It was the summer of 2020 and Torontonians Kelly Wilton and Rob Price loaded up their car with kids and suitcases in search of some much-needed fresh air. The lockdown was in full swing and Kelly’s parents’ house in Fergus, Ont., offered refuge, with its sprawling space and inviting pool. One blissful week of swimming, biking and hiking later, Rob looked at Kelly on the drive back to Toronto and said, “What are you thinking?” Her reply was instant. “I think I want to move.” The couple, along with their two children, Theodore, 4, and Vivienne, 3, had been living in a semi-detached house in the Danforth area for close to a decade. “We were bursting at the seams,” says Kelly. “We came close to buying in Toronto in the summer of 2020, but none of the houses were right — we felt we were always sacrificing something.” Both professionals worked long hours: Kelly, a respirologist and sleep physician, was on the front lines at Scarborough General Hospital, while Rob was in property tech. Weekends were spent escaping to the outdoors. They missed their families and, as the pandemic wore on, they kept asking themselves the same question: “Where do we find joy?” says Kelly. “It wasn’t in the city.” They decided to move to Guelph, Ont., not far from Kelly’s parents’ place.
Prior to 2020, if you’d told Alana Firestone and Jordy Fagan of Collective Studio that they’d be renovating a house in Guelph from their computer screens in Toronto, they wouldn’t have believed you. But they quickly sprang into action when Kelly gave them a call. “We signed on and everything was unknown,” says Alana. “We didn’t have a contractor in Guelph; site measurements had to be done remotely, and we had to provide a detailed construction package, where everything, down to the location of a toilet paper holder, was included because we couldn’t visit.”
Keep scrolling to see this beautiful Country escape!
Author: Amanda Ross
House & Home April 2022
Alana Firestone and Jordy Fagan of Collective Studio