This Valley home puts the fun in function and pulls off a big win for style
Cul -de-sac. It is a fancy way of saying “dead end street” but the home that Cindy and Neil Hodgkinson built in the quiet neighbourhood in Valley Colchester is a paved road to happiness.
The new build that houses the Hodgkinson family is dramatic and modern but has a big back yard that you would never find in the city. Old growth trees and green space galore will be the playground and inspiration for outdoor adventuring for children King, Portia and Lennox.
This is the second home in the area for Cindy and Neil. They lived in a split-level home they bought before kids came along. But when baby number three was on the way, they knew it was time to make a change. An extra bedroom was on the must-have list and they wanted to live in an open-concept home where all aspects of life converged. Cindy’s dream to plan their new home became a reality.
They’ve always wanted to live on a cul-de-sac. They like the idea of less traffic and quiet space for the kids to play, and this particular neighbourhood was designed so families could still enjoy their privacy but a cup of tea or a neighbourly chat was only a short walk away.
The couple started with the modern way of approaching house design. An internet search delivered a concept that they liked, then they used their own imagination to design the house to suit their growing family. “I wanted a family space where we can all be together – a large kitchen and dining space where all my family and friends can gather, me cooking in the kitchen while open to the living and playing spaces for the kids,” says Cindy. Once the plans were finalized, they hired local building company, Studio East Construction, to turn the dream into reality.
Studio East Construction is known on the North Shore for doing builds that have modern lines and contemporary finishes, which definitely is the aesthetic that the Hodgkinsons were going for. They broke ground in September of 2017 and just about a month later, baby number three, Lennox, joined the family. Construction started around Christmas of that year and by June of 2018 they were moving in.
The four-bedroom house is built on a slab, with an attached garage and a covered seating area in the back yard. One-level living makes life with kids so much easier. “No running upstairs constantly with young kids for socks or missed items and it also is a space where we can grow old as well”, says Cindy.
Cindy and Neil wanted to create a modern interior to blend with the exterior of the house, with it’s mixture of stone and wood-like aluminium siding, and black-framed windows. When asked about the colour inspiration for the house Cindy said, “My colour inspiration was a lot from just really being drawn to clean lines. My mom always had an immaculate clean house and to me white is so clean and timeless and brings a sense of tidiness to any room. I loved keeping lots of white for that reason. Pops of black, gold and colour just bring a modern look and feel.”
The finishes throughout the house speak to the modern aesthetic that Cindy wanted to create. The waterfall countertop, hexagon tiles, bold lighting, and a little shiplap all marry well to provide photo-worthy views throughout the house. Cindy credits Pinterest and Instagram for helping her with the design, there is no shortage of material on either platform for inspiration for a modern house. She claims her style to be modern with some boho touches.
There are many areas throughout the house that are so well planned out, but also tastefully done, it feels unique and fresh. Off the garage, where they have their own personal gym and ride-on toys for the kids, you walk into a mud room with cubbies, a bench for slipping boots and shoes on and the laundry area – great for the days of muddy clothes or wet bathing suits. The pantry off the kitchen is by no means just a place to store food or for those large pots, it is stylish with it’s chevron wood counters and beautiful tile backsplash. Off the living room is a large, bright playroom for the kids. Shelves with baskets keep the toys at bay and still allow for some decorative displays, too.
Once the cabinets, countertops and flooring were selected and it came down to the fun accessories that make a space truly unique, Cindy turned to lots of Nova Scotian artisans for some of those pieces, as well as Etsy. This is where you can really see her love of the boho style come into play. Adding texture, such as macramé, to a room brings in warmth and creates the layers that complete the look and make a space unique.
Cindy curated little havens for the three children’s bedrooms. She captured the personality of each child. The rooms are not themed but reflect the personality of the little occupant.
“Portia’s room was inspired by photos I’d seen on Instagram of those beautiful peonies. Her whole room is pink and that is her – she loves pink. The full-wall closest for her space was better than a walk-in, she got the biggest kid’s room being the only girl.” Lennox has the sharp contrasting black and white while King’s bedroom is navy and white, creating two very different feels. Each bedroom features dream catchers that Cindy made to match their personality and the colours they love.
The master bedroom is a refuge of peace with a soothing palette and a luxurious upholstered headboard. Cindy pulled out all the stops when it
came to creating the ensuite oasis. The glassed-in shower, sleek soaker tub,
and tall dramatic mirrors over the double sinks lead the eye around to the curved mirrored doors and well-organized walk-in closet. A sparking chandelier adds
to the grandeur.
One special area of this house is just off the master bedroom – Neil’s office. Cindy planned it out and kept it from Neil once the main construction was complete as a surprise for him. With the intensity of self-employment, a well-planned office space helps clear the mental load for Neil.
And a family that works hard, needs to play hard. The yard has lots of grass for the kids to run and play on, all nicely surrounded by trees. The backyard hosts a basketball hoop, a trampoline and, just what every kid dreams of – their very own zipline. Sitting in the shade on comfortable couches while the kids run and play, or having a backyard barbecue with family or friends, this yard is very family-oriented. The kitchen has great views of the backyard for those times that meal prep is a must but the kids aren’t done playing yet. “We spend a lot of time on our back deck and when it’s nicer out that is definitely my area of peace to have a cup of tea, coffee, or wine. Being covered, you can even sit in the rain back there,” says Cindy.
The Hodgkinson family are settling into their new home and life on the cul-de-sac. It is obvious they poured their heart and soul into creating a wonderful home to raise their children in. It’s a little bit chaotic, a whole lot of fun, and there is no doubt that love runs down the halls on little bare feet.