April 7, 2017

Family friendly: An update on a 1920s Shaughnessy classic

Janie Hungerford, Paul Silk and their children gather for story time in the great room of their renovated 1920s house.

Janie Hungerford, Paul Silk and their children gather for story time in the great room of their renovated 1920s house.

By Kathleen Freimond
Photos by Janis Nicolay

Family influence weaves its way throughout designer Janie Hungerford and Paul Silk’s recently renovated Shaughnessy home.
When the couple bought the house seven years ago, it had lingered on the market, potential buyers seemingly put off by its dated appearance and a bathroom that had not been renovated since the house was built in the late 1920s.
The location appealed to Hungerford, who grew up in the area, and her design instincts convinced her a renovation could capture the charm of the original structure and transform the home into a modern, family-friendly residence.
“We lived here for two years to get a feel for the house and to plan the renovation,” says Hungerford, who trained at the Parsons School of Interior Design in New York City and worked in Vancouver for several years before establishing Hungerford Interior Design in 2010. The family moved out for the 15-month renovation by Eyco Building Group that completely gutted the interior of the home.
“We preserved the front façade and kept all the leaded glass windows even though they’re drafty—you just can’t replicate the shimmer from the old dimpled glass in new windows because they have to be double-paned,” she says.
The young couple’s children inspired the open-concept main floor layout.
“The great room was designed to be comfortable for a big family,” says the mother of four. “We needed a place where we could spend family time together and have lots of storage for the kids’ toys. We also have a large kitchen table and a banquette: It’s where we eat dinner and the kids love doing their crafts there.”

The open-plan main floor is designed to be comfortable for a big family.

The open-plan main floor is designed to be comfortable for a big family.

The blue-upholstered banquette seating was custom made and the bases have storage for all those craft supplies. The results of happy hours spent with crayons and paintbrushes are displayed on the corkboard; on the adjoining wall, an Andrew Briggs artwork based on an old photo of a Vancouver streetscape adds another splash of colour to this busy corner of the home.
In the family room area of the great room, a large ottoman provides extra storage. The comfortable sectional, custom-made by Bloom, anchors the space with additional pops of colour provided by a contemporary blue chair and purple stool.
Hungerford’s talents are evident in the styling of the built-ins on either side of the fireplace, where old and new objects blend with photos and works of art.
“It takes a long time to style built-ins like this,” she says. “You have to work at proportion and scale, with multiples—in threes not twos, most of the time—and consider what colours work. It’s not easy. A lot of thought goes into it.”
The kitchen is the hub of the great room. “I can see all the kids when I’m in the kitchen,” says Hungerford.

A dropped ceiling subtly defines the space along with a large 11-by-3.5-foot (3.3-by-one-metre) island that holds the wine cooler, microwave and a second oven. Dual-tone cabinetry adds a contemporary flair with the refrigerator, freezer and pantry cupboard behind integrated wood panels. High-gloss grey lower cabinets support a Cambria stone countertop. Glass doors on the upper cabinets give the whole space a light and airy ambience.
As a designer Hungerford enjoys working with clients’ existing possessions.
“Things one already owns have a history and they show personality. If you buy everything new it lacks that emotional connection. I like the history and your guests will always ask about those pieces,” she says.
She followed that instinct in her own home by incorporating vintage and family-owned furniture throughout. In the dining room new chairs complement an antique table and the rectangular light fixture helps combine old and new elements in the room.
In the formal living room, a colourful Wendi Copeland painting above the fireplace adds a fresh dimension to the room, which is furnished with an antique settee and two reupholstered chairs, originally from her parents’ home.“The glass bannister was another way to add a layer of modernity to the older house. I used a stained wood rail that ties to the floor. The glass brightens up everything, opens up the top floor and makes it look a lot more spacious,” she says.
Lights also streams in through an original round-arch window where a play space has been created on the landing. The family theme continues with two vintage desks – perfect for playing school.

“My mother had the desks from when she was a teacher 40 years ago,” says Hungerford.
Grandmother Jane Hungerford also gave each child a quilt made from vintage fabric. “The quilts were the inspiration for the décor in the [children’s] rooms. I wanted to create rooms they can grow into, not too juvenile, but still cute and colourful,” she says.
An upcycled wrought-iron bed frame painted in turquoise is a focal point in the eldest daughter’s bedroom. In another nod to the past, the triple mirror frames of a vintage dressing table are painted a soft pink. A refinished white dresser is a comfortable fit below the window with its pink-and-white-stripe roman blind. A large pillow on the bed matches the blind and the pretty vignette is completed with a crochet cushion, made from “granny squares” found when Hungerford and her mother were shopping for accessories for the bedrooms.
Colourful paper birds on a string garland add whimsy in the second girls’ bedroom, where light purple walls are the backdrop to a fun space with a bunk bed.
The new master ensuite takes advantage of the extra square footage added during the renovation. Light blue walls and complementary bed linen and pillows in greys, creams and white give the space the relaxing and peaceful ambience Hungerford planned.
The wide-plank engineered oak floor that runs throughout the house provides a contrast to light-oak-stained three-shelf nooks built in alongside the upholstered headboard.
In the ensuite, a curbless shower with frameless glass doors, double under-mount sinks and a separate vanity counter all contribute to a transitional design that is light and airy. The inlay in the marble floor continues up the wall behind the tub and adds a lot of interest, she says.
By remaining true to her design objective, Hungerford has created a charming, functional family home that maintains the character of the original house, enhanced by thoughtful touches that reflect what’s important to her family.

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