Step into “Westham” – the Captain W. H. Philpott House (1905)

photo: Paul Fuoco

In 1905, Master Mariner, Captain W.H. Philpott, built his family home, “Westham”, at 433 Carnarvon Street. Designed in the Edwardian-style, the house featured a stunning view of the Fraser River and remained in the family for over 60 years.

 

In the mid-1960s, this charmingly shingled family home was converted into boarding-house suites. The ghost of Captain Philpott is said to have stood in the front suite’s bedroom window and gazed out at the river. By the 1980s, this once gracious house had fallen so far into disrepair that it was slated for demolition to make room for a high-rise apartment building.

Fortunately, Westham was one of three heritage homes re-located

The house move – May 27, 1990 photo: Bob Toporowski

to the picturesque neighbourhood of Queen’s Park in May 1990.  Once installed at 121 St. Patrick Street, the arduous task of rehabilitation and modernization began. The boarding house years had not been kind – many of the home’s original features had been removed or stolen, including its impressive stained glass windows.

The present owners bought the house in 1993 and set about making Westham their family home, starting with a wood-burning stove in the back parlour. They painted and wallpapered and filled the house with family heirlooms, including the family portraits hanging in the foyer. Then they started collecting period furnishings and bibelots [beautiful trinkets].

photo: Paul Fuoco

photo: Paul Fuoco

The suite walls were removed and the plumbing and wiring updated.  A local craftsman constructed custom kitchen cabinets to match the original cabinetry in the butler pantry. The new wood counters were distressed to appear vintage.

The upstairs bath and ensuite were tiled and outfitted with period and reproduction pieces.  The fir floors were refinished and period lighting was installed. Once the exterior repairs were completed, the house was painted cream and dusty pink, accentuated with dark plum veranda columns.

In the fall of 2014, a leaking pipe caused water damage in the back parlour. During the restoration work, the owners took the opportunity to redecorate, installing gas fireplaces with period surrounds and tiles in both the back parlour and dining room. They also took the opportunity to reconfigure the second-floor bathroom to add a shower and install an electric fireplace and surround to their master bedroom.

Although the ghost of Captain Philpott hasn’t materialized at this location, he would no doubt be very pleased to know that the house he built over 110 years ago is once again a treasured family home. (397 words)

 

 

Thank you to our 2017 Heritage Homes Tour sponsor for the Captain W. H. Philpott House: