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DIY-chic Fredericton renovation

Working one room at a time, a young couple revitalizes a dated two-storey with modern design and eclectic décor.

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Tucked away in a quiet court in Fredericton’s university neighbourhood, entrepreneurs Mallory Lennon and Matt Daigle created a little slice of Scandinavia from a 1960s-style bungalow turned two-storey. Sporting clean lines, wood features, and European-influenced design elements, the six-bedroom home combines office space for Mallory and Matt, and a comfortable living environment for their growing family.

After moving home from Alberta, Mallory began plans to launch her interior design company, called ReImagine Designs. Meanwhile, the couple looked for a project home to transform. The neighbourhood, with its mature trees and quiet location between uptown and downtown, drew them to the house.

Although the exterior of the house needed serious attention, the inside layout, flow, and size of the house was perfect. “The bones were so good,” says Mallory. “We could envision opening it up and having our touch on it.”

  • Mallory’s penchant for striking light fixtures provides visual interest throughout the home. In the dining room, a painting matching the windows in scale extends the illusion of a wall of glass. Photo by: Ashley Erb
  • Photo by: Ashley Erb
  • Photo by: Ashley Erb
  • Photo by: Ashley Erb
  • Photo by: Ashley Erb
  • Photo by: Ashley Erb
  • The central island in the kitchen provides ample seating, prep area for cooking, a wine cabinet, microwave, dishwasher, and hardwood butcher-block top. Photo by: Ashley Erb
  • In the couple’s office, a circa 1970s Clairtone record console (a Kijiji find) lends storage space and displays a vintage record player and amp. Above, shelves hold vinyl records. Starburst chandelier by Matteo. Photo by: Ashley Erb
  • Photo by: Ashley Erb
  • Photo by: Ashley Erb
  • In the living room, grey built-in cupboards and bookshelves match the kitchen cabinets. The wooden slat wall that displays the TV was a DIY project for the couple. The oversized teal print from Montreal-based artist Sophia Paleotheodoros is an eye-grabber in space. Photo by: Ashley Erb
  • Homeowners Mallory Lennon and Matt Daigle relax with daughter Audrey in their bright living room. Audrey’s teepee-style tent was an easy weekend project Mallory made from canvas and wooden dowels.Photo by: Ashley Erb
  • In Audrey’s room, bright tangerine accents and hanging gold prismas from Umbra soften the geometric shapes of the Urban Walls decals, curtains, and Ikea rug. Mallory found the antlers at a yard sale, painted them gold and adorned them with flowers for a funky look. Photo by: Ashley Erb
  • Photo by: Ashley Erb
  • In the master bedroom,18 Karat bamboo wall lamps from Scandimodern balance the textured fabric headboard (from Joss & Main), the art (from Ren-Wil), and the woven rug (from Winners). The raw-edge sliding door seems to almost blow in the wind. Photo by: Ashley Erb
  • Photo by: Ashley Erb
  • Rustic wood textures continue in the guest bedroom where a planked wall is the focal point. Photo by: Ashley Erb
  • Made from a slab of birch wood, the handcrafted bathroom vanity contrasts the sleek modern Kraus Ceramic sink and the Vigo wall-mounted faucet from AllModern. Photo by: Ashley Erb
  • Photo by: Ashley Erb
  • Photo by: Ashley Erb
  • In the stairway, an the unvarnished floor-to-ceiling planked wall lends spaciousness and draws attention to the tall, narrow window. Photo by: Ashley Erb
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When they took possession in November 2014, Mallory was two months pregnant with their first child, giving them seven months to get the first phase of the renovation finished. “I really wanted to birth at home in my own environment, so it was all or nothing,” she says.

Phase one meant beginning the exterior work and finishing the first floor living space before baby Audrey arrived in May. Phase two involved the second floor renovations. Phase three will incorporate more sustainable living features, prompting Matt to launch his online platform, called Rise. The company helps homeowners design and build sustainable homes with local sources.

The couple began the exterior work immediately, reinsulating, replacing windows and doors, and adding new fibre cement board siding with planked cedar boards as a feature.

Inside, they replaced the swaths of beige carpet with toasted almond ash hardwood, which has rich grain and colour variations. The walls, ceilings, and trim had been painted a rosy pink colour, so Mallory and Matt covered it with two coats of Benjamin Moore Snowfall White.

They removed the dated kitchen cupboards and a wall of built-in cabinets, opening up the kitchen to the dining area. As this was a supporting wall, they replaced it with a 6.7-metre-long exposed steel beam to create an industrial feel.

Mallory describes her taste as eclectic: mid-century styling, antiques against modern, high contrast Scandinavian designs, and the raw look of industrial accents. “I like the exposure, to see how things work; I’m drawn to the look of its functioning. It’s honest.”

Instead of upper cabinets, they tiled the kitchen with classic white porcelain and installed open shelves to display colourful pieces of pottery and glassware. “I love the high contrast,” Mallory says. “When I receive functional pieces like this as a gift, I like to show them off.”

Both she and Matt believe in recycling and repurposing items, and Mallory confesses to lurking on Kijiji regularly for bargains. The almost-new Bertazzoni Italia stainless steel propane range stove was one such treasure, acquired for a third of its original price. “Someone had it as more of a showpiece in a cottage, so it was a rare find,” she says.

A stainless steel farmhouse-style Lavello sink, with a commercial-style WaterRidge faucet (sourced from Costco), is a focal point in a direct line-of-sight from the adjacent dining area. Until the upstairs bathroom renovation is complete, the sink is a convenient bathtub for Audrey.

One of Mallory’s favourite features is the kitchen chalkboard wall that’s both fun and practical. “I’m always doing artwork on the wall,” she says. “Designs for birthdays, harvest time, and sometimes it’s our schedule or grocery list for the week.” It will also serve as a drawing wall for Audrey as she gets older.

At 3.8 square metres, the central island has abundant seating for social gatherings, a large prep space for cooking, a wine cabinet, microwave, dishwasher, and hardwood butcher-block top.

“It’s so big it almost needs its own name,” Mallory says. “It had to showcase my personality. It’s a great working surface and over time it will gain patina. The wood feature warms up the kitchen.”
It also doubles as her client working space, allowing her to spread out sketches, fabrics, blueprints, and catalogues. Above, oversized metal light fixtures give the space a warehouse vibe.

Mallory’s predilection for stunning light features is evident throughout the home. A trio of windows provides natural light and a view to the treed backyard, scone lights illuminate the sink and countertop, and ceiling pot lights provide ambiance after dark.

The open and airy dining area incorporates two more seating areas: a plain wooden table dressed with funky chairs, and a black leather 1960s-style sofa in front of the large corner windows. “We love to host gatherings, so I wanted there to be as much seating space as possible,” says Mallory. “People sit at the island, the table, and the sofa, so I have three levels of entertaining.”

She placed artwork matching the scale of the windows alongside to create the illusion that the windows stretch along the full wall, blurring the line between inside and outside. “I took into consideration the trees and landscaping outside, coordinating those colours and textures inside,” she says. “Even in winter, the snow and bark of trees merge well with the clean lines inside. It’s a Scandinavian feel that I like.”

Throughout the home, white walls are galleries for large art pieces, as are the unstained pine shiplap plank boards that the couple installed as feature walls.

Deborah Carr

East Coast Living