Story of a lake house
Historic houses are not without their challenges. Period details, dark rooms and poky floor plans can all wreak havoc with our modern lifestyle. When that home is part of a local heritage-conservation area, the renovation restrictions can be even more daunting. Add an owner who happens to be a designer, and the stakes get interesting. How do you honour the past while modernizing for the present? That was the challenge for Terry and Hilde Schneider when they bought the home in 1991.
The Adams house, as it’s known, sits in a prime location on Okanagan Lake in downtown Kelowna, B.C. Originally built in 1922 for William E. Adams, a prominent local businessman, it was styled in a Georgian-revival manner with classical proportions and formal details. The interior had become a mishmash of original features and dated renovations, including a 1950s wood-panelled kitchen with avocado-coloured appliances and an array of tired wallpapers. Hilde decided to keep the original floor plan but update everything else. With an eye for design, she stayed true to the spirit of the house while infusing it with a modern flair.
As the Schneider family grew, they added a great room and a guest bedroom followed by a full wing in 2006. Hilde kept the new architecture similar to that of the original house. Inside, she decorated with updated traditional pieces that reflect the heritage of the house yet work perfectly in a modern context. Her love of New England–style homes is evident throughout, but particularly in the stunning great room with a view to the lake. “For 23 years, we’ve enjoyed this commanding view of Okanagan Lake. It stops you in your tracks every time you see it.” In other words, it was well worth any challenges the couple faced while making the home their own.
P.S. This home once belonged to the family of our home editor, Emma, who spent her summers here as a teenager!