Designer Ashley Montgomery‘s lower-level reno of a 1970s ranch bungalow for restaurateurs Caitlin and Drew Alford proves that there are basements, and then there are basements. In 2018, when the couple moved in to the Barrie, Ont., house (Buckwheat, their Saint Berdoodle arrived soon after), they were keen on the basement’s pool access and proximity to the ravine setting but disliked the dated interior. The ask was for an inviting lower level with guest rooms for visiting family, a bar for entertaining and a lounge-worthy living area, “or rumpus room that felt like the lakehouse scenes in The Godfather Part II,” says Drew, referring to the movie’s Lake Tahoe lounge pad interiors, replete with stone and wood finishes.
The couple started with a main-floor renovation, which was infused with a dark, rich palette, then they brought in designer Ashley Montgomery to tackle the basement. “We like a warm, laid-back aesthetic, and we love Ashley’s work,” says Caitlin. “There are a lot of antiques in her projects and a depth that feels cozy and beautiful.” Caitlin and Drew are gung ho for old treasures, too; they often hit up antique shows in the U.S. “For the upstairs reno, we filled a box truck with goods from the Round Top Antiques Show in Texas and brought it home,” says Drew. “Collecting is how we decorate.”