Modern farmhouse graces Fredericton’s West Hills neighbourhood
Laurie Cole had just started her home staging business when Tim Kelly, a Fredericton police officer and part-time builder, hired her. They worked so well together they decided to join forces. In 2010, they launched New View Designs, a one-stop-shop design and building service. They’ve since completed projects for dozens of clients, winning multiple awards for design and workmanship.
Laurie and Tim’s relationship later progressed from business partners to marriage partners. In 2019, they had begun plans to build their own home in Fredericton’s West Hills neighbourhood when Tim was diagnosed with cancer.
Despite the diagnosis, Laurie wanted to move forward with the build because, she explains, she was looking for ways to motivate Tim. “He loved building houses. If there was anything that was going to keep him going, it would be that.”
Sadly, Tim passed away in May 2019.
Since her husband’s death, Laurie has assumed responsibility for the building side of the business as well as the design side. Despite the added responsibility, she decided to continue with the build. “It was going to be our home,” she says.
With COVID-19, labour shortages and supply chain issues, the build has taken longer than expected but Laurie and Tim’s home is almost finished.
Laurie prefers a “less is more” approach to design. Her minimal style is reflected throughout the two-storey, modern farmhouse she and Tim designed together. “With this house,” says Laurie, “we’ve put a modern spin on a very traditional design, adding some rustic touches and interesting details.”
The main floor features an open floorplan. White walls contrast with black on the window trim, doors, and ceilings (yes, black ceilings), creating a clean, modern feel. Ten-foot ceilings and an abundance of windows give the home an airy brightness.
Within the open floor plan, Laurie has created distinct spaces by using different materials and structures, tying the spaces together by repeating key design elements. The foyer, for example, visually divides the house into kitchen on one side and living space on the other. A wide strip of dark grey ceramic
tile in a herringbone pattern leads directly from the front door to the back door, forming an open hallway.
A coffered ceiling with white beams between black ceiling further defines the area.
Laurie also used black on the living room ceiling. Here, her team has built an impressive 20’ ceiling covered in shiplap boards. White walls, white oak flooring and lots of windows create a bright, light-filled space despite the dark ceiling. The light wood tones of a mid-century style sideboard and drum-shaped coffee table add warmth to the room.
“I tend to keep furnishings neutral, so I can switch things up easily. I like to add interest with texture or a unique pattern on an accent piece,” Laurie explains, indicating the room’s pale grey sofas and mix of throw pillows.
An elegant double-sided gas fireplace divides the living room from the dining room. Friends and family can enjoy intimate dinners around a custom dining table with a beautiful three-inch thick walnut top supported by an iron base. Laurie had a dry bar built in at one end of the room and finished the wall above in stone. “We handpicked the stones and grout-washed them white to create a French farmhouse feel.”
A short hallway off the living room leads to the master bedroom where large windows look onto the backyard. Here, Laurie has added a subtle touch of colour with Sherwin Williams “Livable Green” for a restful feel. An ensuite bathroom and walk-in closet complete the suite.
On the other side of the open hallway is a galley-style kitchen with a large island on one side and stainless-steel appliances and sleek white cabinets on the other. Laurie has repeated the grout-washed stone seen in the dining room on the kitchen’s back wall. She’s especially proud of the glass cabinets installed on this wall on either side of the range hood.
“They were a must-have,” she says of the cabinets designed and built by the New View team. “I envisioned being able to see the stone through the cabinet. The black framing ties in with the black elsewhere in the house, again for that modern look with the rustic farmhouse details.”
At the other end of the room, a breakfast nook with built-in benches provides a cozy setting for casual dining. An outdoor kitchen taking shape under the covered porch just outside the back door extends
the cooking, dining and gathering space.
A walk-in pantry, powder room, laundry room and small office complete the main floor. Because the house is built on a slab, Laurie has included lots of storage: large closets, built-ins, cupboards in the laundry room and so on.
An open staircase with black railings and three-inch treads, stained to match the downstairs oak flooring, leads to the second floor.
“The first floor has everything you might need for one-floor living. The second floor has three more bedrooms, including a master suite and spa bathroom with a steam shower, so it provides a comfortable, private space for guests. This house would be great for a family, too. Kids could hang out in the upstairs seating area, watch TV or play games while mom and dad relax downstairs.”
“It’s an amazing house,” Laurie says with a smile. “My husband would love it.”