FAM­ILY ROOTS

Ottawa Business Journal - Ottawa at Home - - HOME - WRIT­TEN BY JANE WHIT­ING PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY MARK HOLLERON

When Michelle Tag­gart was look­ing for a home in Ot­tawa, she was in­stinc­tively drawn to a lovely lit­tle house in Welling­ton Vil­lage. Turns out, it was built by her grand­fa­ther Harold Tag­gart who founded a fam­ily busi­ness that even­tu­ally grew to in­clude Ta­ma­rack De­vel­op­ments. She bought it of course!

That was in prepa­ra­tion for mov­ing back to Ot­tawa from Toronto a year later with her hus­band Alex Wil­son. Since then, the cou­ple have re­made the 1940s home in their own “mod­ern meets rus­tic” style, while stay­ing true to Michelle’s fam­ily roots and plant­ing new ones with the ar­rival of two young daugh­ters, twoyear-old Lucy and baby Vivia.

RE­NEW­ING FAM­ILY TIES

In ad­di­tion to dis­cov­er­ing that the house was one of a num­ber that her grand­fa­ther built in the neigh­bour­hood, Michelle can now look out her front win­dow to see the house in which her fa­ther Ian and his six sib­lings grew up in, just across the street. “From the sec­ond I walked in here, it was home,” she says. “It just felt right.”

At first, the young cou­ple did a small reno to fix up the tiny kitchen and up­stairs bath­room. “It was per­fect for us, but less than two years later Lucy was crawl­ing around and Vivia was on

“Our style is a mix of mod­ern el­e­ments with rus­tic antiques.” — MICHELLE TAG­GART

the way,” says Michelle, who needed more space and con­sid­ered a num­ber of op­tions. Sell the house? Tear it down and build some­thing brand new? Or go for an ex­ten­sive ren­o­va­tion with a mas­sive ad­di­tion be­fore the baby ar­rived?

With their strong at­tach­ment to the fam­ily his­tory, they de­cided to ex­pand the home along with their grow­ing fam­ily and had a three-storey ad­di­tion de­signed to pro­vide a wide-open space for a big new kitchen and fam­ily room, with a large mas­ter bed­room and en­suite up­stairs, plus a recre­ational area in the base­ment for a man cave and play­room. The rest of the house was re­con­fig­ured to con­struct a mud room and bath­room where the small kitchen used to be, while the orig­i­nal up­stairs level was re­vamped to in­clude a laun­dry room and guest bed­room.

“Our amaz­ing con­trac­tor, Zane Thorpe from Thorpe Cus­tom Homes, got the whole project done in less than four months,” says Michelle, who was told by some people that it could not be done on such a tight dead­line. “The house has ev­ery­thing we wanted. I’m ex­cited to be rais­ing my kids in the same neigh­bour­hood that their grand­fa­ther grew up in, go­ing to the same school, and keep­ing part of my fam­ily her­itage alive.”

UR­BAN CHIC

The lit­tle house has grown con­sid­er­ably in size from its early roots and blos­somed into a stylish home of con­trast­ing de­sign and dé­cor. “Our style is a mix of mod­ern el­e­ments with rus­tic antiques,” ex­plains Michelle.

This is ev­i­dent in the uni­fi­ca­tion of the older part of the home with the new ad­di­tion. Both ar­eas dis­play an­tique fur­nish­ings and ar­ti­facts that have been passed down through their fam­i­lies, as well as the cou­ple’s fond­ness for mod­ern Cana­dian art. A strik­ing land­scape by Mon­treal artist Nina Cherney hangs over the orig­i­nal wood-burn­ing fire­place in the front liv­ing area, along with a unique piece of lo­cal art­work de­pict­ing a fam­ily tree. They mix in well with old wooden bar­rels from Alex’s great­grand­mother’s barn, a din­ing room ta­ble made of re­claimed wood from the Ot­tawa River and an an­tique bureau from Michelle’s grand­mother.

Above the gas fire­place in the new fam­ily room, open shelv­ing in sal­vaged barn­wood dis­plays a trea­sured collection of vases and pot­tery. The rus­tic touches add tex­ture to the pale grey walls and clean white trim used through­out the main floor. Other uni­fy­ing as­pects in­clude in­stalling new dou­ble-hung win­dows, match­ing the orig­i­nal hard­wood floor­ing in the new ad­di­tion, and fin­ish­ing the two fire­places with the same hearth and bor­der.

By keep­ing a neu­tral pal­ette on the walls and for ma­jor fur­nish­ings, Michelle adds punches of colour with art­work, pil­lows, lamps and chairs that can eas­ily be changed over time. “Our mod­ern pieces like the eat-in kitchen set from Modernica, and ‘cheap and cheer­ful’ el­e­ments such as our couches, were bought to with­stand the ad­ven­tures of two kids.”

With their choice of home and dé­cor, the cou­ple ex­press a mean­ing­ful con­nec­tion to their sur­round­ings. “The house was re­ally well-built. We love its her­itage and have tried to keep as much of its char­ac­ter as pos­si­ble,” says Michelle, who has re­stored her fam­ily roots and suc­cess­fully main­tained the feel of her grand­fa­ther’s de­sign.

VIN­TAGE MOD­ERN

THIS PAGE: TA­BLE AND CHAIRS, THE MOD­ERN SHOP; LUCY EN­TER­TAINS HER FAM­ILY

FAC­ING PAGE: FRANCK BO­HBOT, PHO­TOG­RA­PHY PRINT FROM WWW. YELLOWCORNER.COM, POT­TERY COL­LECTED THROUGH­OUT RU­RAL ON­TARIO.

YOURS MINE OURS

THIS PAGE, CLOCK­WISE: FUR­NI­TURE FROM BOTH GRAND­MOTH­ERS IN­FLU­ENCED THE DIN­ING ROOM DÉ­COR; PAINT­ING ABOVE FIRE­PLACE BY NINA CHERNEY; MUD ROOM WALL COLOUR SEA BREEZE BY DU­LUX, ART BY CHRISTO­PHER GRIF­FIN.

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