The Grove becomes The Gryphon - Regency Rebuild Ancaster to Consecon Ontario

The Gryphon

 

Gryphon Cottage Nature Reserve

Is on a natura wildlife preserve. There are turtles nesting in late May and Early June. Dragonfiles, frogs and toads can be found in abundance. There are many birds visiting the feeders each day. No guns of any sort are allowed on the property and people are forbidden from harming the wildlife in any way.

Below is the history of the rebuild.

The Gryphon in Consecon--- Consecon Facade---- Mantels--Windows and Doors---The continuing saga

The Grove in Ancaster--- Ancaster---- Ancaster mantel--Woodstock mantel---The Tear Down

The Rebuild --- ICF basement -------Framing ----- Used materials----- Masonry----- Windows

Recommended Tradespeople --a- Masonry- -a--Window/Door - a- Cabinets-aa - Carpentry- aaa- Finish Carpentry-aaa Landscaping-aa Everything Else

Materials -- Legacy----Historic Lumber -- Timeless Materials -- Jan Kamermans--

The Regency Rebuild Project

Over a truly lovely glass of port the other night a dear friend offered a thought, or series of thoughts, that once spoken provided the kind of 'aha' moment that happens so rarely in life. He solidified an attitude that I always knew I had, but that I had never brought into focus enough to perceive with such clarity. He said "Sometimes you see a house on a property that is so well thought out, so well proportioned and so beautifully executed and cared for that you can almost hear a sound coming from it. It's like it resonates, it chimes almost like a bell." I have heard that sound. He continued " When these places are torn down or destroyed it's not just replacing one pile of material with another pile of something else, it's like they are killing something."

Over the past 8 months, I have been involved with a gorgeous Regency Cottage called The Grove. When I first saw it, I almost heard the bell. Almost. Looking from the street, the house was beautiful. Flanked by a pair of stately old trees, manicured hedges and a beautiful perennial bed, it sat in splendor on the corner of a suburban street. Upon entry to the house, the room proportions were as wonderful as the facade: nine foot ceilings, fabulous trim, fireplaces everywhere. This was a house that had been built by people who appreciated fine woodwork, beautiful surroundings and an elegant lifestyle.

Regency Architecture

The Regency period was known for just those things. In Canada, this period was around 1810 - 1840, the last years of George III and the time of George IV. George III fell victim to a strange blood disorder, Porphyra, that was manifest in a type of mental illness. During a particularly aggressive bout of this affliction, the British Parliament decided that George IV should take charge as the Prince Regent. After the five years of the Regency, I'm sure most of the members of parliament, not to mention the Royal family, might have agreed that having a king who was certifiably insane would have been preferable to the self-indulgent, narcissistic, spendthrift antics of the Prince Regent. His outrageous wardrobe, lavish 60 course dinners and handsome mansions for his mistresses would have caused a serious dent, but his gambling addiction was the cause of the more or less complete collapse of the royal coffers. The Regent managed to fritter away so large a percentage of the royal funds during his five years as Regent that officers of the Royal Navy returning from service to England found their pensions had disappeared. Lucky for Canada, many of them were subsequently granted large tracts of land in British North America where they settled, built beautiful properties and contributed in many meaningful ways to the development of the new Canada.

 

Finally Finished!!

Here is the project nearing completion. From start to now, about 3 years.

If you have never restored a home before, the one piece of advice I would give is that you should never leave the property. Very few tradesmen have any respect for older buildings. If it is not in a kit,

they don't know how to build it. They don't have any idea what difference there is between Georgian, Victorian or Queen Anne, and their major concern is getting money out of you. There are those who are real craftsmen - listed here - and these guys are worth their weight in gold.

Front facade

This is what it now looks like.

The grass is a bit of a mess because the property has 18 acres of conservation land mostly inhabited by turtles, birds, frogs and deer. The turtles have been laying their eggs for about two weeks. They DO make a mess.

Inside there were four main features.

Doors
Windows
Fireplaces
Floor

The Gryphon

Consecon Prince Edward County

Simoorg Room

There are four guest bedrooms, all with ensuite baths. The windows in the Simoorg room are are 6 feet wide by 4 feet high. The door and window surrounds are all restored from the original wood. The Simoorg room has a shower in the ensuite and is on the first floor.

 

The furnishings are all from the period. The 'pineapple bed' has pineapple finials. The curtains have been made with matching pineapple theme. There is a long and rather interesting history of the pineapple being used as a symbol of opulence and hospitality.

