A memorable evening in a 100 year old Shaughnessy Home

I attended a special event held at the Disher House, built in 1912 on Angus Drive, Vancouver, BC.  The gracious homeowners opened their home for a Vancouver Heritage Foundation evening.

Disher House

This Stately Home has had five owners, and is largely in original condition, all of the delicate plaster work and wood panelling details are intact.

central hall

Attributed to Architect Paul Phipps (1880-1953) – the only home he designed in Vancouver, at age 30. Born in New York City, he attended Eton College in Windsor, and Balliol College in Oxford in 1898-1901. He articled with Sir Edwin Lutyens, the leading Edwardian architect in England, spending three years in his office from 1901 to 1904. Phipps began his own practice in London in 1904, and arrived in Canada in early 1911.
He lived in Victoria, B.C., collaborating there with Hoult Horton, until 1913 left Canada and he went on to serve in WW1 and eventually set up an office in London, England. He married Waldorf Astor’s sister.

Interestingly, Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869 – 1944), the renowned Edwardian Arts and Craft architect that Paul Phipps trained under, designed Great Dixter House and Garden as one of his many commissions, is a stop on the Stately Home Tour of England I am hosting May 2016.  Lutyens famously collaborated with Plantswoman, Gardener and Garden Writer, Gertrude Jekyll .

sitting room

Original decorative plaster work attributed to Charles Marega, who sculpted the lions at the Lions Gate Bridge.

This evening was memorable for many reasons – Maestro Bramwell Tovey (composer, conductor and VSO Music Director since 2000) played four pieces on the grand piano (in the former billiards room below).

billiards room IMG_7822

One of several original fireplaces.  I was also very fortunate to enjoy the music of Miles Black (local jazz pianist, composer, producer) and James Danderfer, (local jazz musican),


Original library.


Original upper landing and stairwell.

original stairwell

Original stairwell off of the main entrance and amazing feature stain glass window.

dining room

Beautiful dining room where silent auction was set up… I was served a glass of Tinhorn Creek red wine at the same time as another lady, whom I said cheers to (because that is how I roll!).  I later discovered this was the homeowner, who was lovely enough to show me her stunning collection of furniture and antiques, as well as the kitchen.  The Art Nouveau furniture was gorgeous, and they installed all of the vintage light fixtures you see.  There were some wonderful glass pieces and copper as well.

Shaughnessy kitchen

Okay – the kitchen.  The home owner brought me in, and I immediately recognized the influence – do you recognize the motif?

Shaughnessy kitchenCustom built two years, it is awesome…  unique yet completely complimentary to the Historic Arts and Crafts House. stained glass feature

If you notice the level of detail, from this feature glass door to the hardware, it is a fantastic kitchen, inspired by none other than Charles Rennie Mackintosh – who I wrote about here and here from my recent trip to Glasgow – love it!carved rose chair

This is a detail of one of a set of chairs that inspired the homeowner when she designed her kitchen.

garden view

This is a view from the grand front entrance to the front garden.  The rear patio and gardens were stunning as well, but this was the last of the dusk light just as I arrived.

So wow, a special night, right?  But there was more.  The is referred to as the Disher house, who was the second family who owned it until 1971.  A man and his wife and his son were attending and it was his parents who owned the home and he lived there until approximately 20 and it was his first time back and he was visibly moved.

Also, yes there is more, the City of Vancouver just this week passed long awaited Heritage Status protection of the Shaughnessy Heights district, and that was cause for celebration and two of the Vancouver Council were in attendance.

My name is Sue Womersley and I am an Interior Decorator from White Rock and enjoy sharing my love for all things design.






4 responses to “A memorable evening in a 100 year old Shaughnessy Home”

  1. Ellen Womersley Avatar
    Ellen Womersley

    Love your photos. Especially the Rennie McIntosh styles.

    Sent from my iPad


    1. designmuse Avatar

      Thank you! It was awesome and you would have loved it!

  2. Judy Tallas Avatar
    Judy Tallas

    What an amazing home……you were so lucky to be able to visit it! Thanks for sharing….Judy

    1. designmuse Avatar

      Thanks kindly Judy! You will have to join me next time:)

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