Lisa and Tarry Ahuja

A Wedding.  A Dream House.  A Family Affair…

Wedding Photos: Ahuja Family
Home Photos: Alex Lukey
Written by Sheryl Bennett-Wilson

Plan a huge wedding for 450 guests and build your dream home – both at the same time. No, it’s not the plot for a new reality TV show. It was reality for Lisa and Tarry Ahuja over the winter months of 2010. Now happily married newly-weds of one year (as of August 2011), they both jokingly marvel that they actually pulled if off – a picture perfect wedding and building the home of their dreams.  Lisa and Tarry got engaged in March of 2009 – plenty of time to plan an August 2010 wedding. They knew from the get-go the guest list would be long. Lisa is from a large Italian family. Tarry’s family is Indian. A wedding? No question every aunt, uncle and cousin would be invited on both the bride and groom’s sides. Then they found the lot for their future home. There was a small, older house on it, but the location was perfect.

Both Lisa and Tarry had been doodling and drafting ideas for what their dream home should be like. Tarry read tons of design and architectural magazines. He ripped out pictures of ideas and styles he liked. Lisa and Tarry visited too many model homes to count, looking for inspiration. Tarry worked closely with his sister Mona’s husband, Cesare (Ces) Santaguida, on the design concept of his and Lisa’s new home. Ces had just finished designing and building his own magnificent home and knew some of the pitfalls.

Finally there was a design plan in place. Lisa and Tarry went to designers and engineers and obtained the proper approvals. With the permits in place by early September 2009, the old house was torn down and construction was ready to begin.

But wait? Wasn’t there a wedding to plan – with 450 guests? Not only was it a wedding, and a large one at that, but Lisa and Tarry were going to have a traditional Indian wedding ceremony in the morning and then a church wedding in the afternoon. The details were mind boggling. Kate and William had it easy – fancy dress, formal ceremony, party after – done. The combination of ceremonies meant Lisa would be draped in a stunning sari in the morning and a white wedding gown in the afternoon. It also meant a lot to both Lisa and Tarry to be involved in the construction of their dream home, their vision of their future together. So bring out the hammer and nails.

Tarry and Lisa are dressed for their second wedding of the day!

Tarry and Lisa are dressed for their second wedding of the day!

The next few months were chaotic. Lisa and Tarry were both working full time, but they still had to pour over the guest list, the menu, and all the other minutiae that go with planning a large wedding. They were also on the construction site as often as possible. Lisa and Tarry and brother-in law Ces hammered nails, carried wood and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. At this point in their lives Lisa and Tarry knew exactly what they wanted in their dream home. Both watched their new home rise before their eyes; one wall and layer of brick at a time. Both Lisa’s and Tarry’s families were hugely supportive, helping with the wedding plans and pitching in with hammering, sawing, drilling and moral support on the construction site.

A week before the wedding their dream home was signed off and they got the permit to move in. Tarry had been living in the basement of his sister Mona’s home. Lisa had been living at home. Since both families were very traditional, they decided Lisa wouldn’t move in until after the wedding but Tarry moved into one of the guest rooms in the new house.

After two romantic wedding ceremonies, lots of laughter and fun with family and friends and a great wedding party, Lisa and Tarry were dropped off at their new home. They finally spent their first night together as husband and wife in the home of their dreams.

The three-week honeymoon in Mexico, Puerto Rico and South Beach Miami, along with a Caribbean cruise, was a blast. Lisa and Tarry admit the first couple of days in Mexico they just slept. The months of planning the flawless wedding and building their dream home finally caught up with them and they were exhausted. But with the honeymoon over, they were anxious to get home – and it is a spectacular place to come home to!

Their home features a stunning expanse of solid oak flooring highlighting the wide-open space design.

Their home features a stunning expanse of solid oak flooring highlighting the wide-open space design.

When you step through the front door of their home you are met with a stunning expanse of solid oak flooring highlighting wide-open spaces. One wall features striking marble cultured stone. The dining room is immediately to the left and features an eye-catching light fixture, a dramatic ceiling – including speakers – and dazzling seating for a fabulous dinner party. A beautiful tone of grey is employed in the dining room and taupe is used throughout the rest of the house to create an elegant yet subdued effect. The full, open kitchen and the family/living areas are at the back of the house and are built for entertaining.

With large families and lots of friends, Lisa and Tarry entertain frequently. Tarry loves to cook so he wanted a full open-concept kitchen and here, he’s got plenty of space to cook up a storm. Lisa says the kitchen is inspiring her to do more cooking as well. The enormous seamless Corian center island is an ideal spot to hang out and watch the cook in action. All of the counters throughout the house are made of Corian – it’s durable, scratch-resistant, easy to care for and beautiful. The dramatic back-splash is made of pink and beige toned glass and striated to give a bamboo effect. The back-splash colours compliment nicely the long-style floor tiles. Just off the kitchen is a large pantry with an extra fridge – ideal for keeping additional food and wine available. Leading to the dining room is a cleverly designed ‘butler’s pantry.’  The space allows for quick and easy access to serving dishes from the dining room. Ingeniously hidden behind frosted glass doors is a complete bar. A funky night-club styled powder room with a fun waterfall- faucet is off the pantry as well. One of Lisa’s favourite places is the kitchen/ reakfast area. It is light and bright and features a generous square table. Lisa wanted the square table because, as she says, “it makes everyone face each other” and since much of their entertaining centers on food, it makes for great face-to-face conversations. Out the kitchen back door is what Lisa and Tarry affectionately call the ‘grillzebo.’ While they were on their honeymoon brother-in-law Ces and a few friends built a deck for the barbeque. This perfect party deck has high-back seating for privacy.

Tarry has ensured you will never be without sound in the house. There are twenty-five speakers strategically placed throughout. Discreet touch pads run the entire system. The family/living room, besides superior quality speakers, has a sizeable built-in TV. The large stone fireplace adds warmth, and the expansive couch provides comfortable seating. Step through the sliding doors of the family room into the ‘indoor/ outdoor’ room. The space is a stroke of genius. Tarry says the idea for the room came from an uncle’s home in the U.S. and from designs he’d seen in magazines. The room is technically outside, but will eventually be glassed in. Redwood cedar on the ceiling gives off a fragrant woodsy smell and the reclaimed barn wood on the fireplace provides a rustic feel. The space has a wonderful outdoorsy feel to it – ideal for sitting with friends and sipping a hot chocolate in the winter and a cool drink in the summer.

The ‘square-ness’ of the house is emphasized in a grand fashion by the open staircase off the dining area. From the top, you can look straight down into the finished basement. A brilliant lighting fixture accentuates the spacious second floor landing. Off the landing, Lisa and Tarry have turned one of the bedrooms into a funky black and white study. Let eyes follow the black maple floor to the wall of black kaleidoscope-like wallpaper. The windows add ample light and the clear chairs seem to float in the room. The couple has wisely stayed with traditional white bathroom fixtures but have added designer-style feel to them with extravagant splashes of fun colours. The shared bath of one of the guest rooms features soft purple touches with strips of bright, colourful tile. Tarry choose the colour of the second guest bedroom and went with a refreshing, invigorating light green. Lisa loves the convenience of the second floor laundry room, and the fire-engine red washer and dryer almost make doing laundry fun!

Windows and lighting are important throughout the house and the master bedroom is no exception. The dramatic accent wall is actually tile – this steel-grey wall makes a statement and is wired for sound. Just like the dining room, the master bedroom is a soothing shade of grey. The grey also highlights the two-sided black oynx-coloured fireplace. The ‘his and hers’ walk-in closet features an eye-popping, and whimsical, solid wood baby blue floor. There is plenty of space for both Lisa and Tarry’s clothes, and the middle island is loaded with drawers. Staying warm after a shower isn’t a problem – the back-side of the fireplace is in the bathroom, keeping it cozy. Lisa has her own perfect make-up nook, so the double sink area stays clutter free. Plenty of cupboard space is hidden behind gorgeous wood panels and drawer space as well. What makes this master bedroom absolutely special though is the outdoor patio space through the sliding door.  This romantic retreat has speakers for mood setting music and the glass walls on one side make you feel you are in your own private forest. The patio was designed to sit over the outdoor space off the family room, which sits above a very special room in the basement.

If you asked Lisa and Tarry what they like to do most they’d likely say ‘entertain!’ The main floor of the house is open and inviting for friends and family but the finished basement is astonishing. Even the lighting in the stairway to the basement makes you feel you are entering an exclusive posh club, and for the most part you are. There’s a tiled dance floor, a disco ball and a state-of-the-art DJ booth. You really should be dancing! The high ceilings remove any notion of being in a basement and the well-stocked bar with its wine fridge and dishwasher could rival a small club in the city. There’s still plenty of space for an office area for Lisa, a nicely sized guest room with a walk-in closet and a full bathroom with warm beige shades and beautiful tiles.  Tarry is building a wine cellar and lining the walls with the tops of wine boxes – the effect will be amazing. There is a good-sized cold storage area and two very convenient access points to the basement – the formal entrance from the main floor and a back staircase from the back mudroom. One very special room in the basement is the movie room featuring tiered seating, movie-style dimmer lights and a huge screen. Who needs Hollywood? Tarry’s mom has even volunteered to make the red velvet drapes for the screen.

Lisa and Tarry love entertaining friends and it certainly shows in the dream home they have built for themselves. They also understand the importance of family. Both their families helped make their dream wedding and their dream home come true. Yes, life is perfect.

Category: Photo Gallery, Real Weddings