OTTAWA -- Have you donned your hard-hat and tool-belt during this pandemic?

Has time at home made you want to renovate, update, upgrade, or create a home facelift?

If you answered ‘yes’, Steve Barkhouse of Amsted Design Build says you’re part of a huge trend.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in people looking to add space to their homes. Additions now make up 25 per cent of the requests we receive, compared to 15 per cent during this time the previous year,” he says.

Imagine having a big budget allowing you to create the home you have always dreamed of in one major renovation.

You are about to enjoy that very project.

“We worked with this awesome family from the very beginning, prior to purchasing this house. They were looking to create a home that would accommodate their family of six, plus the in-laws, without sacrificing the backyard oasis they craved,” explains Barkhouse.

“To achieve all of this, they found a home that had a large footprint and great lot, and we built up! A second-storey addition and complete interior makeover gave this family everything they desired, in a beautiful package that truly maximized their space and improved their lives.”

Barkhouse and his team, with a budget of $800,000, created this multi-generational, west-end Ottawa dream home.

“The family wanted to create an open concept living plan but they needed additional bedroom space and also wanted an in-law suite. To achieve everything, we knew an addition was needed. However, thinking creatively about the existing space allowed us to achieve all of the desired outcomes without any need to take more of their large backyard. Instead, we built up!”

Enjoy this virtual tour:


  • Existing home had a great footprint, with lots of ground floor space
  • Master suite and two bedrooms were found on the main floor
  • Small second storey had two others bedrooms and a 3-piece bathroom
  • We removed the second storey in favour of a new plan

West-end Ottawa dream home reno - Front

Front: AFTER

  • New second storey balances the upper and main floors
  • Brought the master suite upstairs with a walk-in closet and ensuite, along with 3 bedrooms, 2 additional bathrooms a laundry room
  • While we were at it, updated the façade with an updated, craftsmen appearance

West-end Ottawa dream home reno - Front

Back yard: BEFORE

  • Rear of the home had a more balanced appearance, and was situated on a large lot
  • Part of the reason why we chose to build up rather than out, even with such a big lot was because the homeowners were looking to create their backyard dreams
  • With their large family, they wanted an outdoor space that would bring them all together

West-end Ottawa dream home reno - Backyard

Back yard: AFTER

  • Created a beautiful, inviting place for the family to gather
  • This was planned before the lockdown, but how grateful they must have been to have this space the past year
  • Similarly to the front, where we balanced the top with the bottom, at the rear we also established a more balanced view with the additional space and updated roof lines

West-end Ottawa dream home reno - Backyard

Kitchen: BEFORE

  • Existing kitchen was very dated
  • Tiled countertops made it extremely difficult to clean
  • Enclosed with entrance from the main hallways and a small window into the adjacent family room

West-end Ottawa dream home reno - Kitchen

Kitchen: AFTER

  • Opened up the walls surrounding the kitchen and expanded its footprint
  • Reoriented the space to feature a large island with enough seating for the whole family
  • Small bump-out creates cozy bench seating

West-end Ottawa dream home reno - Kitchen

The entire main floor now offers a more informal living style

  • Interior design by StyleHaus Interiors
  • Unified colour palette and cohesive finishes create a warm, cozy look and feel throughout the newly open space

Living room: BEFORE

  • Existing living room was fully enclosed with an overbearing brick fireplace that followed the vaulted ceiling
  • An upper cutout and glass block attempted to add light to the room, but the room still felt small and stuffy

West-end Ottawa dream home reno - Living Room

Living Room: AFTER

  • Fireplace and walls have been removed, creating a free flow and open hallway to the new office and in-law suite
  • With the walls removed, creates a casual dining space
  • Open living room with new built-in electric fireplace and bookshelves

West-end Ottawa dream home reno - Living Room



  • Adding space upstairs allowed the homeowners to use the entire main floor footprint to add touches to make their home their own
  • New mudroom off of the garage creates added convenience for their large family
  • Walkthrough access to the new pantry

Dog shower

  • And this custom elevated tile dog shower on the other side of the mudroom

West-end Ottawa dream home reno - Mudroom

Laundry Room

  • The second floor footprint increased by 2.5x the size of the original home

West-end Ottawa dream home reno - Laundry Room

  • This renovation gave the large family space for 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms so that each bedroom had adjacent access to a bathroom and the parents maintained their view of their beautiful new back yard
  • As the photos show, the renovation also meant bringing the laundry up out of the basement onto the second floor for quick and convenient access

This project didn’t only go 'up' it went downstairs too

“And while we don’t have photos, it’s important to note this project also touched on the basement. In part because the structure (beams, joist supports, tele-posts & pads) had to be redesigned and re-engineered due to inadequate support to meet the new second floor loads. In opening everything up to do that, we also finished the space to include a media room and home gym,” explains Barkhouse.

This project started before the pandemic. This family gets credit for being forward thinkers.

“They truly created their own quarantine-friendly oasis, without ever knowing that it was coming. And hopefully, as a result, it’s made their last year just a little bit easier.”

“This was not a small project, or a small family,” Barhhouse acknowledges. “Most homeowners won’t have a needs list this big, or even a want list! But this second-storey addition truly maximized their home and improved their lives. Total cost $800,000.