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Before & After – First Impressions – Apr/May15

Before & After - First Impressions - Apr/May15

A dated side-split in Whitby turns country chalet.

Photography By Chris Harrison

While most renovations target either the entire home or the interior, it is rare when only the outside is renovated. This Whitby side-split offered us this singular opportunity because the owners wanted to bring the exterior architecture to the level of its already updated core.



Situated away from the street, the building’s architecture was completely uneventful. Its best feature, the articulated side-split volume, was predominantly clad in a soft-coloured brick that the clients wanted to partially keep. However, the glazed front-entrance addition and the white horizontal clapboard of the second floor had to go. That’s when our interior design firm, Dochia, became involved in the renovation.


To create an impressive entrance, add a wrap-around porch, and re-think the use and look of the side porch that faced the pool area.

For a chalet-like look, we designed a strong canopy, which is immediately visible upon approaching the home. The oversized pitched roof was opened all the way to the top and supported by four tapered columns. This re-adjusted the proportion and scale of the entire front façade, creating drama and functionality.


Different cladding materials were chosen to complement the brick. The mixed-lot Canyon Stone and the dark-moss board and batten wood siding were carefully balanced and in tone with the asymmetrical shape of the home. For the new entrance, we selected a rich mahogany-stained wood door. The columns supporting the porch were placed in relationship to the existing windows and other architectural elements in order to establish a certain rhythm and harmony.

The wrap-around porch was designed to serve the everyday use of the home. It started at the front entrance, wrapped all along the garage-facing side to finally reach the back door. This generated a covered five-foot wide path that links the key points of entry and provides protection from unfavourable weather while unloading the car, or during other house chores.

A unique characteristic of this property is the fact that the side yard is really the backyard. This is where all entertainment happens; the pool and the barbecue, the al fresco dining and the hot tub. But despite a beautifully terraced landscape leading from the house down to the pool, the side porch was underused, mostly because its shallowness made it impossible to accommodate either proper seating or an eating area.


We identified an alternate use and proposed a functional serving bar that allows for social interaction and easily integrates into the space. Esthetically, the side porch roof detailing is borrowed from the front façade, with slight modifications. The result makes the space inviting and practical.

Another interesting challenge was the uneven window sizes and sills. We developed an adaptable wood-trim detail designed to visually adjust their proportion. Painted in contrasting colour, it allows the eye to focus on the larger surrounding woodwork, instead of the window itself.

To tie it all in, the colour scheme is nuanced and in tone with the natural surroundings. This creates a visual relationship between the building and landscape elements and plays on the chalet concept of visual communication with nature.

Trained as an architect and interior designer, Adriana Mot has been the principal of Dochia since 2000. Born in Europe, she received her professional Architecture and Environmental Design degrees from University of Waterloo. Leading a multi-disciplinary design team, Adriana has been involved in design production and project management for over 18 years. She is a member of The Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO). Her work has been recognized through various awards and publications.