Ian Hanomansing: About Life at Home
By Carol Crenna
Ian Hanomansing is busy at CBC TV. He is CBC The National’s correspondent, Hemispheres host, Foreign Assignment host, askCBC host, and Feeling The Heat host, and he will be the anchor of CBC News in Vancouver beginning in September 2013. He has undertaken a wide variety of high profile assignments in his career, but one he leaves to his wife is decorating their home.
CAROL: Why do you live where you do?
IAN HANOMANSING: We chose Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood in 1991 just after we got married because it was where we could afford, and we hoped to someday move to the West Side. It has charming streets lined with big trees and refurbished heritage-style houses, and it has a small-town feeling similar to where I grew up in Sackville, New Brunswick.
Plans for the future changed when neighbourhood friends decided to sell their house that we’d told them we loved — it’s over a hundred years old with a wraparound porch, four bedrooms on three floors, and near a park. We bought it privately and quickly, which left a few would-be buyers a little put-out.
CAROL: Did you renovate it?
IAN HANOMANSING: We’ve completed extensive renovations. We first refurbished the living room, and had such a positive experience with the contractor that we finished everything else we wanted to in one fell swoop three years ago. We did the kitchen, upstairs bedrooms, basement and garage.
We lived in half of the house, divided by a temporary a wall, during five months of construction. It was the right time in our lives because we’d learned from past experiences and had the financial means. But it also came at a time when my route to work (Cambie Street) was under massive construction and my workplace (the CBC building) was undergoing arduous renovations so everywhere I went felt restricted.
When the dividing wall was taken down and we walked into the new area, we were awe-struck, particularly by the kitchen.
CAROL: Do you cook?
IAN HANOMANSING: I’m not a cook. My wife, Nancy had the vision to build a utilitarian but dazzling kitchen that’s not only great for cooking but is the family focal point. She directed the process with the architect, interior designer and contractor. We have two ovens because she knew she would use them during large family get-togethers, and an induction stove top which we really like.
It’s large; we expanded it by incorporating a small bedroom into the kitchen, adding a computer/TV/music centre. When our two sons work on that computer, we can see what they’re doing, and they can still engage with the family.
CAROL: You’re a TV celeb — so it’s natural to have a TV in the kitchen…
IAN HANOMANSING: Nancy was tricked into having a TV there. When she agreed to the computer, she didn’t know I’d lead her down the slippery slope, installing cable for TV. She was first horrified, but now we watch it while dinner is cooking.
Two large windows were added, which gives a view and sunlight that we didn’t have before. We carefully saved beautiful stained glass windows from the living room renovation that are now inset above the new kitchen windows — the room’s design and colour scheme were inspired by them. We have lots of counter and cupboard space – because life ends up encroaching on the counter space – but we even have more than needed since we pared-down.
I finally discarded things like some jam bought in Atlanta when I covered the 2006 Olympics… Since then, we’ve been reluctant to “collect” more things, and so we don’t buy nearly as much as we used to.
CAROL: Did you have to get rid of much stuff to prepare for renos?
IAN HANOMANSING: Partly due to wanting to simplify and partly just to prepare for the reno, we did end up giving away a lot just before we renovated.
CAROL: Where do you like to spend the most time?
IAN HANOMANSING: Our living room is a daily gathering place for activity, like many living rooms today, but unlike those that were off limits when I was growing up. It has a grand piano; I played piano as a child and now my son plays very well.
IAN HANOMANSING: I play ball hockey and both sons play ice hockey so we have three sets of smelly equipment in the house. We wanted somewhere to put it, and thought first to have it in the garage, but the contractor said a mudroom would be more practical. He installed a board with long stylish hooks – similar ones I’ve seen at in The Gap store that hang products – but ours are close to the heat vent to dry the gear out. That’s where they all go now, and it’s a case where good design makes life easier.
CAROL: What’s your favourite piece of furniture?
IAN HANOMANSING: We have a nice leather recliner bought with the intention that it would become my favourite chair, used like the dads on TV sitcoms, but I end up on the comfy couch.
CAROL: You said you did renos on the back of the house. Why?
IAN HANOMANSING: I find that on some old houses the builder didn’t consider what they look like from behind, and ours didn’t look very interesting on the back side. After renovating the back, it now looks authentic, complementing the style and time period of the rest of the house, and with stucco that matches the original material, recreating the look. It also looks far more interesting with new windows, both stained and not, and gables.
CAROL: Do you have anything on display that you found while abroad?
IAN HANOMANSING: I tried adding collectibles. I really like the idea of displaying art pieces I‘d found on each trip abroad. I would search for just the right souvenir when travelling to cover stories in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam, but the thing I’d buy would still end up tucked away out of sight somewhere; Nancy has a much better eye for art and design than I do.
This is an extended version of original article by Carol Crenna featured in Canada Wide Media’s BC Home Magazine