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Craig Hardy scoured the area for the right fireplace before finding this one that is a highlight of the living room in this true-toits- time renovation in an historic Old South neighbourhood.

High-Tech Materials Boost Timeless Renovation

This top-to-bottom restoration by Covenant Construction is a masterful blend of heritage aesthetic and modern materials to retain the classic look of this house located prominently in the heart of London’s Wortley Village.

Covenant Construction is headed by owner Craig Hardy, his wife Bonnie and their business partner Randy McCulloch. Bonnie oversaw the design elements of this project, and the team set out to ensure the renovation of the house, built in 1908, continued to fit the Old South streetscape.

“We wanted the house to look like it had always been there,” says Craig, who worked closely with the village and London’s heritage committee in planning and designing the changes the client was seeking. For example, a bump-out on the living room wall, which faces the street, was one of the items on the wish list, as well as adding and reconfiguring windows on that side of the house.

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Combining modern needs with an historic aesthetic is key in this type of renovation.

lifestyle magazine online london
As in many homes, the island is a gathering place when the homeowners entertain.

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A main floor powder room was tucked into the space that a stairwell formerly occupied.

Creating storage is a luxury in historical Old South homes like this one, so Covenant installed a closet and drawers that stretch the entire length of one wall in the master bedroom.

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The mudroom is a small addition to the house and shows off the exterior brick. Stairs to the basement were moved here from another area and built to modern building code. The owner calls the former very steep stairway a “death trap.”

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Across from the basement stairs is a cabinet that the homeowners rescued from a family member's barn, where it had been kept for 50 years. It was rehabilitated in Covenant's millwork shop to provide storage and to act as a backdoor drop zone.

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A small bedroom adjacent to the master was converted to an ensuite, with a large walk-in shower and double-sink vanity.

lifestyle magazine online london
The conveniently located second-floor laundry room features extra storage in the bench seat. To further enhance the historic ambiance of the area, the upper cabinets have been enhanced with gables, so they appear to be original fitted cabinets.

Attention to detail was so acute, the masons cleaned and numbered each brick as it was removed. The bricks were then reused to fill spaces around the new window configuration, creating a look that is seamless to passersby. “It looks like it’s always been like this,” says Craig.

The front porch has been totally redone, but you would not know it as you stroll past. Craig says PVCtype products by AZEK Decking were used. The company offers a heritage line that has the classic look and functionality of wood without the long-term maintenance the natural material requires.

A focus of the interior rebuild was a new fireplace and windows in the new bump-out, which originally had been a blank brick wall. Craig scoured everywhere to find a suitable unit before finding an 1880s casting in a Toronto scrap yard.

It fit the space perfectly. Elmira Stove Works supplied a vintage-style gas insert. Craig acknowledges the bump-out area is his favourite feature of the entire project. The living room flows seamlessly into a white, open-concept kitchen, highlighted by an island that is typically the gathering spot when the homeowners are entertaining. A main-floor powder room has been added where the stairwell to the basement used to be.

On the upper level there’s an outdoor deck with a hot tub. Other upgrades on the second floor include a laundry area, with black and white penny-tile flooring, and a spare bathroom finished with subway tile. In the master bedroom, a full-width set of built-in drawers was added, while an adjacent bedroom was converted into an ensuite bathroom.

All the cabinetry was made at Covenant’s own millwork shop. If you are contemplating a similar heritage restoration and wondering about a budget, Craig says “it’s amazing how fast you can go through $100-200,000.”