Reviews and recommendations are unbiased and products are independently selected. Postmedia may earn affiliate commissions from purchases made through links on this page.
Who better to renovate an early 20th century mansion in Vancouver’s Dunbar-Southlands neighborhood than an interior designer with a talent for transforming long-forgotten homes and furniture?
In 2020, Enviable Designs founding owner and lead designer Victoria McKechnie and her husband were tired of their “small and long” Kitsilano duplex. When she spotted a real estate listing for her 4,000-square-foot home in her childhood neighborhood, she knew it was the one. “Even if it was a bit of a disaster, it spoke to me,” she says.
The exterior was obscured by overgrown trees and shrubs and could hardly be seen from the street. The inside was dirty and full of cobwebs. “It looked like a creepy haunted house, and it looked like no one had lived there for three years,” McKechnie said.
But she was able to look past those things and see the redemptive nature of this mansion. Most of the authentic architectural details, finishes and features remained intact, including wall and ceiling paneling, original farmhouse windows, interior doors and hardware.
Immediately after acquiring the property in October 2020, McKenney embarked on a three-month renovation to bring the home back to life with new paint, lighting, furniture and window treatments while honoring its history. Became.
The three-story home sits on a property 66 feet wide and 100 feet deep, and McKenney chose to maintain the original layout. Featuring a high roof and exterior cedar shakes, high original ceilings and spacious rooms, the home features four bedrooms, two upstairs bathrooms, a main floor sunroom, and a formal dining room. , with a formal living room. , powder room, kitchen, basement.
McKenney’s first actions, and the ones with the biggest impact, were to paint the previously dark brown exterior with custom creamy taupe paint, update the exterior trim with white paint, and clean up the yard. “That alone made such a huge difference. Even though it had been there for 100 years, people were walking by and saying, ‘I had no idea this house was here.'” she explains.
The rooms inside were painted in wildly mismatched colors, from pink to orange to ocher. To create a sense of unity, McKenney used Farrow & Ball pointing on the walls of nearly every interior space, including the entryway and kitchen cabinets. This instantly brightened up the entire home and created a beautiful contrast to the original red oak flooring, which the designers decided to leave in place and refinish.
Incredibly, very little was removed from the original house during the renovation, making the project extremely environmentally friendly. “We preserved as much of the house as possible. Very little went to the landfill,” says the designer.
Ms. McKenney chose to replace existing industrial track lighting and old ceiling fixtures, replacing them with statement lighting such as fireplace sconces, table lamps, floor lamps, and a chandelier that she and her husband brought back from Florence. illuminated the space. Some high-tech features have been installed, such as a Nest thermostat, but air conditioning has not yet been installed. “During the summer, curtains keep the heat out,” she says.
When it came time to furnish the space, McKechnie’s vision was to create a “classic farmhouse and transitional design aesthetic with a touch of European flavor.” She chose an eclectic mix of antique and modern luxury elements, drawing inspiration from the fairs she frequently attends in Europe, such as Maison et Objet in Paris.
McKenney chose traditional printed fabrics collected over the years from Lee Jofa and other European fabric houses, paying homage to the home’s history. She adorned the sunroom window with swooping Roman shades, curtains that cascaded on the dining room floor, and a bed layered with floral-print duvets, pillows, and bedspreads.
Many of the furniture items are custom-made from McKechnie’s own product line, including two sofas and a swivel chair in the living room and a tete-a-tete chaise in the sunroom. person with the same nameShe and her husband made several items directly in the mansion’s woodworking room. “The previous owner did a lot of woodwork and made things like tables, benches and birdcages,” she says.
When it’s time to relax, the designer retreats to the home’s sunroom, which is flooded with natural light. “I like to sit there in the sun in the afternoon,” she explains. “It’s a really peaceful house.”
McKenney says she loves living in a well-built home that is full of history and character. She appreciates the size of the rooms, the height of the ceilings, and how all the rooms are connected. “This is where my family grew up. I feel warm, loved, and comfortable,” she says.
The large cedar tree on the premises is a remnant of a former cedar field. “I believe this house was made from cedar that grew here,” she explains. “The craftsmanship is very authentic. It will last for another 200 years.”
Contractor: Eyco Building Group
Hardwood refinishing: fancy floor
carpet: Colin Campbell & Sons
Paintings and wallpapers: Deverill painting and decoration
Recommendations from the editorial department
Kitsilano’s transformation: a reimagined traditional mansion speaks to both past and present
Richmond custom home offers a very fresh twist on modern farmhouse