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The William and Nettie McAdam House (1911)

Take a virtual tour of The William and Nettie McAdam House (video provided by 360hometours.ca)

Commissioned by the McAdams in 1911, this nearly 4,000 sq ft, 2 1/2 storey gabled vernacular-style home features a front-gabled roof with roof skirt, and a full-width front porch with the front door off to the side, facing the stairs. Photo: 360hometours.ca

All photos: 360hometours.ca

by Sheilah Harris

William McAdam was just 15 years old when he and his parents and two brothers arrived in New Westminster from Orillia, Ontario in 1875 – at that time, it was possible to drive from New Westminster to Ladner on the frozen Fraser River.  A month later the family moved to a 360-acre farm in Langley. 

William McAdam eventually married Nettie Braden of Langley Prairie. They had four sons. Around 1907 McAdam established himself in business in the Royal City, specializing in real estate and insurance. He served as an alderman, beginning in 1914. He retired in 1922, having lived 47 years on the West Coast.  

The present owners are a young family who took possession of the house just over a year ago. They were attracted to its generous size, heritage charm, and the happy feelings it inspired. In fact, they were delighted to discover it was commonly referred to in the neighbourhood as The Happy Home.

Some major renovations had been completed by the previous owners, including the kitchen and bathrooms. But the new owners also wanted to put their own stamp on the 112-year-old house. Luckily, an uncle who is a retired builder/contractor was able to make all the changes they wanted in just a two-month period. The family moved in last July.

The home’s original wood floors were replaced sometime in the past, and the present owners have updated the replacements with wide-plank laminate flooring. Walls and ceilings have been brightened with gallons of white paint and new light fixtures. In the dining room, a window seat is built into the sunny alcove for the owners’ two young daughters to enjoy. The home is cozy even in winter — all the windows, apart from the original stained-glass, have been replaced with energy efficient versions.

The new, professional chef’s kitchen was a big selling feature for this family. To better enjoy it they removed the wall between kitchen and dining room, enhancing traffic flow and the view to the back porch and large yard beyond, with its magnificent Japanese walnut tree.

The staircase and banisters are original features. The homeowners have added interest to the landing with faux brick wall covering. Doors and woodwork upstairs have been sanded and stained. This level boasts five bedrooms, an updated bathroom and water closet, and a delightful little porch to take in the view.

The principal suite area, third floor.

The third floor is the icing on the cake. The previous owners demolished a warren of small rooms, refinished the fir floors, added skylights and pot lights, and created a large and airy principal bedroom. The current owner’s uncle built the ensuite and custom closets and storage.

This grande dame of a dwelling has been beautifully rejuvenated and continues to shine into its 12th decade. The family’s obvious affection for it leaves little doubt that The Happy Home promises to be their Happily Ever After home.