Amsted Design-Build and the 2021 Reno Tour

Amsted Design-Build has two projects in the 2021 Reno Tour, both extensive remodels.

In one project, an underutilized walkout basement was renovated, incorporating a covered patio, to create an ultimate entertainment space that takes advantage of beautiful waterfront sightlines and offers unrestricted exterior access.

And in the other, a poorly insulated century home with an inefficient floor plan was stripped to the studs and rebuilt with a new floor plan to suit the family’s needs. Along with a new main floor, a 15-foot-high second-storey rear addition created a “treehouse” master suite that takes advantage of the backyard tree canopy.


The Reno Tour is presented by the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association and showcases renovation projects by members of RenoMark (a program where participating companies are pre-screened and must meet strict guidelines).

The virtual tour offers interactive 3D walk-throughs that let you explore each project at your own pace and includes descriptions of each of the projects, many augmented with details such as before-and-after photos, intro videos and other multimedia labels.

Here’s more info on Amsted Design-Build and its projects (edited for clarity).


Q: What made you decide to join the tour this year?

A: We’re always excited for the Reno Tour to come around. We’ve been involved from the initial planning stages and are proud of what it has become. It’s such a unique opportunity for homeowners to meet several potential renovators and see the quality and style of their work in person. And while we miss the chance to meet people face-to-face in a regular tour year, the virtual idea was a great option that actually makes it more accessible to more people.

Q: Why choose these projects for the tour?

A: The two homes we have on the tour this year help to showcase the range of our work. In different ways, both highlight our team’s capabilities to really incorporate the preferences of the people we work with and speak to the flexibility of our designs.

Q: Tell us a bit about these projects.

A: The first was a full two-storey interior renovation in Hintonburg, with a rear second-storey addition for the master bedroom. The initial motivation behind this project was to improve the building envelope. As a century-old home, there was almost no insulation, and the homeowners could feel the cool air moving through the walls in the winter.


We stripped the entire first and second floors down to the studs to add the necessary insulation for year-round comfort and rebuilt with an entirely new interior floor plan to better suit the functionality they needed. The main floor offers a bit of everything to the viewer — dining room, relocated kitchen, living room and new powder room — while maintaining the vintage elements of the home.

In addition to the beautiful new main floor, we also added a unique 15-foot-high second-storey rear addition to create a “treehouse” master suite situated amidst their beautiful backyard urban canopy. The property is home to what was believed to be an endangered tree species, the Butternut. To determine if any development could occur around it, a sample of the tree had to be sent out for genetic testing. It came back as a hybrid Japanese Walnut, whose protection is less restrictive.

That said, protection of the tree was still subject to the city’s new urban tree bylaw, which was very new at the time. We worked closely with a private forester and the city’s forestry staff on the protection, on-site storage of materials, and on the location of helical piles (like giant screws to anchor the addition) to reduce the impact on the roots. In maintaining the tree and incorporating it into the design feel, the view from the new master when it is in full bloom is truly spectacular.


Our second project also offered stunning views, but of a different kind. This home was on a sprawling lot overlooking the water, and the homeowners wanted to reconfigure their underutilized walkout basement to create the ultimate entertainment space that took advantage of their beautiful sightlines and offered unrestricted exterior access.

Reincorporating a covered patio into the interior of the home added space for a large media room (with a hidden screen and speakers) that faces the river, while the rest of the basement features a guest bedroom, home gym, and a kitchenette, mudroom and sauna with easy NanaWall rear yard access. (A NanaWall is a movable glass wall.)

And while this project was conceived pre-COVID, the flexibility that this design created allowed them a fantastic space to set up a play area for the kids that wouldn’t disrupt the rest of the home. Not to mention a home theatre, gym and sauna that allowed them to keep up with their favourite activities throughout.


Q: What should visitors watch out for when they tour the projects?

A: In Hintonburg, you won’t want to miss the funky tile backsplash in the kitchen, the vintage touches that were maintained throughout the home and, in particular, the 15-foot-high treehouse master bedroom with views of the gorgeous, giant tree.

In the waterfront home, make sure you “visit” the media room and see if you can spot the hidden recesses for the projection screen, blackout shades and surround sound that create the perfect place for movie watching. And then check out the kitchenette and sauna on your way to the NanaWall entry to their beautiful backyard with the imperceptible integration of the previous patio.

The basement walkout was a finalist in last year’s Canadian Home Builders’ Association National Awards for Housing Excellence in the Best Renovated Space category.


Q: Will you be adding any extra details, such as pop-up info on materials used or being able to see before shots from the same angle?

A: Definitely! We’ll have before photos, material and selection details and designer and homeowner tidbits wherever possible.

Q: Tell us a bit about your company.

A: Amsted Design-Build is proud to be the 2020 Renovator of the Year for Ontario, our fourth time winning this prestigious award. And while we are honoured to receive this industry recognition for our efforts as a company over the past 30+ years, we take even greater pride in the work we do. Our skilled team of designers, craftspeople, project managers and all of the support people work collaboratively every day to help alleviate the pain points in peoples’ homes and transform the way they live their lives. Every project, whether it’s a single room, whole-home renovation, addition, or even just some upgrades and repairs is big in the lives of the homeowners and can tremendously impact the function of a family. We are proud to be a part of that.



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