Changing the floors are part of this aging-in-place home reno

Open concept kitchen/dining room

When Tracy Clipsham’s client, Denise, retired, she decided to move back to her hometown in Grimsby, Ont. and hired Clipsham to renovate a newly purchased 2002 bungalow condo unit. While the request might sound like a typical reno, doing the work in the middle of the pandemic made for some interesting challenges.

“The design process started with an initial visit in August of 2020 and construction started in January of 2021. The whole project, including furniture and accessories, was completed in September 2021,” says Clipsham, founder and principal designer at Liv4 Design Inc.

“During the pandemic, we encountered several supply issues that impacted the project from start to finish, and because of COVID-19, it was awkward for Denise to move out. We renovated the basement first, so she could stay on the main floor and then moved her to the basement while we worked on the main floor. In the end, we are thrilled with the results,” said Clipsham, who worked with the Cameron Building Group to get the job done.

The project: Task #1

The interior design plan was to modernize the style of the 1,000-sq.-ft., two-bedroom, two-bathroom plus basement home and open up the space to allow for more natural light. The original home had beige walls with a red accent wall in the kitchen, oak hardwood flooring, cabinets and fireplace, all on the main floor,
which comprised the kitchen, dining room and living room. It all felt just a little too dark and a little too dated and cramped.

“The new layout for the open-concept living space incorporated a large kitchen island, ample cabinetry that stretches across the back wall, as well as an upholstered window seat to create the new dining area,” explains Clipsham. “A cut out in the kitchen wall to the staircase as well as changing out the glass block window for a frosted pane allowed more light to stream into the kitchen and stairwell, while maintaining a level of privacy from the house next door.”

The project: Task #2

Although Denise was just newly retired, she wanted the renovation to incorporate elements that would make her home accessible as she ages, and that included choosing materials that were durable and easy to maintain. Switching up the flooring, which was a mix of carpet, hardwood and tile, was the first step.

“We chose the same flooring throughout the main floor and the basement to eliminate any threshold changes,” says Clipsham.

“Denise preferred faux wood porcelain tile over hardwood because it’s easy to maintain, and she also selected quartz countertops for easy maintenance.”

Clipsham took space from the main bedroom area and created a larger ensuite to incorporate a new toilet that is a comfortable height, as well as a curbless shower that has a corner bench seat. The existing doorknobs throughout the home were switched out for a lever-style that are, when compared to knobs, much easier to grab and are recommended for accessible design.

Adding colour

Aside from updating the style of the home and bringing in more natural light, Clipsham used a specific colour palette to brighten it up and tie it all together. “We went with accents of blue for the pops of colour. Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy was used on the kitchen island and basement bar. An accent wall in the guest bathroom was done in a gorgeous blue tile.”

Final words

“We had to have a sense of humour for this project,” recalls Denise. “Honestly, looking at the before and after pictures makes me wonder why I bought the house in the first place. Must have been the location! But the contrast is startling. Even being on this side of the reno, it still amazes me when I look at the pictures. Not to mention we were in the middle of a COVID-19 lockdown with no end of supply chain issues. Remarkable, to say the least.”

Photos: Kelly Horkoff

Marlene Eisner
Marlene Eisner
Marlene Eisner is the editor of NextHome New Home + Condo Guide Vancouver and RENO+DECOR GTA and Vancouver, specializing in real estate, new-home construction, home and garden decor, renovation and design.
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