Bringing an old home back to life
When my clients purchased an older Craftsman-style house, they had no interest in razing the property and replacing it with an infill. They loved the bones of the home and planned to update and improve upon what was already there.
The chopped-up floor plan had been partially addressed in a previous renovation. An addition in the back created a sunken family room with skylights and a patio door to the backyard. This was the main access directly into the house from the driveway and garage.
The kitchen, perched over the family room, was dated and lacked storage.
Original Craftsman-style gum wood trim and built-in cabinetry preserved at the front of the house, and the open — but dated — back part of the home, conjured up images of a bad ’80s haircut, a mullet. Business in the front, party in the back.
To preserve the original charm and increase the useful square footage, they debated how to work around what they had. Even the dated skylights above the addition negated a second storey extension unless they were removed. Did they want to preserve an older addition or start from scratch?
Scratch being the operative word. As soon as they looked behind the walls, the scope of work exploded. Although the plan was to maximize the floor space without harming the integrity of the home, they knew to make the home efficient, they needed to start over. Sadly, that meant most of the original features, like windows, would need to be replaced.
After gutting the house, they expanded the second floor, adding a master ensuite and walk-in closet to the master. The main floor was levelled out, the floor plan reworked, which also helped gain ceiling height below in the basement for a new laundry room.
They added a bright, open mudroom at the back of the house to access the garage and driveway. This bright, well-organized space is a welcoming entry with heated floors and plenty of storage.
IMPROVED FLOW & FUNCTION
The family room, now at the back of the house, still feels connected to the now-open main floor. The kitchen, which is in the centre of the home, was kept purposefully light. Although there are few upper cabinets, the kitchen plan functions more efficiently with the added floor-to-ceiling pantry behind the reclaimed, custom-made barn door. A bold swath of navy on the island adds personality without overwhelming the space, it’s also an accent colour throughout the home.
The dining room, now at the front of the home, was made cosy with a new electric fireplace. The marble-like porcelain slab was an indulgence the homeowners couldn’t resist and makes a big statement in blue. The built-in window bench offers extra seating.
Upstairs, the staircase was moved to add two new bedrooms with full-sized closets at the front of the house. Unable to preserve the original, my clients vowed to find a beautiful custom solution so the staircase would still be an outstanding feature.
The layout is more practical now and an abundance of custom cabinetry discourages clutter. It’s a testament to the homeowner’s passion for the past that this updated home now offers more space but feels as cozy as it was originally meant to be.
Designer, spokesperson, author and television personality, Jane Lockhart is one of Canada’s best-known experts in the world of design and colour. janelockhart.com
FLOORING, throughout White Oak Nautilus Vintage Flooring TILES, throughout Cercan Tile CABINETRY, HANDLES, kitchen, bathroom, pantry, mudroom Aya Kitchens STAIRCASE, Deluxe Stair and Railing WINDOWS, Anderson Windows PANEL MOULDING, Estate Interiors CEILING TRIM, Mouldex Mouldings PAINT, Collingwood OC-28 Benjamin Moore KITCHEN COUNTERTOP, Calcutta Gold, Silestone Counter STOOLS, Wayfair LIGHTING, Kitchen and dining room pendants, “Rotterdam” Savoy House MASTER BEDROOM: BEDDING, Pottery Barn.ca SIDE TABLES, Wayfair.ca Lamps and RUG, Homesense DINING ROOM: TABLE, Wayfair CHAIRS, Structube FAMILY ROOM: SOFA AND CHAIRS, Pottery Barn PILLOWS, COFFEE TABLE, SIDE TABLE, Carpet Urban Barn MUDROOM: ACCESSORIES, Homesense