Home renovations are not for the faint of heart, but we laud Maximilian Huxley for his clever design responses to a myriad of remodelling challenges. Implementing years of experience and a genuine love for building, Huxley renovated three unique homes enhancing some of the original features and completely renovating others. We all love a before and after home renovation project and in true Huxley form, principles of design, restoration, and client needs govern these three home renovations to provide dramatic transformations to these west coast exteriors.
1. Marina View – The Marina View renovation was driven by the fact that both Huxley and the client liked the overall lines of the house. “The lines lend themselves to the contemporary look with some necessary but subtle changes in colours and finishes,” explains Huxley. Both Huxley and the client agreed to work with most of the original cedar siding considering it was an excellent quality cedar product with a contemporary look that fit with their vision.
The covenance on the property didn’t allow for any vertical modifications so it made sense to work with the original house. Huxley notes that, “the original house had the right idea in the fact that the front facade, facing the ocean, had a lot of windows. We modified the windows slightly, giving them more height, and allowed the windows to be viewed from all aspects of the interior.”
The exterior revisions were primarily in colour and slight material changes, mostly in the metals. Rather than dark brown metals they moved to anodized (corrosion resistant) metals, forging metal and cedar for a contemporary contrast.
“To create a sharp modern contrast we transformed the brown cedar to black, offsetting the light silver against a dark colour was a simple modification with a dramatic outcome. The only major change we made to the front exterior of the house was creating a focal feature entrance on the beach side.”
2. Ardmore Cottage – Ardmore Cottage has a story behind it. The house was a tear down and the client was essentially buying a lot. Huxley began designing a new house and in the budgeting process the client realized that it was exceeding their limit for both lot and house together. So Huxley looked at another approach, to renovate with additions and modifications. Again, the additions were proving to exceed budget limits and Plan C was explored. “Sometimes when you’re renovating you have to explore working with the original house, otherwise it doesn’t make financial sense,” explains Huxley. He knew that with a few revisions he could give this dated rancher a contemporary cottage feel.
To take full advantage of the verdant property and it’s views, Huxley created floor-to-ceiling windows in the kitchen. A few revisions were made to the front entrance and the roofline was increased to create a covered entryway. The entryway became a focal point using natural woods, embracing an organic west coast look. The client liked the cedar siding but the dated 1980’s brown was definitely looking tired. Renovations often beg the question of which projects can the client DIY versus what to contract out. In this case, the clients repainted the cedar themselves in their garage and Huxley’s team reinstalled it. “It was a labour of love for the clients and the result was fantastic,” muses Huxley. In fact, the client did all the exterior painting themselves. Smiling, Huxley adds that “they were onsite everyday with staff through the entire project, it was a great experience for everyone.”
3. Oliver Oaks – Of the three renovations, Oliver Oaks is probably the most dramatic transformation. The original house was a 1940’s character home with very plain details. Huxley kept some of the original structure for technical reasons, “if we tore the house down we couldn’t build it in the same spot and we wouldn’t have got the relaxations we were able to get with the renovation in order to get the size we got. In saving the building, we gained $50,000 in value so there was a little bit of financial savings, but you do have to compromise a bit when you do that.” The only feature they saved from the original house was that cute little curved front entrance with roof because it worked well with the final look of the front. Huxley notes that, “it was nice to keep some aspect of the original feature, so we kept both the front entrance and the staircase.” The most apparent aesthetic change was a 14 ft addition to increase the square footage to accommodate visiting friends and family.
Huxley completely revamped the front: redoing the front driveway, retaining walls, and stairs allowing for an appealing approach to the home, not only from the street, but from the driveway. The overall finishes were modern while maintaining the character look with a stucco finish, window details and roofline.