vidently, Captain T. H. Worsnop, who once owned the Inland Sentinel newspaper, loved to entertain and dance. His home, complete with a sprung dance floor, has been returned to its former glory in the city's West End.
"It's a social house and that's what we decided to do - host gatherings," said Anne Phillips. "It's a jewel in the city."
Phillips and her husband purchased the old place at 187 Connaught Rd. three years ago as a project. Now fully restored and then some, it's one of four heritage homes that will be recognized this year with centenary plaques, a project of the City Heritage Commission to mark the bicentennial of Fort Kamloops.
Commission chairman Andrew Yarmie recently sent some of the history of the Worsnop house to Phillips. All of a sudden, the lights were turning on.
"This, now, tells me a lot," she said. "It is filling in spaces for us and I'm excited that we'll get a little more history."
Worsnop was a mariner and former port warden of Vancouver. His nautical influence still graces the home - a wide, wraparound verandah overlooking the river on a property that once extended to St. Paul Street.
He married Hermanse, the widow of another prominent early citizen, James McIntosh. An 1860s goldseeker, McIntosh acquired
40 hectares east of Fort Kamloops in 1871, a nucleus from which the town grew.
Hermanse was an accomplished pianist and organizer of children's concerts.
Built in 1912, the home became a social gathering place with blue-blood guests, including the Duke of Connaught and the Marquis of Anglesey.
Fast-forward 97 years and a doctor owned the home. When he opted to sell, he told the Phillips, who had been looking for a restoration project. Like the doctor, they saw beyond decades of neglect, recognizing the "good bones" of solid construction.
In that sense, they didn't pick the house, the house picked them, Anne said. It picked well. The couple has done a remarkable job of bringing back the home's original character, furnishing it with period pieces and landscaping the property - complete with a waterfall feature built by Urban Appeal - yet they had a lot of help.
Tim Pache, who had just started his own contracting firm at the time, took it under his wing as his first project. The home had been chopped up into rental suites, so he had his work cut out.
"He was very good about it. We asked him to keep it within the theme of the neighbourhood, but modern."
The project included restoration of a 600-square-foot carriage house, the former servants' quarters, and erection of a garage at the top of the property.
Interior designer Lenna Sawyer worked with the carpenter to come up with colour schemes corresponding with the period.
Heritage features abound throughout. They visited the O'Keefe Ranch near Vernon to get a better feel for period décor.Two life-size, Italian-marble goddess statues - originals Anne purchased in New York - greet visitors at the front door.
Inside, there's a study and a ballroom with a rosewood staircase rising to the second-floor bedrooms. A large kitchen at the rear once featured a brick oven. The kitchen was gutted in a fire years ago, but the brick was salvaged and is recycled as flooring in a large rear pantry, complete with a faux portico handpainted by Ken Wells.
Original millwork surrounds the rooms brightened by an abundance of period stained glass and an entire series of finely crafted reproductions by local artist Chuck St. John.
Edwardian homes built following the Victorian period represented a major step forward in design with innovations such as connecting hallways and larger living spaces. The Phillips' home mirrors this but also offers distinct features, such as English bay windows.
Antiques help bring the interior to life, even when there isn't a party in progress. A century-old piano, a family heirloom, stands appropriately in the ballroom as though beckoning celebration. Local original art adorns the walls.
In the basement, they replaced the old dirt floor with a subfloor and hardwood to create another social gathering area with bar.
"I wanted the Yaletown look - low ceilings painted white."
Vintage glass cubes salvaged from a demolition allow light in while maintaining privacy. Contemporary touches include marble tiling and updated bathrooms. As with many heritage homes, insulation was lacking in some walls, so they installed a second water heater and use hot-water radiance to compensate in the floors.
"I think the biggest challenge of the project was just that it was so big," Anne said.
"I love being here," she added. "The neighbourhood is fabulous. The old heritage houses and the people, when they walk through, they're enthralled looking at the old place."