By Danielle Pope | Photos by Joshua Lawrence
More than 100 years ago, a man named Charles Beaven stood just below the front steps of the home he built for his daughter, looking proudly at 526 Michigan Street. It was 1911, and the two-and-a-half-storey house with double-bevel siding and a front gabled roof stood out next to many of the neighbouring buildings. The full-width veranda with its Doric columns seemed to invite in passersby, and the unique arrangement of the double-hung wood sash windows showed off a touch of Beaven’s Nova Scotian influence.
Nearly 20 years earlier, Beaven had snapped up a similar home at auction and moved it to his own property at 524 Michigan, where he would rent it out until moving in himself in the mid-1920s. This new house, situated closely beside his auction beauty, was designed with his daughter Mary Ellen in mind. She would own it until her death, but would use it almost exclusively as a boarding house for rental tenants.
This would mark only the beginning for the home now sitting at 222 Dallas Road — a house that, for all its history, has only recently been granted heritage designation. Through perhaps a lucky twist of fate, this particular house — and its slightly older sister, originally from 59 1/2 Superior Street — would outlive the adventures of many more owners. The two would even spend time as government buildings, situated close enough to Victoria’s Legislature to be of practical use. Then, in 2016, with new developments growing up around these structures, the homes would see their greatest adventure of all, undergoing a massive move by trailer and barge from their locations on Michigan to their new, hopefully permanent, spots on Dallas Road.
Today, as soon as you set foot on the original fir floors of 222 Dallas, the home has a way of welcoming you. Made from timber that likely predates the 1800s, there’s a sturdiness here as real as the stories that live in its fibres. The home had to be entirely gutted and rebuilt after the move, but the floors and refinished windows — along with much of the exterior charm — remain original.
“The beauty of working on a project like this is that you have the opportunity to really make a home come alive again,” says Ryan Goodman, owner of Aryze Developments Inc., who custom-designed the home. “Our goal was to recreate the interior to match the historic exterior, while updating it to modern standards that could work for a family in 2017.” It’s hard to imagine the 3,475-square-foot house would have once offered room for likely more than a dozen boarders, with only a single toilet to share. Now, with five full bedrooms, four bathrooms, a customized high-efficiency hydronic heating system, modern-day seismic upgrades and even heated bathroom flooring, 222 Dallas is sophisticated and ready for the next century.
The main floor has been reimagined as an open-concept living space, stretching from what was once the front parlour through a glorious dining room, living room and kitchen. The room is adorned with 13-foot coffered ceilings and vintage-inspired millwork, with the gas fireplace acting as centrepiece and reclaimed radiators offering heritage charm. The kitchen holds a modern feel, with single-slab quartz countertops and backsplashes pairing with matte-bronze fixtures to juxtapose contemporary and heritage looks. Soft-close doors and floor-to-ceiling cabinetry add additional touches.
Upstairs, the fir floor landing retains the patina of the home’s history. Five generous bedrooms — two found in the unique third-floor loft — each offer their own stories, with the original windows and millwork carefully restored. Yet the main bedroom is the house’s masterpiece. With views directly onto the ocean and Dallas Road walkway, this room comes alive with sun. The ensuite offers a character soaker tub, with large octagonal porcelain tiles and walk-in shower.
Down the hall, the upper bathroom and laundry area make this floor family functional, with the level above offering a retreat space perfect for guests, or teenagers. It’s easy to imagine the history still to unfold in this house.
“My favourite part of this home is the heritage plaque on the front,” says Goodman. “To see a house with history like this, and have a chance to work with it, you want to protect it. A heritage home isn’t for everyone, but for the right person, this is a dream come true. It’s not every day you find a brand-new 106-year-old house.”
Architect: John Keay
Home Designer/Developer: Aryze Developments
Construction Manager: Simon Fyall
Plumber: City Service Plumbing and Heating
Electrician: A. Slater Electrical Systems
Window Restoration: Vintage Woodworks and
Roofing: RC Roofing
Drywall: Peter Wilson
Tile: Island Floor Centre
Painting: Indelible Paint Works
Kitchen/Bathroom Millwork: Coast Cabinets
Custom Millwork: Coast Cabinets
Countertops: Exotic Stone
Finishing Carpentry: Harrison Custom Woodworks
Floor Refinishing: Mark Hill Carpentry & Flooring
Glass: B&E Glass & Mirror
Landscape: Biophilia Design Collective
Pavers: Westpoint Pavers
Engineers: RJC Engineers