How Charming Is This East Coast Home?
It’s easy to see why this three-storey Georgian Revival house is Nova Scotia-based designer and stylist Deb Nelson’s dream home. The top floor’s original French windows open onto a stunning view of Chester Harbour, where the local yacht club holds regattas. At the same time, a surrounding high hedge gives the house a secret garden feel. After being owned by the same family for close to 100 years, the house went on sale — and Deb bought it right away. “As soon as I had a chance to buy this house, I had to take it,” she says. Click through to take a tour of this charming property.
The house’s name — The Woodbox, for its original square shape — is inscribed over the front door, along with the date it was built: 1844. Black shutters and a pretty fanlight add distinction to the façade.
To maintain the home’s history, Deb purchased several antique pieces, such as the ladderback chair in the entrance hall, from the former owners. A rich antique rug anchors the airy front hall.
The house still retains many of its original elements, including the windows, baseboards and trim. A quiet black, white and sand palette lets the stunning views take the spotlight. The round pedestal table once belonged to Deb’s fifth-great grandfather, a sea captain.
The living room’s original mantel and sash windows seamlessly fit into Deb’s spare mix of old and new. She makes regular antiquing trips to Great Village, N.S., where her favorite seller is Found Objects. “The owner is a woman from Montreal with the most amazing taste,” she says. The sculptural whale vertebrae by the fireplace is one of her most cherished finds.
A collection of found items tops the mantel beautifully.
Deb constructed the dining room table from reclaimed planks, sanding them down herself. She added Wishbone-style chairs and a vintage bowl for striking contrast.
“I pushed some boundaries putting in a modern kitchen, but I think it works,” says Deb. A trio of black stools punctuates the white space.
Customizing standard big-box store kitchen cabinets with brass hardware warms up the all-white look. A traditional rug and linen roman blinds soften the room’s hard surfaces, while the black-painted doors add contrast.
Two slipcovered armchairs at one end of the kitchen are a favorite place to chat with guests.
The kitchen affords lovely harbor views over the back fence.
Deb turned a nook next to the den into a mini library with custom-made bookshelves that fill the wall above an original cupboard. She added accessories that reinforce the home’s subtle nautical vibe.
An antique chair has pride of place on a sunny second-floor landing.
The third-floor bedroom was formerly clad in unpainted wood; Deb gave it a fresh update with white paint. She brought caned Louis XV chairs and throw pillows from her previous home and often sits in them with guests to enjoy cocktails and watch regattas. Every August, more than 100 boats from around the world gather in Chester Harbor to compete in Canada’s largest keelboat competition.
Deb kept the bathroom’s original sink and clawfoot tub. Instead of a bathmat, a vintage rug adds warm color and a decorated feel.
A mod task light updates a grouping of antiques in one of the guest bedrooms.