Divide and ConquerPublished on June 19, 2024


  • Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Photo by: Mark Holleron

When realtors Korey and Liam Kealey, partners with RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Group, built their McKellar Park home, their thought process centered on the lifestyle of a busy family of five. A large kitchen with an attached butler's pantry separated the family living area from the more formal living room and dining room to create joined yet separate spaces.

The backyard, with an entertaining area and pool, enhanced the overall experience, offering the active family plenty of options to live together while feeling like there was enough room to spread out or even get away.

“Who needs a cottage when you can relax and unwind right out your back door?” asks Liam. He offers advice for others considering adding a pool: “Think about 
lounging space, including comfortable seating areas
for larger gatherings, and remember to consider the need to fence the pool itself if  young children come on the scene.”

Within the well-thought-out living spaces, the Kealeys'
young-adult children easily entertain friends while Korey and Liam host dinner parties. As an avid cook, Korey is known for making impressive meals for a crowd. Their kitchen showcases an oversized island with enough depth to divide the sink and work area from the seating, so while she’s prepping, guests sit in front, and Korey is part of the conversation, too.

“I like the idea of separate entertaining spaces for adults and kids. The walk-through butler's pantry is the best,” enthuses Korey. The bonus room offers extra storage for tools, appliances, and dried pantry goods. “It has proven to be a highly desirable spot to hang out while entertaining. It also allows division and connection between the formal dining and living area and the family room. We have comfortably had three social gatherings all at once,” claims Korey.

As the author of The Ultimate Cookbook for Hockey Families and a highly regarded TV food personality, the kitchen is a high priority for Korey as well as her children, who share their mother’s culinary talents. “I spend so much time in the kitchen that my sightline is important. I have to be looking out at the yard or the family room where the kids and Liam are so that I feel like I am part of the action while being productive,” explains Korey.

While they loved their new home, it wasn’t long before Korey and Liam realized their children, having left home shortly after they built, weren’t necessarily using mom and dad’s space to entertain friends. This left the Kealey’s with a house designed for an active family at a time when their family was busy elsewhere. So, with that in mind, they put the place up for sale.

Selling a home built to the specifics of a lifestyle can be challenging. Luckily for the Kealeys, the needs they built for would be high on the priority list for other families.

“Today, families look for as many lifestyle benefits as possible from their homes. Having a pool means they have a three-season retreat. A gym means they don’t have to leave the house to exercise, and large entertaining spaces never go out of style,” confirmes Liam.

While most people don’t build with the idea that they aren’t creating a long-term home, Korey advises that it’s always good to have re-sale potential in mind. "Enlisting design help ensures you get what you want while the finished product will have broad appeal to others.” This is a crucial element for resale value. A home with too much personalization can make it difficult for buyers to imagine themselves within the space.

The Kealeys’ Listing Prep tips

  1. Do a walk-through video of the exterior and interior, starting at the front door, to get a feel for how the flow and spaces translate on camera.
  2. Make a room-by-room task list of what needs to be accomplished to make each space feel open, clean, and de-personalized. Start with the items you can see in each room before heading into closets, and it will feel less overwhelming.
  3. Remove all artwork and wall hangings. Group them by colours, themes, and sizes and carefully set them aside.  This allows for furniture placement to represent the space best. Once furniture is arranged, select the best artwork to re-install. Note: sometimes, nothing is better.
  4. "Stage" your home. If possible, 
use your own furniture and interesting personal items. China, crystal, artwork, collectables, and books can be re-imagined to show 
the personality and warmth of 
your home.
  5. Make repairs, paint, and clean. 
Bring in professionals if necessary.

Mary Taggart

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