When the couple of 30 years turned their attention to their own dream home, they chose an established hillside neighbourhood with a double-sized property overlooking Barrie’s city centre. Where a leaky, old cottage stood, Terri and Ken pictured a welcoming retreat where friends and family would gather often. Characteristically, the action-oriented duo went all in to make magic happen. Together, they met with custom home builder Alliance Homes at the planning stage to ensure all opportunities were maximized.
“I prefer to talk to couples – they need to enjoy the process together,” Terri says of her professional approach to a fresh project. “The drawing stage is a wonderful time to troubleshoot the flow of your new home.”
Whether she’s working on a small update or a new build, she works closely with homeowners to introduce them to the possibilities that best fit their lives going forward. That could mean wall placement options, fixtures and finishes and/or final furnishings, depending upon the project.
“My whole job when I’m hired by someone is to guide them through the process. It’s a very emotional trip for anyone going through change – period,” she acknowledges. “You have one chance to get it right.”
She was careful to take her own advice when approaching her own project. She and Ken were looking for clean lines and a contemporary feel that would combine working, living and entertaining functions.
Refreshing the 1979 backsplit addition to include office space for Ken and a showcase of mementos from his sporting days, they also replaced the cottage with an expansive bungalow topped with a false front dormer to provide height, and finished with stonework and wooden columns to fit naturally amid their extensive and beloved gardens.
“I’d put money into lighting before anything,” she confides. “That’s what brings the bling.”
The incorporation of storied treasures brings the heart: a totem pole discovered at Kempenfest, a dining room hutch repurposed as a powder room vanity, a painted reminder of a fondly remembered pet. Even the state-of-the-art laundry room fitted with high-end appliances is tempered by family photos bursting with the laughter of children.
“I wanted a character home that was warm and inviting,” she reflects, glancing across the 17-foot kitchen island designed for conversation, and through french doors to a casual dining space on the covered back deck beyond. The cabinetry was built by Designer’s Plus Kitchen & Bath several years ago. It was moved from the Clarks’ previous home and then additional storage was added to match the timeless shaker-style cabinetry.
The formal dining room offers an elegant experience. Ken proudly points out Terri’s skill in floral arrangement as showcased in the living centrepiece atop the massive rectangular Restoration Hardware wooden table. Above, an oversize globe chandelier falls from the 14-foot peak of the vaulted ceiling and shines on a wall of custom cabinetry. “Scale is an important consideration. The baseboards, for example, have to be the right height for the room,” she explains.
Across the wide entrance hall, the living room is a study in texture. The cultured stone feature wall with custom twin built-ins is topped with a tongue-in-groove ceiling emboldened with beams and peppered with pot lights. Plush furniture, a wall of windows and a neutral palette (enhanced by Benjamin Moore Cloud White paint from Irvine Carpet One Floor & Home) provide an airy, yet cosy, environment for friends to come together.