Christena and Rob Hubbard welcome the season with a fresh renovation


When Rob and Christena Hubbard began the planning process to renovate the main level of their side-split home on the west side of New Glasgow in Pictou County, their priority list was well defined. Their main agenda was to deliver a clear impression of their individual personalities while harmoniously creating a fundamental sense of welcome to anyone who comes knocking. That goal was the driving force behind each functional and aesthetic decision. They made a list, checked it twice, and with the help of some great local tradespeople, with a dash of their efforts, they finalized their kitchen reno just in time for the holiday season.

Removing the wall between the kitchen and living room transformed the main level and creates an inviting space for entertaining. The floating shelves function as a bar.

One foot in the door and the Hubbard home has your senses dancing. The smells of gingerbread cupcakes warm out of the oven, pecan thumbprint cookies drizzled in caramel, and Aunt Barb’s fudge recipe from cousins’ baking day. While the recipes reflecting the holiday and being greeted by baked goods on just about any given day is not out of the norm when you visit Christena and Rob.
Christena is an avid baker, a self-declared ‘natural born feeder’—an expression that she adopted from Rosie Daykin, one of her favourite Canadian bakers. She finds joy in feeding others.
“Food is love,” she says and speaks fondly of her late grandmother as the inspiration to her passion for food, as well as the yarn that she says has kept her extended family so incredibly close-knit. “Growing up, my Nannie was the heart of our family. She made all of us who we are and taught us that family is everything. She didn’t have a lot of money, but anyone could show up and she’d welcome them in and feed them.”

A self proclaimed “natural born feeder,” Christena says there will be no supply shortage of cookies in the Hubbard kitchen this Christmas.

These family values were at the heart of their main level transformation. “One of the issues we had with our house (before the reno) was that it wasn’t conducive to gathering and entertaining,” says Rob, referring to the formerly compartmentalized layout. He loves a good family gathering as much as his wife does. He was the driving advocate to overhaul the kitchen and living rooms, identifying that an open concept layout made the most sense for them.
“Spending more time at home these last few years has allowed us the time to focus and identify what is important. One of the things Chrissy is passionate about is baking, experimenting with new recipes and sharing that food with family and friends. In order to enhance that experience, I thought the kitchen reno was a good idea,” explains Rob.Christena throws a friendly jab that perhaps acting on this transformation mid-pandemic was less than ideal. However, in their case, equipped with a powerhouse team of all-local tradespeople, everything went off without a hitch and their home is now prepared to open the door to the 2021 winter holiday season.

Christena, Rob and pooch Sadie Mae practice a few tunes for their first holiday gathering.

“We spend more time in here than we ever did before,” says Rob, his guitar within an arm’s reach sitting beside their trio of Christmas trees as Christena steps away, pulling another batch of petite gingerbread men out of the oven for me to carry home to my kids.
It is difficult to anticipate how you will occupy space differently on the finished end of a renovation. In the Hubbards’ case, the results have paid off tenfold, freeing up space elsewhere in their home for each of them to develop their personal crafts. Rob is now able to have a niche music room where he and their 10-year-old cocker spaniel, Sadie Mae, hang out and “work on their sound,” as Christena likes to tease. And when Christena isn’t creating in her bright inspiring kitchen, she has allocated space for crafting with an emphasis on gift wrapping.

Her husband speaks fondly of her shopping ability. “Chrissy loves to give {thoughtful} gifts.” On Christmas day, when the extended family comes together for the progressive house-to-house showing of the gifts, everyone loves to see what Rob has under the tree. This year will be no exception certainly. But perhaps, the guests may have to extend that enthusiasm to the simple yet impactful holiday décor, thoughtful design details, and a home that genuinely represents its owners.
As we sit and talk about what might be next for the Hubbards, Christena pipes up with a request. “Can we pause the conversation and talk about lunch? Because this is legit the priority under our roof.”