Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Headless Ghost & Brimstone Beasts


Even if I'm looking into replacing those plastic globes on our entrance lights, they do serve a great purpose at Halloween.
Notice the two pairs of glowing eyes at the bottom of the entrance door -
my brimstone beasts.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Gate

The first thing we had built at back was a portion of missing fence and a gate to keep the dogs from roaming. The existing fence was custom-made over fifty years ago and had to follow the slopping grounds. Not an easy task, even for an experienced contractor in these times of prefabrication. The gate had to be built on a slope, be wide enough for the car, not be too heavy and had to fit in with the design of the fence. I handed over my gate design to our contractor who was very comfortable "eyeballing it". We are very satisfied with the end results.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Backyard


Although this shed/playhouse is not original to the house, I think it's worth mentioning. The previous owners had this two-storey structure, with balcony, built for themselves and their three children. Rarely do we see such attention given to a backyard construction. Gingerbread details found on the main house have been replicated for the adornment of the shed, such as the trim along the roof line, the stairs and balcony railings and the shutters. It is fully wired for electricity and a water pipe has been brought to the shed for ease of watering the garden. But what I enjoy the most is seeing the names of the three children engraved onto the three steps leading to the wooden stairs.

View from the Grand Trunk Trail Bridge - River Thames

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Grand Trunk Trail - St Marys



You can see our house in the back ground, right under the church steeple.
The view we have from our front porch is of a beautiful stone bridge, built for the Grand Trunk Railway. The first train to go over it was in 1859 and the last in 1988. In 1996, the Town of St Marys raised money to convert it into a spectacular nature trail.
On the bridge looking North.

Looking south towards downtown.

Front Entrance Doors

As mentioned in my previous post, the original storm doors have been replaced by these questionable glass doors. The high glare they produce, hide the pretty details of the interior doors. Perhaps a low glare tempered glass would be an option or something different, all together. Some research is required.

Storm Doors/Headboard

These are the original storm doors I mentioned in my previous posting. At this stage, they were ready to be painted. I had to cut a few inches off the top and bottom to remove the rot, reducing their height to 7 feet. They had been cut before by a previous owner and I suspect that they may have been at least 10 feet tall originally. Painted in the same colour of the baseboard in the guest room, they now hang as a headboard.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Front Porch


The sun sets in front and creates these beautiful shadows of the gingerbread details on to the brick wall. My favorite place to be after dinner.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Circa 1940 pictures


Visiting the town of St Mary's Archives and Museum, I was pleased to find some information on our house and two lovely pictures, probably taken in the 1940s. The balcony over the wrap-around porch is now long gone. Note the exterior storm doors have now been replaced by questionable glass doors. The original storm doors give more weight and visual importance to the entrance doors and are in proportion to the size of the house. These storm doors were found rotting away on the side of the house and have been salvaged, cleaned up, stripped and painted. They now hang as a headboard in our guest room.

Column Lights at Front Steps

The columns were already wired for lights, but none had been put in place. I purchased these Victorian style reproductions, but I'm hoping to find replacement for these plastic globes. Something made of thick glass in the shape of pine-cones. Our property is lined with century old pine trees and our address plaque is adorned with a branch of pine cones.

Address Plaque

Our beautiful cast address plaque was a gift from Brian's birth-parents. They are the owners and operator of the oldest foundry in Canada, The Alloy Foundry located in the picturesque town of Merrickville, Ontario. For the japanese people, the pine branch is a symbol of longevity.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Love at First Site

Three years ago, we were living in a beautiful Vancouver condo with a huge terrace overlooking Yaletown. It had all the modern conveniences: pool, sauna, hot tub, exercise room... I could walk to and from work and we were living a block from the sea wall. For several reasons, we'd begun considering a move back east. I was at the end of a ten year relationship with the company I was working for, we were rethinking our relationship with Vancouver, and most importantly, we had parents in their senior years.

I started researching real estate in Ontario to get a sense of the market and came across this beautiful house described as Victorian Italianate. I fell in love with it. It was located in the small historic town of St Marys, near Stratford. It would take at least a year to tie up loose ends, sell the condo and leave, so I had no real hopes about this house. Two years passed before we finally were ready to purchase a home. During that time, as might be expected, the beautiful Victorian disappeared from the market. However, several other houses in St Marys had caught my attention strongly enough to justify a visit to the town. Driving in we were greeted by small bridges, a winding river, gentle hills, and century old stone and brick homes. We new almost immediately that this was the town for us. We called a real estate agent to view some homes and to our astonishment, we were told that the beautiful Victorian I had seen two years ago had not been sold. Walking in was like meeting an admired celebrity in person. The house was in surprisingly good shape, only cosmetic work was needed. Needless to say, we are now proud owners of the dusty Victorian. I believe that a little luck, good timing and some divine intervention was at play here. If it's meant to be, it will happen.