How many houses resonate with more than 100 years of holiday memories? This home on Botsworth Street in Newmarket, built circa 1906 for local businessman and member of town council George Binns, is designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. Beautifully maintained, it sits on a slight elevation, catching the eye of those driving by, but never more so than in December when it’s decked out for the holidays, in this case, the 12th Annual Pickering College Holiday Home Tour.
A two-and-a-half storey red brick Edwardian with a cut-stone foundation and numerous Queen Anne elements – wide bracketed eaves, a wraparound veranda, fish-scale pediment with fan motif and stained-glass windows and transom – the home is already a showstopper by virtue of its architecture. Dressing it for the holidays demands just the right touch.
Pamela Byer, General Manager and Senior Decorating Consultant of Design Line Studio teamed up with homeowner Julie Cochrane, Darlene Rupke, owner and principal designer at Seasons Floral Studio in Schomberg and Shelley Frank, Manager of Special Events at the Newmarket independent school Pickering College, who shepherds the tour each year. A portion of this year’s proceeds were directed to Doane House Hospice.
The exterior palette – red clay brick, a 1900s hunter green front door and trim and creamy veranda railings – lends itself to holiday decorating. Flocked trees from Design Line Studio flank the front door. Byer and Rupke wrapped them with burlap, and added pine cones and twinkle lights. Polar bear pillows grace Muskoka chairs. Natural grass rushes, birch logs and branches and cedar and wicker balls are cleverly incorporated.
Cochrane’s partner is Canadian Aboriginal artist Donald Chrétien. Some of you may remember his work showcased at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. “Between the colours and lines of Donald’s artwork and the elegant antiques the couple have collected over the years, we intentionally downplayed the holiday decorating, allowing the house to tell its own story,” says Byer. The neutral palette included light metals, paper and burlap and live materials such as leaves, birch, feathers and pine cones. All of this tied in beautifully with the artwork’s indigenous nature. Cedar and pine added a fresh, earthy scent throughout the house.