De­signer helps fam­ily cre­ate a cus­tom-look­ing home with lit­tle or no ex­tra cost

Ottawa Citizen - - HOMES - JA­NIS WAL­LACE

There are as­pects of their home Christa and Dave Rosser never would have cho­sen on their own.

There are el­e­ments that look high-end cus­tom-made that cost very lit­tle. There is a unity to the style of the house from room to room, floor to floor and in­side to out­doors.

Those are the vis­i­ble ben­e­fits they dis­cov­ered us­ing a pro­fes­sional de­signer. The in­tan­gi­ble ad­van­tages are just as im­por­tant.

Al­though they had built two pre­vi­ous homes on their own, the Rossers tack­led a third one two years ago. Dave’s own car­pen­try business was keep­ing him busy with long hours.

“It was pretty chaotic,” said Christa. And they both had def­i­nite ideas of what they wanted in the new house, not nec­es­sar­ily the same.

They also knew from ex­pe­ri­ence how much time and thought goes into se­lect­ing all the sur­face ma­te­ri­als and de­sign el­e­ments of a new build and all the trips to stores to check out prod­ucts.

“It can be over­whelm­ing. There are so many choices,” said Christa. “I tend to sec­ond-guess my choices.”

So they de­cided to en­list the help of Lon­don, Ont., de­signer Re­becca Courey. Dave had worked with her on projects and knew she could in­cor­po­rate their style pref­er­ences.

“She came to the house, saw our style, asked ques­tions, looked at my Pin­ter­est board and put to­gether an in­spi­ra­tion book,” said Christa, a mother of three.

The cou­ple’s furnishings were mostly creams, whites and neu­trals and they wanted to add more colour in their new home. Dave wanted a blue/grey kitchen. Christa de­scribed their style as tran­si­tional — “noth­ing too modern but more modern than tra­di­tional and some­thing that feels homey.”

They also wanted some­thing that suited their young fam­ily, but looked great for en­ter­tain­ing adult friends.

“When you do some­thing on your own, you’re of­ten choos­ing a look that will be done in five years,” said Christa. “A de­signer knows what will work now and still be good in 10 years. When you’re spend­ing that much money, it’s a huge in­vest­ment and you want to do it once and do it right. Hir­ing a pro­fes­sional gives you those re­sults.”

Dave sees plenty of in­spi­ra­tional de­sign be­cause he pro­vides builtins for builders.

“I also see peo­ple who think they want some­thing but once it’s ex­e­cuted, it’s not what they thought. Work­ing with a de­signer makes ev­ery­thing eas­ier. They know what some­thing will look like. And you’re not spend­ing hours and hours in stores.”

A third party can also nav­i­gate dif­fer­ing opin­ions. “There wasn’t the stress of pitch­ing things be­tween us. We didn’t fight over things,” Dave said.

“It’s hard when both can’t en­vi­sion some­thing,” added Christa. “Becky could show us op­tions and pic­tures. She re­ally un­der­stood our style and what we were go­ing for. Just pick­ing paint colours can be dif­fi­cult. How of­ten do you pick a colour, put it on the wall and it is not what you thought.”

An­other ben­e­fit the Rossers cite is their style car­ries through the en­tire prop­erty.

“The big­gest thing we noticed is Becky made the whole house co­he­sive,” Christa said.

“And she made it work with what we had,” added Dave.

They also say they haven’t had the de­tails be­fore that make the house look cus­tom. The ceil­ing in the kitchen/liv­ing/din­ing room is a darker wood than the floor­ing, runs in the op­po­site di­rec­tion and is set off by white beams. It’s a good foil for the light fur­nish­ing and makes the colour of the cab­i­nets stand out.

White built-in dis­play shelves and cab­i­nets flank the fire­place. The cab­i­nets are great to stash toys out of sight when vis­i­tors ar­rive. The back of the open shelves are painted a dark char­coal which makes the ob­jects pop with pres­ence.

“The in­sets are a dif­fer­ent colour but it didn’t cost more to get a dif­fer­ent look,” Christa said. “Young fam­i­lies want their money to go as far as pos­si­ble. There are ways of do­ing things that do not cost more but give a dif­fer­ent look.”

An­other de­tail is the mill­work de­lin­eat­ing the din­ing area. Hor­i­zon­tal lines echo the kitchen cab­i­nets and add an el­e­gant ac­cent.

“We would never have thought of it,” Christa said. “It took Dave half an hour to do. It gives a dif­fer­ent tex­ture.”

Courey also changed the lay­out of the kitchen. Christa wanted a dou­ble-door pantry with the fridge and stove along the long wall. Courey showed them it was bet­ter vis­ually to cen­tre the range and hood, place the fridge on the other wall be­side the pantry. As well as look­ing great from the liv­ing area, it gives the kids easy ac­cess to snacks with­out get­ting in the way of the cook. “I’m so glad she got me to do it. I re­ally like the back­splash. It’s white but it’s tex­tured,” said Christa. It spans be­tween two small dry­wall sec­tions that de­fine the area. “It feels cus­tom at no ex­tra cost.”

They didn’t know what to ex­pect with the lights over the is­land. Usu­ally two or three fix­tures are hung in a row, but Courey clus­tered three over-sized open metal pieces to cre­ate the ef­fect of a light sculp­ture.

“I love it. It sticks out,” said Christa.

The mud room, com­ing in from the garage, is or­ga­nized for ev­ery­one’s gear. Stripes painted in the colours from the rest of the house il­lus­trate how well the pal­ette works to­gether. Wooden spools act as hooks for coats.

“That out­side-the-box feel adds more char­ac­ter to each room,” said Christa.

One wall in their of­fice is cov­ered in floor­ing laid in a dec­o­ra­tive pat­tern. “I would never have thought of it. Most peo­ple go for four plain walls,” Christa said.

The spool mo­tif ap­pears in the stair spin­dles and area car­pet in the en­try. Christa didn’t think she would like the chan­de­lier, but once in­stalled, loved it. She also raves about the ham­mered metal wall­pa­per and car­pet run­ner go­ing up the stairs: “I love all the de­tails.”

In the mas­ter en­suite, a wall of zigzag striped tile is an­other ex­am­ple of cus­tom style at min­i­mum cost. Cream floor tiles frame a sec­tion laid in a pat­tern, pro­vid­ing a fea­ture in front of the van­ity. The coun­ter­top is 7.5 cen­time­tres deep, adding height for a shelf be­low the usual draw­ers and cab­i­nets.

On the lower level, a wall of builtin cab­i­nets hide elec­tri­cal pan­els in the kids’ fam­ily room.

Out­side, Courey helped the Rossers choose stone to flow into the con­crete sur­round­ing the pool, and ar­range cook­ing, eat­ing and sit­ting areas.


Dave and Christa Rosser with chil­dren, Nolan, 8, Ai­dan, 2, and Drew, 5 are happy in their home de­signed with the ex­pert help of Re­becca Courey.

The mas­ter en­suite fea­tures a wall of striped tile, a cus­tom style at min­i­mum cost, sug­gested by de­signer Re­becca Courey.

Pa­tio stones flow into the con­crete sur­round­ing the pool area.

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