the best part about own­ing a his­toric home

Cottages & Bungalows - - Kitchens -

is know­ing that you are cre­at­ing a new chap­ter of his­tory for it. Carla van Lin­gen and her part­ner, Ed, cer­tainly feel that way. “I loved the house at first sight,” Ed says. “Even though it was ob­vi­ous the main­te­nance had been poor over the years, I loved the his­tor­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics and the at­mos­phere.”

The fact that the turn-of-the-cen­tury brick cot­tage was in the heart of the city also called to him at the time. “[My then wife and I] both wanted to live in the city again, and be closer to fam­ily and down­town,” he adds.

“The fact that the prop­erty was his­tor­i­cally des­ig­nated was re­ally ex­cit­ing for us—though we didn’t re­al­ize at the time how much of a set­back that would be for ren­o­vat­ing. It took us a year of ne­go­ti­at­ing to even get our ren­o­va­tion plans ap­proved by the depart­ment for the preser­va­tion trust. But with a lot of give and take, we came to an agree­ment.”

Ed and his wife had to tackle a lot of the foun­da­tional el­e­ments to mod­ern­ize the house for liv­ing. This in­cluded new roof­ing, new floor beams and floor­ing; and all the walls and ceil­ings were ren­o­vated. Some of the old win­dow frames had to be re­placed as well, and of course ev­ery­thing was un­der the su­per­vi­sion of the trust. “Our big­gest chal­lenge was the stair­case lead­ing to the first floor. The ex­ist­ing stair­case was too un­steady and not safe, but to be able to build a new, more con­tem­po­rary one, we had to break away a part of one of the authen­tic floor beams,” Ed says. “It was a real chal­lenge to find a com­pro­mise be­tween sav­ing authen­tic de­tails, our mod­ern wishes for a safe stair­case and get­ting per­mis­sion for our new stair­case de­sign from the preser­va­tion trust.”

Many years later when Ed re­mar­ried and Carla moved into the house, they both saw it as an op­por­tu­nity to up­date the home again.


“Al­though I loved much of the in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tion as it was, Ed and I agreed that chang­ing some of it would be good for both of us,” Carla says. “We brought in some new col­ors like fresh orange and blue, and re­fur­bished some of Ed’s fur­ni­ture, like the two antique

|BELOW LEFT| SIM­PLE ELE­GANCE. A shabby white ot­toman stands in as an oc­ca­sional ta­ble in the din­ing room. An antique wooden tray al­lows Carla to dis­play flow­ers

in a wrought-iron urn atop it.

|BELOW| MADE MORE MOD­ERN. Carla chose a strik­ing mod­ern African mud­cloth-in­spired fabric to re­uphol­ster the two

French antique chairs next to the counter.

chairs in the liv­ing room next to the win­dow. Of course, I brought some of my own fur­ni­ture and stuff with me as well when I moved in, so you could say our in­te­rior is now a mix­ture of styles.”

Carla, who owned a small fash­ion busi­ness be­fore she re­tired, has in­fused the home with a few glam touches, in­clud­ing antique chan­de­liers and some bolder and more mod­ern pat­terns. Ed, a re­tired ge­ol­o­gist trav­eled of­ten through­out his ca­reer, so his trea­sures give the home its global flair. They both have been able to blend and com­ple­ment their styles to cre­ate a unique in­te­rior.

“We both pre­fer a clas­si­cal coun­try style, mixed with con­tem­po­rary de­tails and bright col­ors like the orange de­tails in the kitchen,” Carla says. “A lot of the dec­o­ra­tion came from all the places Ed has lived and is now nicely mixed with my stuff. It has grown to be a fine mix­ture of both our lives.”


The house isn’t only beloved by the cou­ple; the neigh­bor­hood too is in­volved in its his­tory and shares in a bit of its past. “From about 1940 un­til 1970, this house served as the lo­cal gro­cery store. Many peo­ple in the area re­mem­ber that and there­fore know our

house from the in­side as well,” Carla says. “Also the for­mer owner was an artist and a builder of harp­si­chords, a well-known fig­ure around here. He used to en­ter­tain a lot of guests, and be­cause of that, a lot of our neigh­bors know the house from that pe­riod.”

Some of the cou­ple’s fa­vorite fea­tures are beau­ti­ful de­tails from other hands, like the wall paint­ing on the large gray for­mer shop doors at the en­trance and the beau­ti­ful wood­carv­ings on top of the large wooden door­frame be­tween the gar­den room and the kitchen, both added by the harp­si­chord maker.

There’s also a small out­build­ing that had been out­fit­ted as a stu­dio apart­ment. Ed and his late wife lived there dur­ing most of the early ren­o­va­tions. “It is now part of our lit­tle bed-and-break­fast,” Carla laughs, ex­plain­ing that she rents out that room and an up­stairs bed­room oc­ca­sion­ally on Airbnb. “We spend a lot of time in that gar­den room: it’s so cozy and prac­ti­cal as well, be­cause it is next to the kitchen. And it has a lovely view of our gar­den.”

|LEFT| A WEL­COME DIS­PLAY. Just in­side the en­try­way of the house stands a large glass-fronted cab­i­net that com­mands at­ten­tion with its ele­gance and grace. The softgray cup­board holds Carla’s col­lec­tion of Wedg­wood table­ware and other pretty items. On...

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