GREAT DECEPTIONS, SMART URBAN LIVING ST. GEORGE’S YARD (THE OTTAWA CITIZEN, 2009)
(By Sheila Brady) – This Mayfair Avenue house looks like a single, but there’s a hidden lesson on smart urban living.
The Warwick is a deceptive urban girl looks like a single, sitting prettily up on a hill, with wide stairs leading to the front porch and hefty white door. Slip inside and the instant im-pression is of light, thoughtful spaces. Hardwood floors link the rooms and nine-foot ceilings add a feeling of volume. The mistress of good de-sign, Danielle Hannah, co-owner of 2H Interior Design, used warm, neu-tral colours and understated fur-nishings to tell the story of urban living a few steps from Richmond Road and Wellington Village. She hung a pendant light over the gran-ite kitchen island that picks up on the grass wallpaper in the nearby powder room. This is not oversized living; in-stead the 1,924-square-foot home is smart city living. It comes as a surprise when I learn the Warwick is a semi-detached, with the entrance to a sec-ond house tucked around to the side and out of sight from the street. Those designing devils. Appear-ances are deceiving. Welcome to St. George’s Yard, a new community of singles, semi-de-tached homes, more modest coach houses and nine modern town-homes by John MacDougall and Pe-ter Splinter, owners of Uniform Ur-ban Developments. There are 34 homes on the former school site, ranging from the Pen-rith, a modest 1,679-square-foot coach house that is tucked behind the semi-detached homes, then go-ing up to the Lancaster, a single home with 2,421 square feet a few doors down from the Warwick. The two university chums have worked hard to find urban sites in Westboro and have assembled a golden team, polishing their ap-proach to infill by looking around the neighbourhood and incorporat-ing design elements into the new homes. Architect Barry Hobin has been part of the mix for more than a decade, Hannah is key and Deslau-rier Custom Cabinets hones the ivory and soft grey kitchen and the bathrooms. “We try to make the architecture work on the outside,” says Mac-Dougall. “It’s kind of a disguise on what’s happening on the inside. We could have had conventional little soldiers or townhouses lined up in a row, but no.” Drive along most streets and semi-detached homes sit like iden-tical twins, mirror images with the same bay window or tiny roof over the door. In St. George’s Yard, Hobin played with the exterior, designing the model home to look like a single home, wrapping it in a mix of brick, stone, cedar shakes and steep roof lines.
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