If you follow our Instagram stories, you’ve probably heard us mention our ‘Halifax’ project (it’s actually in Dartmouth!) a few times this past year and maybe you’ve seen the first few photos start to trickle into our main feed recently. This was a major out-of-town undertaking and we are so excited to finally reveal the photos and share the story behind this special project.
Our clients, J.D. and Gindy, are both originally from Nova Scotia and had been living in Toronto since 1999 after moving there as a young and childless couple. They started their family in Toronto and grew to love their central neighbourhood and the convenience and pace of Toronto life. Their kids grew up living walking distance to school, friends’ houses, and activities and as a family there were able to enjoy a couple Raptors, Jays, and Leafs games a year and time boating together on Lake Ontario during the summer months. Like a lot of big city transplants, J.D. and Gindy always assumed they’d end up ‘back home’ eventually, but figured that would be after their kids (currently 12 and 15) had finished high school and gone off to university.
That was the plan until the pair found out that a house they couldn’t pass up had come onto the market in Nova Scotia: Gindy’s childhood home in Dartmouth. Built by Gindy’s father in 1967, her family had lived there until 1998 when her parents downsized and it was sold to another local family. J.D. happened to be between jobs and after almost 20 years out of the family, the Dartmouth home was for sale at a time when the housing market in Toronto was red hot. It might not have been in the plans, but our clients couldn’t ignore that the timing seemed to be a big neon sign from the universe that it was time to pack up and head east. What started as a daydream session on a family vacation quickly turned into an offer, which was accepted. It was time to head home.
The most recent owners had renovated the kitchen in 2000 and put an addition on in 2003, and it was clear that they had loved the home and taken excellent care of it. That said, our clients really wanted to take the house and make it their home. Moving two pre-teen kids out of their community and halfway across this giant country of ours isn’t easy for any family, so it was especially important to J.D. and Gindy that the house felt personal, welcoming, and emblematic of everything there was to look forward to in the family’s new east coast life. On a more practical note, the house hadn’t been renovated or redecorated for several years, so it was simply time for a face lift anyway.
The biggest renovation happened in the addition, where we replaced the floors of the master bedroom and completely remodelled the ensuite. Bold, warm colours were replaced with soothing coastal tones and the ensuite was transformed into a spa-inspired retreat. With a soft wallpaper feature wall, luxurious bed with crisp white linens, a cozy fireplace and wall-to-wall lake views, this space is truly a modern maritime oasis now.
The staircase was another big job, as we started from scratch and opted for a fresh, transitional look with square spindles and newel posts. We also transformed the original master bedroom into a spacious guest suite and aimed for a relaxing feel with layered cool neutral tones. We worked with our clients’ kids to create bedrooms for them that would feel like home right away and finished the top level with a cozy reading nook for Gindy (and Winnie the pug) to enjoy on rainy days.
The house sits on the north side of Lake Banook, overlooking the entire lake and its many paddling clubs (paddling is a popular activity in the region and Lake Banook is actually set to host a number of international paddling competitions in the coming years). Our clients both paddled as kids and their children have since taken it up since the move to Dartmouth. They also enjoyed backyard pond hockey for the first time this winter and are looking forward to many summers on the water. With the beautiful setting of their new home, family ties to the area, and the revitalization of downtown Dartmouth, our clients and their kids are enjoying the process of carving out their space in the city and setting into their new life as an east coast family. From the bright lights of the Big Smoke back to ‘The Darkside’, our clients made quite the journey and trusted us with the destination. We feel so honoured to have been part of this story and wish them nothing but happiness in their new, old home.
This was a large project so we’re revealing it floor by floor, starting from the top. Stay tuned for part two!