Moving from the leafy lanes of Rockcliffe Park to a tree-lined avenue in the Glebe is not very far in terms of distance from one upscale Ottawa neighbourhood to another. But, transitioning from a five-bedroom, family home in a quiet village enclave to a contemporary condo in a more urban locale is quite a lifestyle change.
When the time came for a professional couple to explore new options, empty nesters Grant McDonald and Carol Devenny looked at condos in New Edinburgh and Westboro, before deciding to buy in the Glebe. They particularly liked the ability to customize the flexible space in a new four-storey building by Moda Developments, that offered 11 spacious condo units. The red-brick building blends well with older homes in the Glebe, and their new 2,400 square-foot condo is designed with smart, sophisticated style.
While the home needed sufficient wall space to showcase the couple’s prized collection of Canadian art, “It was also about having a big, open area to fit our grand piano,” notes Carol.
The condo design
To help fit large landscapes by Gordon Harrison and other local artists into the décor, as well as maximize living space and natural light, they enlisted the skill of interior designer Penny Southam of Southam Design.
“Penny came in and just ripped the layout plan apart, and gave us exactly what we wanted – and more,” says Grant. Carol laughs as she recalls that Penny looked at the closets and said, “I’m not a miracle worker!” But they both agree that she actually was, and not only utilized the available space very effectively, but worked closely with the building trades to customize it.
In collaboration with Deslaurier Kitchens, Penny designed the huge open kitchen, and commissioned customized cabinetry by Handwerk Interiors, who were used in many areas of the home. Featuring white cabinetry framed with walnut accents, and minimal upper cabinets to allow for a clean, lighter feel, the kitchen is anchored by a 14-foot quartz-topped island that houses two wine fridges. A corner seating nook with built-in banquettes by Handwerk adds a cozy element and extra under-seat storage.
The dining area has room for a long table that can easily sit 12-14, and is highlighted by a delicate chandelier of Swarovski crystals that Carol personally picked out. A wall of windows looks out onto the balcony on one side of the room, and a contemporary fireplace structure with an open flame, defines the space from the living room. “Penny suggested the ethanol fireplace to utilize a structural pillar and create a see-through feature,” explains Grant.
While Carol and Grant are both piano players, they confess to not practicing too often. Still, the grand piano gets a work out when they bring in musicians for fundraising soirees, and the stylish living space with its open flow is ideal for entertaining a cultivated crowd.
In the powder room, a Murano glass vanity bowl in turquoise blue takes pride of place and is another of Carol’s favourite pieces in her signature colour. Nearby, one of Grant’s favourite features is hidden in a closet. It’s what he calls, “the brains of the house,” and contains digital TV boxes and a smart home system, installed by Control Freak AV, to control HVAC, lights, sound and more, from multiple devices while at home or away.
En route to the master bedroom, a custom walk-through closet with floor-to-ceiling cabinetry on both sides prompts a significant wow response. Envisioned by Penny with her innovative storage solutions, it leads to an impressive ensuite with back-to-back vanity sinks (not side-by-side). A second balcony off the private retreat is well positioned for their morning coffee.
The urbane lifestyle
In addition to enjoying a roof-top terrace on the fourth floor where they can mingle with their condo neighbours, the easy accessibility of the Glebe is a major attraction for the couple. Carol can walk to work and likes the multi-generational aspect of the community where she says, “There is always something going on.”
“Our lifestyle has changed in terms of how we shop and eat,” explains Grant. “We buy more food locally, go out more to restaurants on Bank Street, and like to walk to games at Lansdowne.”
Clearly, Grant and Carol have planned their perfect home – a sophisticated space for an urbane couple in an upbeat, urban neighbourhood.