This heritage home renovation designed by Ryan Hoyt Designs makes brilliant use of elegance and function.
By Erin McIntosh | Photos by Joshua Lawrence
Renovating a character home from 1908 to accommodate an active family of five is no small feat. It requires creativity, patience and vision. Rather than tear down and restart, the Lee family decided to integrate the historical qualities of their Oak Bay home with a family- friendly design.
“I feel like these homes are so old, and a lot of the time they’re just ripped down, but they have stories and beautiful things in them,” says homeowner Deborah Lee. “So I wanted a space that worked for the modern family, but still retained that feeling of quality workmanship.”
To ensure the 4,250-square-foot home retained its historical essence, the Lees found Adrienne Hempstock, senior interior designer for Jenny Martin Design. Together they created a master plan that kept most existing walls, honoured room placements, historical colour palettes and window locations but added lots of storage and room to grow.
The kitchen boasts a modern-historical fusion look, with sleek countertop finishes, and walls wrapped in Centanni ceramic tiles in soft sage. Details like the custom-arched pantry, an eye-catching island and a unique baking station with a lowered countertop, make this kitchen functional for the Lee family, and is anything but cookie cutter.
The Lees decided to keep the original trim work, stair railings, the stained glass windows and the fireplaces. The original floors were also kept and refinished. “It wasn’t a gut, by any means. There were some extensive renovations in certain areas that weren’t functioning up to 21st-century standards,” says Hempstock.
Once the design was finalized, the project was handed to general contractor Jim Town and millwork master David Sheridan from Splinters Millworks, who worked his magic in nearly every room of the beautiful heritage home.
The laundry room was specifically designed for high-foot traffic, and includes one of the home’s four bathrooms. With the laundry room’s direct access to the outside and abundance of storage, it is exceptionally functional.
The six-bedroom, four-bath home had multiple compound curves and angles. Sheridan says “a lot more had to be built and scribed on site than a typical project.” For example, the unique closet space in the master bedroom had to be built into the existing vaulted roofline.
As part of the modernization, a bedroom was converted into the master ensuite bathroom. Because the windows stayed in their original locations, the mirrors above the vanity were hung in front. “I hadn’t done a project before where we couldn’t move a window,” says Hempstock. “It was like using what could be considered drawbacks as design elements and using them to our advantage, as best as we could. And I think we did that pretty well.”
The master bedroom showcases the masterful millwork and carpentry from Splinters Millworks. The hand-crafted closet was incorporated into the drop of a vaulted roofline. Dave Sheridan and his team worked with the angles, creating a closet that maximized every inch. The top is perfect for hanging clothes, while the bottom has deep drawers, useful for chunky sweaters or equipment.
A large island stands strongly in the middle of the kitchen, inviting family and friends to gather round. For the kids, a baking station was incorporated with ample elbow room and storage below. A marble countertop finish and a soft sage blacksplash throughout the space keeps it simple, streamlined and easy to clean.
Since the family’s passion for the outdoors runs strong, the designs had to incorporate extra storage and designated areas for sporting equipment and gear, especially in the laundry room. “We have eight spaces with laundry separators because you end up going through a ton of washing when you’re busy like that,” says Lee.
A bike room was also added beneath the deck. In addition, the entire house was lifted, creating more height and space in the basement.
The upstairs bathroom was designed with the children in mind. The penny round tiles on the floor and walls brighten up the space, making it both whimsical and sophisticated. The heritage- style sconces from Hudson Valley Lighting keep the historical theme intact. A large farmhouse style trough is used for the sink, big enough for the children to share.
Walk by this heritage home, and you might not realize an extensive renovation ever took place. With original paint colours matched, original window placements, freshly repoured concrete steps and a dormer off the back of the house that looks like it was meant to be, the house essentially looks the same as it did before. “It’s very much in keeping with the character of the home, but it is definitely an improvement,” says Hempstock.
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With Willows Beach just two blocks away, the Lees can use their kayaks and SUP boards with ease. A big backyard and a family-friendly neighbourhood means annual Halloween parties and big birthday bashes. Since moving in two years ago, Lee says time has gone fast. They’ve settled in. And without hesitation, they love their heritage home.
ARCHITECT/DESIGNER: Ryan Hoyt Designs
CONTRACTOR/BUILDER: Jim Town of J. Town Developments
INTERIOR DESIGN: Adrienne Hempstock and Jenny Martin of Jenny Martin Design
MILLWORK/CABINETRY: Splinters Millworks
FLOORING: Edgar & Miner Floor Coverings
COUNTERTOPS: Colonial Countertops
KITCHEN APPLIANCES: Lansdowne Appliance Gallery
BATHROOM FIXTURES: Andrew Sheret Limited/ Splashes Bath & Kitchen
FIREPLACE: Sherwood Industries
WINDOWS: Oakridge Windows & Doors
PLUMBING: Edge Plumbing & Gas
ELECTRICAL: A. Slater Electrical Systems
LANDSCAPING: Golden Appeal Landscaping