Caledon Retreat

Home renovation and addition — Belfountain, Ontario

From the beginning, this project enjoyed all the good energy that any creative work could ask for. Driving the work was the single-minded doggedness of the clients, themselves seasoned homeowners, who had purchased an abandoned wreck of a home in the countryside, and who were determined to bring it back to life. They showed us an old photograph showing a happy family in the garden, and we understood then what was to be accomplished. We were also blessed to have the services of a good builder, skilled in the dissecting and re-assembling of old houses.

Shortly after the purchase, we found ourselves deep in the snow on a heavily treed Caledon hillside, looking at a Craftsman cottage from the Twenties. Mentally peeling off the metal siding, we could see a sturdy stucco and brick structure, in which a granite fireplace and maple floors still glimmered with potential. Due to neglect, much of the rest of the interior would go into the dumpster, but the essential volumes of space spoke to an intimate family life and the possibility of an expanded connection to the gardens around the house.

We added a new Screened Porch to the front of the house, and a cedar shingle attached garage. To the rear, we devised a new single-storey Kitchen addition, sited to gain the best possible views out over the grounds. Smaller rooms were ganged together to make larger spaces. All windows were replaced, and several new openings were created both for views and for access to the gardens. Our goal was to open all rooms to behold what was a remarkable arboretum. Our vantage point was an interior that was sparsely furnished and dazzlingly white, the best way to show the original brick, stone and maple.

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