This Family's Minimalist Home is Gorgeous and Livable


A busy Guelph family goes for a chic and modern, minimalist reno.

OUR HOMES Wellington County Orangeville Caledon Holiday/Winter 2018/19A version of this article originally appeared in the Holiday/Winter 2018/19 issue of  OUR HOMES Wellington County, Orangeville, Caledon, p.32. Find local businesses in our Wellington directory.

Aileen and Mike Brown have a hectic work schedule and a busy family life. Both kitchen designers at family-owned Paragon Kitchens, they had a clear vision for renovating the Guelph home they purchased in 2015.
When a brick 1960s Guelph home on a quiet cul-de-sac went up for sale, they knew it could be their forever home, but it would need a transformation from the inside out. They plastered the exterior using traditional European techniques, and paired it with black steel accents to match their modern vision.
This couple knows more than most that the kitchen is the hub of a home, so they shifted a staircase to accommodate a generous open-concept kitchen/dining area. The large island features a four-foot Galley WorkstationThe kitchen cabinet finish is made of Fenix, an Italian laminate featuring nanotechnology that gives it scratch-, stain- and heat-resistant properties.
Most of the cabinetry is a matte black, which grounds the space, but upper cabinets get a glossy wood finish.
Compact, German-made Gaggeneau appliances from AMG Studios were chosen for quality, efficiency and a streamlined look. Aileen explains, “we turned to AMG to help educate us about useful technology for our family. Moving away from a microwave and investing in a steam oven was a real game-changer for us!” Mike adds “the European attitude is to cut out the frills to make it better and keep it longer.” One of his favourite features in the kitchen is the viso rangehood that provides a compromise for different cooks. Mike is over six feet tall. When he cooks, the visor retracts. When Aileen cooks higher-smoke foods, she extends the visor for maximum extraction.
The floors throughout the house are wire-brushed, engineered, oiled white oak from Bigelow Flooring. Aileen says that it will change patina over the years, which adds a warm, lived-in feel.
The floating staircase was designed by the couple with a light, airy feel in mind. The treads and railings were installed by Stair RiteEndeman’s Ironcraft Custom Fabrication created the black ironwork.
For storage, the couple eschewed traditional closets. “Walk-in closets take up too much space with door jambs and excessive walking space,” says Mike. "As cabinet people, we believe in efficiency. We can create more efficient storage in less square footage using cabinet materials.”