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Classic country chic in Oak Bay

Newport Avenue home blends classic touches with bright updates
The Kirzinger’s new home in Oak Bay. (Lia Crowe)

By Devon Paige Smith, photos by Lia Crowe

When making plans for their relocation from Vancouver to Victoria in 2017, Dave and Pam Kirzinger had a checklist of requirements for the perfect new home.

“We always knew we wanted to end up here in Victoria, and likely Oak Bay, but we also knew we were likely going to be looking for a while to find the right fit,” explains Pam, sitting in the spacious and warm living room of their Newport Avenue home.

The Kirzingers ultimately decided to make the move over before they ended up buying, opting to purchase a condo in the interim, while they house-hunted for nearly a year.

“We ended up buying in a building on Beach Drive, not far from here, and after living there for a while, we knew we wanted to stay very close to the same area,” says Pam.

“And I knew I wanted to be within walking distance to the Penny Farthing and the rest of the avenue,” adds Dave, laughing.

As it turns out, on several occasions Pam had admired the home they ended up purchasing on Newport.

“When we were living in the condo, I’d come down this way on my walks most days,” she explains, looking over at Dave, who adds, “I’ll never forget, because one day she called me and said, ‘That house I love is for sale!’ and in the back of my mind I knew that really meant we were definitely buying this house!”

The spectacular 5,500-square-foot, four-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom home was designed and built in 1929 by architects W.J. Semeyn and K.B. Spurgin. The home overlooks the grounds of the Victoria Golf Club, and was originally commissioned by and built for G.F.W. Tennings.

The kitchen. (Lia Crowe)

Prior to the Kirzingers buying it, significant updates to the home had been undertaken throughout the years, but they were happy to put some of their own touches on the place when they purchased it in 2018.

“I updated some of the paint and wallpaper in the house, but really most everything was done so well by the previous owners. All the work honoured the classic aspects of the home while still looking fresh and updated,” says Pam, adding that her favourite part of the home is the kitchen.

“We entertain a lot, and as we all know, people love to hang out in the kitchen, so this is a perfect space for entertaining,” she explains, motioning around the room. The kitchen is spacious, and custom cabinetry and beautiful millwork give it an original feel, while a light colour palette keeps it feeling bright and updated.

As for Dave, he loves the formal dining room for the same reason.

The dining room. (Lia Crowe)

“It feels really nice to have a dedicated space where we can host family and friends and enjoy a meal together,” he says.

The one thing Pam did want to update and customize was the primary bedroom en-suite on the second floor—a gorgeous space with a Juliet balcony overlooking the golf club grounds.

“I wanted us to each have our own vanity, and we removed the large soaker tub to make room for the one thing Dave always enjoys having in a home—a steam shower,” she explains.

Pam goes on to add that extra space in the bright sunroom (originally built as a covered veranda) off the formal living room on the main floor allows for an informal flex space for toys and books belonging to their grandchildren.

“They love coming over and we love having them,” she adds, smiling.

And a generous basement with a TV room, games room, wine cellar, home gym and more offers room for games and activities with family and friends.

The two hadn’t normally gravitated towards the classic architectural style that the Newport Avenue home has.

“Honestly, we tended towards a more modern style in previous homes we’d bought or built. But this one was just so beautiful. I really loved it from the very first time I saw it,” explains Pam.

In terms of location, Oak Bay was a no-brainer for the couple. Pam spent her early years in Victoria, and Dave attended Oak Bay High School. Fortuitously, the couple’s two daughters ended up living on the island as well—one of them right down the block.

“We love it because there is a real sense of community here, especially with family just down the road. The people in Oak Bay are very friendly and supportive, and the relaxed pace really suits us,” explains Pam.

“The other aspect we love, of course, is the natural beauty of the area—being able to get out and enjoy walking near the ocean every day. It’s an incredible place and a wonderful community.”

READ MORE: Told to get out: No-fault evictions ensnare renters in Victoria and beyond

Inside the Kirzinger’s new home in Oak Bay. (Lia Crowe)