On the market for just over $4 million,
a Rockcliffe showstopper is proof
positive that with the right renovators
and craftsmen – and a lot of
imagination – one storey can
really pack some serious punch
LARGE BUT FAIRLY ORDINARY modern
bungalow. Knock several rather poky
rooms into one. Hire top-notch designers,
builders, and craftsmen. And what
do you get? A dramatic transformation
into a spacious, modern home with
a combined family room and kitchen
that is its heart and showpiece. The
bungalow, at 55 Willingdon Road in
Rockcliffe Park, was recently offered
for sale for $4.25 million because
owners Christopher Brennan and Stephanie
James-Brennan are moving to England.
The ground floor was recently gutted
in a renovation that was spearheaded
by designers hired from Europe, with
the work carried out by local contractor
Guy French. “The property lent
itself to the transformation because
it is contemporary and has high ceilings,”
says real estate agent Marilyn Wilson,
who helped the Brennans find the house
several years ago and has now been
hired to sell it. “Before the
renovation, the trees outside were
mostly invisible because of all the
walls and small rooms,” she
say. Now nature is a focal point.
The bungalow has 8,000 square feet
of living space – half at ground
level and half in the walkout basement
with its indoor swimming pool. But
it’s the family room that is
- One of the family
room’s chief ornaments is
lamp in the form of a globe
that resembles a heavenly body spinning
in space. Most lighting, including
the hanging lights in the family
room, was made in Italy.
- The almost 1,500
square feet of combined family room
and kitchen space boasts two-storey
windows at each end, which
allow light to flood in. In the
left corner of the room (mostly
not visible in this photo), a cozy
sitting alcove looks out over a
fish pond in the front garden.
- The black-and-white
rug was designed by the home’s
owners and handmade in India, with
part of the purchase price going
to poor villagers who live in the
area where it was made.
chairs and sofas
are made by Ferlea of Italy. The
cushions are silk.
- The dark, mysterious
that provides a focal point in the
room could be London fog, a darkened
room, or almost anything. “The
picture has a calming effect,”
says real estate agent Marilyn Wilson.
“Most people entering the
room first think it is a television.”
- Large leather
cushions give the children
a place to sprawl in front of the
television. The removable glass
top doubles as a coffee table.
- The gas fireplace
is surrounded by marble, with a
TV and modern art above.
- Five-inch walnut
floors from Spain set the
tone throughout the house. The floors
are heated from underneath.
- The kitchen,
located at the far end of the family
room, features an 18-foot-long island
with tons of refrigerated storage
space in deep hydraulic drawers.
In this kitchen, adults sit in the
high chairs, children in the low
- Miele appliances
include an induction stove, double
convection ovens, a warming oven,
a vegetable/fish steamer, a cup-warming
drawer, a cappuccino maker, and
- The fridge
storage space are hidden
behind cabinetry made by Ottawa
area firm Gruber Custom Furniture.
- The formal dining
room is deliberately simple.
The owners believe that minimal
distractions ensure that food and
table talk reign supreme.
© The Ottawa Magazine