A Designer's Home Grows to Stay in Collingwood


A designer expands her own home, incorporating favourites with new finds.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Mid-Summer 2018 issue of  OUR HOMES Southern Georgian Bay, p.100. Find local businesses in our Southern Georgian Bay directory.

Designer Katherine Arcaro’s rambling Collingwood home has evolved with their family over the years, with additions and renovations tailored to their changing needs.
When she and husband Mario first built their home nearly two decades ago, their space requirement was not great; a small home with a two-car garage suited their needs. But as children arrived, they realized their house needed to grow. The first remodel included a downstairs mudroom as well as a family room adjacent to the kitchen. “Our initial renovation really changed the way the house worked, and improved the feel of our space so much,” says Katherine.
As the children, Maria and Tony, grew into teenagers and the family’s needs changed again, Katherine and Mario considered selling their home and starting over with a new build. But only briefly. “Our home is mature, with such a cosy feeling and our neighbourhood is filled with friends. We just couldn’t imagine moving away,” says Katherine. They ultimately chose to create the space they needed, right where they were.
That second renovation was substantial and included adding a kitchen that spanned the length of the house, a new master bedroom, an additional kitchen, screened porch, pool and second two-car garage. But Katherine, partner and designer at Farrow Arcaro Design Inc. (FAD), was up to the challenge. “This type of project is typical of the services we provide at FAD. We work with clients to identify their needs, designing the space to fit their lifestyle,” says Katherine.
Coordinating with architectural technologists and tradespeople, Katherine and her partner Marina Farrow developed and implemented plans for the remodel.
Katherine chose a casual, eclectic feel. The expansive kitchen island called for two large, bold pendants, which create the focal point of the room. The mauve of the pendants’ shades is continued throughout the home as an accent colour, including the linen curtains in the living room, dining area sconces and bedroom linens. The couple’s furniture was primarily sourced through FAD, along with other decorating elements, such as lighting, accent pieces and textiles.
In summer months, the family gathers for meals in the new, comfortable screened porch, and spends many afternoons poolside. Greenery and vintage treasures from Kettlewells give the pool deck personality. Martin Zeng of Zeng Landscaping installed the swimming pool and stone work. Stonemason Dominic Arcaro completed the masonry work on the house, making the addition seamless.
The tranquil pool area leads to the second garage, where Mario stores his “baby,” a 1969 Chevy Camaro. The immaculately restored and rebuilt muscle car is the latest in a series of classic vehicles, “But this one is really his dream car,” Katherine notes.
When weather turns cool, Mario’s lower-level kitchen fills with friends. “This space is all Mario – the kitchen, the cantina for curing his prosciutto, the wood stove. It’s so handy to have it all here, connected to the mudroom,” says Katherine. “The room, and the whole house really, are quite warm and cosy in winter with the heat of the wood stove.”
Among the family’s visitors are a multitude of neighbours, who may take a break from their afternoon walk to sit down for a chat around the Camaro or kitchen island. “We just love our neighbourhood. Our children have grown up on these streets, free to roam and play with their friends. There’s a real feeling of community here, and we’re grateful the renovations we made to our home allowed us to stay,” says Katherine. 

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
The front elevation shows the seamless design that was created when an addition was put on the home. A fire pit on the front lawn is still very private as the house is surrounded by mature trees.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
Random cuts of flagstone create a meandering path to the front door. A Japanese maple is surrounded by coral bells and hostas in a repetitive pattern in the front garden.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
Katherine and Pippin, a long-haired dachshund, relax by the pool. Lush tropicals and flowering containers surround a distressed door. Metal table and door from Kettlewells.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
The kidney-shaped pool installed by Zeng Landscaping is in a sheltered and private corner of the rear garden, perfect for sunbathing.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
Mauve repeats as an accent colour in the living room, dining area and master bedrooom. Chess anyone? The living room is a quiet spot to retreat and ponder the next move.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
In the dining room of the open-plan main floor, a trestle table and leather chairs offer lots of room for entertaining.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
Open shelves hold an eclectic collection of china and glass. Having only lower shaker-fronted cabinets creates an open clean aesthetic in the new kitchen. Windows on two sides let sunlight fill this well-used space, and provide a view of the pool.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
In the front hall, a view into the kitchen also shows the open-tread stairs to the second floor and down to Mario’s cantina and mudroom that has access to the garage.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
Katherine, Mario, Tony and Maria Arcaro have lunch on the screened porch. The linen tablecloth and the wicker seating keep the feeling light and breezy. Strings of Edison-bulb lights shine at night.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
Double doors open onto the screened porch from the master bedroom. Patches the cat has a view of the garden to keep an eye on the birds. Mixed patterns come together on the master bed. The door leads to the master en suite and on the other side of the bed is a walk-in master closet.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
The master bathroom double vanity has a matching mirror that reflects the large walk-in shower.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
A peek into the guest bathroom through the sliding barn door reveals a Moulin Rouge poster.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
While gaming in the family room, Tony picks the bean bag chair over the large sectional. Family photos, grouped together, hang above the half stairs to the main floor.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
Linen bedding on Tony’s bed keep it cool for the summer. Doors to a closet were removed and shelves built in, becoming an organized space for his desk.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
With the closet converted into a desk, a large bulletin board displays medals and mementos. The room has a wall of custom cabinets instead to store clothing and personal items.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
Maria’s music and art fill her bedroom.

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Photography by Sandy MacKay
Mario's ’69 Camaro has pride of place. With tools and his expertise, this beauty is in top shape.