Yes­ter­year charm melds with mod­ern touches

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - RESALE HOMES - By Todd Lewys

DRIVE by a grand home two-and-a-half storey a few houses off Stafford Av­enue on Har­vard Av­enue and you might look twice — and not know why you did the dou­ble take.

Mull it over for a mo­ment, and then it hits you: the home (as well as the home to its right) are set back from the street much deeper than nor­mal. There’s a rea­son for that, says real­tor David De Leeuw.

“It’s (93 Har­vard Av­enue) unique in that its front drive­way (ac­tu­ally more of a path­way) is shared with the home next door,” he says. “That’s be­cause horse-drawn coaches were still be­ing used in the early 1900s. Both homes had to have coach houses in back to put horses in. For that rea­son, I call the three-car garage at the rear of 93 Har­vard a coach house garage. The only dif­fer­ence is it now houses cars, not horses.”

That isn’t the only no­table fact about 93 Har­vard, adds De Leeuw.

“The other neat thing is that it’s only had four own­ers over the last 100 years or so,” he says. “It’s a very charm­ing home, as ev­i­denced by the fact that peo­ple have cho­sen to stay in it for 25 years at a time.”

To be ex­act, 93 Har­vard ex­udes a yes­ter­year charm that’s rarely seen in clas­sic turn-of-the cen­tury homes. That’s be­cause all four own­ers chose to re­tain (and main­tain) the fea­tures that pro­vide the char­ac­ter that makes homes of that vin­tage so spe­cial: high (about nine-foot) ceil­ings; 11-inch base­boards; orig­i­nal oak hard­woods, ban­nis­ters, spin­dles and lin­tels above the (of­ten ex­tra-wide) door­ways — the list can go on and on.

Say what you will about to­day’s new breed of homes with their high-tech fin­ishes, but there’s noth­ing like en­ter­ing a home with a foyer with an in­tri­cately carved oak ban­nis­ter, sur­rounded by door­ways with or­nate oak trim and lin­tels — with well-pre­served oak hard­woods be­neath your feet.

“It’s ob­vi­ous all the own­ers — in­clud­ing the out­go­ing own­ers — tried to re­tain the home’s char­ac­ter when they were un­der­tak­ing im­prove­ments,” De Leeuw says. “Be­cause of that, the house just has a re­ally nice feel to it — it feels like home the minute you walk in. I think all the beau­ti­ful wood­work plays a big part in that feel.”

While all the oak makes for a warm in­te­rior feel, 93 Har­vard is also a bright home due to — and this is rare for a home that’s roughly a cen­tury old — a wealth of ex­tra-large win­dows in each room. And al­though the floor plan is well-seg­mented (char­ac­ter­is­tic of turnof-the cen­tury de­sign), the big win­dows com­bine with wide door­ways for ex­cel­lent light flow.

“The floor plan is far from be­ing wide open, but it’s open enough — the flow from room to room is ex­cel­lent, which makes it a great home for en­ter­tain­ing.”

In essence, the home’s main level is a deft com­bi­na­tion of mod­ern con­ve­niences and old world charm. On the one hand, you have a for­mal din­ing room with a chan­de­lier and hand-carved oak win­dow cas­ings to dine in el­e­gance. Next door is a large liv­ing room with wood burn­ing fire­place with oak book­shelves on ei­ther side.

Then, there are the mod­ern touches: a four-sea­son sun­room (with eight win­dows) off the liv­ing room and a thor­oughly mod­ern kitchen tucked away in back. Mean­while, six-pan­eled oak doors with in­tri­cately detailed brass door knobs — and the vin­tage oak ev­ery­where — re­mind you this home has more than a few years un­der its belt — good years.

Not sur­pris­ingly, 93 Har­vard is also laden with char­ac­ter on its sec­ond level (there’s one more to go af­ter that). First, there’s a cor­ner den with day bed. Then, there’s a bed­room with a walk-in closet and bay win­dow, fea­tures rarely seen in 100-year-old homes. Next is a study/TV room with orig­i­nal cast iron fire­place.

“I be­lieve the fire­place could still be used,” says De Leeuw. “It’s not hard to imag­ine watch­ing a movie in here on a chilly win­ter night with a fire go­ing to warm you up.”

Just when ev­ery­thing seems to be done, there’s then what seems to be a land­ing that takes you to a trio of doors on the left. To the right is a very pleas­ant sur­prise — a well-fin­ished fourpiece bath­room.

“It’s been to­tally re­done, tiled with a cor­ner shower and ac­tual Jacuzzi tub — plus a new win­dow and dual flush toi­let — it’s re­ally well done, a beau­ti­ful­lyfin­ished space where you can re­lax in to­tal pri­vacy. The doors on the other side have on stair­case that goes down and an­other that goes up. The ser­vants used one set to go down­stairs, the other goes up to what would have been their quar­ters; the third is a stor­age closet.”

The home’s third level (ac­tu­ally four, if you in­clude the high, dry stone base­ment) then con­tains two more bed­rooms, a three-piece bath­room — and plus a loft area, a space ideal for reclu­sive teens.

“This is a his­toric, yet mod­ern home,” he adds. “This home is full of won­der­ful rooms, and is loaded with a char­ac­ter, charm — and mod­ern con­ve­niences — that every­one can en­joy.”


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