When faced with the rebuild or renovate dilemma, for this professional couple in Oak Bay, the answer was obvious. Maintaining the home’s original turn-of-the-century architecture was important for the owners to minimize discrepancy with the neighbourhood’s existing streetscape. The couple hired Maximilian Huxley of Maximilian Huxley Construction to retain this 1908 Arts and Craft’s original charm while bringing the energy efficiency and interior into the 21st-century. The outcome is 4500-square-feet of bright and airy contemporary living where restoration meets modern for a family of four.
By retaining the shell of the house, the foundation and the landscaping, Huxley was able to keep waste to a minimum compared to a complete demolition and rebuild. “All the lighting is LED, the home is solar ready and wired for an electric car. To maintain the home’s harmony in the neighbourhood we restored a lot of the exterior details to bring the character back,” says Huxley.
Typical of the era, the original second floor windows were very small and inhibited the home’s view of the ocean. Huxley gutted the upper floor completely and rearranged the layout in order to capitalize on the ocean vistas and expand the square footage to include a third bedroom. “The angled roofline was modified enough to gain another bedroom and full bathroom. Now the upstairs enjoys three bedrooms, two full bathrooms and captures an abundance of natural light.”
Unsympathetic to the character of the home, the interior had been renovated in the 1980’s which left the kitchen dark and closed off from the dining area. It was important for the owners to create a culinary kitchen with an efficient work flow and plenty of natural light. The owners requested a small island that would maximize counter space and establish an ideal work triangle. Shaker-style cabinets and a high contrast colour palette define this transitionally-styled kitchen while warm natural materials like the reclaimed hickory flooring, recycled glass backsplash and quartz countertops keep the space from feeling too stark and cool.
Adjacent to the three-seater breakfast bar, a casual lounge area aims to keep the family together, and not in the work area, while parents cook. Beyond the sitting area, Huxley used an original nook to create a built-in multipurpose workstation for crafts and homework.
Carrying the monochromatic colour theme into the dining room, sliding white barn doors usher guests in. To awaken the room’s turn-of-the-century charm, Huxley restored the original leaded glass built-ins and had the one-hundred-year-old radiators refinished and reinstalled. Additional built-ins boost the dining areas functionality and keep clutter at bay.
“We added in-floor heating in most areas except where we maintained the original radiators. The dining area’s coffered ceilings were restored to keep the room feeling warm and inviting while embracing the original architecture,” states Huxley.
Wherever possible, Huxley reused, recycled, and even rethought. For example, the original bricks and mortar from the chimney were falling apart and the foundation was completely collapsed and sinking. “We tore it all down, saved the bricks, poured a new foundation and rebuilt it to create a functional wood burning fireplace with built-ins. Creating a sleek focal point, the hearth and surround in light grey marble complements the great room’s neutral colour scheme.
Initially considering a spindle railing on the staircase, the owners opted for a more contemporary look with recycled hickory and glass to keep the area modern and streamlined.
Custom wall paneling is a nod to the home’s era and echoes the coffered ceiling detail in the dining area. A perfectly placed skylight above the staircase floods both floors in light. Originally two bedrooms and one bath, the upper floor has been completely reconfigured to include three bedrooms and two full bathrooms.
“One of the most satisfying aspects of the renovation was rebuilding the top floor to include larger windows that captured the views looking out to the ocean,” says Huxley. Reclaimed hickory flooring on the upper level creates a cohesive feel with the rest of the interior and adds to the master bedroom’s cozy feel. Elevating the room’s retreat status, Huxley included a Valor gas fireplace with grey travertine marble surround, built-in pop-latch drawers, a walk-in closet and ensuite with soaker tub.
The light and airy master ensuite boasts ample storage, reclaimed glass backsplash and white quartz countertops for hardwearing durability. Crisp whites sparkle in the abundant light while the travertine tile flooring anchors the airy space.
A freestanding oval bathtub transforms the utilitarian space into a serene spa-like refuge.