Design Portfolio – Ottawa Street South

This project was a true labour of love for a young first-time homebuyer who hired us shortly after purchasing his home, pre-construction, from a local builder.

Our client came armed with very detailed Pinterest boards that clearly articulated the overall look and feel he wanted to achieve in his home.

After placing complete trust in us and giving us the autonomy to make the best design, budget and décor and decisions for him, we began working closely with his builder’s design centre and our dedicated interior design and trades teams to make his dream a reality.

The greatest early challenge for our team was managing the budget. Much time was spent weighing the options and trade-offs of builder upgrades vs. post-possession upgrades.

An important aspect of this process was working with a local real estate appraiser with the ability to accurately value the home, such that we could ensure that we weren’t over-investing.

The most major alteration we made to the builder’s main floor plan was our redesign and expansion of the kitchen. What was meant to be a very small kitchen, with an equally small dining room, was expanded to create one large combined space. This was the easy part.

The exciting and more challenging part came as we began to tease apart the design for his dining table. Our client wanted to begin to entertain more and so was after generous seating for eight. We wanted to ensure greater functionality by including additional island type space that would allow for bar/buffet set up, hence greater ease of entertaining.

This process required very closely integrated work between our kitchen designer, millwright, stainless steel fabricator, plumber and electrician.

The result is a fabulous solid walnut table, bookended with navy blue cabinets, shrouded with stainless steel waterfall tops, a seamless integrated stainless sink, wine fridge and hidden microwave. He is in love!

For our client, this project was not completed without the typical stress associated with purchasing a first home, pre-construction.

We had to deal with convincing the builder to allow us to modify the property, we had to deal with trades strikes that pushed back closing multiple times and – this is unavoidable. What lessened his stress, is that he could rest assured that it would all work out in the end.

As a first-time new home buyer I found myself lost in the process with so many variables to consider. Design changes, construction timelines, appropriate decor choices, and how each of these are influenced by my current needs versus the unknowns that come with growing in your first home. Most importantly I learned that you must establish priorities because what you see on Pinterest and Instagram is not always rooted in reality. I needed the wisdom and guidance of a professional. Thanks to referrals from three friends and colleagues, I was introduced to Andrea Hylton and her team. The idea of working with a professional seemed out of my reach but after just one conversation, Andrea put my mind at ease, quickly reassuring me that her team was flexible and would be happy to be involved as much as I would like. Right from the start, at the builder design consultations, Andrea brought tremendous value to the table with her knowledge, experience, and business savvy - I could not imagine going through the rest of this project without her. With every step of the journey, Andrea was involved in each decision; suggesting creative ideas, helping talk-out priorities, and advocating on my behalf with the builder and suppliers. We had setbacks which were outside of our control, which I’m told are common in new builds, but these never deterred Andrea from delivering our shared vision. I had confidence and trust that Andrea would deliver because she understood my aspirations for the home, not only because she had a professional, but also a personal, vested interest in making it come to life. Everyone who visits my new home is blown-away with how the space has been uniquely transformed. In all honesty, it still gives me pause when I come home from work and think - Wow, do I really live here?

Adam, Kitchener