Nestled into a quiet street near Dow’s Lake sits a beautiful Cape Cod style house built in 1942 by the family of Canadian lumber baron J.R. Booth. Purchased by its current owners in 1989, the couple recall being instantly drawn to the horizontal look of the home and the historic appeal of its stately exterior stone walls.
Explaining that now there is hardly anything in the house that remains untouched, the homeowners hired Arnie Weppler, whom they describe as a true gentleman and craftsman with exceptional old-fashioned carpentry skills, to transform the space into something that was uniquely theirs.
Craving as much sunlight and brightness in the home as possible, one of Arnie’s early jobs was to unearth the windows surrounding the front door, so that the homeowners could, “see the light of day coming down the stairs.”
In 2010, it was time to renovate the inviting, yet perennially leaky, sunroom at the back of the house. Architects Barry Hobin and William Ritcey of Hobin Architecture and Clark Cada of Cada Construction were hired for that job, as well as to fulfill a wish list that included coffered ceilings and transom windows with sills deep enough to support a coffee cup or gin and tonic. In addition, they desired a gas fireplace and heated porcelain floors that would be level with and match the outdoor patio. Extra touches included bookshelves and a handmade bench, by KFR Restoration + Design.
Throughout the years, the homeowners have also been grateful for the talent of local interior designers like the late Patrick McCarron, who chose the main floor’s warm and earthy paint palette; a perfect backdrop to accents of gold and crystal. More recently, Michael Courdin selected fabric to tie together the stunning colour combinations of cinnamon, coral and cornflower blue that is repeated in upholstery, antique rugs and other objects.
HOMES FOR THE HOLIDAYS
With a thoughtful and modern kitchen refresh completed in 2015 to “make every inch very useful,” the pair were delighted to open their doors to this year’s Homes for the Holidays tour. The event supports Hospice Care Ottawa in providing much-needed palliative care and bereavement care to clients and their families.
“There may come a day when each of us or our loved ones will need the Hospice at May Court,” said the homeowners. They recently found inspiration in Atul Gawande’s book Being Mortal, about how best to face death medically and humanely, and they hope that events like the tour will encourage more open and comfortable conversations about end-of-life care.
To prepare the house for the Homes for the Holidays tour, the owner of Scrim’s Florist, Susan Murray, and Scrim’s lead designer, Sharon Slater, were happy to provide their attention-to-detail service. “Scrim’s has been involved with the Homes for the Holidays tour since 2008,” says Sharon. “We think that supporting the Hospice Care Ottawa is so important because the work they do is invaluable to our community.”
Working with professional holiday designer Karen Grand, Sharon chose florals and greenery that would complement the home’s impressive art collection and exquisite antiques. “At the owner’s request we went with an all-white colour scheme, adding florals and just the right amount of sparkle, glitter and glitz,” notes the designer. “By introducing lots of lovely greens from outside we were able to bring nature inside and create a look that will last for a longer period of time. Knowing what she likes best, we included white cyclamen plants and made sure to showcase her meaningful collection of 50 papier-mache angels.”
Asked for a few on-trend botanical holiday decorating tips suited to every home, Sharon is particularly in favour of wonderfully aromatic natural elements. “Consider arranging fresh cedar andspruce in a vase, with some Ilex berries added for colour. Eucalyptus can also be incorporated along with a few dogwood branches.”
With their home lovingly prepared to greet Homes for the Holidays ticketholders, the couple couldn’t be more satisfied. “Although travelling to see our children and grandchildren over the season brings us great delight, it is also so much fun decorating our own home for the holidays. It is such a treat to get to do both this year, and for a cause that couldn’t be more important.”
For more information about Hospice Care Ottawa visit hospicecareottawa.ca.