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This Home in North London, Ont., has Zero Curb Appeal

October 10, 2017 | PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASON HARTOG

Near a busy retail strip, this stately home has no curb appeal and the owners wouldn't want it any other way.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of  OUR HOMES London and Middlesex Countyp.22. Find local businesses in our London directory.

Built beyond the city limits in 1952, this house is now a short walk from one of the busiest retail malls in north London, Ontario. But you’d never spot the property from the road, and could easily speed right past the driveway.
 
A for-sale sign stopped the owners in their tracks in 2013. “We couldn’t see a house. That was the first thing that was interesting,” the owner recalls. After almost two decades of work-related travel, the couple were on the hunt for a place where they could put down roots. A walk up the laneway revealed a stately white home surrounded by almost an acre of land, offering the peace of country life without sacrificing the convenience of city living. Despite its age, the house had never benefitted from professional renovations. Its maze of small rooms and retro colour scheme were not what they were looking for. But the garden, with its mature catalpa, black cherry and maple trees, had cast its spell. The couple moved in early November 2013 and began the long process of transforming the outdated family home into a thoroughly contemporary urban oasis.
 
The three-phase renovation project started on the main level under the guidance of Patrick Malloy from DUO Building Ltd. Knowing they had no use for the home’s formal dining room, the couple decided to eliminate it in order to create a large eat-in kitchen. Featuring a large window overlooking the garden, the sleek, functional space includes only two overhead cupboards. Pull-out shelving tucked away under the centre island provides ample storage. The European-inspired design is complemented by stainless steel appliances, funky pendant lighting from Living Lighting London North and an elegant porcelain-tiled floor.
 
A spacious sunroom with custom bookshelves and a gas fireplace expands the kitchen and eating area and takes full advantage of the home’s absolute privacy. 
 
The home’s formal living room was reinvented as a media room. Featuring new hickory hardwood flooring, it is still the most traditional room in the house. The original brick fireplace was torn out to make space for a custom-built media centre. A second custom unit on the opposite wall provides plenty of shelving to display the owner's collection of exotic glass.
 
With phase one complete, in 2015 they moved on to renovate the ground-floor master suite. CCR Building & Remodeling was hired to completely reconfigure the original layout, removing walls and adding doors and windows. A small bedroom, bathroom and den disappeared to make room for the couple’s spacious master retreat. Since it was not being used as an entranceway, the home’s front door and hall were also eliminated to create a large walk-in closet and main-floor powder room.
 
The luxurious en suite, designed by Aqualuxe Bath Showroom, is a seamless extension of the sleeping area. It features a private water closet with TOTO Neorest toilet, as well as two Vanico Maronyx vanities. A lot of shopping was needed to get just the right touch. After scouring Toronto bath stores, the owner found the bathroom fixtures and vanities she loved right here in London at Aqualuxe. 
 
Sliding doors from the master bedroom now lead to a stamped concrete pad and a hot tub, while Copp’s Buildall replaced the home’s old aluminum siding with Hardieplank and installed a large Fiberon deck off the sunroom and kitchen. “No more sanding and re-staining,” notes the owner.
 
On the second storey, grey porcelain tile floors and the hallway’s bright blue walls (Big Country Blue by Benjamin Moore), give the entire level a fun, contemporary feel. The paint colours were specifically chosen to create a gallery look to show some of the owner's photos and digital art.

 

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