When they were ready to renovate their abode, this couple asked designer Rosalia Fazzari to update their family home into a space they never imagined possible.
By Lisa van de Geyn
Photography by Larry Arnal

It was time for a change. That’s what the homeowners of this 23-year-old Mississauga, Ont. home told designer Rosalia Fazzari, the professional they entrusted to renovate and update their ultra-traditional space. “I’d designed the owner’s brother and sister-in-law’s home and they told me they were very happy with what I did there. So, they said when they were ready to revamp their own space, they’d ask me to do it,” says Fazzari. “When it was time, they gave me the keys and told me to do my thing. I showed them my plans and the 3D renderings, and they were thrilled with everything. They really trusted in the full design process. It wasn’t an easy space to create because everything was sectioned off . I wanted to make a huge impact — it’s grand now after the renovation.”

The couple (who have two teenagers at home) have lived in their house for about 12 years. They wanted their whole main floor redone — a top-to-bottom refresh. “They wanted to have a more open-concept space, including a big, workable kitchen in which to entertain and have friends and family over. They wanted lots of counter space, better appliances and a more timeless look and feel,” she says. “On the main floor, everything was sectioned off into four separate spaces, so I knew I wanted to have the main walls removed to create one large area.” The home had been done in very traditional decor and was rather dark because it didn’t have a lot of windows, but when the wall came down and pot lights and other lighting was added, it really brightened up the place.

Fazzari had to determine how the family would use their living spaces — she needed to create a comfortable television area and a place where they could gather for meals. “As soon as I figured out the layout and decided on doing two islands in the kitchen instead of one, I knew how the rest of the space would come together.” The second island was added instead of doing a table in the room: One island is more for prep in the main kitchen area, while the other is in the bar and espresso zone — it’s more for entertaining. “They’re at the island all the time — they just love that space.” The couple opted to keep the kitchen fresh and white but loved the look and feel of natural oak. “I wanted to bring them forward and be more timeless, so that’s why I decided to use oak. We stained it slightly but kept it very natural-looking. I thought it would be great for this transition — it’s timeless and will carry them through for many years to come,” she says. The hardwood floors are darker wood, which creates a beautiful contrast with the white cabinets and oak in the kitchen. She also added beams on the ceiling that she did in white to make the area feel more spacious.

Fazzari wasn’t finished on the main floor. The homeowners also wanted significant changes made to their second floor. They had always wanted an ensuite in the master, and they needed more closet space. Fazzari decided to take out one of the bedrooms to add the walk-in closet for the couple. She also removed the closet in the bedroom to make the bathroom bigger and removed the bathtub and added a large walk-in shower for a more transitional feel. “We also updated the kids’ bathroom, as well as added built-in closets for them. It was really important for them to have a functional space with plenty of storage,” she says.

When the family saw their space after the renovation was completed, they were in awe — their home was more liveable, functional and spacious. “It really was time for a refresh. I was very excited to do this project because the couple is so deserving and so great to work with. They gave me carte blanche and that was a really nice feeling.”