Thursday, September 19, 2019


This 1877 #HamOnt Grande Durand Dame recently sold to a fabulous person with even more fabulous plans to bring her back to her former glory. Read all about her plans below (with hopefully some 'afters' in a 
follow-up post)!

I Q&A with Tammy Phinney, sales representative with Royal LePage Burloak Real Estate Services I

I House Photos by TomVogel I

You had been looking for a place in Hamilton for sometime. What attracted you to the city vs. your previous home base in Burlington?

The city of Hamilton has always been on my radar. Steel in Hamilton is being replaced by culture, and it seems, almost secretly, that there is a steady re-birth. I felt drawn to the story of this dark horse on Queen Street, and watched it on MLS as it sat for a long time.  I was not exactly looking for a new home when I walked inside this beauty, in fact, my father just passed and it was probably the very last thing I needed was a new project.

"The day I booked an appointment to see the property I was on the road delivering gifts to clients. I met the listing agent Colette Cooper at the home and stepped inside this 1877 Spanish revival, pushed up on the side of the Niagara escarpment. I opened the front arched door and entered the foyer. The interior was so unique, untouched, vacant and kinda sad. I knew what I needed to do."

Does it feel like home yet? What places have you discovered/claimed your favourite?

It strangely felt like home when I first when to look at the property. Many of my clients tell me that they don't pick the house, the house picks them and that's the best way to describe it.

What was on your home buying checklist?

I wanted a home with original trim, hardware, doors. I wanted high ceilings, old windows, a double car garage, beautiful gardens and one with a history. Renovating not only restores the house but restores the story, and this home has a great one to tell.

Can you tell us about some of the memorable homes you visited in your search. Any stand out features or details? Any regrets on options you missed out on or passed up?

There have been several that I wanted to buy, only one I missed out on which was the Art Deco/Art Moderne home facing Inglewood, with the garages leading to Aberdeen. I've always wanted to have a Art Deco home, and that particular home had stunning city views from a wraparound deco balcony.

Photo by Venture Homes

Photo by Venture Homes

Photo by Venture Homes

What was it about Queen Street that you fell in love with?

I've always been a fan of the underdog, it is a big house to update, and a large garden to rejuvenate, it faces a busy street, I can appreciate why buyers might be afraid to take it on. At the same time, the home has so much potential and it's extremely well built with thick beams, with a massive steel beam in the great room opening the room up to over 35 feet in length. Some of the walls are more than 12 inches thick.

Are you excited to live in an old home?

My very first home was an older home in the core of Burlington, I still remember offer day sitting outside in my car and through the living room sheers I watched as realtors enter the one-by-one to present their offer. Mine was 4th and presented last. That house stayed with me through every move, and until Queen Street, no house ever measured up.

What are your plans and what are you most excited about?

I'm planning to update all the baths to feel original but with new fixtures, towel warmers, heated floors and classic finishes.

The following year, I'm hoping to work with Bloomsbury Kitchens to create a authentic design. I have no intention to change the home from it's roots, instead transition the Spanish Revival style to work with today's amenities. I'm working with LandArt for a landscape plan which will include a Spanish courtyard off the side front entrance and a classic white and green peaceful design with large flowering trees flanking the circular drive.

Any cool discoveries or finds as you have explored and started renovations?

Hidden in the back garden is an original wrought iron fence which was covered by flowers, and my contractor Mike from Prime Construction uncovered a fireplace in the dining room.

The verdict is out whether it can be restored or not. I think that's project number 63. We've also discovered a metal dresser from the industrial era in the attic. 

The first two days sleeping in the home my Great Dane, Sophie refused to go into the dining room, no matter what we enticed her with. We bought sage and opened all the windows, because a friend suggested we have a ’clearing’. She loves the room now, so we may also have also discovered a ghost. :)

Any message for the former homeowner?

I really just want to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to live here. I'm committed to the story of this home, there is a reason it picked me.

Any messages/advice for buyers looking to purchase an old home in #HamOnt? Anything on the market now that excites you to show potential buyers?

There are a lot of reasons to love old homes. They’re solidly built, have tons of character, and often come with their own intriguing history, but it's important to know what you are getting into. Home Inspections are a must if you are on a budget. Often you'll need to replace roofs, plumbing and wiring updated,  you'll need to refurbish or replace windows and increase insulation.

Find a contractor that gives you a detailed contract and use a Realtor who knows what to look out for so you can budget and negotiate for the repairs. In the end you'll have a home that will be worth the effort.

There are so many homes in Hamilton worth seeing in every price range. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to live and work here and extremely excited to be able to take a new buyer shopping, it's one of my favourite parts of my career.  The story an old home tells us is an extraordinary one.

Meet Your New Neighbour
Tammy grew up in a real estate family, and by the nature of the business, they moved a lot. Curious and artistic even as a child, her parents supported her individuality and creative passions. As a painter, designer, and eventually a clothing buyer, her drive and passion for detail blossomed. It didn't take long before she developed an obsession with design, homes and renovating, and in time the family “real estate” genes rubbed off on her.


Are you a #HamOnt character homeowner with a story to share? If you'd like to be featured in a future post, please send me a message:


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