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Home Gorgeous: Modernized 1903 Esquimalt cottage retains historic charm

If architecture is a barometer of society, how can households that housed families more than 100 many years ago be best tailored to match modern day households?

That was the challenge experiencing Johanne Hemond and her husband, Adrian Hill, who right away fell in appreciate with a little, 1903 cedar shingle cottage following going to Esquimalt in 2002.

The few, whose two young children were being 9 and six at the time, say the dwelling reminded them of residences in their aged neighbourhood in Montreal, with its 10-foot ceilings, crown mouldings, wood floors and purely natural gentle. They straight away purchased it without having ever viewing an additional residence for sale.

The character-stuffed home, as soon as referred to as “Viewfield Cottage,” was employed by staff from the old Viewfield Farm, the very first farm founded in the area in 1850. There are nevertheless axe marks in the primary fir flooring exactly where the 1st inhabitants chopped wooden for the hearth.

A monkey tree planted for the duration of those people early times however stands in the entrance property and has a “heritage tree” designation, preserving it from a feasible untimely demise.

When the tree is risk-free, the property is not formally specified “heritage.” However, Hemond and Hill have preserved a lot of its historic charm though modernizing its 1,250-square-foot interior to meet up with their family’s requirements.

The primary flooring of the cottage initially had a few bedrooms on a person side, when on the other side, throughout a narrow hallway, were a few little rooms: a kitchen area, a residing room with a fireplace, and an entryway, all shut off from just one yet another.

But Hemond, an artist (solaceart.ca) and Hill, who does woodwork and writes, equally required house to develop. Their young children also required area to entertain close friends, which intended the house’s inside configuration no for a longer time worked.

“As the young children bought more mature, it became additional essential to have flex room so they could have their privateness and buddies over,” claims Hill.

To address that problem, one particular of the initial projects they took on was generating a independent eight-by-10-foot studio in the backyard. They did it alongside one another, as a household. About the several years, everybody has produced use of the area a person way or another.

For the young children, it served as a hangout with good friends — at 1 time, it even had a tv. The studio has also been a position of meditation and a tranquil place for reading. Now, it serves as Hemond’s artwork studio, with her easel and paints established up and all set for when inspiration hits.

A sign outdoors the studio, which has big windows and a sliding glass door foremost to a substantial deck, just reads “solace,” which is acceptable, specified that it has been just about every loved ones member’s area of refuge — a dwelling away from residence.

Creativity is a frequent topic in this home, exactly where an author is rumoured to have the moment worked on just one of his ideal-known tales. “Our neighbour told us a single of her kin owned the dwelling and was great buddies with W.P. Kinsella. Legend has it he started off working on Shoeless Joe in this property,” says Hemond.

Irrespective of whether or not the story is legitimate, artwork continues to choose centre phase in the dwelling, from Hemond’s paintings to Hill’s woodwork, like an entry-corridor wall cabinet, an outdoor bench and a wind chime.

The key get the job done to modernize the residence occurred in 2008.

Ahead of they undertook the project, the couple deemed all selections, from increasing up to expanding down.

The former proprietor was an architect who handed together his ideas to produce an additional ground above the major ground, Hemond said. The few also consulted a builder about lifting the property off its basis to produce far more dwelling house downstairs — while there is some room downstairs, it is on bedrock, so it’s not complete top and is mainly used for storage.

But the builder suggested in opposition to lifting the property and the architect’s programs were too expensive, so the few discovered their possess solution: tearing down the wall separating the kitchen area and dwelling home and a 50 % wall that closed off the front entryway. The hearth and slim hallway were being eradicated, producing one significant open-principle dwelling room, with the kitchen having centre phase.

They have preferred easy furnishings, these as streamlined mid-century couches — a person of which pulls out as a sofa bed — and a teak espresso desk. “We like uncomplicated and maintaining lifestyle basic,” says Hemond.

Although additional than a decade has passed given that they undertook the renovation, it has stood the examination of time.

The kitchen area cupboards, from Douglas Grant Cabinetmakers, are however trendy today, with the primary cupboards showing almost home furnishings-like with legs, supplying the kitchen a roomy, ethereal feel. Their use of open up shelving alternatively of full higher cabinetry is also a popular style choice in houses being crafted currently.

Around the kitchen island are a few simple, square, hanging light fixtures that are as on-pattern right now as when they ended up put in.

A modern freestanding fire was included in the dwelling area. Providing off more than enough warmth to warm the open up-notion most important flooring, the fire has come to be a favorite feature for the pair.

The bedrooms remained untouched and even now have their primary brass doorway handles. But because both of their children, now ages 28 and 24, have moved out, the couple has claimed 1 of the children’s bedrooms as their very own and turned the grasp bedroom into a next residing room, with an workplace place in the corner for Hemond.

Hill made the bookshelves that line one particular wall, though Hemond employs a vintage secretary desk as her office.

That initial renovation was followed by a scaled-down renovation in 2011, when the home’s a person bathroom was updated. The family members held the first clawfoot tub, but the flooring required updating, so new bamboo flooring changed the previous linoleum.

The deck was also rebuilt and provides a further location to retreat to outdoor.

“We’ve looked at other homes because acquiring this household, but we usually occur back to [this one] mainly because of the home improvements we’ve completed that get the job done for us,” says Hemond. “It’s validating and a wonderful reminder of what we have achieved.”

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