the colour scheme as “an oatmeal-like shade with some black accent walls.” She adds that it works.

“I’ve left my colour behind, and the art against the black is really stunning.”