Built in 1920, this unassuming bungalow housed the MacSween family for approximately eighty years before being sold in 2000 to a new homeowner keen to renovate. However, the new “improvements” gradually eroded the home’s classic character and the house was sold. After moving to Victoria from the east coast to be closer to family, world-renowned photographer, Eric Hayes and his wife Susan Kennedy found the house in 2012, two doors down from Eric’s adult son.
The location was right, but the kitchen was cramped and dysfunctional, there was very little storage, the windows leaked, the plumbing needed upgrading, and the electrical work was a mixture of add-on wiring and knob and tube. The couple knew they would need the right person to carry out an extensive redesign and renovations and hired Ryan MacLeod from Citizen Design Build Inc in order to bring the home back to its former glory.
Classic renovation scenario: Hayes and Kennedy thought they would start their home improvements with a simple window upgrade. “I discovered that only a few windows still had the original trim from 1920, so Larry Smeltzer from Van Isle Windows recommended MacLeod to do the carpentry work,” states Hayes. Inspired by Citizen’s work in the Fernwood church conversion project, the homeowners were confident that MacLeod’s style and sensibilities fit with their goals and were ready to begin the extensive renovation.
“The couple had a thorough requirement list complete with images; they did their homework well,” says MacLeod. Leading their wish list was an addition for an open-plan kitchen/dining area, let more natural light into the house and a new bathroom to include a stacking washer/dryer. For the exterior, the couple wanted to redesign the back of the house and yard to include a deck, hot tub and outdoor shower.
Removing an old porch and pantry that blocked the natural light and access to the yard, MacLeod added a 10 x 14-foot dining addition with large windows to let sunlight flood the area. “Like most families, we spend a great deal of time at our kitchen table and now all our meals can be enjoyed while overlooking the garden,” says Hayes.
MacLeod introduced an open kitchen/dining area in equal parts aesthetics and function. With large windows overlooking the backyard, the kitchen is punctuated by quartz countertops, ample counter space, a gas stove and the piece de resistance, a bar fridge and floating shelves for glassware in close proximity to the deck. A thoughtfully planned working triangle keeps this space efficient and practical.
After air drying for ten years, the beautiful Garry oak butcher block countertop was gifted to the couple by MacLeod.
MacLeod created wall space in the hall to include some of Hayes photos from the late 1960’s that document the lives and performances of legendary musicians who have become some of the biggest names in Rock & Roll: Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, John Lennon, George Harrison, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Bob Dylan and Joe Cocker.
To accommodate outdoor entertaining with ease, where the kitchen counter wraps around into the dining area, MacLeod added a bar area with fridge and open shelving for glassware.
“New opportunities arose that MacLeod and his team at Citizen were able to incorporate on the spot. For example, one morning Susan and I decided that we couldn’t live without a skylight in the bathroom just as the ceiling was finished being framed. Ryan brought a great team that always went above and beyond; he held weekly meetings, took time to listen to our needs and was open to mid-reno changes.”
For their six-by-eight-foot bathroom, the owners had a tall order: a 42-inch glass shower, stacking washer/dryer and with south-eastern exposure, to let in as much natural light as possible.
MacLeod worked his design magic to check all the boxes and jokes that he should specialize in small bathroom design after thoroughly enjoying the challenge.
A red-framed door from the kitchen opens onto a new deck to expand the couple’s entertaining space. MacLeod built the deck out to the rock for a smooth transition to the couple’s favoured seating area on the rock outcropping. Bringing a sense of luxury to enhance the yard’s tranquility, MacLeod built stone steps leading down to a patio boasting a private hot tub and outdoor shower area.
Carefully curated with sun orientation and privacy in mind, this backyard retreat is enjoyed on a regular basis. “I think they were on the deck and in the hot tub every day this summer. A high level of satisfaction comes from Eric and Susan because they were with us every step of the way, from every light switch to sun studies,” adds MacLeod.
Hayes concludes that “the foreman, Matt Thorpe, was never too busy to answer our questions or offer his opinion. We enjoyed how well the team worked and appreciated that they took the time to clean up the site every Friday afternoon before heading home for the weekend. Ryan and his team were terrific, we couldn’t be happier.”