The Herbert & Mary Kirk House and Nelson’s Folly
Our 2013 34th annual homes tour included two gorgeous mansions: the former dance academy, 1906 Herbert & Mary Kirk House, at 3rd Street & 3rd Avenue – one of the most ambitious home restorations ever undertaken in New Westminster; and Nelson’s Folly – the 1913 Nels Nelson ‘grand dame’ of Queen’s Avenue which displays a refreshed exterior, completed in 2012.
Kirk House was missing its main staircase (removed for an office); several interior walls; and pocket doors (opened up to accommodate a dance floor in the house’s previous incarnation). New owners Jennifer Crews and Lee Cowley made a huge effort to maintain or replicate original details wherever possible.
The missing staircase was a challenge. With no original pictures to guide reconstruction, Geoff Lillico – the expert finishing carpenter, joiner and furniture maker who handled much of the woodwork in the house – reproduced the staircase, using scant clues and the still-intact upstairs landing.
Restoration construction began in 2009. The garage (facing 3rd Avenue) previews the blue vinyl siding that now clads the entire 7,000 square foot residence.
Nelson’s Folly at Queens Avenue & 2nd Street: The first owner of this eponymous elegant estate was Westminster Brewery owner, Nels Nelson. Situated on a large, beautifully landscaped corner lot, the design of the house features many elements which are typical of the Prairie style, including a low pitched, hipped roof with wide overhanging eaves for a strong horizontal emphasis. The grouped, classical column porch supports frame a graceful entry.