Built in the historic Rockland neighbourhood in 1903, this classic turn-of-the-century, Samuel Maclure designed home is now preserved by registered heritage status. Having undergone multiple transformations in its 112 years, from a boarding house to multi-suite rental accommodation, the home was ready to return to its former glory as a single family dwelling.
After completing extensive renovations on the main floor, this busy family was ready to create a casual, family-friendly, space for entertaining on the lower level. The couple turned to Maximilian Huxley Construction Ltd to remove two separate, one-bedroom, rental suites from the lower level, connect the lower level to the upper floor with a new interior staircase and create a shared multi-purpose family space.
With Interior Designer, Jodi Foster from Jodi Foster Design + Planning at the design helm, the concept was to respect the heritage of the building and, instead of the formal interpretation of the home’s vintage on the upper levels, consider a 1903 vintage industrial warehouse look for the lower family space. The modern industrial look resonated with the owners for its use of raw woods, steel beams and subway tiles. “The industrial feel allowed us to incorporate decor reflective of the owner’s former home in the UK,” says Foster.
Enter a modern interpretation of the good ol’ fashioned family recreation room. With a design brief that included a wet bar, shuffleboard table, pool table, workout area and a media zone, Huxley reports that the design intention was to allow for a variety of activities in the 1750-square-foot lower level, yet keep the distinct areas connected for socializing.
Some of the elements driving the design were the integration of different species of reclaimed wood and the variations of metal combined in the open-plan space. Repurposed materials include reclaimed hickory for the flooring, barn siding for the walls and old train boxcar flooring for the stair treads and countertops.
Huxley reveals that the reclaimed barn siding from Dan O’Neil of Reclaimed Designworks in Colorado was the jumping off point for the design. Not only does it provide a striking feature wall adjacent to the shuffleboard, but it also protects the wall in a high-traffic space. The worn wood visually connects the distinct areas, bringing cohesion to the layout.
Subway tile, stainless steel cabinets, an under counter bar fridge, wine cooler, boxcar flooring countertops and open shelving in the kitchen maintain the casual industrial feel, while the durable materials speak to the functionality of the compact space. The chalkboard paint elevates the fun factor promising drink specials and drawings.
“What I personally love about this space is not just how it looks, but how it feels — this is a place you want to kick off your shoes and just hang out. Everything is beautiful and yet nothing feels too precious to be enjoyed,” states Foster.
Replacing the original wood beams with steel in the games area was a bit of a design snag; Huxley reports that making the steel beams look like part of the original structure was a significant challenge. Salvaged barn wood wainscoting envelops the games and media areas and creates a drop zone ledge for drinks and decor.
“Due to the heritage status of the building, there were many elements in the home that had to be maintained — the exterior facade and the heritage windows could not be changed. And of course, there were many features we wanted to preserve and celebrate, like exposing the original brick of the fireplace foundations and even the ash clean outs,” adds Huxley. He also created a custom-built wood-topped, stainless steel, wrap around bench to invite seating near the pool table. The vinyl covered custom banquette seating adds to the relaxed vibe.
A separate entrance invites guests into the welcoming mudroom. Behind the custom-made barn door is a surprisingly unique powder room. Boxcar planks used for stair treads and the open railing maintains the airy warehouse feel and allows natural light to penetrate the space.
Foster shakes it up in the powder room with black subway tile arranged in a herringbone pattern. Paired with the original reclaimed fir beams, the small space retains the rustic modern feel. Let your imagination run wild with the decorative “P” on the powder room wall.
The guest bathroom reflects the industrial vibe with subway tile, hexagon tile flooring and metal and wood vanity.
To add to the practicality of the lower level, Huxley built a spacious guest bedroom with ensuite. Assembled by both Foster and the homeowners, the bedroom decor boasts an eclectic blend of antiques and vintage finds continuing the central theme of the design.