When designer Jennifer McGahan sold her office building, a charming brick structure on Stittsville’s Main Street, in the fall of 2019 she had planned to create a new workspace from a stunning Echo Drive home—but then things changed. She let her staff go in the spring of 2020 as many projects for the respected interior decorator came to a halt.
The plans for turning her basement into an office and sample room have been put on hold. But that doesn’t mean that the new home Jennifer is currently living in with her two sons isn’t being enjoyed to its potential. “I’m overlooking the canal, I can walk to Lansdowne for dinner and the Queensway is a kilometre away,” declares Jennifer who adds, “It’s a totally different lifestyle.”
Jennifer lived in Kanata for 20 years and that suited her perfectly when the kids were younger. Both boys played hockey, and living close to the arenas was a bonus, but that has altered. “My boys are done playing hockey and one is off to university—so my life has changed a lot. I have a ton of free time to enjoy my new neighbourhood now,” the talented designer offers.
With an evolving decorating style, the new centrally-located home suited Jennifer’s leaning towards a more traditional space. “I still keep the look clean with all-white walls and minimal accessories, but I love the bones of an older home,” she reveals. Adding layers through texture helps to create a balance in style. Brass and high-end finishing details have been incorporated throughout the three-storey home.
As much as Jennifer was attracted to the stately look of the house, she was drawn to its need for renovation. It required a total overhaul, which is a designer’s dream come true. Her enthusiasm is evident. “What attracted me to this house was the fact that it had gorgeous architectural bones, and a killer location, but it hadn’t been updated since 1990. It sat on the market for seven months. These are the things I always look for because my skill set allows me to add value by renovating.”
While much of the renovation involved structural changes and updating, Jennifer included many luxuries in the process. The master bathroom boasts heated floors and marble throughout to lend itself to the European styling that the home was calling for. The bathrooms and kitchens were gutted and taken back to the studs. But the exterior wasn’t forgotten in the process. A new front door and black windows were included, along with necessities like a new roof, aluminum siding, and new fascia and soffits.
The real fun happens in the third-floor master bedroom where Jennifer integrated a wine fridge and cappuccino machine. The area serves as a retreat for the busy mom and designer—look for her sipping wine on the balcony, embracing her view. “I love the third-floor balcony overlooking the canal. You can’t beat that view anywhere in the city,” she gushes.
Jennifer continues to work on large-scale design projects, for more information visit jennifermcgahan.com.