A Lovely Modern Rustic Family Home in Canada

A Lovely Modern Rustic Family Home in Canada

Craig Kellmann
Aug 17, 2018

Name: Alex Panetta and Lia Parsley, daughter Lacey (2 years old), and Hank the Dog
Location: Erin — Ontario, Canada
Size: 1,500 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years, owned

Alex and Lia's home is the kind of space that feels as good as it looks, with a kind of warmth that is reminiscent of an old family home. Unsurprising, considering it's inspired by Lia's childhood house. "It was a very unique house, a long flat-roof bungalow with floor-to-ceiling windows and bones inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright," says Lia. "It was on an extra wide lot that both fronted and backed onto a ravine, so first and foremost, proximity to nature has been very important for me."

The couple is the first to admit they got lucky with this house. When they began their search in 2015, the housing market was such that they could take their time to find the right place. "We saw the potential, had a vision, and had time to think about it before making an offer." This 1,500-square-foot house has vaulted ceilings, cool and clean interiors, and plenty of room for a growing family—Alex and Lia are expecting baby #2 this fall!

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Rustic Mid-Century Modern.

Inspiration: We're one of those couples whose design style is basically exactly the same. We rarely disagree on anything for the house so that really makes things come together smoothly. Personally, I draw a lot of inspiration from my childhood home in Toronto. It was a very unique house, a long flat-roof bungalow with floor-to-ceiling windows and bones inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. It was on an extra wide lot that both fronted and backed onto a ravine, so first and foremost, proximity to nature has been very important for me. That led the search for our own home when Alex and I started looking outside the city in early 2015. In the '90s, my parents had worked with two brilliant architects and did an extensive contemporary renovation on that home, which was my first real experience understanding the importance and impact of design. Evidently it made quite an impression on me.

Favorite Element: Probably the setting of our house itself. We live on a really private lot as the last house on a dead-end street, surrounded by very mature trees and gardens and a full cedar hedge line. When we were looking for a house and finally came across this one, we knew we'd never find a neighborhood lot better than this one. For the interior, I'd have to say that our favorite element is the vaulted ceiling dining room addition (which was already here when we purchased the home). It had been painted yellow with a knotty pine chair rail and a wallpaper border. We painted the walls, ceiling and trim with a warm white (Westhighland White by Sherwin Williams) leaving the supporting beam natural wood, and the whole room really glows when that glorious south-facing sun pours in. The unobstructed view into the backyard brings me joy every day, no matter the season.

Biggest Challenge: We haven't had a lot of challenges getting settled here. Maybe it was all that smudging before we officially moved in! This house has really good energy and we haven't struggled to make it our own. We took our time in the purchasing process and I think this helped us get established here. We saw the potential, had a vision, and had time to think about it before making an offer. Basically we just got really lucky.

What Friends Say: Your backyard is amazing!

Biggest Embarrassment: No real embarrassments, just more opportunities to exercise our creativity. The bathrooms have yet to be renovated but they work for now and small accessory touches help them feel as up-to-date as possible.

Proudest DIY: We are not DIYers. Upon move-in, we had the popcorn ceilings scraped and refinished, the entire interior painted top to bottom (including all trim save for a few areas where we wanted to keep the natural wood exposed) and a year later, the kitchen renovated. All done by professionals and quite happy to have saved ourselves the added stress despite the extra spend.

Biggest Indulgence: While I like beautiful things and sometimes those things are expensive, I also really dislike overspending and as such almost always buy on sale. I'm pretty thrifty and am willing to wait for a great deal. When we did the kitchen, the sink and faucets came in higher than we wanted to spend but I felt strongly about those design choices so we kept the original hardware to balance the overall budget.

Best Advice: Try to never rush your choices. Take the time, look at your options. With rushing comes mistakes and regret and there's no worse feeling than looking back and wishing you didn't act hastily, or that you'd done things differently.

Dream Sources: My parents' place.


Entry/Dining — Westhighland White, SW
Kitchen cabinets — Uppers: Barren Plain, Benjamin Moore; Lowers: Silver Fox, Benjamin Moore
Living area(s) — Lilac Hush, SW
Nursery — Whitewater Bay, SW
Master Bedroom — Lacey Pearl, SW

Eiffel chair with armrest — Structube
Brass hooks — Homesense
Watercolor painting — David Millar

Table — Mennonite-made, kijiji find
Eiffel chairs — Structube
Rug — Vintage, sourced in Austin
Chandelier —West Elm
Cart — IKEA (no longer available)
Bookshelf — Custom

Sink — Kohler
Faucet — Delta
RO faucet — Amazon
Sconce — Restoration Hardware
Floating shelves — Custom
Counter stools — West Elm

Couch — Shelter (no longer available)
Dhurrie rug — Vintage, from my childhood home
Coffee table — Vintage Kagan, Beaumont Mill Antiques
James Dean poster — Estate sale find
Leather lounge chair and ottoman — West Elm
Side table — Vintage Kagan, Beaumont Mill Antiques
Table lamp — Wayfair
Trunk — Antique
Elk antlers — Vintage, purchased in Texas
Tripod floor lamp — West Elm (no longer available)
Oil painting — David Wright
Teak floor lamp, opposite — Vintage, auction purchase

Crib — Babyletto
Teak dresser — Vintage, kijiji find
Rug under dresser — Vintage, sourced in Austin
Rocking chair — Vintage, my Mom's from when I was a baby!
Side table — Wayfair (no longer available)
Swiss cross rug — Urban Outfitters (no longer available)
Floor lamp — IKEA (no longer available)
Acapulco chair — Ella + Elliot (no longer available)
White and gold dresser in closet — Vintage, my Nana's

Alia bed — Dwell Studio (no longer available)
Knit blanket — Restoration Hardware (no longer available)
African mudcloth pillows — The Ivory Gull
Burgundy cactus silk pillow — Rug and Weave
Dresser and side tables (set) — Vintage, kijiji find
Rug under dresser — Vintage from Rug and Weave
Table lamps — IKEA

Thanks, Lia!

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