As much as we know a renovation can take a toll on a person, there’s nothing better than sitting back and enjoying the progress and before-and-afters from a distance. So please, send both your condolences and your gratitude to Vancouver designer Madeleine Sloback, principal of Madeleine Design Group, who recently finished a full gut renovation and transformation of her own home, and lived to tell the tale.

Sloback documented the whole process in an eight-part web series, Welcome Home with Madeleine, if you want to witness all the gory details firsthand, but we’ll cut to the chase: Her compact rancher had been built in the early ‘80s and faced a handful of cheap renovations over the years that left it neither aesthetically pleasing nor up to code.

So in 2021, Sloback set forth on a designer’s biggest challenge: making over her own home. The goal was to create a modern, airy layout for her growing family, opening up a cramped foyer and closed-off kitchen in favour of circulation and sightlines. Down came the walls, and in came a vaulted ceiling (raising from eight feet to 13.5 feet), connecting the kitchen, living room and dining area.

gas fireplace and marble
The new fireplace. Photo by Tracey Ayton.

At the heart of the new floorplan would be a made-for-entertaining kitchen, what Sloback describes as “a universal space used by the whole family for cooking, snacking, sitting, chatting, and entertaining”: something spacious and bright, ideal for both large gatherings and small family meals. Caesarstone countertops and a four-inch white porcelain tile backsplash line the prep area; light blue and white cabinets are accented with mix-and-match brushed nickel and brushed brass hardware. An awkward support beam from the vaulted ceiling was turned into an asset: Sloback incorporated it into open shelving and extended the backsplash up the wall.

From there, the rest of the design fell into place.Planning really started from there and spread out to the rest of the home. An old brick façade and wood-burning fireplace were replaced with a gas model and surrounded by a chic marble slab and custom mantle: open shelving and cabinet storage flank the hearth.

Shiplap boards along the ceiling bring a modern beach house vibe, with white-oak floors below further brightening the space. In the dining room, a custom, solid-walnut Lock and Mortice table sits under a Hudson Valley chandelier, overlooked by a handmade hutch designed by Sloback’s husband Adam, who is a professional millworker.

kitchen island
The kitchen was designed to be the hub of the home. Photo by Tracey Ayton
sloback family
Designer Madeline Sloback and family. Photo by Tracey Ayton

A rundown solarium was torn out and replaced with a 12-foot sliding glass door to create a true indoor-outdoor connection with a spacious deck outside. (Another commune-with-nature moment comes through the door that now opens from the family room to a pergola-covered patio, surrounded by a private garden.) Says Sloback, “This is the most perfect spot to enjoy coffee in the morning… or wine in the evening, and wave to the neighbours passing by.”

Though there’s no substitute for that joyous feeling of getting to sip that coffee in your very own completed renovation, perusing Sloback’s before-and-after photos is certainly a close second—so please, read on to do just that.

Before: A 1980s Rancher


AFTER: A Fresh, Open-Concept Modern Home

dining room
The dining room and kitchen now flow together. Photo by Tracey Ayton
woman in kitchen
Designer Madeleine Sloback in her new kitchen. Photo by Tracey Ayton
cabinetry in white
The fireplace is flanked with storage. Photo by Tracey Ayton
modern kitchen
Open shelving on a porcelain backsplash. Photo by Tracey Ayton
modern kitchen
The new kitchen is bright and airy. Photo by Tracey Ayton
dining room table
A dramatic light fixture hangs above the table. Photo by Tracey Ayton
There’s cabinetry galore in the refreshed kitchen. Photo by Tracey Ayton
Blue cabinets and white cabinets get different hardware. Photo by Tracey Ayton
detail shot of millwork
Subtle details elevate the simple cabinetry. Photo by Tracey Ayton
blue and white kitchen
Two sinks make prep easier. Photo by Tracey Ayton
gallery wall
The wall above a custom sideboard is covered in artwork. Photo by Tracey Ayton

bunk beds
The kids’ new room. Photo by Tracey Ayton
tiled bathroom
Fresh finishes gave the dated bathroom new life. Photo by Tracey Ayton
bathroom storage
Oak cabinets provide amble storage and bring the warmth. Photo by Tracey Ayton
home office
Sloback’s home office. Photo by Tracey Ayton
wall hooks
Shiplap gives the home a modern beach house feel. Photo by Tracey Ayton