Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mama needs a drink...

And a bath, a nap, a get the picture.
lt's been just over a month since our arrival to the country and during this time I have been pretty consistently snapping pics and/or painting, cleaning, unpacking etc. The result is a plethora of pictures, and a lack of time to post them and blog about it. 
I thought I would take advantage of these ten minutes of peace and do just that.  It was post or bathe, you're welcome, cheers
Odds and ends from the last four weeks. A few of our lovely new kitchen pieces made from BC Fir.  The pieces were taken from a deconstructed barge used in the Trent-Severn Waterway. A coffee grinder we scored at an antique store down the road, and a few of my kids, who are being very good sports about this adventure.  Although my daughter does inform me at least once a day that she "wants to go home" to which my son yells "y'ar home"!  

So folks, that mostly brings us up to date. We have made astounding progress in the past two weeks so I will put up some before and afters to amaze next go round.  
Good night all xo.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Like Heaven, but dustier.

I know I said the next post would take us inside the house, however, I feel the need to talk a bit about Legacy.  
We were introduced to this haven by Miss Jude, designer and purveyor of all things repurposed, vintage and hand crafted.  Her new store in Orono is loaded full of things I love, and happily she is right across the street. She also happens to be Brad's wife and Dawson's mom, so between Brad, Dawson and Jude we are well looked after in the complete home makeover department. 
Jude loaded us in her vintage rambler and we headed off down the highway in search of treasures. Legacy sells reclaimed architectural artifacts and building materials. Located in Coburg they are a designers dream.  Floor to ceiling doors, hardware, fencing, lighting fixtures, I even saw a confessional box, which sadly was out of our price range. We did however find a kitchen sink and a bathtub, in a field of bathtubs. Along with various other odds and ends that will help us restore our house to it's former glory.

My favourite Legacy score would have to be my new studio window.  Paul went through stacks and stacks of reclaimed windows and found the perfect one for me.  It lets in the most beautiful late afternoon light, absolutely makes my day.  The guys built this studio, from a dirt floored, uninsulated space in only a few days...actually makes me want to get back to working.
Happiness xo.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chairmen of the boards...

We took possession of the house on Oct. 1st. That gave us just 25 days to make it livable, not much time to be sure. But we had a plan and more importantly, we had Backshed Design and Constructors. Backshed is made up of two of the hardest working men we've ever met. One being Brad (Bradleyboy) MacArthur, the other, Dawson Campbell. They work primarily in reclaimed materials and had a very similar creative vision to us. Bring the home back to it's former glory, not rip it open and modernize it.

Brad and Dawson have a Wood Miser Portable Saw Mill. A rather impressive machine that can be brought to a property and mill trees on the spot, turning them into beautiful custom done boards and pieces.

We tagged along with Dawson on an early morning job, Paul helped, I stayed at a safe distance and snapped photos.

It was important to us to keep all the work local. The last thing we wanted to do was drag a bunch of contractors from Toronto to build a home in a town full of trades people. Think 100 mile renovation. First, we needed to get the outside done. The house needed to be winterized.  we were well into fall and it wasn't going to be long before it was below zero outside.

Back of the house when we bought it...

Backshed had milled some of the boards for the back of the home. Due to the time constraints, they couldn't find and mill all the wood we'd need. They knew of a few local mills that could supply the amount of wood we would require to complete the exterior. One of these was Woodley Sawmill. It is located just 15 minutes north-west of Orono. The mill has been in the same family since about 1874 in what was then a village called Buffalo as far as I know. It is completely powered by water. You can feel the history when you're there. The boards that come out of that mill are beautiful and straight. By contrast, the wood that makes up the construction of the mill shed itself is so worn by time that you couldn't find a 90 degree angle or straight edge anywhere. This was a place we were happy to spend our money.

Now that we had some wood, we could start covering up that rusted tin covering the extension that made up the kitchen and my future studio. We went with a vertical board and batten look. Another thing Brad and Dawson did was rip out the tiny vinyl window that was in our upstairs bedroom and replace it with a nice big window that matched all the other original windows. Just that first bit of work was such an improvement from where we started. It began to feel like a place we could live. As you'll see by future posts, each week our shack turned more and more into a home.

Back of the house two weeks later...

Woodley Sawmill -  2662 Concession Rd 8, Hampton, ON L1C 3K6. (905) 263-2121
Backshed Construction - Orono, ON. (905) 983-5691

Next post: Moving Inside.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A little rough round the edges...

So I suppose it would be a good idea to start with a point of reference.  This was our home as of a month ago.  I am happy to think of it getting a fresh start with new owners.

And this is our new home, as we first saw it a few short months ago.  A bit disheveled to be kind, but we could see a glimpse of how great it could be underneath the piles of rubble and disarray. 
The future kitchen...
The future loft overlooking the kitchen...
Kids attic bedroom...
Soon to be studio off the kitchen...
Next years covered deck...
If you squint your eyes you may see a bathroom just off a family room...
And the big selling point for me, a glassed in porch
Obviously a lot of work ahead of us, but like a freight train rolling down hill the whole plan has a momentum of it's own.  Tomorrow's post, the transformation begins...