The bones were good and so was the footprint, but the interior was like something out of “The Brady Bunch on steroids.” There were blue suede walls, green-and-red shag carpeting and mahogany wood panelling. It was like a time capsule, according to Drew Coulsonof Coulson Design Build. But it was on a quiet cul-de-sac in one of the most sought-after areas of LaSalle and although most people would have torn it down, the new homeowners were up for the challenge a total gut would present.
Here are 9 factors that brought this project together:
1. THE TEAMWORK
“The homeowners and I really hit it off,” says Drew. “The finished project is a reflection of our relationship and how well we designed together.” In fact, Matt and Leslie Biggley, the homeowners, are so passionate about design they have a design consultant business. You can follow their adventures on Leslie’s blog thelesliestyle.com where she shares the overhaul of each home she and Matt renovate, space by space. According to Drew, joint ventures with clients aren’t always easy to pull off, considering clients’ lifestyles and schedules, but in this case it was the guiding force behind the project – and it shows.
2. THE BUILDER
Known for both his creativity and extensive experience (20 years of building and design work), Drew Coulson is on a mission. “I want to bring excellent design practices to every job I work on,” he says. “On this Tanglewood Project I produced two distinct designs for the clients to choose from. They ended up leaning toward a French country style and that informed everything, from the choice of doors and windows to the interior colour scheme.”
3. THE HISTORY
The Tanglewood house was 4,000 square feet of popular mid-century modern 1960s design trends. “It looked like an old school building,” says Drew. “It was very industrial, with mustard yellow aluminum capping over floor-to-ceiling, overlarge and inefficient windows, a flat roof and several dated steel elements.” It was perfectly preserved in its original state, making it, along with Oxley Winery, one of the biggest makeover jobs Drew’s company has taken on.
4. THE DESIGN CHALLENGE
The challenge was huge. Everything had to go. “We were working with a shell,” says Drew. To get a sense of the magnitude of the project, Drew went in with all the trades and assessed the work in order to understand exactly what was involved. One of the biggest considerations was a large octagonal space in the centre of the original floor plan. “It looked like a wrestling ring,” says Drew. “After we came to terms with that, we realized the entire house needed to be rebuilt from the inside out.”
5. THE TRADES
Drew has a carefully curated group of trades that he treats with ultimate respect. “They make it happen,” he says, “and I work with the best in the business. They do everything to make people happy. Their work ethic is second to none and client satisfaction is top of their mind.”
6. THE SPECIAL FEATURES
Plans included a dramatic new roof, 16-foot vaulted ceilings done in shiplap, a unique herringbone tile pattern on the floors, wrapped beams and an insulated, steel entry door that required a custom steel crew to install. Done in bright white to enhance the light, there is custom millwork and carpentry throughout, an 11-foot quartz kitchen island, several unique, custom-made fireplaces, a specially designed covered, stone entryway and attached garden areas.
7. THE DREAM PROJECT
Drew has a strong passion for contemporary design. His dream projects are net-zero homes with the potential options of green roofs and full solar power. Some of his work can be seen at coulsondesignbuild.com.
8. THE DESIGN PHILOSOPHY
“We do everything above and beyond code,” says Drew. "It’s my personal goal to push the design envelope, incorporate green building practices and make every home as special as the people who live in it.”
9. THE HOMEOWNER SPEAKS
“We had a huge renovation vision for the Tanglewood home, which had sat for years unsold on the market," says Leslie. "We loved homes that Drew both designed and built and asked him to look at this home we were thinking of buying and renovating. It was amazing to watch the process unfold and spectacular to live inside. Every time we welcome people into the home they are just blown away. It’s so rare to meet people who aren’t scared off by a challenge and have the knowledge and expertise to pull off your wildest dreams.”