Suzanne McCarthy started out as a volunteer for the Glebe House Tour & Tea over 10 years ago. Today, she chairs the committee of 11 women who work every fall to open the doors of inspiring homes in the area to support The Glebe Neighbourhood Activities Group.
As a homeowner in the Glebe community, Suzanne documents her journey with a passion for food, flowers, décor and photography on her blog: suzanne-mccarthy.com.
She shares a 120-year-old home with her husband, Simon Kennedy, and two of their three children. The 1,500 square-foot home is ever evolving as each room is re-purposed to adapt to the lifestyle changes of a growing family.
The home is a classic Glebe style; red brick with a welcoming front porch. While the entrance isn’t grand, Suzanne has cleverly made the space work for seasonal weather in Ottawa with purposeful baskets and hooks. A neutral colour scheme adds some personality in the front hall, where the original banister is painted in just the right tone of grey so that it stands out as a decorative architectural detail without drawing too much attention in a small space. Door frames painted in a custom-mixed teal shade have the same detailed touch of colour to inject personality without overtaking the space.
Simple decorative elements are a trademark of Suzanne’s personal style, with fresh flowers, natural influences and pops of colour as a staple in the well-organized spaces. “I approach decorating with an eye toward simplicity,” she says. “I have a serious tendency towards de-cluttering and like spaces that are not overfilled. I’ll opt to decorate with flowers or things from nature, such as stones and shells, rather than objects and doodads.”
The main floor is comprised of three principal rooms where evidence of Suzanne’s talent for simplistic display is exhibited. A neutral-toned sofa is dressed with textiles including a pillow that Suzanne made from an elephant-print tea towel. Above the sofa, a gallery wall displays the talent of other members of the family, and includes a piece by Suzanne’s son Timothy McCarthy-Kennedy, who is a fine arts student at the University of Ottawa.
Most of the kitchen has been renovated, restored and repurposed. Some of the original hardwood flooring has now become a part of the centre island, and has also been used as open shelving along one wall. A family with a passion for cooking needs modern amenities, but they blend well into the kitchen without overshadowing the original character of the room.
The charm of a much-loved home that has been well preserved and cared for by only three previous homeowners is evident in every room. While modifications and enhancements were made by previous owners throughout the years, Suzanne and her family have contributed to the updating process since buying the century-old home in 2004. Each modification has complemented the integrity of a character home that reflects the traditions of one of Ottawa’s most established communities.