Day to day living has changed a whole lot since the Haverstocks’ house welcomed it’s first family way back in 1901. Technology, furniture and our ideas of what an evening an home looks like are far different than they were 120 years ago. A home of that vintage has seen a lot of families come and go.
Fortunately, as our society moves away from a buy-and-discard mentality, more families are choosing to stay in their homes for the long term – adapting their home as their lives change. In fact, nearly all my clients in the past three years consider their current home their forever home. As an advocate for sustainability with a passion for designing homes for people of all ages, size and ability, I welcome this new trend for staying put!
Having a long range plan for your home that fits you for the long term is key to ensuring you enjoy daily life in your home now and for as long as you want to stay. So I’m always designing for both the short term and long term needs of my clients.
Let’s take a look at the Haverstock’s grand old home. Jen and Mike Haverstock are a young professional couple who have spent the past five years making do with some spaces being too small and others too big for the life of a modern family . Awkward layouts, dreary colours, poor lighting, and no logical places for daily tasks changed from tolerable to unbearable once baby arrived.
The layout of the entire back half of the home was ideal… in 1901! Jen and Mike had worn themselves out with the design domino effect – “if we do this, we can have that, but wait, that won’t work because of…”. And when it came to finishes, fittings, and furnishings, Jen and Mike had some ideas, but they felt they were missing an understanding of design principals and the confidence to curate their ideas.
Once we had the layout and the look all sorted, our Designer On Call service fit their needs perfectly – a question here, a sounding board there, and a few “find the perfect one for us please”s and together, we created a splendid mix of modern and vintage. The Haverstocks now have a home that functions for their modern daily lives, showcases their personal style, and honours their grand old home’s original grace and personality.
This is the original awkward layout of the back half of the home.
Here is the final plan for a much improved use of space. Starting in the upper left…. we transformed the back entry and secondary basement access into a pantry with refrigerator, work area, and window for natural light and a view to the back garden.
To the right, the laundry room was relocated to another area of the house, so that a mudroom with an exterior door could give access onto a new deck for barbeques and enjoying the garden. The bathroom is now accessible from the mudroom instead of the dining room and has it’s own window.
One of the major design challenges was maximizing the functionality of the awkwardly shaped kitchen and overly large dining room. By removing the dividing wall, we created a super family-friendly kitchen. There was an under-utilized sunroom to the far right of the old dining room that’s now a perfectly sized dining room – not too big and not too small. The new island is massive with lots of room for multiple chefs, family gatherings, and tons of easily-accessible drawer storage. A table at the end of the island is the perfect spot for casual family meals, homework, and craft projects.
Here’s the portfolio gallery. These photos were taken before painting was completed. So, be sure to subscribe if you’d like to check out the finished transformation. Click on any image to see it full sized. I’m particularly pleased that Jen and Mike took a leap of faith in agreeing to the dramatic island countertop – the bold pattern suits the home to a T and ensures the island doesn’t look like one overwhelming block. Kiera’s kitchen design is spot on for functionality and the proportions of the space. And Jen’s wallpaper choices respect the era of the 1901 home, yet feel current and lively.
“After settling in and adding to our family, we decided a few areas weren’t working for us. We independently mulled over how to redesign the kitchen, pantry, back entry and small bath but finally decided we needed a pro. In walked Deborah and she perfectly captured the space we were looking for in her proposed design. It was very important to us to merge the century old features of our home with the new and Deborah certainly honoured that in her design suggestions”. – J.Haverstock
“Thank you Jen and Mike. Re-configuring the entire back half of your grand old home for modern family living was a true exercise of Rubik’s Cube proportions! But we made it – the layout is now balanced, concise and attractive.
I’m thrilled to see how our conversations on working with style, colour, function, line and form in the context of your home, possessions and lifestyle, have resulted in the beautifully welcoming and inspiring home that’s emerged from the renovation dust.
It’s heart-warming to see old homes such as yours updated in ways that preserve their character and elegance. Bravo to you both for taken on the challenge! And thank you both so much for inviting me to be your design guide!” – Deborah Nicholson
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