Home renovation celebrates East Coast charm
Eleven years ago, Amanda and Adam Langley bought a home in their dream location in Halifax. The street had beautiful mature trees and was close to great schools and amenities. Although the house was almost 100 years old and in need of updates, it had just the kind of charm they were looking for. They made a long-term plan to renovate to make it their “forever home.”
After many years of planning, the couple started the reno process in early 2020, just before COVID-19 hit. But aside from the constant chaos and inconvenience of living and working in a home under construction with two children — a process slowed by the pandemic — the family is thrilled with the overall result.
“There’s just so much light now,” says Amanda. “The house was dark before. We were looking for an East Coast cottage feel, with natural light, fresh open spaces, and an old-meets-modern décor. That’s what we have now, and we love it.”
She adds that if the pandemic taught them anything, it’s that their home should be somewhere “we are happily anchored.”
They started the renovation with the idea of respecting the home’s character, but also reflecting the easy-going coastal vibe the East Coast offers.
“Our kids grew up on our Boston Whaler boat, which takes us beach hopping most of the summer … The beach is our happy place,” says Amanda.
The couple owns Superyacht East Coast, a marketing and communications business that helps clients find elevated destinations and experiences on the East Coast. They also have a renovated beach RV parked in a sand dune on the Northumberland Strait. The ocean is a theme they wanted to promote throughout their home.
Their living room mantle, for example, was actually a piece of an old fishing wharf that washed up on the beach near their RV, and their custom marine-inspired stair is similar to what you might find on a ship.
“We love incorporating little pieces that tell a bigger story,” says Adam.
The home’s colour palette reflects Nova Scotia’s soothing coastal landscape: greys, blues, sand and white.
“We wanted a ‘laid back living by the water’ feel, without being actually on the water,” says Amanda.
The other key design theme for their home was to keep the original “feel” of the century-old house. For example, even though they switched their mode of home heating from oil to propane, they kept the original radiators. “You only see those radiators in old homes. We actually added more of them,” says Amanda.
They also kept all the baseboards and the hutch in their dining room is one of the home’s original kitchen cupboards.
“We found it in the basement,” says Amanda. “The previous owners were storing paint cans in it. Now it has a whole new life.”
The Langleys replaced most of their furniture, splurged on quality blinds, painted everything white and updated the lighting. It has a clean and uncluttered look that incorporates natural elements and textures — think rock, stone, shell, wood and plants.
“Two things that can dramatically transform a room are paint and lighting,” says Amanda, noting they found most of their lights at Ikea. “Not everything has to be crazy expensive to look great.”
They also added a two-storey addition to the back of the house that includes a sunken garden room (down) and a master bedroom (up).
“It’s all about lifestyle and living in this part of the world. You can create a fresh, bright look with East Coast charm in any home.”