Sidney and Ida Pearce House (1889)

NWHPS 2018 Homes Tour Pearce House Photo credit: Paul Fuoco

Photo credit: Paul Fuoco, NWHPS

From the street, look up at the defining feature of the Pearce house – this restored second-storey cameo window, overlooking the neighbourhood and the Fraser River.

Style elements:  The exterior of this house shows little of its Victorian roots and far more of the Queen Anne Revival style – projecting bays, contrasting textures of the exterior siding materials and decorative brackets.

Built:  1889 as a modest one-storey cottage. A second storey was added in 1905 to accommodate a growing family.

Who: Sidney and Ida Pearce. He was employed as the City of New Westminster’s Chief of Police and then later as Health Inspector.  The Pearces lived in this home from 1889 until their deaths.

Why it’s important:  It’s prominent location at the corner of Burr and Milton would have had a commanding views of the River.  It’s a fine example of how a house was repurposed and space added when needed. It is a formally protected heritage house and is on the list of Canada’s Historic Places.  Home of a prominent historical figure Sidney Pearce.

NWHPS 2018 Homes Tour Pearce House Photo credit: Paul Fuoco

Photo credit: Paul Fuoco

What to  look for:  Views from the front parlour. A blend of old and new that works for a modern family.  Kitchen has been fashioned to include from older (looking) wood to contrast with the modern conveniences. Great set of double doors leading from kitchen to side garden. (NOTE: The upstairs is not on tour.)

The Full Story

This handsome house, situated on the prime corner of Milton and Burr Streets, was built as a small one-storey cottage for City Police Chief Sidney and his wife Ida Pearce. In 1905 plans started on extensive renovations that included a second storey addition.

Raised on a tall concrete block foundation and with its distinctive design of multi-pitched rooflines and two-storey projecting front-gabled bay windows, the Pearce house has style elements of Queen Anne Revival architecture.

The couple raised their family here and called it home until they both passed away.

As was the fate of many fine homes, the Pearce house was converted into a rental property with multiple suites.  During the renaissance of heritage restoration in New Westminster (1980s-90s), many coveted the opportunity to restore this Brow of the Hill aging beauty. It was feared though, that it could fall further into disrepair and be demolished. Fortunately, it sold to a heritage enthusiast eager to take on such a project.   An extensive restoration project saw the house gutted, re-plumbed, rewired, insulated, dry-walled and re-roofed. The front and back porches were rebuilt.   Much of the siding was replaced or repaired and then mainly hand-stripped before being painted with historical colours. Interior walls were replaced and sagging floors rebuilt with reclaimed flooring.

As you enter the house take note of the entryway. Its refurbished stair rail with its lovely newel post is set off by a charming window and bead board walls that were discovered when the plaster was removed.

The kitchen has been updated and features a lovely mix of period details and all mod cons.  The beautiful set of Victorian era doors leading to the side garden are a nod to the house’s roots.

The showpiece second storey cameo window– that is a defining feature of the Pearce house- was painstakingly removed for restoration and returned in its former glory to its original location overlooking the neighbourhood and the Fraser River.

Since it was last on tour the current owners have laid a proper foundation under the kitchen addition, replaced shingles on the skirt of the house and repainted the exterior.

In 2005, the Pearce House as formally protected as a designated heritage building.  It is listed as one of Canada’s Historic Places.

Please note: The upper floor is not on tour.

New West Heritage Preservation Society - 2018 Heritage Home Tour Sponsor - Royal City Colours Benjamin MooreThank you to our Sponsor – Royal City Colours has supplied new Westminster with premium Benjamin Moore paint products for the last 11 years. We are very proud of our community involvement; supporting the Royal City Musical Theatre and the New Westminster Heritage Preservation Society. We proudly donate our time to painting the plaques and selling Homes Tour tickets, as well as donating a gallon of paint to each home on this year’s Homes Tour. www.royalcitycolours.com