It’s no surprise that this century-old home is being featured on the 2017 edition of the Glebe House Tour this September. The surprise awaits when you walk inside the classic house to a creative interior inspired by Asian influences.
The new homeowners, Bart and Ariane Casey, lived overseas for 10 years while they worked as a corporate pilot and in human resource management respectively. “We lived in beautiful apartments in Hong Kong where space is so precious that every corner was well designed with smart storage ideas,” explains Ariane.
When they came back home to Ottawa, the need for functional and well-organized spaces was key to life with a young family that now includes two little boys, Finn and Aidan. With this in mind, the Caseys went looking for a home in the Glebe neighbourhood where they had lived before and enjoyed being a one-car family, biking and walking everywhere.
Ariane notes that the bones of the older home met many of the conditions on their priority list. “It was on a corner lot which gives more light and land; it also has an attached garage which is unusual for the Glebe and I wanted space for a large master with an ensuite on the same level as the kids’ bedroom. This house ticked all those boxes, so we bought it from the original owner and made it our own.”
Inspired by the concepts of functional and smart space, the transformation began with converting the single residence into a triplex. Ariane reports that it took six months to get the needed permits and variations through the City of Ottawa to legally add two separate and self-contained apartments on either side of the home, and more than a year to gut and renovate the property.
Acting as the main contractor, the couple collaborated with Jacques Hamel of Hamel Design to draw up the architectural plans. They created a contemporary, open layout with innovative ideas to incorporate two different worlds – a perfect fusion of time and place.
The first Asian influence is seen in the main hallway with floor lights that run along the high baseboards into the living area and up the stairs. It’s a practical feature that they brought home with them.
Ariane designed the large square kitchen herself, fitting it with glossy white cabinetry from IKEA and quartz countertops from Capital StoneWorks. “The granite composite sink by Blanco is the same as I had in Hong Kong – I really like having one big sink,” she says, adding that she worked hard on the layout to maximize efficiency.
The pantry and fridge are right by the door from the garage for quick and easy grocery put away, while a baking station with all the supplies in one convenient place is a time saver. Ariane also flipped a wine rack to horizontal for a better fit, and added rustic wall tiles and backsplash from Olympia Tile to contrast the cool grey and white tones of the kitchen.
In the airy living room, a new bay window was installed as part of 50 window panes replaced throughout the home. Customized with built-in IKEA cabinets, it’s fitted with Hunter Douglas fabric blinds that offer privacy without blocking the light. Oil-finished maple flooring flows into the family room, where two sets of original pocket doors were kept to maintain the option of closing it off from the open-concept living area.
Ariane’s creativity of using a kitchen cabinet door as a wall hanger in the entrance, as well as keeping many of the original pine doors of the home, adds to the effective blending of old with new.
Upstairs, the boys have a spacious playroom, their own bathroom and share a sleeping room with a big king bed where the whole family can snuggle. But the main attraction is the master retreat which was constructed from the former servant’s quarters and features an original brick wall as the backdrop to the bed. A separate sitting room with a fireplace provides a quiet sanctuary within calming grey-blue painted walls.
In the impressive ensuite, a two-person tub sits in the same open-tiled space as a frameless shower. It’s another Asian experience that Ariane loved. “They had these wet rooms In India and Dubai - they are so easy to clean and the heated floor dries up the water so quickly.”
The entire home hums with a harmonizing fusion of yin and yang, perfect for a family that likes to practice yoga together – an idyllic fit!