Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Purple House #1

Everyone in the neighbourhood knows this home by name

Sun Aug 21 2005

Connie Oliver (Winnipeg Free Press)- Room For Change

IS there a house in your neighbourhood that stands out more than the rest? A house that commands attention by passersby and spurs interest and wonder? Well, "the purple house" in this week's feature is the envy of its neighbourhood. This 1921 home has character galore, but the homeowners' special touches are what make this home wonderfully unique. Everyone refers to it as "the purple house" so the homeowners made a sign for their fence embracing the name.

The vivid purple colour of the house makes a stunning backdrop to the whimsical floral garden which is a story unto itself. I will cover this enchanting garden in more detail in the near future.

Laurie and Willie Goetz first spotted this home some 15 years ago and had a strong desire to purchase it. The seller's price was very high for the market at that time and so the Goetz family had to pass on the purchase. Laurie was very disappointed about the turn of events, as she really felt a connection to the home and knew that it could be wonderful. Seven years later, the house was up for sale again. This time, though, the house went unsold. By that time the house needed some major work and was on the market so long that the sellers finally removed the "for sale" sign, having had no offers. The Goetz family began dreaming about owning this character home once again and approached the owners when the sign came down. The asking price was much more reasonable this time around, so Laurie and Willie finally purchased the home. Laurie was ecstatic that the house was finally theirs because she had always felt that this house was "home." That was eight years ago and the Goetzes have charged full steam ahead to make this home their own.

Much to do

The house needed work inside and out, but that didn't deter this creative couple. Luckily, Willie is an independent window and siding contractor so they were able to replace 38 of the home's 40 windows for a reasonable price. Many of the window openings were widened to accommodate more modern window designs. Arched and mullioned windows mimic the arched doorways in the home and flood the main floor with natural light. An oversized bow window in the dining room was a recent addition that one would swear was original to the house. It's a wonderful feature and is the focal point of this large room.

The layout of the house is spacious and unique. From the front sitting room (which is more like a formal porch) to the arched doorways and high ceilings, this home is very inviting. You just can't match the character of these older homes.

Laurie is a lover of antiques and collectibles and it shows in her lovely decor. Passing through the formal porch to the interior of the home, the first thing you see is a charming collection of tiny cuckoo clocks set on a painted backdrop of a faux iron fence and garden. Laurie is a talented gal and hand-painted this entire wall. The painted faux fence mimics the design of her real wrought iron fence, which is a nice detail.

Living large

The large formal living room is attractive with medium-toned sage green walls and cream-coloured trim and mouldings. Most of the antique furniture, as well as the flooring, is dark, so this wall colour is the perfect choice. It's rich, yet light enough to balance the dark furniture. Wall colour is crucial to ambience so white walls just wouldn't cut it here. The pink Victorian sofa is a recent addition, a stunning centrepiece in this room. It blends well with the upholstery on the more contemporary sofa, as well as with the floral area carpet. Laurie purchased this sofa at an antique shop for $400, an amazing price considering its age, great condition and the luxury of a down-filled seat cushion. I have to say that it's my favourite piece in the home. There's a very English Country feel to this room that's most appealing and welcoming. You immediately want to sit and have a cup of tea or read a good book upon entering this living room. That's a real testament to Laurie's great decor choices.

The sizable dining room houses a large dining room suite with ease. Laurie and Willie recently purchased the entire nine-piece set at an auction for $400. (I see a pattern here!) and it's the perfect style and size for this vintage home. The lovely, hand-painted glass lighting fixture, another garage sale find, is a unique piece that suits the decor beautifully. Laurie got it for a song because one of the glass shades was broken and missing a piece of the glass. Having not found anyone who could repair it, Laurie took it upon herself to do her own repair using, of all things, a piece of plastic from an ice-cream pail. She needed material that was translucent and pliable and the plastic from this pail fit the bill. She cut a patch that matched the hole, then painted over the area mimicking the floral pattern. It's a pretty good repair job that I wouldn't have noticed if she hadn't pointed it out. This is great example of how a little ingenuity can make things work for your decor and your budget.

Special touches

There are so many lovely details in this home that I had to walk around a few times to take it all in. Vintage lampshades, oval antique picture frames, stunning artwork and antique accessories all come together to give every corner of every room interest and charm. Even their pet budgie has a Victorian-styled bird cage that is in keeping with the decor.

Melding old with new

The original kitchen was quite dated and dark, so the couple totally gutted and renovated it into a wonderful, workable space. We'll look at the kitchen renovation in detail next week. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Rachael Ryden said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article and the following one re the kitchen renovation. I was recently there on a garden tour and fell in love with her garden so needless to say I was eagerly looking forward to reading the post you wrote "covering the enchanted garden in more detail" (post 3 of 3 ?) I'm just wondering if you did write that in the future and where I'd find it?!?!? Thanks

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