The role of a home designer is to listen well and transform the homeowner’s vision into tangible bricks and mortar. I like using the analogy of putting a puzzle together. Within the framework of zoning regulations, soil testing, building codes & budgets (they are the outside pieces of the puzzle), we take the homeowner’s ‘wish list’ and work through the design (all the inner pieces). The inspiration for Ted & Vanessa’s home came from their desire to have a comfortable, relaxing country home, cozy for just their family but large enough for guests when entertaining. Their preferred architectural style of a traditional bungalow drove the exterior aesthetic.

The interiors were designed by Cynthia Soda of Soda Pop Design. Cynthia shares that, “Listening is key when we are creating a space that is unique to our clients’ needs, wants and lifestyle. Our clients’ aesthetic can be described as rustic yet refined with elements that showcase proudly Canadian. It truly is a 3D puzzle and all the parts need to fit to tell a cohesive story. We took elements from the outdoors and brought them in (wood, stone veneer, dark metals etc.). We chose finishes like light toned wood instead of dark (which would have shown every speck of dust and dog fur). We also chose quartz for our kitchen countertop material for its low maintenance compared to natural stone. It was very important to our clients to have a home that was beautiful in an understated, comfortable way. The success of this project truly lay in our clients’ ability to trust our vision and our ability to tell their unique story.”!



Ted & Vanessa’s location in King Township is known for a high water table. It was crucial to determine exactly where those levels were, so early in the process we retained WSP Engineering to perform soil testing. They installed a monitoring well and over a number of months checked the water table levels. Armed with that data & research we set the excavation depth for the new basement and during construction of the new home, the builder utilized the following methods to ensure the finished basement would be dry:

1. The poured concrete walls were waterproofed on the exterior prior to backfilling.

2. Groundwater that drains down the exterior of the basement walls is gathered in a weeper that drains to an interior sump pit.

3. Prior to pouring the basement slab, Clarke Basements was hired to install ‘WaterGuard’ drainage piping around the inside of the footing which is hooked up to solid PVC piping (under the basement floor) that drains into a second sump pit.

4. ‘TripleSafe Sump Pump Systems’ were installed in both sump pits. With 3 pumps and battery back-up it is designed to handle excessive water in hard rains and to run during power outages.

5. The interior foundation walls were lined with ‘ThermalDry’ basement wall insulation prior to installation of standard studding and insulation.

6. Downspouts on the exterior were extended and proper grading of soils around the house was performed to allow for positive drainage away from the foundation.

You’ve got to love our Canadian winters! The cold makes us resilient, innovative and clever- largely, in my opinion, because we HAVE to be!! In early December every year I attend Construct Canada in Toronto (North America’s Largest Exposition, Networking and Educational Event for those of us in the industry) It never ceases to amaze me the quantity and quality of new and innovative products on the market and the excellent seminars on home design.

LIFE ~ ‘In King Township’

In 2002, Ted & Vanessa purchased 5 acres with a 1962 bungalow and they quickly grew to love the area, views and the peace and quiet. They bought for ‘location’, knowing that someday they would renovate. As years went by, it became increasingly evident that the home’s layout was not ideal for their lifestyle. The basement had low ceilings and a continual water problem that would be expensive to repair. After our first meeting in 2014, we decided the house would come down (except for the foundation of a newer 3 bay garage). The exciting process of designing a new home began.

1. Architectural Design: Jane Cameron, Life Home Design
2. Interior Design: Cynthia Soda, Soda Pop Design
3. Structural Engineer: Steve Boyd, Quaile Engineering
4. Soils Engineer: WSP Collingwood
5. Site and Septic Design: Gunnell Engineering
6. Builder: Alair Homes, Aurora
7. Basement Waterproofing: Clarke Basements
8. Building Products & Trusses: Rona
9. Windows: In Line Fiberglass
10. Exterior Doors: Fibercraft Door Company 519-506-2117
11. Exterior stone: Brampton Brick, Artiste Marble Gray
12. Exterior siding: Maibec V Joint Wood Siding
13. Garage Doors: Richards Wilcox, Grandview Ranch
14. Three-Season Room Glazing: Lumon Canada Inc.
15. Kitchen & Servery Cabinetry: Simcoe Cabinets & Millwork 416-879-3991
16. Photography: Gold Media Inc.

My Favourite Butcher – Schomberg Quality Meats!

Who knew that conversations with the butcher would lead me to design a custom home for a local family? Ted & Vanessa are frequent customers (as am I) at Schomberg Quality Meats. Tony Landolfi, the proprietor and butcher, not only supplies us with fabulous meat but he always has time for an interesting conversation about politics, the economy, health, business, you name it! So when Ted & Vanessa shared with Tony that they were thinking about building a new home, Tony very kindly mentioned me!

The recipe tip I’m sharing with you this Winter Seasonal is “Head to Schomberg Quality Meats!” Doesn’t every good meal start with a great cut of meat? Tony sources many of his products locally- beef cuts are tender, his signature California Roasts (range-fed chicken breasts wrapped around seasoned pork tenderloin) are easy to roast and a favourite of mine for entertaining. His side bacon is fabulous, the local eggs are tasty, and his Christmas turkeys are tender and juicy.

During the house build, Vanessa would often pick up some of Tony’s store-made chicken fingers for the guys on site – the builder and his workers got hooked!

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