When the opportunity to buy land and build in their Ashton community came up in 2019, the Elyse McCurdy and her husband Tom saw the chance to propel her design business and create exactly what they wanted for their young family.
As an architectural designer, Elyse has now been a part of three residential builds. In many ways the newest — a bungalow with a moody farmhouse ambience — is a mirror of their old house, but with the garage at the side of the house allowing for a window and staircase. It’s a contemporary take on a farmhouse, with three bedrooms on the main floor and an expansive and modern basement featuring a bar, sofa, television, gas fireplace, office, playroom, and a Murphy bed behind sliding barn doors.
The bold colour choice also strikes a modern tone. “I told Tom that I wanted a black or a white house with a cohesive design from start to end. Surprisingly, he chose black, and so we’ve carried that throughout the house,” says Elyse. Cabinets are stained black, floors are wide-plank white oak, kitchen countertops are white quartz, and the tiled backsplash is white with dark grey grout. “We chose board-and-batten and panelling, all in one colour, because we hope it will age well and it’s easier to clean with young children around.”
The couple also chose to forgo a dining room in favour of a large, open-plan kitchen area with a stone fireplace. To one side is the family entrance from the garage into a mudroom: light-filled, with a dot-tiled floor and a bench for putting on boots, it’s a space that is both practical and pretty. A walk-through pantry links to the open kitchen area. “I learned from our previous house that a pantry with a door is a bad idea, as you just shove everything in and close the door! So now we have a walk-through one for small appliances and glassware.”
Pine and brushed-brass accents bring contrast throughout the house. Adding to the look are antique finds (a milking stool makes a unique side table), as well as metal dining-room chairs made by Tom, a carpenter.
“A lot of learning and growth occurred during this project, both personally and professionally,” says Elyse. “I learned that I could handle the roller-coaster of entrepreneurship if I could live through the juggle of our build, parenting, and running a business simultaneously.”