When it comes to buying houses, the worst one in a great neighborhood is often a smart, but somewhat risky, investment. When you fall in love, though, logic goes out the window. Designer Ashley Shaanan and her husband, Greg, an importer, couldn’t stop thinking about a 1939 red brick Georgian house they’d seen in Old Hampstead, an upscale suburb 15 minutes from Montreal. The sash windows, mansard roof and pretty gardens were enough to make them snap it up, but the place was in pretty bad shape, with a series of boxy rooms and a very strange layout. “The kitchen was just a small, enclosed square with a door to the backyard,” says Ashley. Not only that, a door off the principal bedroom led… nowhere. “It opened to an empty rooftop with no railing.” Like most old-house renovations, small projects quickly became something much more substantial.
“We were going to do a cheap and cheerful renovation,” says Ashley, “but as we started working on the plans, I realized this house had the potential to be great.” The full gut job of the Georgian began with the unsexy bits: new windows, a French drain, waterproofing and finishing the basement. Upstairs, an engineer helped complete an extension, which added 500-square-feet to the house, and is now the couple’s dreamy principal bedroom and ensuite.
Scroll down to see how Ashley transformed a dated house into an elegant forever home for her family!