After standing for more than a century, this 1911 Fairfield home had all but crumbled from neglect before it came into the hands of Alan MacMinn of MacMinn Contracting. MacMinn, who specializes in reimagining old homes, instantly saw how the house could be transformed into a perfect blend of old and new. The result is a multiple CARE award-winning architectural showpiece with modern appeal and a few surprising twists.
“Neighbours remembered the house the way it was before it fell into disrepair,” says MacMinn, who preserved the building’s cherished historical features, upgrading the structure, systems, and finishings for contemporary comfort. “It was important to the neighbourhood to keep the house rather than tear it down and rebuild.”
In addition to gutting and rebuilding the interior and replacing all of the mechanicals, MacMinn restored the home’s curb-side appearance to its original beauty, including the front porch, which had been closed in by a previous owner. New fir siding was custom milled in Chemainus to match the original one-by-six-foot double-drop profile, then was painted grey with black trim for a subtle, modern flair. Cedar shingles painted in a contrasting grey accentuate the lower portion of the house to reflect the home’s era.
Just inside the front entrance is a cozy study and a generously sized living room. In the living area, a clever power lift hides the TV in a console-height cabinet, allowing the TV to be raised to viewing position only when needed. The room’s focal point is the fireplace with a replica coal-burning insert set inside the home’s original ornate cast-iron frame, surrounded by iridescent tile and a white carved mantel with slender columns. Where he could, MacMinn preserved original millwork, including the hallway wainscotting and a hand-railing for the stairs with its scrolled balustrades.
Just down the hall, the panelled staircase leads upstairs where MacMinn revamped the layout to create two airy bedrooms with a guest bath and master ensuite for modern living. Floating cabinetry, chrome towel heaters, and heated floors provide luxury details in both bathrooms. The master bath’s purely minimalist design features a huge curb-less shower, clad in large-format porcelain tile and enclosed in glass panels that disappear into the ceiling.
In the kitchen, high-gloss minimalist cabinetry in contrasting white and teal is punctuated by a black farmhouse sink, while the waterfall island houses plenty of storage, a beverage fridge, and a built-in microwave. LED strip lighting cleverly recessed into the ceiling and under-cabinet mounted lights complete the clean look and pairs surprisingly well with the historic features, including the reproduction stained-glass windows and the panelled powder room door.
A commercial-grade curtain glass wall blends the entire space seamlessly with the garden, where an established birch tree grows amid minimalist plantings and a flowering water lily, echoing the mix of traditional and contemporary design seen throughout the house. Exterior porcelain tile, exposed concrete, and an open flame fireplace provides modern-day comfort, completing the home’s transformation.