Home Improvement: A Barrie Reno for a Globetrotting Family


This Barrie couple isn't afraid to renovate.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of  OUR HOMES Barrie Orillia Midland Innisfil, p. 54. Find local businesses in our Barrie directory. 


Wanting to put down roots in a well-established community close to Barrie’s urban centre, Krista and Olivier Maydew couldn’t have chosen better than Kempenfelt Village. The subdivision dates back two centuries in what is now the city’s east end.
“There’s a lot of character in this neighbourhood,” says Krista, a Sault Ste. Marie native who met her future husband while attending university in Ottawa. “It has evolved over time, so there’s a lot of diversity in the style of homes here.”
Olivier, originally from Belgium, is a commercial pilot. Following the recommendation of a colleague, the couple chose Barrie as a beautiful and convenient home base and settled in the city’s south end. After about nine years, it was time for a change for the growing family, which now includes Sophie, who’s 12, Ethan, 14, and their Welsh Springer Spaniel Nia.
Because of the popularity of Kempenfelt Bay’s north shore, they were urged to make an immediate offer if a property sparked an interest. That’s exactly what they did when they found a rare deep lot. The house itself was almost irrelevant. “We knew we could make the house what we wanted it to be,” recalls Olivier, “but the lot couldn’t be changed.”
Although they initially considered tearing down the 67-year-old house, they hesitated to alter the look and feel of their street. They considered their options for two and a-half years before taking action.
“In the end, the front porch was the only change to the outside structure of the house,” he says, referring to the timbered addition with durable Brazilian Ipe wood decking. 
Inside the 2,400 sq. ft. house, despite the charm they were surprised to discover, the rooms were small and the décor dark. They wanted to open everything up and let the light flow through from front to back. To set the stage, they chose a wide-plank flooring of engineered white oak from Irvine Carpet One Floor & Home.
Since they both cook, the kitchen was a natural focal point. A six-burner stove was essential. With open shelves instead of upper cabinetry, innovative storage solutions were required. A 10-foot island was included in the plan to accommodate guests and their extensive collection of kitchen equipment.
To turn their vision into reality within a strict three-month period, the couple trusted Ryan Gradziel and Tyler Brown, owners of Oaklea Homes and experienced builders of custom homes and luxury renovations. “They did a phenomenal job,” Krista says. “We threw them a few curveballs, but they still came in on time and on budget. The process was easy.”
With most of the main floor gutted, Krista and Olivier faced a staggering number of decisions. For some, they deferred to the experts. For most, they chose their own path. “It’s eclectic,” she says of their approach. “We didn’t want to be constrained by a single style.”
The Moroccan pendant globe showers the upper stairway in light and lends the otherwise neutral palette applied. It also adds to the happy memories of this globe-trotting family.
“There are influences everywhere,” Olivier says, indicating the octagonal floor tiles in the upstairs bath and the painted tiling in the basement laundry that point to his European background. “I really love our kitchen and having that space where we’re all together.”
Krista has a harder time picking a favourite room. “I like the whole atmosphere,” she smiles. “This house is the culmination of a dream.”