There's More to This Historic-Looking Nova Scotia House Than Meets the Eye

Find out how designer Philip Mitchell built a new house that feels centuries old.

1583 Philip Mitchell By Chance
Annie Schlechter

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.

1583 Philip Mitchell By Chance
Annie Schlechter

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.

1583 Philip Mitchell By Chance
Annie Schlechter

“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.


Foyer

1583 Philip Mitchell By Chance
Annie Schlechter

“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.


Living Room

1583 Philip Mitchell By Chance
Annie Schlechter

“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.


Den

1583 Philip Mitchell By Chance
Annie Schlechter

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.”


Exterior

1583 Philip Mitchell By Chance
Annie Schlechter

A custom Benjamin Moore trim color matches the Marvin windows in Hampton Sage.


Dining Room

1583 Philip Mitchell By Chance
Annie Schlechter

A net-like resin Crosshatch chandelier by South Hill Home forIroniesand cane-backed vintage chairs fromFullhouse Modern are an abstract wink to coastal style.


Kitchen

1583 Philip Mitchell By Chance
Annie Schlechter

Knob pulls from ADH Fine Hardware give the beadboard a contemporary touch.


Bathroom

1583 Philip Mitchell By Chance
Annie Schlechter

The Waterworks claw-foot tub has traditional lines but makes a graphic statement.



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