A vision of modern minimalismPublished on September 17, 2016

  • White American leather furniture from MYHome
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Kitchen designed by Urban Keios
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Ligne Rosete dining table
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Custom Urban Keios designed stairway in minimalist style
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Bathroom features stylish elements like a tiled feature wall from Ceragres
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Bathroom features stylish elements like a pop of orange with Izod Lacoste towels
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Two story space holds a modern light fixture from Marchand Electric
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

Imagine creating a personalized space that fits your exact needs and fulfils your image of the ideal home!
As first-timers, the custom design and build experience for a Kanata couple, George and Arpi, was sometimes stressful, but ultimately a rewarding process that successfully turned their vision into reality. The distinctive, modern beauty sits on more than two acres of nature in Ottawa’s west end where city meets country.


The desire for an ultra-modern home, after years of living in a more traditional “cookie-cutter” house, fuelled the need to build. “We wanted open concept with a minimalist style to expose our view of the natural backyard,” says George who was attracted to the country feel of the large treed lot, but also needed to live near his work in Kanata. “So,” he adds, “our only option was to build.”

To design a sleek, minimalist-style home, the couple employed the architectural expertise of Nick Semanyk, the owner of Urban Keios. With an artistic reputation for creating innovative residences, he drafted wall-free rooms that flow into each other in the main living area. Structural angles and varied ceiling elevations that soar to 15 feet in the family room, combine with rows of glass to create a sense of one great space filled with lightness.

“A big, open kitchen was my main goal,” says Arpi who likes to cook and host large gatherings where everyone can stay together. She got her wish with a gigantic whitequartz island, contrasted with warm walnut cabinetry. An oversized Miele fridge/freezer has enough room to store provisions for a family that includes two teenagers.

Expansive patio doors offer a seamless transition to outdoor living, where the family enjoys listening to the birds and spotting wild deer from a large covered deck with a welcoming stone fireplace. It’s a tranquil setting that they left in a natural state to mirror their minimalist approach to the home.

Light-oak flooring stained in French Vanilla and a white-on-white decorating palette throughout contribute to the concept of wide-open sight lines. This theme is evident right from the lofty foyer where an enormous set of cherry-wood doors opens to a panoramic view of the home and backyard, with only a central column to define the angled entry.


A home that allowed everyone their own private space was another important factor in the design, which created an element of separation on the two levels. “Our master bedroom is down here, and their bedrooms are upstairs with a TV room where they can entertain themselves and their friends,” says Arpi, as George smiles in cheerful approval.

From the open hallway, nine-foot high doorways lead to an office, powder room and the master bedroom. The minimalist style continues with floating cabinetry and toilets in both the powder room and ensuite. Arpi, a self-confessed cleaning machine, says these features facilitate quick and easy access. A second deck off the master bedroom lets the couple step into the relaxing comforts of a hot tub.

The custom stairway is a true minimalist design of open wood treads, metal railings and glass panels. It’s a perfect spot to admire the contemporary cylinder-shaped chandelier hanging into the open foyer below. Clear, petal-like shades with clean, simple lines make it virtually transparent when illuminated.

On the loft level, the space contains a guestroom and a sliding barn door into the TV room that separates the two teen bedrooms.  Both bedrooms have ensuites, and, as an extra bonus, one connects directly to the TV room via an outside balcony. The whole family gets to play together in the basement with its polished concrete, radiant-heat floors, gym, home theatre and all the toys.

Urban Keios advised on some interior design elements, along with input from Tamara O’Leary who owns the MY Home furniture store in Kanata and is the wife of the builder, MY Construction. Meanwhile, George is working on compiling a collection of art to add some Armenian colour and flavor to represent their family heritage.

“It took about a year to design and another year and a half to build, but we were in no hurry,” says George. While both agree that they are unlikely to go through the stressful building process again, they are very glad they did it!

Jane Whiting

Looking for more homes articles?


Other News

Looking for more?

Sign up for our Newsletter