Two new homes are almost mirror images of each other on the outside, just like the two look-alike sisters who live there side by side. Yet, the exterior similarities are not as evident on the inside where different choices reflect the sisters’ individual personalities and lifestyles.
Brittany and Stephanie Wilson have a close relationship, so it was an easy decision to share a wall between their brand new semi-detached homes in Westboro. With partners and parents involved in the building project, it was definitely a family affair.
“Our father, Brent Wilson, helped with the financing upfront and provided construction contacts through his Dymon Storage business connections,” explains younger sister Brittany. She adds that they combined his contributions with the experience of her fiancé, Michael Pyman, and her own in commercial real estate, working together as a team.
Growing up four years apart, the sisters agree that the gap closed during their twenties as they grew closer. Still, the collaboration between the family members was not always easy. “There were five different points of view during the planning and building process,” notes Stephanie, who moved in with her husband Ryan Quesnel just months after their baby son Denver was born.
The project to demolish a single family home and build two semis took over a year to complete. Variances were needed and there were the inevitable delays, but the sisters were delighted that the homes were finished under budget.
Maple Leaf Custom Homes was the general contractor, with owners Fred Carmosino and Brian Saumure described as lovely guys to work with. The Wilsons used TACT from Toronto (who do commercial projects for Dymon) for all the exterior architectural and design work. Kitchens by Design provided interior design services and the custom cabinetry, as well as the front-entrance and garage doors.
SIMILARITIES & DIFFERENCES
While Stephanie considers herself to be more of a laid-back country girl with a casual style, Brittany is attracted to the urban lifestyle with a contemporary flair. Living in a traditional family home on the waterfront in Manotick, and later sharing a renovated duplex in an older Ottawa house, neither sister was accustomed to super-modern design.
So, after meeting with their kitchen designer, Julinda Balca, they were both conflicted. “I left the office hating everything she suggested because it was too modern for me,” says Stephanie. “It was a big adjustment to go to the whole white-on-white look in an open-plan concept,” adds Brittany.
For a softer effect, Brittany opted for white shaker-style cabinetry in her kitchen with black table-style legs on the 10-foot white marble island, and light-washed wood flooring. To add contrasting elements, she chose matte-black appliances and an island sink, with a dazzling herringbone-tile backsplash in black and white.
Surprisingly, Stephanie went with the high-gloss, flat-fronted cabinets and a waterfall design on the quartz island. She added a lower butcher-block counter to make the island more child-friendly, with subtle white and grey tones in the kitchen.
“I love it now that I’ve lived with it for a while,” confesses Stephanie, and even Brittany admits to a bit of cabinet envy and wishes she had gone glossy!
However, Stephanie explains that she was looking ahead when making some of the design decisions. “While Brittany and I love living so close together, Ryan and I see this home as a resale opportunity because we want more children and will then need a bigger home with more outdoor space.”
With a resale intention, the designer encouraged Stephanie to go with finishes that would appeal to a wide range of homebuyers in a few years or so. It convinced her to embrace a more modern kitchen style than initially planned.
Both homes have the same open-glass stairway that they agree is stylish, but hard to child-proof. A self-described neat freak, Brittany has discovered that wiping away the handprints of Michael’s five-year-old son, Cole, is a constant battle. Fortunately, the playroom is conveniently located in the walk-out basement; whereas next door, baby Denver takes over the family room and his parents put a gym in their basement for quick and easy workouts!
Upstairs, the sisters’ master bedrooms are another reflection of their respective lifestyles as a new stay-at-home mom and a chic business woman.
Brittany has an upgraded flow-through closet with high-end custom cabinetry in matte black. An oversized shoe rack was installed to accommodate the impressive collection of work and fun footwear. Her clean, minimalist style is seen in the sleek marble-tiled ensuite with separate vanity sinks, also evident is her penchant for striking black-tile accents.
Stephanie’s master has a reduced flow-through closet to allow for more bedroom space with a cozy sitting area and a Juliette balcony. She chose neutral coloured finishes for her cabinetry and ensuite, and went for a glorious tub that sits in an open shower area which is large enough for the family to bathe together. Special stand-out features include a wood-effect tiled panel and a shared trough-style vanity.
While very similar, the twin homes truly mirror the differences in the current lifestyles of two very attached sisters.