When Canadian-born interior designer Philip Mitchell and his husband, Mark Narsansky, learned of a troubled 18th-century cottage for sale on the coast of Nova Scotia, they were not in the market for another home. But when they heard developers were looking to tear it down and subdivide the property, they decided to come to the rescue. The couple had been vacationing in Chester, Nova Scotia, an idyllic seaside village of roughly 1,500 year-round residents on the east coast of Canada, for several summers and had fallen in love with the historic architecture, glorious summer weather, and friendly people.
White Cottage is an imposing 1795 “Colonial mish-mash” of a house situated on a prime seaside lot. It had been modified and added onto by many owners and was in a state of disrepair. The entire structure had to be disassembled piece by piece with each part numbered, cataloged, and put in storage. Then the house was rebuilt according to its original footprint and style, including a few architectural features that had been removed decades ago. The restoration took about two and a half years.
Mitchell decorated the house in a luxurious seafaring style, incorporating the couple’s storied collections and rich antiques. “We have English furniture, French furniture, Swedish furniture. Things we inherited got mixed with new antiques we found in Europe,” Mitchell told Veranda. “If someone in our families was smart enough to start something great, we want to add to it and make it part of our lives.” Photography by Annie Schlechter for Veranda July/August 2019 with copy by Mimi Read.