House E – The Edward Chapman House (1902)

Photo: Paul Fuoco

This late Victoira, early Edwardian-era calssic box-style home has been extensively transformed over time. Built by real estate investor Edward Chapman, it was considered affordable rental housing in its day.

by Carmen Dunn

This handsome home has been extensively transformed from its original late Victorian, early Edwardian-era classic box-style. Built in 1902 by Edward Chapman, a local real estate investor, it was considered affordable rental housing in its day. Chapman’s daughter Alice was married to Frederick Hart, who owned F.J. Hart Real Estate and Insurance – his son, Robert K. Chapman (who built 227 Third Ave. in 1909), would become a partner in his brother-in-law’s company.

Chapman House has a moderately pitched, hipped roof and one-storey bay window. The rear addition was built in 1913. Alterations include the exterior cladding, entry porch, and decorative shutters. The house was originally occupied by John Morrison (engineer). In 1908-9, R.A Trethway (Lumberman) took it over the lease and lived there for two years.   

Carpenter and prominent New Westminster home-builder R.G Patterson lived in the home from 1913-1949. He built the house next door at 612 Fourth Avenue in 1939. The Walter Lyle family also had a long tenure in Chapman House.

If you know this house, you may remember it from its glory days when there was a chandelier and grand piano in the front bay window.

The 1970’s saw more renovation – an extension was added at the back, a drop ceiling was installed in what is now the tea room with bay windows, and parquet flooring was installed on the first floor.

In 2021, Chapman House escaped potential demolition, undergoing significant updates to preserve this piece of history while modernizing it to today’s standards.

Exterior updates include removal of the original old-growth siding as it was so badly damaged by the weather and ivy plants. It was replaced with white Hardie shingles. The windows were replaced with energy efficient, triple paned black metal windows to give it a fresh, modern look. A new door was installed and painted in a bright turquoise to give the house a pop of colour.

Interior wise, for safety, all knob and tube electrical was updated along with the plumbing. The original floors were so badly damaged, they were replaced with Engineered Oak.

In the tea room, custom shelving was added for storage and décor purposes. French doors were added to separate the tea room from the new kitchen.

The kitchen was custom designed to accommodate a large family. It was important to ‘rendre homage’ to the age of the home so colour and lighting was chosen to not be ‘too contemporary’ but instead, be more timeless like a ‘Parisian Bistro’. To achieve this, dark navy blue bottom cabinets and white upper cabinets were chosen along with matte gold accents in lighting and hardware.

Towards the back patio, a mudroom was created to occupy this random room which sat 3ft above the floor. Semi-custom cabinets were added for storage purposes.

Unfortunately, the house has undergone so many transformations over the century, that only three original pieces remain from its origin. The original pocket door which separated the entrance from the tea room was removed, and instead hung on the wall as a barn door to function as both historical art with purpose. It is hung onto a metal track that is date stamped 1889. Painted yellow in the 70s, it was recently painted black to match the windows and bring a pop of elegance to the rooms.

The entrance closet also features a hidden crawl space. The door to it is handmade using mortice & tendon joints. It was roughly sanded down to the original wood then lacquered to preserve its history.

Lastly, the claw bathtub in the guest bathroom on the 2nd floor is believed to be original.

More notes of interest:

This 1902 house is associated with Edward Chapman who lived at 205 Queen’s Ave – no longer there. He had it built and connected the water from the City.

Chapman was a respected businessman in his day.  As there is no known buyer of the house until a later point in history, the home is named after the original builder, Edward Chapman.

City directories are sparse in terms of information but it is known that John Morrison lived there in 1906.