Cortona Exterior - by Cornerstone Architects, Austin, TX

Once we got through the initial research, we took a more in-depth look at the photos we had compiled. What we figured out is that overall we love modern contemporary architecture and we want our house to reflect that in its design both inside and out. That said, we’d still like to maintain a bit of neighbourhood charm because let’s be honest, we’re not trying to create an art installation in the middle of the suburbs!

We tried to categorize the photos into ‘wants’ and ‘likes.’ From there we could focus in on the elements of each photo we actually wanted to try to incorporate in the house design, versus just the things we liked – for example an overall look or colour scheme. Once that was settled, we started putting together what we call The Dreamhouse Project Look Book.

Our Look Book is basically our wish list of features broken down by room or space within the house, along with our final compilation of inspiration photos and notes outlining the elements we’d like to incorporate. The plan is for it to continue to be a living, breathing document that we can build on and get more detailed with as the project progresses. Once we had the first draft of the Look Book completed, we sat down with Kevin and walked him through it to help him get the ball rolling on designing the house.

Here is what we came up with…

Our Wish List
Main Floor

  • Open concept
  • Modern glass or steel cable staircase
  • Living room w. feature wall / fireplace
  • Family room
  • Home office
  • Laundry room
  • Powder room (2pc)


  • Functional Island (Sink or dishwasher)
  • At back of house with windows/door to deck
  • Gas appliances

2nd Floor

  • 4 bedrooms
  • Linen closet/storage
  • 2nd bathroom (4pc)

Master bedroom

  • Lots of windows overlooking backyard
  • Balcony off master overlooking backyard
  • Massive walk-in closet (small room sized)
  • Sitting area

Master ensuite

  • Freestanding tub
  • All glass shower


  • A good sized apartment (1+ den or 2br)


  • Garage entrance to mud / laundry room
Main Floor

  • Living room open to above
  • Mudroom
  • Wall of windows at rear

2nd Floor

  • 5th / Guest bedroom
  • 3rd bathroom (4 pc)
  • Hallway to rooms overlooks living room
  • 2nd floor laundry / laundry chute
  • Walk-in closets where possible

Master bedroom

  • Balcony connects to main deck
  • Art nook over bed


  • A portion of basement accessible to us

For the initial meeting with Kevin, we focused mostly on the exterior photos and design features since we knew he’d need that insight the most when it came to designing the overall structure and planning the elevations.

The Exteriors:

We love these 3 exterior styles…

Bowman Residence Front Exterior by Cornerstone Architects, Austin, TX
Bowman Residence Front Exterior by Cornerstone Architects, Austin, TX

The home above is closest to what would fit our neighbourhood, but we’d like to push the contemporary line a little further. Something that sort of toes the line between ‘safe’ and ‘art installation’.

Goodwin Project Streetscape by En2 Development Corp, Toronto, ON
Goodwin Project Streetscape by En2 Development Corp, Toronto, ON

We’re completely in love with this house! The mix of stone & cedar siding is beautiful. And of course, we love the stunning floor-to-ceiling windows!! We’d love to incorporate a ton of natural light into our space with windows like these.

Linden Hills Contemporary - by Andrea Swan Architecture, Minneapolis, MN
Linden Hills Contemporary – by Andrea Swan Architecture, Minneapolis, MN

The cedar lattice work here is sweet – a great and unique way to provide privacy while still maintaining the visual aesthetic!

Other nice exterior features…

In terms of the interior, aside from our wish list, we pretty much relied on Kevin’s expertise & left the floor-plan layout to him. The actual interior design of the house – colors, lighting, finishes &, furniture placement will come later (we’ll blog about those details in the next Design Week), but tomorrow we’ll take you through the big reveal – floor-plans and elevation drawings of The Dreamhouse!

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