In 2002 The Niagara Society of Architects sponsored an exhibition at Rodman Hall Art Gallery in St. Catharines, Ontario entitled “Domestic Gems” featuring the 1920’s domestic architecture of Nicholson MacBeth Architects. 30 Glenridge Ave. was one of the featured homes and is a classic example of the Nicholson MacBeth style. This quaint English Arts & Crafts “cottage” had managed to survive it’s 70 odd years relatively unscathed except for an unsympathetic kitchen remodelling  complete with it’s “Harvest Gold” appliances, dark oak cabinets and yellow and brown geometric sheet vinyl. The house featured a dramatic dark chestnut panelled central hall and wonderful matching staircase with beamed ceiling. All main floor rooms accessed this room by way of doors matching the wall panelling which, when closed, were virtually impossible to see. The one drawback of these homes is their dark interiors and this central hall was a prime culprit. Our client had contacted us after seeing photos of High-on-Rye on our website. High-on-Rye is an unabashedly modern home with bright interiors and spare detailing which he wanted us to recreate in this dark 70+ year old cottage. Needless to say we were nervous, but agreed to look and see what we felt could be done. Once the home had been measured and the plans recreated, we immediately noted that the two second floor washrooms were located directly above the central hall and that their windows opened to the rear of the home. Would it be possible to remove these two small rooms, relocate them elsewhere on the floor and open up the floor to the central hall below? If we could achieve this we would be well on our way to creating the light filled home our client so desired. Well, we found some large closets into which we were able to build two new  washrooms and so, out came the floor and in flooded the daylight. Likewise we removed the dark panelling in the Living Room removed  the old kitchen and  the wall between it and the charming adjacent Arts & Crafts Dining Room. Wherever we could, the original details such as fireplaces, panelling, stairs, etc. were retained but the old drafty windows were replaced and the smallish Living Room windows became large French doors opening onto a new deck spanning the rear of the home. Even though the backyard was part of a large ravine and dropped off dramatically, the basement remained buried without access to the yard. When it was determined that the basement floor was at the same level as the rear yard the decision was made to open it up. The dark oak plank floors were refinished to their natural light gold and all interior walls were painted a pristine white. The result is a restored exterior giving few hints to the bright and dramatic interior that nevertheless respects the original Arts & Crafts details without diminishing the original design.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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