Trish Carscadden was dubious. Redesigning her family of four’s 1950s sidesplit was one thing. But going mid-century modern?
“I was nervous. I thought it might look like ‘Mad Men’ or something,” she recalls, referring to the TV series set in the ’60s.
But designer/renovator Gord Shearn, who’d been recommended by a friend, knew what he was doing.
“In Gord I trust” became her motto, she says with a laugh.
Sidesplits are interesting animals, observes Shearn. “You have to either erase or embrace it.”
Tasked with creating more space in the Carscaddens’ 2,200-square-foot home in 2018, he chose to embrace it.
“The big thing was … OK, it’s not a charming sidesplit. (But) the main thing was not to try and fight the house.”
Trish’s verdict? “Warm and comfortable, modern and fresh. We love it.”
Updated to suit the family’s lifestyle, the renovated house is 900 square feet bigger with an additional bedroom suite, an extended main floor and a new powder room.
Texture and natural wood make it warm and inviting, says Shearn, owner and principal of gordongroup, a Toronto design, build and project management firm specializing in residential projects. Gordongroup also did most of the contemporary furniture and interior design as part of the almost year-long project.
When Trish and her husband Kevin bought the Etobicoke house in 2007, it was intended as a starter home. But two children later, they’d become too attached to the neighbourhood and their best friends — the family of four across the road — to move.
A kitchen update and refresh 10 years ago didn’t solve the practical and space issues. For one thing, they were all sharing the main-floor bathroom, with Kevin using the basement bathroom to shower, says Trish.
“Everything was just a little too tight,” adds Shearn.
The solution was to add a whole floor above the living room, dining room and kitchen to give the couple a spacious 500-sq.-ft. principal bedroom suite. Then the main floor was opened up and flipped, putting the kitchen at the front of the house and the living room with a walkout in a 400-sq.-ft. addition at the back. Shearn also added a powder room and small library area off the living room.
An authentic-looking but “fake” brick wall separates the great room from the hallway and staircase, while an oak coffered ceiling defines the dining area which easily accommodates an eight-person table. White oak flooring and walnut built-ins were installed throughout.
Modern light fixtures and artwork, including a large picture of a cuckoo clock by Shearn’s husband, artist Jeff Riffle, provide finishing touches.
The home’s exterior, sporting a new dormer, was updated with new windows and louvred panels, stonework and metal roof.
For Trish and Kevin, their son Alex, 14, daughter Carling, 12, and pandemic pup, French bulldog Penny, the makeover more than meets their needs and dreams.
“Having our own space is great,” Trish says of the couple’s bedroom, walk-in closet and ensuite contained on its own floor. And the kids got more space in their rooms, she adds.
The family’s favourite place is the living room with its big fireplace set in a walnut wall and clear view through to the kitchen.
“It’s just gorgeous. We’re there all the time,” says Trish.
You might say they’re just mad about it.
Size then 2,200 square feet + basement
Size now 3,100 square feet + basement
Bedrooms 4 + 1
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