House G – The James E. Phillips House (1893)

Photo: Paul Fuoco

Four years ago, the current owners found a neglected, 130-year-old home. Although structurally sound, it had been vacant for some time. Fortunately, it’s spectacular front door, with an elliptical fanlight in a cobweb pattern and side lights, glazed with beveled glass, remained.

by Anna Camporese

J.E Phillips hired architect G.W. Grant to build his grand home in 1892 at 323 Queen’s Ave.  The adjacent homes were also designed by Grant and they served as rental properties including this lovely home at 319 Queen’s.

Design choices were made using Victorian sensibility with a modern twist. The same shaker cabinetry, either painted or oak stained to match the original staircase, was used throughout the house.

The fir staircase’s newel post and banister were stripped and refinished. Its colour inspired the use of copper hardware and rust colours throughout the house. The hand-painted mural going up the stairs, painted by a Vancouver artist, incorporated the family’s two pets, and rust-coloured nectarines.

Opposite the staircase is a modern, glass interpretation of shogi screen. The living room’s built-in bookcase the hides all the tech and a projection screen in the bulkhead above. At the end of the living room is a newly created inglenook.

The front entrance tile carries through to the back of the house, to enhance the uninterrupted sight line. A new powder room and storage space replaces the original, rather cramped dining room.

The kitchen’s wall of oak cabinets, stained to match the fir staircase, hides two doors: to the pantry and to the large mudroom, formerly a bathroom. 

Bedroom positions were flipped front to back. A common bathroom, a laundry room and a luxurious ensuite replaced a single, small bathroom. The master bedroom’s cabinetry hides a secret door leading into the armoury. A tartan backed display, a nod to the owner’s Scottish heritage, showcases prized swords.