HOMES

Mid-Century Labour of Modern Love

August 21, 2018 | PHOTOGRAPHY BY GORDON KING

Bought on emotion, a mid-century modern home becomes a labour of love.

Our Homes Ottawa Summer 2018A version of this article originally appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of  OUR HOMES The City of Ottawa, p.52. Find local businesses in our Ottawa directory.

Mid-century modern aficionados Fraser Valentine and Matthew Ball had never heard of Rothwell Heights or its Briarcliffe enclave, designated a Heritage Conservation District and the first in Canada to recognize mid-20th Century modern architecture. The self-described real estate junkies had no intention of selling their Westboro townhome, but came across a listing for a mid-century modern.
 
"We knew right away we loved it and we bought it on emotion,” says Matthew. Characterized by clean, simple lines and large expanses of glass that open up the interior of the house to the setting outside – essentially, breaking down the barriers between indoors and out to create a connection to nature – mid-century modern architecture introduced the concept of open floor plans. But while the home they purchased in 2011 maintained the integrity of its style, it desperately needed loving attention.
 
A lengthy renovation process began with updating the septic system, roof, wiring, windows and air system.
 
They then turned their focus to a backyard escape. Total Fence designed and built a 1,200 sq. ft. deck. to surround their swimming pool. Avid gardeners, they wanted a garden that would fill the entire space but at the same time, be manageable enough because of their busy careers. They connected with Ailsa Francis Garden Design and transplanted more than 700 plants, trees and shrubs.
 
The tranquil setting is a much-deserved retreat.
 
 

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