A renovation is a creative process orchestrated by an ensemble of talents. When the key players are in tune with each other, the process runs smoothly and the results are nothing less than breathtaking. This is what happened in the quintessential downtown residence of Chip Haman and Alain Doom, who are both artistic professionals.
Chip is the principal oboist in the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Alain, an award-winning actor and expert in the interpretation of poetry, is director of the Programme Arts d'expression at Laurentian University in Sudbury. Their talents are accompanied by discerning tastes and a desire for a certain lifestyle that a city like Ottawa offers them. Although for Alain that means keeping a small apartment in Sudbury, where he works, while declaring Ottawa his home.
Neither is native to Ottawa, nor Canada for that matter. Chip grew up in the mid-western United States and Alain is from Belgium. "We both came for work, like so many people, but we love the lifestyle the city affords," said Chip. Being involved in the arts, he adds that they see Ottawa as a natural hub for the region and the country in their field of work. "We feel a freedom and respect in Canada -- and Ottawa in particular."
They are especially fond of their Old Ottawa East neighbourhood, which further enhances their affection for a capital city where getting around is relatively easy. It suits their preference for walking to work and to downtown leisure activities. It's close to their favourite restaurants and being near the canal and other park areas, they can also enjoy the natural beauty of each, unique season.
It was a strong attachment to their home and neighbourhood that led Chip and Alain down the renovation path last year. After living in their house since 2000, they were familiar with the pros and cons of the home's structure and went into the extensive renovations with eyes wide open. "Our house had charm but didn't meet our needs," affirmed Chip, who lists a leaking bathroom and cramped office space as just a few of the troublesome areas.
In the process of assessing another house they were close to buying, they met Lindsay Nicol of Crossford Construction and Irene Langlois of Irene Langlois Interiors, who became part of their team of talents when they decided to stay put and renovate. "From the very first meetings, both Irene and Lindsay were utterly professional in every way, and we knew we were in good hands," declared Chip.
Chip and Alain's affinity for fine furnishings, stunning artwork, and New England architecture was a starting point, but the duo needed help to turn their vision for their 1930s home with an arts and crafts style, into an updated, stylish and functional residence. Knowing that the pair wanted a sophisticated Nantucket feel to their home, Irene went to work to ensure that all details and fixtures met with their theme. Meanwhile, the Crossford crew managed all the construction from structural, mechanical and electrical repairs to the finished carpentry details that included crown moldings, wainscoting and custom cabinetry.
Hints of nautical elements throughout the home helped to create the look they were after. Both the second-floor laundry room and ensuite effectively demonstrate a coastal look. Furnishings and finishes were chosen to further showcase a Nantucket style and include a reproduction light fixture (from Restoration Hardware) placed above the bar table in the kitchen, a round portal mirror in the dining room and New England style wainscoting in the hallways.
Irene took the look to greater heights with a refined colour scheme and rich fabric selections. Combined with Chip and Alain's exquisite art collection, the look is relaxed elegance with hints of drama. The main floor powder room, with its dramatic black wallpaper, heightens the sophistication on the first floor. On the third level, the modern space offers a relaxed feel where Chip is able to work on his instrument and attend to other business in a casual contemporary setting that doubles as a guest room.
In the end, the renovation process took five to six months. Like so many renovations, it was a project that started out small and then took on a life of its own. But, with thanks to a team that worked in harmony, the homeowners ended up with an environment in keeping with their vision and a new network of friends in the renovation business. A real win-win situation for everyone!