News Release Archive

A few years ago, the rumour in Kentville was that Wickwire House
was haunted. It certainly looked the part. The 100-year old
Victorian dwelling was large, dark and gloomy-looking, set back
on a hill overlooking the town. Since then, extensive renovations
have transformed the "haunted house" into a bright, charming bed
and breakfast, thanks to the vision and hard work of owners Jim
and Darlene Peerless.

The husband and wife team were last year's winners in the
historical restoration category of the Nova Scotia Home Awards.
The award recognizes excellence in the restoration of older and
heritage homes with an emphasis placed on historical
authenticity, compatibility with existing detail and
surroundings, imagination and economic viability.

"Our town planner had suggested we enter the Home Awards the year
before, but we felt that we just weren't ready. When we entered
and won last year, we were surprised and very pleased," said Jim

A pilot with Canadian Airlines, Mr. Peerless says owning a bed
and breakfast had been a dream of the family for quite some time.
Three years ago, they moved here from Vancouver to pursue that
dream. They settled on Wickwire House after looking at over 30

"It was run-down and tired-looking when we first saw it, but
structurally sound and full of potential," he said. "We liked the
large rooms and high ceilings. The third level, which is a
separate apartment, had enough room for us and our two children
to live as a family, with a couple of rooms for guests. It just
had everything we were looking for."

The three-storey bed and breakfast offers guests a glimpse into
the elegant craftsmanship of another time, balanced with a modern
touch. It is most often described as "cozy" and "elegant" by
guests. One of the most distinctive and unique features of the
house is it's exterior. The gloomy facade was re-painted an
ice-mint green, complimented by an aquamarine, maroon, white and
pink trim. It took 120 gallons of paint to complete the process.

The bright new exterior was just the beginning. "We rewired the
entire house, added a veranda and a gazebo, did some re-roofing,
put an entire new foundation under the carriage house, did some
landscaping, plumbing and redecorating. Basically, every spare
hour we could muster, we put into the house," said Mr. Peerless.

The couple were careful to make sure the home retained its
historical character during the renovation, with one exception.
The vibrant colours of the exterior were inspired by some of the
brightly coloured, renovated Victorian homes of the San Francisco
area. "Traditional Victorian colours are a little drab for us,"
he explains.

The vast majority of the house's historical features are intact,
including some detailed interior woodwork around fireplaces,
stairs, wall and ceiling panels, doors and trim. Preserving the
character of the home often presented challenges during the
renovation. "When we had the house re-wired, we asked the
electricians not to drill holes in the woodwork," Mr. Peerless
said. "They really had to be inventive in order to install those

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Home Awards, which
have become a symbol of excellence in the province's residential
construction industry. In addition to historical restoration,
award categories include home unit design, innovation in home
construction or delivery, home renovation/rehabilitation, and
energy efficiency. Winners are awarded with a bronze plaque which
can be mounted on the exterior of the home and a framed
certificate, acknowledging the contribution of the owner,
builder, architect or designer involved with the project.

The deadline for this year's awards is Oct. 31, 1996. The Home
Awards program is open to all residents of Nova Scotia, including
owners, builders, architects, designers and others involved in
the housing industry. Any housing project completed prior to date
of closing of competition is eligible.

"For us, winning the home award has been a great experience. It's
been a real reward for all the hard work we've done. And, it's
gratifying to know that others have recognized our efforts," Mr.
Peerless said.


EDITOR'S NOTE: A photo of Wickwire House is available by
contacting Jim or Darlene Peerless at 902-679-1188.

trp                    Oct. 23, 1996 - 9:05 a.m.