PHOTOGRAPHY: SACHA LECLAIR
After living in Toronto for almost 20 years, Kimberley Dixon and her family left to seek a less hectic lifestyle in a small community near Ottawa. “We had something huge in life that made us take a pause and decide that we wanted a better quality of life,” Kimberley says. “We moved from Toronto when the market was hot, and found this little paradise.”
The family’s Toronto home had been a traditional city house; their new one is contemporary, built in 2009 on Constance Bay on the Ottawa River. It’s right on the waterfront, with its own beach, surrounded by gardens in the front and back, with large windows and water views. It has high, vaulted ceilings over the living and dining space, and a second-floor loft area over the kitchen, for a total of about 2,500 square feet of living space.
That change in style, combined with their new, open floor plan, meant that their old furniture would be all wrong and left Kimberley uncertain of how to define this new space to make it fit their new lives. “I love to decorate,” she says. “But I found this space quite overwhelming.” As a birthday treat to herself, she called in the team from Leclair Decor in Ottawa.
Kimberley says she wanted a “modern-century” style that would be chic without being fussy. “We’re constantly having parties so I didn’t want it to be a space where everything looks nice but you can’t touch it,” she says.
Marcela Gutierrez, senior designer at Leclair Decor, created a look that she calls rustic-contemporary. “That’s something we like to do, to combine different styles and make it more personal for the client,” Gutierrez says. One of the ways she achieved that was by mixing various materials. She combined a wood coffee table with a metallic side table, and chose upholstery, rugs and accessories in a mix of textures. She sourced most of the pieces through her firm’s furniture store in Ottawa, LD Shoppe. “We combined wood, fabrics, texture and metals so they would go together but weren’t the same,” she says. “At the end, it all works together.”
Large area rugs help to define the living and dining areas. “We usually go with bigger sizes so it defines the spaces and we place the furniture around it,” Gutierrez says. She also placed a faux cowhide rug on top of a larger jute run in the living room as a way to add more of the rustic flair that her client wanted. Kimberley didn’t want a lot of colour, so all of the tones are neutral beiges, browns and golds, with just a few blue touches added in the accent cushions. “We wanted that area to be cozy; that’s their main living space,” Gutierrez says. “It was important that it felt like a place where they could gather.”
They also put care into choosing art for the dining room. The pieces the family had purchased for their previous home didn’t seem to fit. Then Kimberley and Gutierrez found an abstract work that incorporated the feel and gold tones the family favoured.
In the kitchen, the updates were all cosmetic. None of the cabinetry needed to be replaced, but the room’s colours didn’t please Kimberley. To freshen up the space, the design team painted the green walls white and replaced the red backsplash with hexagonal marble tiles that fit into the neutral palette and rustic theme.
The final result exceeded the family’s expectations, Kimberley says. “They did a great job with the ideas I had in my head, and exploring the different options.”
The family’s little slice of paradise on Constance Bay is now home. •