Metamorphosis of a 1950s residence

Design Louis George

Original title: Conversation piece

Photos: Mireille Caza

The transformation of this `50s home was entrusted to designer Patty Xenos. The result is a warm and inviting uber modern space that reflects an eternal style.

As with most split-level homes built in the 1950s, this house was broken up into many rooms. “When we contacted Patty Xenos, we told her about our ongoing renovations,” recounts the owner. “But when Xenos saw the house, she envisioned a totally reconfigured space. She helped us to see beyond the walls.” What ensued was a bright, contemporary, open-plan layout that connected seamlessly with the outdoors. The new configuration involved tearing down walls, installing floor to ceiling glass; and repositioning the living and dining areas.

“This transformation represents a new chapter in the owners’ lives,” explains Xenos. “While several of their friends were selling their homes to embrace condo life, they instead wanted to stay for a long as possible. I helped them create a unique space that discreetly integrates all the benefits of a universally accessible home— including seamless floors and a camouflaged elevator—without compromising on design aesthetic.”

As the owners love to entertain, the kitchen was carefully designed to welcome family and friends in large numbers. An etched glass wall separates the kitchen from the living room and can be left open—sliding into a cube as if by magic—or closed, depending on the occasion.

Friends and family love to gather around the 12-foot island.

“The open concept is phenomenal for hosting parties. We can comfortably welcome 100 guests,” says the owner. “And when the house is quiet again, I sit at the kitchen table and gaze out the window at the garden or read the paper. It’s my absolute favourite spot.”

Balance is achieved everywhere. Sleek lines, metallic finishes and transparent materials meet curved contours, buttery-soft leather and warm earth tones. Natural light floods every room. “Everything revolves around the sun… and the kitchen,” explains Xenos. The designer studies the movement of light and human behaviour like an anthropologist. “Knowing how people live and what makes them happy is the essence of good design.”

For Xenos, this meant creating a luminous space where art can take flight. The owners’ appreciation of modern and abstract art is obvious as vast expanses of walls give the impression of entering an art gallery. Bold, vibrant works counterbalance a neutral, monochromatic decor. The owners longed for an atmosphere that was calm and uncluttered. “We wanted to create a serene space where excitement and colour come from the people and the art,” says the owner. “The pieces are completely different while interacting with each other harmoniously, just like guests at a cocktail party.”

This feeling of harmony—achieved through soft, natural wall coverings and fabrics in a neutral palette—finds its way into the master bedroom and ensuite. “We have his and hers dressing rooms and bathrooms, which helps with the longevity of a marriage,” quips the owner.

Connection and connectivity go hand in hand in this outstanding home. Always forward-looking, the owners integrated the most advanced technological features throughout the redesign: “Our house was the first smart home in Canada, and now it’s even smarter.”

Conversation piece- e-mag

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