Two doors down from the oldest house in the seaside village of Chester, Nova Scotia, there’s a charming green-trimmed cottage nestled among rows of hedges. With its shingled walls and early Georgian aesthetic, it seems as pedigreed as its historic neighbor.
In fact, it’s the newest house on the block. “The property originally had a Cape house that had been added on to so many times over the years that it didn’t even resemble a Cape anymore,” explains designer and architect Philip Mitchell, who introduced the home’s owners—clients-turned-friends from Toronto—to the area when they came to visit his own retreat nearby. The plan was to renovate. But when work began, they discovered that the house wasn’t structurally sound. So Mitchell was given the task of envisioning a new structure from the ground up. “Even though it’s a new build, we wanted to respect the location and make sure it complemented the surrounding architecture,” he says. Simple, period-appropriate details (gate casings, double-hung six-over-six windows, beadboard) and local materials were in order.
The house’s age isn’t the only surprising thing about it, though. Step inside, and instead of the expected assemblage of wicker chairs and nautical art, you’re greeted by a diverse collection of midcentury furniture, Art Deco lighting, and abstract art.
“The owners’ taste actually veers more contemporary,” says Mitchell, who worked closely with them to assemble the mix. In the living room, a mod-looking sofa by design duo Yabu Pushelberg faces a massive, abstract black-and-gold Drew Harris oil painting.
“Most people probably wouldn’t see that and think it’s right for a new house that looks like an old house in a seaside village on the eastern coast of Canada,” laughs Mitchell, “but because every piece feels personal, it works!"
Who Lives Here?
A pair of avid art collectors with a new grandson who spend their summers unwinding in Nova Scotia.
“We found this incredible carpet from 1stdibs and the blue-glass console from Avenue Road and just followed that thread,” says designer Philip Mitchell of the blue-and-white—but by no means nautical—entryway palette.
“Overlooking the harbor, this room was strategically situated to have the best view in the house for entertaining,” Mitchell says. After seeing the just-primed beadboard, the client requested it be left as is. “It has this mottled, layered feeling that added instant age to the interior,” Mitchell says.
Instead of using a sofa and chairs, Mitchell designed a pair of chaises for his clients. “This room is really about the two of them.”
A custom Benjamin Moore trim color matches the Marvin windows in Hampton Sage.
A net-like resin Crosshatch chandelier by South Hill Home forIroniesand cane-backed vintage chairs fromFullhouse Modern are an abstract wink to coastal style.
Knob pulls from ADH Fine Hardware give the beadboard a contemporary touch.
The Waterworks claw-foot tub has traditional lines but makes a graphic statement.
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