Homes Photo Credit: Janis Nicolay

Inside a Heritage Home Decked Out for the Holidays

A heritage home celebrates the past and the holidays in a modern way.

Amid these curls and bows, Hungerford infused mood and sparkle with small, subtle strings of cordless lights. The white-flocked tree in the living room needed little embellishment besides the ribbon and some burlap, flowers and vintage-looking ornaments. As the area rug in the living room is red, Hungerford didn’t want to overdo it by adding Christmas red (or green). Upstairs, a second, more traditional tree was done up for the kids, along with a spindly cupcake tree and inexpensive multi-hued balls heaped in bowls and birdcages for a Wonderland feel.

You might think Vancouver’s Shaughnessy, the tony neighbourhood known for its heritage mansions on the city’s west side, was the inspiration for the renovation of interior designer Janie Hungerford’s own home. Unfortunately, says Hungerford, it wasn’t, at least not exactly. That’s because too many of the historic houses that would have surrounded this home—some built before World War II—have been demolished or leached of any original character.

Not Hungerford’s. She and her husband bought the 1920s house six years ago and spent a year and a half renovating it. “It had not had a lot of love in a long time,” says Hungerford, but it was worth saving. “It had great bones and was a pretty-looking house from the outside.” Plus, the lot size (big), price (good) and location (four blocks from her parents’ house) all fit her young family of five.

So Hungerford set forth on bringing the 4,700-square-foot house back to glory. The Parsons School of Design alumna had already done a lot of work with heritage houses. “I love the personality that something older brings,” she says, “even when you make it something new. It’s just more interesting.”

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This year’s Homes for the Holidays tour, in support of Kids Help Phone, takes place in Vancouver on November 28 and 29. For more info, visit


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