Old into New into Old Again


In my area of design specialty I get to work with clients who appreciate the styles of the past – and not all of them own heritage homes. For the last year I have been consulting with a client who purchased a 1960’s two story “Colonial” style house in a very nice Edmonton neighbourhood. The house sits on the corner of a wide street overlooking a ravine.

The work had already begun on the exterior of the house. The photo above shows peaked and extended roof lines which were an add-on to the roofline of the 1960’s house.

If you look closely you will see that the window pane sizes are slightly different even though they have the same number of panes – that was necessary for us to do this because of the size of the windows and the need to leave room for the beautiful millwork that was to surround the windows.

IMG_2221A 4 x 4 cedar post held up the extended roof. It was obvious that this needed to be made into a more “beefed – up” pillar so I began the design work on them

IMG_3011.Here are the finished windows with their new casings. (Note the header on top of the windows casings.) The muntin bars separating the glass panes had to be wide enough to show from the street. This is important as narrow muntin bars have little or no visual impact. It was especially important in this case because, in order to create a more historic look, the bars needed to be wider.

IMG_3012There are lots of windows in this house, making it bright and airy on the inside. The door and window casings are simpler on the sides of the house. This was intentional because this side door opens onto another street and it was necessary to indicate the hierarchy of importance in the doorways by making the front door and the windows  more impressive with more detailed millwork.


The house was completely gutted and the rooms reconfigured with the help of an architectural technologist who did the official layout according to the client’s wishes.

IMG_2214This is the original fireplace which is now located in the library. It seriously needed repairs before it could ever be used again. My job was to design the fireplace surround for when the fireplace was back in working order.

IMG_3009The color scheme was based on a historic palette, and the siding is smooth Hardy board. The new door, in a color that ties in with the brick fireplace on the west side of the house isn’t in yet as the work isn’t completed. The decking is made of composite planking and the pillars have been built, based on my design, and are in proper scale for the front of this house.

Landscaping has begun and it’s only a matter of time before it looks like the house has always been there.

Are you curious about the inside? Check out my next blog entry for photos of the interior of this house!

2 thoughts on “Old into New into Old Again

  1. Johanne. I read your entire post… Of course I was challenged by a ’60’s house.
    Lately I’ve been following several US heritage sites. At least the bulldozer is not solving the challenges of heritage in the US and a heritage site is not doomed to demolition by property values. I’m not certain if you follow Vancouver property speculation. Recently a 1910 house sold on my street for close to two milion and as soon as the plans pass City Hall, it will be demolished. It would be wonderful if Heritage Vancouver was not made an oxymoron by speculators.

    1. What the US has that we don’t seem to have are people of real stature, wealth, and prominence fighting for heritage preservation. It’s cool to be part of preservation organizations in the US and Europe and until that happens here, hopefully not too late, grass root organizations will only go so far. It’s all about values.

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