Tuesday, September 29, 2009


This is one of the train bridges in town, crossing the Mississippi River. Until this summer we had freight trains going by a few times a day. Sometimes it was fun, counting cars when the kids were little, or when the army base in Petawawa would receive a shipment of new tanks and jeeps and gun carriers, and we could watch car after car of green army vehicles go by...

Now the track is no longer used, and while it is so lovely and quiet, it is a sad thing to witness another tradition die....

Here is the same bridge, from a different angle, with a passenger train zooming by on it's way to Almonte....

This used to be The Queen's Hotel. It closed about two years ago, and in this photo was in the process of getting some "fresh" new siding on the first story. Great. It has since reopened as The Ale House...

Here it is in it's glory days as The Queen's Hotel. Sorry about the different angle of the photo. Things like that make me crazy!!

Continuing with my "before and after" obsession, I have been trying to take photos of friends' and neighbours' houses where the owners are lucky enough to have old photos of their house. This house is just around the corner from us and has had four owners in the ten years we have lived here. The latest owner is doing a fabulous job of renovating the inside. The grandson of the builder brought him these pictures from the 1920's...

A close-up...

How sad is this? Our neighbour would love to replicate the original porch, but might need to win the lottery to do so!

And a close-up of the detail on the porch...

Change is not always for the better.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Here are a few photos of our kitchen shortly after moving in: (The "before" shots of our bathroom have vanished into the bowels of the computer, never to be found again - oh how I miss the days of film!)

The lady homeowner before us loved her pinks and florals. I didn't. Borders with wheelbarrows and watering cans everywhere...floral linoleum to match the floral wallpaper.... ugly fishbowl light fixtures, and phone jacks in inappropriate places....

Here are a few photos of our kitchen now:

No, we haven't done ANY major work. Yes, the floral lino is still there, and in fact, is held down with white duct tape near the sink. Yes, we really need a new countertop! Yes, I still need a closet door... It is a perfect workspace for one person cooking dinner, but an impossible space for five people and a dog to be in at one time... No, I can't fit in a dishwasher (believe me, I have measured and measured and measured!)...

But I like my kitchen now. I like the colours. I like the light fixtures (from an old train station), I like my leather drawer pulls, and I like all my stuff. Check out the spice cupboard my brother helped me build:

It is hiding a heating pipe that goes up to our bedroom from the basement. We stared at this ugly silver pipe for years, and then designed a cupboard that fits around it.

Here is the spice bit:

Neat eh? I love it. The bottom cupboard was made to hold two twelve-packs of beer too. I think of everything!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I am busy searching for my misplaced "before" photos of the bathroom. While I search, here are some photos of my favourite houses in town:

The house above backs onto a Christmas tree farm, and has always caught my eye with its neat second story porch.

I used to walk by this pretty red brick house on my way to work each day. The gardens are spectacular, with a groovy sculpture garden in the back. This is a very common style in town - I could do a whole post one day showing all the houses built in the style in my neighbourhood...

This is a neat frame house on the north side of town. I like the enclosed sun porch on the top!

Isn't this pretty? A classic Lanark County stone house. It used to face the river, until newer homes were built across the street...

A great old shed around the corner. I love sheds and wish I had one...well, I do, but it dates from approx. 1980 and is of the classic "barn roof" variety. I hate it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Big Bay Memories

My parents have a cottage on the Bruce Penninsula, near Wiarton. It is in a tiny village (not even a village anymore, more like one street!) and our family has roots there that stretch back 8 generations. Great-great grandparents ran the general store, great-great grandad drove the stage to Owen Sound, great-great Uncle Charlie was a sailor on the Great Lakes, and Great-great-great, maybe one more great-Grandad Garrett built the inn. Granny Pat (1858-1948), however, was famous for her flower gardens.

While spending a week at the cottage this August, we watched a crew of workers build a new cement bridge over the creek next to (what used to be) Granny Pat's house. In the process, the original cedar fence surrounding her property was coming down. Of course, I save three planks! One for me, one for my brother (who will cry) and one to hang on the wall of Bunkie Two:

The label says: "Fragment of Granny Pat's fence.
North Keppel, Ontario. c. 1900"

Here is Granny Pat, sitting on the dock with my grandmother and grandmother's twin sister c. 1912:

And here is Granny Pat's house (c. 1920), at the curve as you come into the village of North Keppel:

Here is Uncle Charlie, the sailor.

