Sister Act 3: A Periwinkle Kitchen and Encaustic Tiles


This home walks the line between quirky and traditional.

OUR HOMES Wellington County Orangeville Caledon Summer 2019A version of this article originally appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of  OUR HOMES Wellington County, Orangeville, Caledon, p.86. Find local businesses in our Wellington directory.
UPDATE: In the Fall 2018 issue of OUR HOMES, we showcased the Guelph residences of two sisters, Dr. Mary Peirson and Jane Watson. They live two blocks away from each other. They both married musicians. They work together at Guelph's ArtMed and they have each artfully renovated their own family homes.
In our Summer 2019 issue, we showcased the “third sister” of our Sister Act series – Sara Kaune and her beautiful home. 

Sister Act 3: Sara Kaune: A Periwinkle Kitchen and Encaustic Tiles

Sara and Richard Kaune have a love for old houses. Having spent 25 years living in downtown Guelph, Richard had often admired the beautiful homes on Park Avenue. He noticed a red brick, two-storey beauty for sale one day and encouraged Sara to look at it. They both loved it and took possession in 2004.  Built in 1908, it needed a lot of work.  

They lived in it for four years before starting their renovation plans by refurbishing the front room, which was originally an open porch that was glassed-in, probably in the 1920s. Planning to use the room as a library/home office, they hired a local artisan, Roelf Zantinge, to design and install a built- in bookshelf. The original radiator was left intact, along with the wide window ledge that now showcases Sara’s collection of potted plants, all purchased from Sweet Violets.

Over the years they worked on the windows throughout the house, which were all painted shut. Richard unstuck them.  “I love doing the paint stripping,” he says, “but I leave the painting to Sara, who’s the expert.”

Fast forward to 2018, Sara and Richard were feeling the time had come for the big renovation. Their wish list included making the kitchen more functional, replacing wiring and updating plumbing and mechanicals to current standards – plus a basement reno. As with many renovations, there were surprises lurking behind those walls! While updating plumbing in the second-floor bathroom, they discovered that some of the wooden joists that hold up the ceiling on the first floor had been completely cut in half.

They commissioned Van-Del Contracting to help with the design and reconstruction of the kitchen and then had to add a renovation in the upstairs bathroom.  All of the millwork and craftsmanship in the house is by their millwork shop, VDCM Architectural Woodwork Inc. Richard and Sara can’t say enough about how helpful they were with design suggestions and translating their dreams into beautiful, functional spaces.

The renovations necessitated a complete gutting of the main floor kitchen/sitting room. The family moved out of the house on July 6th of 2018, shuffling family members between Mary and Jane’s homes in the interim. Richard’s love of stripping old windows was put to work at Mary’s house. Back at their own home, new storm windows were fabricated by Webwood Windows.  

The kitchen was an existing extension of the original home, likely added in the 1970s. As it was, the workflow was dysfunctional. Sara always wanted a galley kitchen and Van-Del listened to her ideas and created just that. She wanted food storage on one side and dishware on the other. She planned the size of each drawer according to how it would be used. New appliances were purchased from Goeman’s Appliances- all KitchenAid brand, except for the Miele dishwasher, which Sara also recommended for Mary’s new kitchen.

The floor is Marmoleum from Rich-Craft Interiors Inc. It was Sara’s first choice because “it’s durable and easy to clean,” she remarks. It reminds me of the floor that I walk on every day where I work. Like linoleum, Marmoleum is made of natural fibres and has funky and fun patterns. She chose a periwinkle blue stripe that adds a burst of colour, warmth and personality to the room. The colour was matched and used on cabinet fronts. The encaustic tiles in the foyer are also from Rich-Craft Interiors Inc. 

A prep/beverage/breakfast nook at the rear of the kitchen is a clever and efficient use of space. Richard is the primary cook and he loves the sleek new design. A bench in the nook with a bespoke cushion cover was tailored by Fergus Upholstery to match the wing chairs they recovered in the adjoining sitting area.

An original fireplace with sea-green tile surround was existing and unchanged except for the addition of a gas fire insert from Bast Home Comfort. The cosy room is now a family favourite.

The stunning artwork over the fireplace is by local artist Karen Sliverstone. The lath that was removed during the demolition was saved and used to create a whimsical design together with plaster and strips of wallpaper. Richard chose the wallpaper patterns that echo the blue hues in the room, “in spite of my colour blindness,” he says. 

The adjoining living room has not been changed and is the gathering place for the whole family when they get together for Grey Cup or the Super Bowl. The oriental carpet used to be in sister Mary’s master bedroom, but it didn’t fit, so she gifted it to Sara.  

Upstairs, there are four bedrooms – one for each of the three children, Oskar, Lukas and Max – and the master bedroom. 

The tub in the new bathroom was replaced with a glass shower from Guelph Glass and the floor was lowered when plumbing was reconfigured. Van-Del reworked the incredible wooden door and had it stained to match the rest of the second floor.

The basement was dug out to allow for higher ceilings and the uneven floor was levelled.  An efficient workout area and a full bathroom were created in the space with a walkthrough to the back yard that makes for easy access to the house from the pool.  

After almost five months, Sara and her family left temporary shelter with the other two sisters, and moved into their own home, transformed by thoughtful design, personal style and masterful craftsmanship. 

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Photography by Jason Hartog
Cheery blue and white tiles from Rich-Craft Interiors set the stage for the colour theme throughout the main floor of the house.

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Photography by Jason Hartog
Sara and Richard Kaune with youngest son, Max

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Photography by Jason Hartog
The sitting room off the kitchen is a cosy spot for conversation and added gathering space for entertaining friends and family.

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Photography by Jason Hartog
The wooden display case was existing, probably built at the same time as the french doors were installed, circa 1930.

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Photography by Jason Hartog
The hanging Georgian cabinet is a gift from sister Mary’s Oxford Street home.

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Photography by Jason Hartog
White upper cabinets blend with walls, ceilings and the tile backsplash to create the illusion of space in this narrow setting.

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Photography by Jason Hartog
Sara loves her galley kitchen with plenty of cabinetry for storing food and dishware. The banquette was designed for extra gathering space, dining, and even more storage under the bench.

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Photography by Jason Hartog
A recessed beverage station also stores makings for a quick breakfast and snacks.

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Photography by Jason Hartog
A treasured original oil painting by Laura Beingessner, (sister number 4), is a focal point in the living room.

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Photography by Jason Hartog
Music time in the living room. Max and Richard “plunk” on the piano – and the flute and piccolo come into play as well.

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Photography by Jason Hartog
Sara and Richard Kaune redesigned the glassed-in front porch as a bright and airy home office and cosy reading spot.

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Photography by Jason Hartog
The front hall staircase showcases the original newel post and millwork, and makes a perfect backdrop for an artful display of family photos.

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Photography by Jason Hartog
Dark cabinetry grounds this contemporary bathroom. The wood door was restored by Van-Del with a nod to the home’s history.

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Photography by Jason Hartog
The dressing table in the master bedroom is one of Sara’s finds from the Aberfoyle Antique Market. She repainted it herself.

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Photography by Jason Hartog
This practical, pretty powder room was created during the reno for easy access to the backyard and the pool.