For this family of four, living in a Samuel Maclure designed home for many years started to feel too cramped when their teenage boys had to share a bedroom. Architectural interest aside, the finishes in the kitchen were dated, the main living areas were too small and compartmentalized, the electrical, plumbing and heating were inefficient and the family of four was ready to have more than one bathroom for the entire house. The family turned to Ryan Hoyt Design to create a design that would maintain the home’s original concept yet reconfigure the layout and uncover some of the original Maclure beauty. Such a massive undertaking was led by Jenny Martin Design and Maximilian Huxley Construction who found ways to maximize usable space and incorporate modern amenities while respecting the history of this Maclure home.
Martin acknowledges that architecturally the house has some beautiful elements like the staircase, leaded windows and character fireplaces but that some of the finishes were tired. She goes on to explain that the Samuel McClure architecture itself was the inspiration for the design and that preserving and highlighting the details while adding modern conveniences was the homeowners’ primary goal. The kitchen and bathrooms were completely renovated and the dropped ceilings were removed allowing Huxley to add coffered ceilings and create more open, brighter spaces.
After restoring multiple heritage homes, Huxley states that in a Maclure home we try to preserve certain architectural details and match new features with original elements and trim work. He adds that “where additions are made, the architectural significance is considered to ensure the new features look as if there has been no change to the exterior and the interior is balanced with more openness without being completely out of character. We restored fixtures, hardware and add new pieces that blend with the era of the house.”
An integral part of the redesign, built-in cabinetry by Thomas Philips Woodworking elevates the home’s overall functionality. Martin adds that they used midnight blue on the kitchen cabinetry as a neutral to add depth and dimension. “We wanted to create contrast and interest with vibrancy and the deep blue played nicely off the other rich saturated accent colours used in the house.”
In terms of preserved features, Huxley lists elements like the original fireplace tiles that were salvaged and reused, the exterior pebble dash stucco was matched, all leaded windows were restored, in-floor radiant heating was added in combination with restoring some of the original radiators and adding new ones from salvage yards.
In the main living area, the dropped ceiling was removed, original tile on the fireplace was restored and mirrored built-ins were created on either side of the fireplace for additional storage and visual balance with the rest of the built-ins throughout the home.
Built-in millwork was included in hallways, under the stairs, walk-in cold storage/pantry in the basement, as well as recycling storage. Four locker-style built-ins were included in the lower hallway to house specific items like games, ski equipment and linens.
Huxley adds that they were able to add square footage to the second floor by mirroring a shed roofline on the other side of the exterior. It was such a success, that Huxley adds “you would never know it wasn’t part of the original.” The second floor was expanded to create enough space for two bedrooms for the teenage boys, a second bathroom and a substantial master closet.
The biggest challenge for the project was hand excavating the basement to create a full height space while keeping the original exterior intact. The original basement was under six feet in height and unfinished. “We just couldn’t get a machine in there without significant impact to the property and the building itself, so it was dug by hand to eight feet and material was removed with buckets. The ground was so hard it had to be jackhammered before being dug out. The renovated basement now includes a rec room, laundry, office for two, three-piece bathroom, storage, wine room and mini-workshop. The second biggest challenge was adding the dormers to the house as they had to be built by hand while keeping the house protected from the elements in the process,” says Huxley.
The master bathroom has a spa-like appeal including a porcelain tile glass shower, free-standing soaker tub and dual-sink built-in vanity with ample storage. Preserving a Samuel Maclure home is no small task, but with careful space planning and regard for the original handiwork, the power trio of Hoyt, Huxley and Martin managed to maintain the Maclure character while taking the home into the next century.
- Builder: Maximilian Huxley Construction
- Residential Design: Ryan Hoyt Designs
- Interior Design: Jenny Martin Design
- Millwork: Thomas Phillips Woodworking
- Kitchen Cabinetry: Thomas Phillips Woodworking
- Floors: Refinished by Cherry Point Hardwood Flooring
- Bathroom Floors and Showers: Hourigan’s Flooring
- Fireplace Surrounds and Hearths: Hourigan’s Flooring
- Laundry Room Floors: Hourigan’s Flooring
- Kitchen Backsplash: Hourigan’s Flooring
- Countertops: Colonial Countertops
- Interior Doors: Home Lumber
- Paint: Black Dog Painting
- Fireplaces: Ark at Home