As you can imagine, as a realtor®, I’ve been through hundreds of homes.  Over time many homes have come to blend together with similar layouts and looks.  Inspired by the designs we love, we have recently renovated our own home.  I was thrilled our home was recently featured in the Ottawa Citizen.

Here’s a sneak peek of the highlights, see the photos and full story here.   For our interior renos, by Design First Interiors, see  “Rockstar on the Rideau” story on Houzz.






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.

Only 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.

Ottawa-area residents can see the transformed home for themselves during the 2018 Homes for the Holidays fundraiser in support of Hospice Care Ottawa. Attendees get the chance to tour a collection of homes, including Kennedy’s, decorated for the holiday season by local florists and designers.

This year’s fundraiser runs from Nov. 16 to 18.  Ticket info available here.