The enduring charms of heritage homes

A few weeks ago I wrote about my desire to see into certain houses and today I met my neighbor

KIM MECKLER

A few weeks ago I wrote about my desire to see into certain houses and today I met my neighbor who lives in a stunning craftsman home that I have been eyeballing – I immediately invited myself over for coffee and cannot wait to see inside!

I was also very touched to receive a call from the owner of a new café in Lacombe which has opened in the old Morrison house.

I have driven past many times admiring the home, the eyebrow window at the top of the house always captivated me and it was such a treat to receive a full tour and a yummy lunch!

Heritage homes continue to fascinate me and I hope that the beauties in Lacombe will be lived in and loved for many years to come.

Although they are a great deal of work, the effort is worth it to be able to reside in a home with such history.

How many homes have you seen with a hidden staircase which used to rise up to the maids’ quarters? There aren’t too many places being built today with creative niches and storage areas built out of real wood by the hand of a carpenter. We have lost the desire for charming front porches and sitting parlours in our manic need for usable space.

The charm in some of these homes lies in the vacant spaces, the vestibules and alcoves that were put into these grand homes solely for the craftsman to show off his skills.

Wood trim with ornate detail, curves on plastered ceilings and ornate tile detail speaks of a time when houses were built with love and pride.

I see that from time to time with my clients and a home will be created with thoughtful details that keep my installers on that project for weeks creating the stunning visions.

My home is a classic vintage style – it has a wee front vestibule and another wee back porch.

These spaces have almost no purpose except to walk through yet they gently introduce you into the home like a lovely entrance to a hotel.

There is time to pause, hang up your coat and then enter the home. It is a gentle welcome rather than just being immediately dumped into a kitchen or living room.

I covet the homes that have a sitting space in the front, either a covered porch or parlour which invites you to sit a spell before entering the home.

The best thing about vintage materials and workmanship is that it isn’t perfect. Plastered walls are guaranteed to have cracks and fissures and hand-crafted wood trim will contain knots, wormholes and mineral streaks – these things are beautiful to me.

Imperfect is perfect and they tell a story of a journey from where it lived and grew to its final occupation in your home. Replacing this with mass produced repetitious sameness is an unfortunate result of our consumer demand but those delightful one-of-a-kind features are still out there and can still be incorporated into a new build.

To say I was charmed at Morrison House is an understatement; if you are fortunate enough to live in one of these granddames enjoy each imperfection and quirk.

The stories that those walls could tell would surely be very interesting!

Kim Meckler is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre.