Local residents will get a chance to step inside the Charles Erickson House on Alberta Street later this month as part of the 36th annual Heritage Homes Tour.
Some may recognize the century-old home from the TV series Love It or List It Vancouver, which pegged owners Danielle Connelly and her husband, Trevor, against each other in an episode last year. She wanted to sell, while he wanted to stay.
"It gets overwhelming at a certain point when you think about all the work that needs to be done," Connelly said about her desire to move. "We talked about doing this main floor renovation, but you have kids, and your budget is limited. The reality is it could take many hours, and living in that chaos is disruptive for everybody."
The couple, who are parents to two young boys, decided to stay in the end, after the big reveal. What once was a box-like floor plan with a lot of "wasted space" is now a functional family home.
"It really was love at first sight. It was beautiful," Connelly told the Record.
The show's design team tore down a lot of the walls on the main floor, creating an open kitchen area with a pantry, a laundry room and a brand new bathroom (complete with its own chandelier). The colour scheme changed from dark and dull to bright and beach-like.
Designer and former Bachelorette star Jillian Harris (a.k.a Team Love It) used most of the furniture and trinkets the family already had. She created a photo collage on the wall in the dining area and also reupholstered an old Morris chair Connelly's late father never got around to finishing.
"It's Trevor's favourite spot to sit. You can usually catch him in there with a book and a cup of tea," she added.
Harris also installed a stained-glass window that a family friend had made in memory of Connelly’s dad. The piece was created from glass scraps her father used while dabbling in the art form himself.
"Sometimes tying it all together is hard, but they really managed to do it," she said.
The show granted a few more wishes, including a new fireplace and incorporating the family's wooden piano into the living room. Connelly said she was also thrilled to see the industrial looking light fixtures in the kitchen, fashioned to a pulley that can be raised if they want to use the space for other activities. Other personal touches include building the dining room table out of wood salvaged from a silo in Chilliwack, the city Connelly’s father was based in while in the military.
The upstairs (which contains three large bedrooms) and an attic were also repurposed. Connelly explained they now use the latter as a play area and an office.
The house isn't all contemporary and modern, however; it still has a heritage feel to it, with its creaky floors, irregular roofline and wraparound porch.
Built in 1912, the home was originally owned by Charles William Erickson, a millwright at the nearby Fraser Mills. Like many other homes of the day, the property at one point became a boarding house with two entrances.
"We take a lot of pride in the history. It's always going to be there," she said. "It's nice we could make it into something we wanted."
Charles Erickson House, located at 347 Alberta St., is one of 14 venues featured in the 36th annual Heritage Homes Tour and Tea on May 31. Tickets cost $40 and can be picked up at Champagne Taste, New Westminster Museum and Archives at Anvil Centre, Cadeaux Gifts and Home Embellishments, Royal City Colours and Mandeville GardenWorks.
For more information about the tour, visit www.newwestheritage.org.