A peaceful Scandinavian-inspired home was designed to support a young couple’s busy lifestyle.
BY NESSA PULLMAN | PHOTOS BY DASHA ARMSTRONG
Trying to balance the desire for outdoor living with the convenience of being in the city can be a challenge, but thankfully for the Gouds, they were able to achieve both.
Once the pair laid eyes on the 1980s bungalow in James Bay, they were drawn to its quirky small frame and luscious outdoor flora. The interior, however, needed some improvements — at least in the kitchen and bathroom. The Gouds called upon Kelsey MacDougall, founder of N60° Studio, to bring things up to standard with the home’s luxuriant surroundings.
“The house certainly had a uniqueness, and we wanted to play to that,” says MacDougall. “I wanted to work with naturalistic components, using a blend of design influences that reflect serene spaces.”
The clients — a touring musician and a lawyer — wanted a tranquil place to unwind in when they were both home together, and a retreat space that utilized an outdoor lifestyle. For the interior, MacDougall applied the simple principles of Scandinavian design while the exterior represents the peacefulness of a Japanese garden oasis.
What originally started as a kitchen and bathroom upgrade soon turned into a full house renovation — including a charming outdoor living space. As the home was originally built on a designated small-lot subdivision, the renovation faced some permit challenges in order to extend its square footage for a more comfortable living space. Max Shepherdson, founder of Maxwell Developments, was brought in to make it all happen.
“I wanted to bump the kitchen wall out to make room for a large cooking area they could entertain in,” says Shepherdson.
Even with the extension, the footprint of the home was still too small to include a traditional dining room, so they extended the island to accommodate formal seating.
“The Gouds are the type of people to have a dance party in the kitchen while they cook,” says MacDougall. “So this definitely suited them.”
The kitchen — with its sleek minimalist design, crisp white oak cabinetry and open shelving — easily became the centrepiece of the home.
Opposite the kitchen is the living room, which makes up the second half of the main floor.
“We didn’t want to move the staircase, so we decided to redesign it and turn it into a semi-open room divider,” says MacDougall.
The end result — adorned with vertical, white oak slats and seamless glass — was an art piece that doubles as the focal point for the main floor. However, getting the staircase to work (both functionally and esthetically) brought some challenges.
“There were about four different trade experts involved,” says MacDougall. “It was a puzzle trying to get everything to function while maintaining the look we wanted.”
To unify the natural materials in the home, all new windows and doors are done in the same white oak trim, with matching millwork in the kitchen, staircase and bathrooms. MacDougall brought in dimension by using textured wall tile and black accents in the hardware, as well as various art pieces and dishware on display.
With the new and revamped staircase design, the clearance needed for building to code would now alter the placement of the fireplace, so MacDougall had to get creative.
“Because I could only work with the right side of the fireplace, I decided to play with asymmetry,” says MacDougall, “which I think adds to the uniqueness of this house.”
The now modern floor-to-ceiling fireplace is accompanied by open shelving for the clients to style their art and vinyl collection. From the living room, bi-folding doors welcome visitors through to the outdoor living area, where a custom built-in bench and fire pit rest amongst the lush plants.
“We continued the same slate tile in the interior out to the patio for a seamless look,” says Shepherdson. “This illustrates the indoor/outdoor feel the clients wanted.”
To add more privacy around the house and coincide with this now secret-garden oasis, a new cedar wood fence surrounds the property.
“We wanted to tie in the interior of the home as much as we could,” says MacDougall. “So we mirrored the same slats in the staircase for the outdoor fence.”
Having similar elements on both the interior and exterior of the home creates the naturalistic feel the clients wanted.
“The Gouds needed a peaceful space to come home to,” says MacDougall. “A space to inspire them.”
Designer: N60º Studio
Construction manager: Maxwell Developments
Plumber: Victory Plumbing & Gas
Doors and hardware: Lynden doors, Emtek hardware, Thermoproof Factory & Showroom
Window restoration: Van Isle Windows
Electrician: Bernie Osborne Electric
Drywall: Southshore Drywall
Tile: Tile Town
Kitchen/bathroom millwork: Thomas Philips Woodworking
Finishing carpentry: Maxwell Developments / FreshSpaces Design + Build
Floor refinishing: Plank + Saw Hardwood Flooring
Staircase glass: Royal Oak Glass
Staircase slate: Thomas Philips Woodworking
Kitchen stools: Knoll Marcel Breuer Cesca Stool (Gabriel Ross)
Landscape: Maxwell Developments / Haddow Groundworks
Lighting: Cedar & Moss / RBW Lighting