Our Home Reno

Who doesn’t love a good before-and-after reno?  As a Realtor®, I’ve been through hundreds of homes and over time; the different styles, layouts and finishes continue to inspire me.  It got me thinking of how truly important it is to feel “at home” when we come back from a long day, when we cuddle on the sofa at night, when family and friends visit; and when we rest our heads down at night.  So when we purchased our waterfront home in Manotick, we were determined to feel “at home” here.  Inspired by the timeless designs we grew up with, and still love to this day, we got busy… really busy, renovating… sigh.  The journey was exciting, exhausting and ultimately rewarding.

Now don’t get me wrong, we still have some ugly rooms in this house, and that’s ok.  It’s sort of a never ending journey really, as children grow and needs change; with a tweak here and a tweak there.  And quite frankly, when I come across that perfect piece of furniture, artwork or trinket from a local estate sale; I just can’t resist bringing it home.  Can you relate?

Soon after the reno, we were featured in the Ottawa Citizen, the Manotick Messenger and the Home for the Holidays Tour, where over 1000 visitors walked through our home.  We were of course honoured by the attention and truly proud.  But I must admit the best reward is waking up in the home that we envisioned for our family, that we worked so hard for and that continues to inspire us; and perhaps others.

I know how important it is to help my buyer clients see the potential of a home, with their own tweaks, big or small; and when our team is staging a home for sale, our goal is to make it easy for potential home buyers to be inspired, the moment they walk through that door.

Click here to see the photos and full story in the Ottawa Citizen article.

Click here to see the photos in the Ottawa Citizen, exterior renos & foyer, by Christopher Simmonds Architect Inc.

Click here to see the interior renos on Houzz, by Design First Interiors.






Sue Kennedy has shown hundreds of homes in her career as a real estate agent. Over time many of them have come to blend together with similar layouts and looks.

One has caught her by surpriseher own.

“I haven’t seen anything like our house. It’s an experience from the moment you pull in,” Kennedy explains. “There are many beautiful homes, for sure, but it’s not often you come across one that is completely unexpected.”

Her house recently underwent a major exterior renovation turning a drab, dated bungalow into a visually captivating, Asian-inspired home.

Kennedy, who works for Royal Lepage Team Realty, is even showing it to prospective homeowners for inspiration.

“I’ve actually brought clients to my house and shown them the before photos to give them an idea to not be afraid of a fixer-upper,” says Kennedy. “Sometimes people just need a vision.”

The focal point of the renovation is a long front porch with wooden slats that stretches into the giant landscaped front lawn. Oak ceilings on the porch pour into the foyer of the home, where a see-through glass door allows onlookers to see the Rideau River through the rear of the house.


It looks more like you’re stepping into the entrance of a beautiful garden, rather than a family home. Architect Christopher Simmonds, who is the mind behind the transformed house, said the integration of nature into the identity of the home was paramount.

“It was a very, very dramatic change,” said Simmonds who describes the original exterior as “a bit of a dump.” Previously, the house was covered in textured taupe stucco and had no real shape making it dull and boring, he says.

Simmonds and his team added the wooden slats to give the home dimension. They also inserted lighting into the landscape and front porch, a jagged concrete pathway leading to the front porch and purposefully-placed trees and plants to “reclaim the property.”

“The giant lawn was kind of like a no man’s land. It was hard to tell what purpose it served and who it belonged to,” says Simmonds. Now, he says, the porch centerpiece and landscaping make the house feel grand, spacious and inviting.

Sue Kennedy my reno 2

“It feels like we’re coming home to a vacation every day,” she says. With the house perched on the shore of the Rideau River, her family takes every opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.