The first thing you often notice when walking into the home of voracious readers is their vast array of books. Ken Boichuk and Karen Finlay, married in 2017, took their love one step further, creating a stunning library with built-in cabinetry only steps inside their front door. With the walls painted their favourite shade, Bracing Blue by Sherwin Williams, this is a place to escape with a good story. Yet it’s more than that. “The library is a symbol,” says Karen. “It’s how we envisioned the renovation itself. It’s a new chapter for the house, and a new chapter in our lives.”
When Karen and Ken moved in together in 2013, they knew they needed space that was no longer his and hers, but theirs, a place to share. Each previously married, the couple had known each other for many years before connecting together. They hadn’t considered renovating a bungalow until they stumbled across this 2,212 sq. ft. house, nestled in a cosy neighbourhood surrounded by trees and the bustle of city amenities. “We weren’t looking for a bungalow,” says Karen, “but we could see the potential behind the tired veneer and realized one-level-living would be great for the next phase in our lives.”
Ken is a retired history teacher who devotes his time to the Grimsby Library, where his passion for the written word fuels the Grimsby Author Series, an event that draws hundreds every year. Karen is the Chief of Radiology for Hamilton Health Sciences. Between them, they have four children, the youngest just finishing graduate school. “We wanted the house to have everything we need on one level,” says Ken, “while still offering a place the kids could come home to, to feel comfortable.”
The couple’s vision extended outside the home. “Corner lots are known to have small and sometimes awkward shaped yards,” says Ken. “But this house has an amazing backyard.” Waterdown’s Shades Of Summer Landscaping & Maintenance, winner of the Canadian 2018 National Award of Landscape Excellence for Residential Maintenance, created a backyard oasis with seating and entertaining areas and foliage-screened privacy. Paradise Decks & Landscape Design and Water Your World Inc. were also involved.
Inside, the renovation by Jack Design & Construction took only four months. At the core is a large open-concept kitchen, living room, and seating area; the perfect space for lounging and chatting while dinner is being prepared. Distinctive Designs & Cabinetry Inc. designed and built the kitchen cabinets and library, using every possible inch for storage, and Cambria quartz countertops are both stylish and durable.
Hardwood and porcelain floors, chosen to withstand years of wear, come from Speers Flooring, and the kitchen appliances are from Nickerson Home Appliances. The fireplace creates a unique focal point flanking the living room and running the vast wall to the lower level. Thomas TV was responsible for the sound and entertainment system.
The couple wanted a master bathroom retreat, a place to decompress. “I work long hours,” says Karen, “and enjoy coming home to spa-like comforts.” The mostly white (Benjamin Moore Cloud White) and grey (Sherwin Williams Worldly Gray) master en suite with freestanding soaker tub and glass enclosed shower – courtesy of Kitchen & Bath Classics – offer the perfect backdrop to relax with a good book.