Janet and Glen Belbeck say their farmhouse chic kitchen, and other renovations, improved the value of their home significantly. Photo courtesy of M.A.D Renovations

Calgary couple renovates instead of moving and loves the result

Fifteen years ago, Glen and Janet Belbeck moved into their brand new spec home in McKenzie Towne’s Inverness area. Back then, the community sat at the extreme end of the city, with coyotes, deer and rabbits frolicking in the fields nearby.

More than a dozen years later, the couple, with two kids grown up and moved out, decided to purchase a McKenzie Lake home with their dream view of the mountains, overlooking the Bow River.

But when the economy went sideways, and their Inverness home’s outdated country kitchen failed to impress buyers who had showhomes to choose from in newer neighbourhoods, the Belbecks decided to stay put and invest in a large-scale renovation.

Their country-kitsch home was transformed into modern farmhouse chic, and the pair could not be happier with the result.

“It was an easy decision, because we loved the area and love what we’ve got here. So instead we said, we’ll take out some half-walls and walls, open it up and modernize it,” Glen said.

Enter M.A.D. Renovations.

The Belbecks met owners Sharon and Lawrence Muller at the Calgary Home Show in late 2015, and hired them shortly after.

Following a review of features and finishing photos torn from magazines, the pair did a whirlwind one-day shopping trip with Sharon to select cabinetry, flooring, paint colours, countertop quartz, light fixtures, kitchen appliances and cream porcelain backsplash tiles that look like aged-brick.

It was an easy decision, because we loved the area and love what we’ve got here. So instead we said, we’ll take out some half-walls and walls, open it up and modernize it.

“I come in to do the interior design work and colour selections so they are not sent off lost on their own, and then my husband takes off in the field and makes the vision a reality with all our tradespeople,” Sharon Muller said.

With selections done, M.A.D. created a design using 3D software that would give Glen and Janet a visual of what their space would look like when completed.

In April, the company went to work tearing apart the two-storey home’s main floor, creating an open-concept space that flows more harmoniously and allows for light to fill the home.

The timing was perfect for the Belbecks, because they usually head to Arizona in April, and they were away for the first five weeks of the renovations, avoiding some of the chaos.

While they were hiking in sunny Phoenix, their space was being gutted ­­­­— carpeting pulled out, a large pantry removed and, an arched wall between two small front rooms torn out to create a larger living and dining area.

New maple hardwood was also feathered in with the old on the main floor and stained dark, alongside new white cabinetry and pot lighting, not to mention a freshly painted fireplace that was refaced with slate.

When the pair returned from their travels, they had to live in their basement for about a month before the renovation was complete.

It really feels like we got a new house without moving.

“We had to move every single item upstairs or downstairs, because they were doing the floor. We had to clear a little hole in the basement to live in,” Janet said with a laugh.

The fresh space showcases the pair’s extensive antique collection, with floating wood shelves and cubbyholes in the kitchen stacked with vintage tins and feature bottles from Glen’s great-uncle’s Ontario dairy. A wooden toolbox from a 1901 Singer sewing machine informed the stain colour for the shelves, with the custom rustic living-edge dining and prep tables flanking the large quartz island.

A relaxing palette of pale grey and wedgewood blue offsets the white cabinetry. High-end Kitchen Aid, Sharp and Miele appliances were alongside an induction cooktop and a clever microwave drawer built into the island.

The Belbecks estimate the renovation added more than $100,000 to the value of the home.

“It really feels like we got a new house without moving,” Janet says.