There’s something positive and life-affirming about moving. The very idea of closing one door and opening another requires a resilient sense of hope and optimism — especially when you’re leaving behind the legacy home you and your family have lived in and loved for 17 years.
This was the mindset of empty-nesters Liz and Ian Grant when their grand old Belleville, Ontario, century home sold in March 2016. With a clear sense of who they are now and how they wanted to live, they decided to downsize, keeping just half of the antique furniture they had carefully collected over the years. When their house sold more quickly than anticipated, the couple rented a friend’s summer home overlooking the harbor in downtown Picton, Ontario. The picturesque town on the Bay of Quinte is filled with boutiques and trendy restaurants, and surrounded by wineries, beaches and bike trails. The couple became enamored with the quiet neighborhood, so when the house next door to their rental came up for sale, they were quick to nab it for the spectacular waterfront view they had also grown to cherish.
Some might have dismissed the 2,300-square-foot, ’60s-era bungalow as a dowdy little two bedroom full of the relics of that period: thin oak floors and an awkward honey pine–panelled addition propped up on concrete columns at the back. Instead, the Grants saw it as an opportunity to embrace a new aesthetic and create a home that matched their lifestyle. “This was not the house we were looking for,” admits Liz, “but with some help, we knew we could turn it into the modern, clean-lined, light-filled home we wanted.”
The couple found their ideal collaborators in Toronto: architect Brad Abbott and designer Barbara Purdy, Liz’s longtime friend. “Their goal was to create a warm, contemporary rustic look,” says Barbara. “As much as we wanted it light and airy in the summer, we knew that, come winter, the home’s snowy white views would have a big impact on the space. We brought in a lot of warm tones in the furniture to balance it.”
The 18-month-long renovation added 1,000 square feet of living space, taking the house up to three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a home office with a Murphy bed. “We both love the view out the back window and turning on the gas fireplace, sitting on our comfy sofas and looking out to the water,” says Liz. “It’s a slower pace of life here, for sure, but we’re ready for that.”
Scroll down to see the before and after of this bungalow makeover!
Author: Barbara Sgroi
Donna Griffith; Courtesy of Liz Grant (Before images)