13 Feb Home Tour: Charming Canadian Colonial
Rock-star turned renovator, Rebekah Higgs, welcomed us into her biggest restoration project yet! She renovated her own colonial-style Canadian home and we are big fans of its charming color schemes.
What inspired you to renovate your home?
I bought this 1931 colonial style home in the winter of 2017. It was passed up by many because the wood paneling, small kitchen, and retro green bathroom, which must have seemed too daunting of a project for potential buyers. What I saw, was a great opportunity to acquire my first home at a great price. It just meant that I would have to roll up my sleeves and do a lot of the work myself (which of course didn’t deter me- rather it was what seemed like an intriguing adventure). I saw potential, in its original hardwood floors, original wood windows (that still functioned), and great structure and foundation to build on. Like many projects do, it got larger and more complex as complications arose. I was able to draw enough money out of a mortgage to add an extension and create a master bedroom plus an en suite bathroom that would turn a one-bathroom house into 2.5 bath. The addition meant that I couldn’t tear out the green bathroom, I had to find a way to love it and cosmetically refresh it. The green bathroom became another wow project that I think inspired and surprised many after the reveal.
Originally a musician, did this have an effect on your design choices?
As a songwriter I am always interested in the deeper meaning, the story within the story, and this house had many layers to explore in a similar way. I was inspired by the past to create something new that could be uniquely suited to both my daughter Lennon and me. Just like in my music I was inspired by doo wop and sixties girl groups, I took that inspiration to put my own psychedelic flare on it, coining the musical genre, psyche-doo-wop. I try to let the bones of the house speak to how the finished project will look.
What influenced the soft, classic color palette of black, white, pinks, and greens of your home?
I find black and white are classic choices, I prefer to go to a cool white or black tone than to a warmer off-white color. I find basics like black and white give me more options of what to hang on my walls. I wanted to take all my memories and create a gallery wall up the staircase, and because everything else felt simple, why not have fun with a bright pink staircase runner. After all this is an ‘all-girls’ home, so being able to make choices like a blush pink entry door, and a dark floral powder room very much speak to the perks of being a ‘Do-It-Yourself Mom’ (a term I find more empowering than calling myself a single mom). I love plants, so I try to have one in every room. I love the pop of color that greenery adds to space in a soothing way, they are built-in air fresheners, a way to bring life inside during the long dull winters.
How does your location in Halifax influence the aesthetic of your home?
This area of Halifax, was built up in the 1930’s & 40’s. My neighborhood is full of people who have lived here their whole lives. It is rare that a house is for sale. My great grandfather was one of the first to develop this area. It was full of rock, and not a desirable place for builders, but having 7 boys he was able to put them to work, digging out foundations and subdividing the lots. My uncle Reg remembers working on our road when he was 17. In fact, one night around the table my grandfather and his brothers gave our street its name of “Alderwood”. The colonial style of the home speaks to the time it was built. We also have many wood homes out east as lumber is more common than brick. I’m sure this is part of the reason that I love real wood siding and wanted to restore it on this home. The original home was white with green shutters, a classic combination you see all over this neighborhood, and made famous by Anne of Green Gables. I adapted the exterior colour using ‘Noble Grey’ on the siding and ‘Nova’ White for the trim. We even kept the original shutters and had custom wood storm windows made to add efficiency without losing the aesthetic and charm the original wood windows had.
We noticed your gorgeous gallery wall leading up the staircase! Do you have a favorite piece of art? What is the story behind it?
My gallery wall is full of posters, pictures and art that I have been collecting my whole life. Newspaper clippings from my musician days help me remember the struggle to get where I am today. Charcoal drawings I did sitting on a friend’s floor, while drinking too much wine, make me laugh. Photographs of my family, and my grandmother posing for my grandfather in her bathing suit remind me what is most cherished in my life. Some pieces of artwork I traded for a lift, or a bag of groceries when a friend needed some help. I can honestly say all of the things on my gallery wall are my favorite. Each piece was handpicked to be preserved and framed and is displayed as a cohesive collection, even though the style and sizes widely vary. To have the opportunity (and space) to walk by every day, and for the reminder of the life that led us to this home, I must say I am [hashtag] #grateful for.
I have many more YouTube tutorials on the way, I will be posting more videos, and you can always see my current home renovation on video by watching DIY MOM across all my social platforms.
UP NEXT…. I am looking for my next home to transform. Keeping an eye out for something with some serious charm and perhaps grit that no one else wants to touch. Those are my favorite kind of projects!
Love the style of Rebekah’s home? Get the look with the products below!