Working with the esthetics of time, this dramatic reno celebrates a blend of styles.
BY NESSA PULLMAN | PHOTOS BY DASHA ARMSTRONG
When I first walked into this house, I was like, ‘Oh, no,’” says Kristin. “But my husband [Joe] fell in love and assured me he would do whatever it took for me to live in it.”
When Kristin and Joe Day were looking for a larger place to house their multi-generational family with a yard for their young kids, Joe landed on a decadent 1970s home in the Rockland area.
“It was dark, cramped and dripping with lavish décor,” says Joe. “But I could see the potential.”
Joe, a pilot who was less busy than usual as COVID-19 restrictions were in place, decided to take on the job himself with the help of his father-in-law, who was living with them at the time. Having never renovated a house before, the couple reached out to Raubyn Rothschild of Rothschild West Design + Planning for some guidance.
The three-level home needed some serious TLC and, except for the living room, was gutted to create a clean slate for their visions to come alive.
Rothschild called in the team at Flintstones Construction to help with some of the higher-ticket items — structural pieces like windows and doorways. Interior walls were removed and doorways were widened to create more openness, while windowsills were lowered to let in more natural light.
Though the house spoke for itself in many ways, Kristin came into the project with a strong design sense inspired by the minimalistic functionality of the Scandinavian and the quirky traditional charm of the British. One of the largest attractions to the home was the living room, where ornate moulding and crystal chandeliers decorated all four walls. Even though this wasn’t the homeowner’s ideal design style, they agreed it was too beautiful to destroy in the demolition.
“This house was as unique as it comes,” says Rothschild. “It had its own esthetic, which we worked with, not against.”
To bridge the gap between ornate and minimalist, Rothschild toned down the living room by removing the crystal chandeliers and replacing them with simpler gold wall sconces. The original mantel was preserved but a modern gas insert and a new marble base were installed. New wide-plank fir hardwood replaced the outdated mix-matched flooring throughout the home. A fresh coat of white paint and windows reframed with wood trim brought in a Scandinavian feel.
Kristin’s dream was to have a big British kitchen with lots of space for cooking and baking. Traditional face-frame cabinetry and classic mouldings pair nicely with honed marble countertops and elegant lighting fixtures. The kitchen island was made oversized to act as a workspace: “I wanted an island so big, you could land a plane on it!” says Joe.
While Kristin’s dream was a British kitchen, Joe’s was for a wall-to-wall accordion door off the kitchen that completely opens up to the outdoors to access the backyard he always wanted.
In the dining room, a large mid-century modern pendant hangs above the table and is framed perfectly by the arched doorway (see cover image). The rest of the lighting in the home was salvaged from the original fixtures (remember all those crystal chandeliers in the living room?) and moved to various different places throughout the house.
“This home had incredible historical richness,” says Max Sydenham, director at Flintstones Construction, “And the Days’ vision for what could be done with it was remarkable.”
A mix of European elegance, British charm and Scandinavian minimalism has made this house a unique blend of styles that will stand the test of time.
Interior Design: Rothschild West Design
Contractor: Client and Flintstones Construction (for structural and windows)
Plumber: Water Ethix
Electrician: 484 Electrical
Doors and Hardware: Loewen
Window Restoration: Loewen
Appliances: Lansdowne Appliances
Plumbing Fixtures: Andrew Sheret, The Ensuite
Tile: Spartan Tile
Painting: Carlin Coatings
Kitchen Millwork: Victoria Millwork
Countertops: Colonial Countertops, Exotic Stone
Hardwood: West Wind Hardwood
Fireplace: Heat Savers
Engineers: Boca Engineering Co.
Lighting: McLaren Lighting, Huey Lightshop, West Elm
Furniture: Gabriel Ross
Hardware: Lee Valley, Bradford Hardware, Richelieu
Character art additions: Paula Nasmith
Landscaping: Haddow Groundworks, Slegg Lumber