When Tom and Donna began looking for a new place to call home back in 2017, they knew they were looking for something special and unique. Donna had relocated to the Elora area from the city in 2010, and she had fallen in love with the natural beauty and small-town atmosphere that Wellington County offers all who visit and stay. She enjoys the challenge of the renovation and design process, and she had already purchased and renovated several properties in the area ranging from a 100 acre farm to an in-town property on the river. When Donna and Tom reconnected after 30 years of friendship, they decided to find and renovate a new home to share, and went on the hunt to find the perfect location to build their collective dream home.
After viewing several properties, they stumbled upon a listing on Chapel Street. Located on a dead-end street and backing on to the Grand River, this unique home was originally constructed in 1970 by a Jesuit Priest. The original structure was built over a culvert and into the limestone rock wall of the Elora Gorge. It offered a treasure trove of interesting focal points, from the stonework on the walls, to the original hearth room with floor to ceiling stone fireplace that meets the peaked cedar paneled roofline. The multi-level floor plan and 2 acre lot provided stunning views of the river and the outdoor living space that they desired. Donna and Tom immediately fell in love with the charm and timeless appeal that this home offered, and they decided immediately to purchase the property.
Once their purchase was complete, they set to prioritizing what their needs would be, and determining the scope and requirements of the project in order for the home to suit their needs functionally and aesthetically.
- They knew they required more space and that an addition would be required to achieve this
- They wanted to move/change some of the existing spaces to be more functional which would require renovating some existing areas of the home
- Being an avid foodie and self-professed chef, Tom required a large, top of the line chef’s kitchen
- They required a space that would allow Tom to work from home
It was important to them to keep the original feel of the home, maintaining its natural charm and many of the original features while making it modern and creating a space that had their own distinctive signature on it.
After interviewing a few contractors to discuss their plans, they finally decided upon Hoegy Building Ltd. Scott Hoegy has been building and renovating properties in the Elora area for many years, and his team prides themselves upon high quality work, on time and on budget. In addition to his vast portfolio and extensive knowledge, Scott has experience working with homes of various eras, and has an excellent reputation for being an outstanding member of the local business community. When I inquired with regards to why they chose Scott for this project the answer was simple – “We liked his positive attitude and willingness to take on any challenge. What we were asking for was completely out of the ordinary. Because of the way our home was built, it required a lot of “out of the box” thinking and the ability to problem solve on the fly. We wanted someone who understood our vision and would work with us to achieve it. Scott was as excited about this project as we were, and his passion and dedication was the deciding factor in the end”.
Their renovation journey began in 2017 and has been a labour of love from the beginning. The addition was the biggest challenge, and would require the entire corner of the home removed in order to create the space they required. The goal was to have the expanded kitchen, living area and master suite all on the ground floor, which would allow them to stay in the home even in their later years, and to add space without compromising the original features of the home.
The expanded kitchen truly is a work of art and every home chef’s dream. Donna and Tom love to entertain, and the oversized island and open concept dining space are the perfect place for friends and family to gather. The stunning custom cabinetry was provided by Woodland Horizon, and provides a classic look with a modern flare, and the ultimate in functionality. Deep drawers and cabinets with creative storage solutions allow for maximization of space, and the built-in island microwave and high-end appliances make cooking a pleasure instead of a chore. The Cambria quartz countertops are in keeping with the bright and airy look, and they are readily complimented with pottery barn light fixtures which successfully add a warm and rustic touch to the otherwise modern space. Oversized windows allow the room to be bathed in natural light and offer a view of the beautiful, treed yard. The old laundry room was converted into a butler’s pantry and servery for additional storage.
As we move to the master suite, we are treated to a spa-like retreat that is reminiscent of a country escape with all the modern amenities. A large walk-in closet provides more than enough space for two to share, and the bedroom offers nearly floor to ceiling views of the grand river, complete with French doors and a walkout to a private deck. The master bath is a work of art, and it features a two-sided gas fireplace insert and custom stone wall that beckon you to sink into the standalone tub. His and hers vanities provide ample storage, and the step-in shower with glass doors is the epitome of luxury.
The main floor living space is warm and inviting, with beamed ceilings, wood floors, and a stunning stone wall with a natural waterfall that runs through the home. The working office space is rich and inviting and looks out over the deck and the beautiful Grand river.
The upper level guest room and bath are the perfect combination of old and new, with warm wood floors, a peaked cedar ceiling, and a stone feature wall which is actually the original rock formation around which the home was structured. The modern guest bathroom with black and white tiles and modern cabinetry offers a view of the upper deck overlooking the river. Finally, the piece de resistance is the original hearth room with stunning stone fireplace that once served as the main entry to the home and provides a warm and inviting atmosphere for cold winter nights and stories of days gone by.
Donna and Tom are still working on the finishing touches of the exterior of the home, and they are building upon the multi-level deck and stone structures that lead you down to the majestic banks of the Grand. Their home is a true example of a well planned, well thought out renovation project, and is truly a gem that must be seen to be appreciated. Soon enough, all that will be left is for them to sit back and enjoy the fruits of their investment, and to work on creating new memories for many years to come.
Hoegy Building Ltd. completes custom build, renovation and design projects to suit any scope and budget. They can be reached locally at 519-846-0163 or via their website at www.hoegybuilding.ca
WRITTEN BY: TANYA BOTTOMLEY | PHOTOGRAPHY: PAUL SPEARS