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A Modern-Day Neighbor in Old Rothesay

by Annie Werbler

While working on other people’s homes all day, Brittany and Jeff Kitchen, founders of Vantage Build home design and construction, found the perfect location for their own abode after scouting lots for a year. The property sits on a quaint tree-lined street in Rothesay, New Brunswick, Canada, dotted with classic homes and a view of the Kennebecasis River. The Kitchens’ own dream modern-lined home needed to fit within the context of revived turn-of-the-century neighbors that would surround it, without the new build sticking out. “We always gravitated towards a mid-century style home and had trouble finding one we could purchase in the past,” Brittany shares, “So we decided to create one!” The entire design/build process took six months, completed in-house by their small and mighty team.

At first, some of the neighbors were not overly pleased this home was being built, with many objecting to the modern aesthetic. As the design took shape and the Kitchens moved in, they felt a definite shift in the community perception. “Neighbors became more positively engaged and interested in what was happening next, strangers were dropping by to ask where we were sourcing materials from, and we actually made new friends as a result,” Brittany explains. “It was really rewarding to see the community rally with us.”

The home provides an ideal lifestyle for the couple and their pup, Ruby. It’s not too big, has a highly functional layout that allows for comfortable entertaining with friends, family, and their pets. When not at home, the location is within walking distance to the office, parks for dog walks, and wooded trails to keep up with their active and social lives. —Annie

Photography by Jordan Mattie

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Mid-century favorite American walnut graces spots throughout the home, including the waterfall edge butcher block in the kitchen and open dining area. The idea to paint the stair risers matte black just hit Brittany one night. "One of the few times," she says, "I wasn't seeking out inspiration - it just popped in my head." The couple opted not to have any upper cabinets (with the exception of the built-around pantry that surrounds the fridge) for a more spacious feel.
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At the top of the stairs, Jeff, Brittany, and Ruby enjoy the flex space where naps and morning coffees often take place.
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In the living room, an eclectic mix of mid-century-inspired furniture with contemporary accessories.
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"What we love most about our home is that we created something from nothing (literally, a year and a half ago this was an empty lot) together, including Ruby the official site dog." --Brittany Kitchen
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A black built-in wall unit breaks up a large space with small personal touches rather than one large piece of art.
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Looking toward the living room from the kitchen. "That rug took 15 tries to get right, and it is oh-so-cozy on the feet," Brittany says.
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Looking toward the entryway, a sponge art contemporary canvas and homemade console table and bench made from reclaimed material pulled from the bottom of the lake at Jeff's family's cottage, which had the effect of preserving the wood.
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"Welcome home!," Brittany jokes. "This is the entrance we use, and all guests, too."
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The home office on the main level, with an easy washi tape treatment that has managed to stick to the wall for over a year.
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In the small powder room, matte black paneling and a painted fox head are personal touches around the fresh, white space.
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In the upstairs master ensuite bathroom, Jeff and Brittany have enough space in which to get ready for work together in the mornings. Black penny tile with charcoal grout is carried from wall to floor.
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The flex space at the top of the staircase is an open area that can be anything - a fourth bedroom, home office, playroom, or sunny spot in which to take a nap.
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In an upstairs guest bedroom, a different color palette from the rest of the home ties into the framed photographic mountain print.
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Looking at the master bedroom from the ensuite bathroom, with a simple contrasting wall paint treatment for visual interest without noise.
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"Oftentimes people will ask us if we like boring things," Brittany says. "We do."
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Main level floorplan of the 2,265-square-foot modern residence.

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