Decorating & Design
July 20, 2020
A Designer’s Charming New England-Style Country Home
Designer Luke Havekes shares how he transformed a builder-basic home into a layered retreat.
“It was a dream of mine to have a house in Knowlton, Quebec. I used to be the buyer and visual merchandiser for high-end Montreal furniture line Celadon Collection’s former Knowlton location. Once a month, I’d visit from Montreal to change the displays, and I loved the village and the overall feeling. I told myself, when I was ready, I’d buy a house here. When the time came, I saw five houses with a realtor and, voilà, found my place.
The home’s bones and center hall plan were great, but the exterior of the house and the bathroom and kitchen were not. The main floor had a series of small, disjointed rooms, so I moved the kitchen from one side of the house to the other to create space for a large dining room and an open-concept den. Now the house has much larger, airier living spaces. I also added some New England–style architectural details to the interior. Originally, the house had a very builder-basic construction (it was built in 1989), with skimpy mouldings, hollow doors and boring millwork. It completely lacked any strong architectural identity.
I also planned the interiors to showcase my large collection of objets and antiques. Many of these items were in storage because, although I loved them, they didn’t feel at home in my contemporary condo in Montreal. Bringing them to Knowlton made the house feel rich and collected immediately. Most people can’t believe I’ve only lived here for two years. A favorite game I play when people visit is asking, How old do you think the house is? And no one ever guesses right!”