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Simoorg Bedroom

Phoenix Room

The Phoenix room is on the second floor. It has a king bed or twin beds: interchangeable. There are 'bed cupboards' around the room where the servants would have had their beds. In this case the beds are in the center of the room instead.

There is an alcove with an 1820s 12 pane sash window that has the original glass. It may look 'dirty', but it is really the sand and bubbles in the original glass.

There is a 4 piece bath in this room.

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Phoenix Bedroom

Kitchen

The kitchen on a Regency Cottage would have been added later - an open fireplace with a crane would have been the kitchen in 1830. The kitchen windows and lights are Art Deco - from the time the kitchen might have been redone. Since it is a wine district, the kitchen is made so that food loving people will tour the wineries, find their choice of wine, then go home and either cater or cook a fine dinner, then enjoy the feast on the verandah.

Storm windows were done by Webwood Windows in Elmira area.

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Consecon Prince Edward County

Salon Windows

These are 200 year old windows. They were taken out and stripped, restored and repainted by Drew Skuce of Paradigm Shift Customs .

The dado panels and moulding are original.

The trim was put in place by Wayne Robertson and finished by me. It takes some time, but it's worth it.

Storm windows were done by Webwood Windows in Elmira area.

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Consecon Prince Edward County

Salon Windows

These are sash windows. The upper sash has 12 panes and is from the 1830s. The lower sash was probably replaced in the late 1800s.

The dado panel is a design feature of the age, as is the rosette pattern and the matching moulding.

This is a double hung. The upper sash comes down to let out the hot air and the lower sash comes up to let in the fresh air.

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Window Terms

Salon Windows

In order to restore them, Drew Skuce of Paradigm Shift Customs put them in a steam box, took out all the 200 year old glass, cleaned off the wood, reinstalled the glass, and then painted the windows with Linseed Oil.

Linseed Oil Paint will last 50 years. With proper storm windows, the older wooden windows have a much higher R value than anything on the market.

You will not see this kind of craftsmanship again.

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Consecon Prince Edward County

Dining Room Windows

The windows are from 1830s, the cabinet is from 1790. Both have been restored to the original.

The baseboards are in the process of being restored. My local "can do everything" guy has done a great job. Wayne Robertson of Carrying Place, a rare find to be sure.

 

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Consecon Prince Edward County

Mouldings

Throughout the house there were various moulding designs. The front hall was the most intricate, it has fluting and a fine rosette. In the main room and the first bedroom the rosette is more plain.

When you have mouldings, the rosette profile is the same as the panel profile.

 

 

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Mouldings viewed from the first bedroom through the hall to the salon.

Mouldings

Here is a diagram of the various types of rosette mouldings found in the house. The rosette always has the same profile as the moulding.

 

 

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Rosette patterns and profiles

Front Door

The front door is 40 inches wide. It has the original hardware, a rotation of acanthus leaves in bronze.

The fanlight is elliptical. Each piece of glass is installed within its own muntin section.

Above the door are coffered soffits and lambs tongue brackets. The door was installed by the Renovation Technicians from Mohawk College. Eight of them drove up from Hamilton one day and helped me install it. The coffered soffits were made by the Industrial Woodwroking class at Mohawk Campus. They look brilliant.

 

 

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Front door with fan transom light or fanlight

Master Bedroom door onto the Terrace

The overpanels over the doors are the same as the dado panels (above in the salon). This set of original French Doors leads to a terrace that overlooks the waterfall and swimming pond.

 

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Master Bedroom Fireplace

There are four fireplaces in the house. This one is in the Master bedroom. It is a Rumford Fireplace, very shallow, but throws a lot of heat. The mason was Bree Blaker.

I also had Geothermal put in. I'm not convinced that Geo is the way to go. The costs up front are exhorbitant. I will update this page in a year and tell you if it's worht the cost.

 

 

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Rumford Fireplace in the Master bedroom

Master Bathroom Fireplace

The master bathroom has a fireplace across from the large shower. The mantel is original and was saved and restored. The fireplace was installed exactly according to design by Bree Blaker of Blaker Custom Masonry of Carrying Place. He is a genius and I gladly give his coordinates to anyone looking to restore or build new.

The ceiling shows the original timbers used to support the second floor. The door is also original.

 

 

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Rumford Fireplace in the Master bedroom

Front Door - November

Here is a photo of the front hall after it was reinstalled The photo above is from my phone, not a good photo, and the floors are covered with dust. The company that I hired to restore the floors did not, in fact, know anything about restoration. They milled the floors and cut them to half their length and 2/3 of their original width.

