This article was originally published in the April 2015 print edition of Ottawa Magazine
By SARAH BROWN
Kristi Ross and Oliver Fisher had been living in Old Ottawa East for eight years when they made the big decision to move — directly across the street. What followed was just over a year of upheaval as they knocked down the dilapidated house on the larger, south-facing lot, replacing it with a modern, light-filled family home. Given that Kristi is an environmental and land-use planning lawyer in her day job, it’s not surprising that she and Oliver were keen to find an architect well versed in green building techniques. After interviewing a slew of contenders, Jason Flynn of Flynn Architect got the nod.
“We liked how he lived in the neighbourhood and walked the walk, environmentally,” says Kristi. “And with me being a lawyer and Oliver a software engineer, we loved that he was always open to giving us detailed explanations of the technical aspects of what he was doing.”
Work began in the summer of 2012, and the couple, from their vantage point across the street, watched the 14-month process in real time. Oliver, who works from home, would often find himself jogging over to consult on the build, while Kristi remembers hours spent on the front stoop with their toddler, who was fascinated with the digging and cranes. Their familiarity with the site meant they knew exactly where the sun was at all times of the day, allowing them to work with Flynn to tailor the placement of windows for maximum exposure. And while the dramatic stairwell at the front of the house allows light to flood in through two-and-a-half storeys worth of windows, Kristi and Oliver ensured privacy by situating the living and dining rooms to the rear of house.
The couple, who had clear ideas on how they wanted their space to look, teamed up with Serina Fraser of Clear Designs, who refined their vision, suggesting rich walnut cabinetry throughout and a marble-clad fireplace to add texture to the open-concept main floor.
Kristi and Oliver then tracked down the personal accessories that make a house a home — a whimsical striped carpet, classic Eames stools and a lounger, and artwork by a number of Canadian artists, including locals Marc Nerbonne and Nic De Socio. In the 18 months since they moved in, Kristi and Oliver’s family has grown to five with the birth of twins this past January. Their bold decision has maintained their roots in the neighbourhood while ensuring that their kids grow up in a modern sun-filled home designed for family life.
Click through through the gallery for more images from the Fisher’s home>>