And Uncle Charlie's house, originally built as the village inn by Charlie's grandfather Garrett around 1880.

This house looks the same today. Although not in the family anymore, we are friendly with the present owner, and in fact, spent Christmas of 2007 here. Sharing a turkey dinner with family, and with the ghosts of our ancestors floating about us was a very magical time!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What a great idea!

I have never posted twice in one day, but this excited me!!

Someone sent me a link to a group of photos that take the "before and after" idea one step further...it is on Flicker as "Looking Into The Past", but I can't seem to link it here!!?? Help?

I was so excited to try it that I grabbed the one old photo we have of our house and ran outside to try this out....

It's much harder than you think to get everything lined up correctly. You really can't see properly while peering at the screen on your camera, with the sun shining. But anyway, it is still cool!

This is our street, looking up towards Lake Ave. today . Can't really see much for the trees and bushes...

This photo was taken c. 1950. It is of a boy who lived two doors down from us, and given to me by his brother a few years ago. Our house is the middle one, with the big tree in front. I learned two things from this picture. One, the living room window was a bay window at this time. I wouldn't think that would have been original to the 1886 house. Two, the front porch (in 1950 anyway), was not at all what I had pictured. My guess is that this porch was not original to 1886 either. Poor house.

"After" photos.

Almost one year later, I have some "after" photos of our t.v. room. If you scroll down to previous posts, you can compare with the "before" shots. I'm too lazy to re-insert them!

Here is the new window on the driveway side of the house. I can now watch the kids playing basketball, quickly see which car my husband took to work, and let the early morning sun into my house! Do ignore the orange Ikea bookshelf please - it is just there temporarily!

Here is the front window, and the door (!!!) into the front hallway. The door needs one more layer of stain yet before it will match the trim around it. The door trim and the baseboards in this room were not original; we salvaged them from a house in Brooklyn, brought them home and I spent the winter scraping paint.

Here is the door leading to the little back hall and kitchen. As you can see, I have a bit of white paint left on the bottom corner still to remove. I didn't realize that end of the board would be used, and now I'm learning how hard it is to scrape paint on a vertical surface down at ankle level! I'm finished staining and finishing this door, and I think it matches pretty well. In fact, I'm totally happy with these doors! I can't believe how wonderful it is to close the door on a loud stupid kid's t.v. show, or how convenient it is to keep the dog away when you are playing a game on the floor....

The mantle, is, of course, from Brooklyn too. I want to paint it white again, but am being threatened with torture by the person who began stripping it! Once we resolve this issue, we will pull the mantle forward, install the oak surround it came with, and fake an opening and inside surround. I am leaning towards putting one of those electric "yet looks like a real wood stove" in the opening. I can picture a beige or red one sitting there looking not too bad, and keeping me warm and cozy while I watch "Desperate Housewives" this winter!

This window is on the back wall of the house, facing the still-unfinished porch. We put this vertical window in to replace a really cheap horizontal 1970's window. Now all the windows in the room match, and everything just feels right. (Except the curtain rod looks wonky, and I really don't like that armchair in front of the window.......!)

A close-up of the base boards and floor. You can't imagine how happy these make me!

And for "Sadie Says" - Mum's cleaned up window hardware now installed on my original windows....grimy as they are!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

March? Really?

No way I haven't written since March! No possible way!! It makes sense though - that's when I went back to work.... if only we didn't have to work we would have a lot more fun!

Quite a bit has gotten done around the house here. Tuesday the kids go back to school and I am at home alone. I will tidy up and take a whole slew of "after" photos and do a big "Before and After" post, o.k?

Meanwhile, I spotted this while driving to the beer store yesterday! This house is on our main street and used to have vinyl siding on it. (Like ours...) They have stripped off the vinyl, and the original clading as well....

It is almost identical to our house. They have altered the windows, removed the front porch and even (gasp!) closed in the transom and side lights around the front door. I am pretty sure our front door had these as well, and they are of course gone. Depressing, but fascinating.

They are already starting to cover it up with insulation, so I ran home to get my camera. I'm not allowed to rip the vinyl siding off of my house (Why?), but this gives me hints about our original features.

I hate to think what the final result will be. I'll be sure to get a photo so we can all be depressed together. I suppose I shouldn't assume it will be bad, but I seriously doubt they are planning to replace the windows, build a porch and cover it all with nice wood siding....

Off to tidy....