When thinking about the term “Empty Nester”, one tends to think about an older couple whose children have all spread their wings and flown the coop, so to speak. Now, as they wander about the large family home, there are thoughts of “downsizing” to a new place, as they embark on this new time of life. They could have several options; a condo, an apartment, a little cottage? Maybe an in-law suite in one of their children’s homes, so they are “not so far away”?
Or, perhaps a beautiful, open-spaced bungalow, right in the heart of Orangeville, ON. An entertainer’s dream and a nature lover’s wonderful escape!
Our designer for this feature home is Brittney Pasqualini, and she takes us through the concepts of design and decor for this stunning space. “As a team we like to name our spaces”, explains Brittney, “and this house we named The Modernized Empty Nester”. Brittney is quick to point out this particular name does not necessarily relate to what I was referring to earlier. This home is perfect for a couple of any age, who love open-spaced living and simple elegance, as is the case with this spectacular home.
“The home was designed to be simple and quiet”, says Brittney. “The concept was to provide the maximum amount of living space, with 2 separate wings where bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as a laundry room, would find their locations.” This layout provides the home owners and any overnight guests’ privacy and space, after they’ve enjoyed the gorgeous indoor/outdoor great room that not only is beautifully functional, but provides a view to a landscape that feels like you’re up in the heart of Muskoka. Brittney incorporated a very clever feature when she designed this room; the entire back wall is made up of floor-to-ceiling windows that spread from the living room straight through to the master bedroom. This feature extends the indoor space through to the outdoor space, all while maintaining beautiful views, natural light, and a seamless transition throughout. “We designed this main living space so that it was simple. The kitchen, dining area, and living area, all flow into each other. Each space has a purpose, and yet doesn’t feel segmented.” Brittney was able to further achieve this simplistic feel and style by suggesting the windows be finished with a drywall return instead of a standard wood trim. Also, you’ll notice that there are no visible handles on the kitchen cupboards and drawers. “We didn’t want anything to stick out in this living space, we wanted to achieve a minimalist look, and not have anything that would take away from the serenity the space provides.” Where Brittney did balance the simplicity of her design was in some of the finishes. For instance, the door handles are a bold matte black, there is a custom reclaimed wood beam, and the fireplace is wrapped in hand-poured cement. “These design elements help ground the space, and provide an interesting contrast that doesn’t impose on the look; it instead brings texture and interest.”
This really is an open living lifestyle, designed for people who want to simplify and condense the amount of “things” in their lives. “It’s lavish living in a small space”, says Brittney. “Every inch of this home is “useable space”. A perfect harmony of high-end finishes and everyday life.
When you stand in this space, you’re actually taken by how warm and cozy this home feels, while possessing elegance and a bit of grandeur at the same time.
I asked Brittney about the benefits of having a designer help with a home renovation or re-design. “A designer brings many different perspectives to a client’s vision. We’re here to help the client explore and experience different styles, different design concepts, and to stretch their creativity. Most clients know what they like and don’t like, but all too often they just don’t know about all the possibilities that are out there for them.”
Beyond this home’s magnificent main living space, the two separate bedroom wings also have their own full bathrooms that meet all current accessibility requirements, and have been finished to match the elegance of the entire home.
This home is perfect for a couple who wants to live a refined, twenty-first century lifestyle. While the home boasts beauty, functionality, and simplicity; it remains an entertainer’s dream, complete with a backyard filled with lovely views, trees, wildlife, and privacy. All in all, a cozy space for new memories to begin.
Written by: Kelli M. Maddocks | Photography: Cory Bruyea