Self-taught stylist, designer and digital shop owner Wren Silverii of Hungry Heart Home lives in Rothesay, New Brunswick, just outside of Saint John, with her husband, Nate, and their Boston terriers, Lemmy and Birdy. With its salt-licked air — the Atlantic Ocean is but 10 minutes away — the picturesque town is a far cry from landlocked Ottawa. The couple relocated from Canada’s capital last year, scooping up this charming historic New Brunswick home with a wraparound porch and period details.
“The man who built it was a top shoe salesman at the time,” says Wren. “The deed for our land says 1898, but it was probably built in 1900 or 1901.” Its vintage immediately appealed to Wren who is drawn to character-filled interiors. And she has a thing for repurposing goods. Her business, Hungry Heart Home Shop, which launched this past July, is a treasure trove of found antiques and new, easy-to-live-with, naturally inclined pieces. “I love beautiful spaces and always have. It was always a side passion of mine,” says Wren, describing her home as “coastal cottage cozy.” “I want it to feel warm, timeless and inviting.”
In fall, when the trees are most colourful, Rothesay, New Brunswick, is particularly sublime. Doesn’t the house look like a mansion? It’s a ruse, but gorgeous nonetheless! The two-level house is deceivingly grand because of the wide wraparound porch, says Wren. “It’s actually only 1,700 square feet.”
Room With a View
Wren and Nate built the custom window seat, which has a lovely treed view. They also painted the window frame Black Magic by Sherwin-Williams for graphic punch. “The bench felt authentic and original to the home,” says Wren. She styled the area simply with a tartan pillow, neutral cushions and a bold black vase with fresh snippets of evergreen. It makes an ideal reading nook.
“Why hunch over a bathroom counter to get ready in the morning?” says Wren. “I love sitting down to put on my makeup to start the day.” A custom vanity, comfy chair and pore-magnifying mirror does the trick. Double islands (with hampers on rollers cleverly tucked underneath) and lots of hanging room makes this a Carrie Bradshaw-worthy zone.
Coffee in The Closet
Wren’s magnificent closet is both functional and stylish. Note the cane detailing and arched cupboard. “I installed a coffee bar and mini fridge for creamer and a cupboard for snacks,” she says. “When building a dream closet, I wanted to include the things that are important to me.” Wren likes to watch late-night TV, and it’s much easier to duck into the adjoining closet for chips and salsa!
With The Grain
An antique wooden hutch is a warm complement to light-toned floors and the darker sideboard. (Yes, you can mix woods to create major character charm, as Wren has so beautifully done.) “I probably have 30 boxes of dishes in the basement. I wanted something to display them,” she says.
Here’s a closer look at that beautiful pale wood hutch filled with charming pieces. The red-and-white dishes are giving us all the Christmas feels. “I sell the heritage bowls and pitchers in the middle row,” says Wren. Ditto the harvest mugs up top. Over by the Christmas tree (which is stunning) are wooden nutcrackers and a primitive black urn on the credenza that’s also some of Wren’s wares.
In the principal bedroom, Wren painted the walls a fresh off-white and then layered in old-school pieces for a simple and stylish vibe. A platform bed with a spindly headboard; a white peg rail, vintage landscapes and an antique chandelier complete the look.
A Charming Spot for Tea And Cake
The stunning pedestal table from Modern Komfort in Fredericton anchors the dining area, which has black cane chairs from Reimagine Designs (also from Fredericton) tucked into it and a custom bench. The black on the chair frames, candles and door offers beautiful contrast in the otherwise neutral space. New shiplap on the walls is a great touch!
Be Our Guest
Substantial moulding, wall panelling and a nostalgic green hue lends charm in the guest room. The vignette includes an old ship, a found painting and a basket bag, all built around a peg rail Wren added because she loves them and they’re practical “for towels and jackets.” The righthand doorway leads to the “servants’ quarters” from days gone by. “We’re removing them to make the mudroom bigger (down there),” says Wren.
Cook in Style
Metal pendants over the counters are a classy tip of the hat to the home’s coastal setting. “It’s nautical but without hooks and anchors,” says Wren. “It’s a nod to the original shipping and boatbuilding in this area.”
Wren’s “coastal cottage cozy” home is evident in the warm living room. “The half-moon insert in the fireplace and white brick were already done, but we painted the mantle and the red brick hearth, black.” The coffee table is a chest from Wren’s childhood. Meanwhile, the couple left the original pine floors intact. “They dent easily. There are little dog claw marks everywhere,” says Wren. “I find them charming.”
A Christmas Mantle
And here’s a close up of that amazing fireplace decorated for Christmas. Fresh evergreen brings festive cheer to the mantle, staircase and wreath. Dried oranges, brass bells and brass belt garland (Wren sells them through her shop) and red ribbon are a gorgeous, natural way to accessorize. The snowshoes are a wintry quirky touch!
Sparse And Smart
Wren spiffed up the principal bedroom smartly and sparsely, though admits it’s not done yet and neither is the closet. “I need to sit with a place for awhile before finishing it,” she says. The mantle though is a keeper. She painstakingly stripped it to stunning effect. Above, the Samsung Frame TV mimics artwork.
With their intriguing curves, arches are totally hot right now. They bring architectural presence to a space, as seen in this doorway leading to the closet.
Be Our Guest
For the guest room, Wren eschewed big-box stores, hitting up her favourite antique and second-hand haunts instead. “The bed is such a cool find. I love the way it looks spindly and the spools are little acorns. I paid $35 for it,” says Wren. “When I saw it my jaw dropped. There is a Habitat for Humanity Restore five minutes from my house. I go there four to five times a week.” The dresser, from Wren’s childhood, hits a nostalgic note in the room.