If you are putting in floor boards, call me and I will tell you who to avoid.

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Front hall

Kitchen

The windows in the kitchen are Art Deco, as are the lights. All are supplied by Legacy in Cobourg.

 

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Kitchen

The kitchen windows are Art Deco. They are south facing, looking over the lake. In order to take advantage of the breeze, Drew Skuce made them hinge at the top. The top has its own hinge, so there are, in effect, two hinges on these windows.

Legacy in Cobourg, Timeless materials in Southhampton and Waterloo, and a few other places can supply you with such windows.

They are stunning.

Oakville

 

The Regency Cottage Rebuild Project

The Grove has not been so lucky. The owner, Helen Vanner, lacking the funds and expertise to revamp the house to its previous glory had placed it on the market where is languished for three years. The house was stunning? The asking price was reasonable. Why hadn't anyone bought it? When I asked this question, Helen took me to the basement and showed me the floor beams. They were crumbling like potato chips. Then she showed me the inside of a closet on the west wing that was still wet after the rain some three days earlier. Built by people who cared, the house had been passed through a series of owners who saw it not as living art but as commerce. Repairs to the roof and the floor were made as cheaply as possible. They were temporary relief until the surrounding acreage could be parceled off so all profits could be rung out of the land before it would die and be replaced by... something else. The gardens and orchard had been cut down. Instead of trees and fields the view from the large windows was onto the tightly packed new houses so popular in recent decades: supersized, gables

and turrets everywhere, a mix of stone veneer, brick and Styrofoam/stucco, three car garages, extravagant front entrances and tiny plantings of low maintenance shrubs. The bell was broken.

Helen and I spent four months trying to see if we could save The Grove. By October of 2009, the windows were closed for the year and Helen realized that without the fresh breezes blowing through, she could no longer live there. In order to save the house she would need to replace everything under the finished floor, much of the roof, and possibly many of the wings. The house was on life support. Something had to be done. That was when I experienced my own George III moment. I simply couldn't let this beautiful cottage die. She asked if I wanted anything from the house. I replied "Yes, I'll take all of it if you don't mind, thank you." With the support of a great many friends and an assortment of wonderful students, I took the house apart, bit by bit. I now have a Regency Cottage in my basement. Doesn't everyone?

Ancaster 1820s

The façade of St. Margaret's Cottage in Ancaster was typical of the Regency period. It is long and low with a low hip roof. The windows are balanced in a five bay design. Lamb's tongues adorn the large eaves. The door has an elegant fan light.

Regency Cottage

St. Margaret's Cottage, The Grove

Ancaster

The front hallway has an elegant entrance hallway with two fanlights and side lights. .

Regency Cottage

The Grove, Ancaster

Ancaster

This fireplace is original. It is a Rumford design; the brick backing of the fireplace is curved out so that the heat from the fire is forced into the room while the smoke heads up the chimney.

Notice how this is exactly the same as the mantel in Woodstock.

Regency Cottage

The Grove, Ancaster

Ancaster

This detail from the fireplace shows the wood rosette block. It is 8 inches in length, very large for a corner block. The fluted casing is also eight inches wide. The cross section of the rosette block is the same as the casing.

 

Rosette blocks and casing by the end of the 19th century had become much smaller, around 3-4 inches.

Regency Cottage

The Grove, Ancaster

Ancaster

In the same room there is a six panel door with plain trim as you would find in the 1840s. Notice that the corners are not beveled either on the head of the casing or on the head of the door. Often the head of the casing extends across the full length. Here the vertical members are long so that the end crass-orse grain of the top member is not exposed.

The lock and handle on this door are up side down. These locks would have been imported from England during the first half of the 19th century. If you received the wrong one, you simply installed it upside down.

 

Regency Cottage

The Grove, Ancaster

Ancaster

Pine floors in the salon, once the bedroom area, show that not all of the house was fully finished.

Regency Cottage

The Grove, Ancaster

Ancaster

The fireplace casing in the main room was replaced during the 1930s. Notice how the rosette block and casing are not fluted but molded leaving a large convex saucer in the rosette.

Regency Cottage

The Grove, Ancaster

Ancaster

The beauty of the Regency period was that the rooms were always flooded with light. There were large regular windows cut very low into the walls on all four sides of the house.

This window also shows the original dado under the window.

Regency Cottage

The Grove, Ancaster

Ancaster

The door in the same room is just as lovely. The trim around the door and the transom panel are original, from the 1830s.

 

Note the plaster work along the rim of the roof. This is all original as well. It was made with concrete covered with plaster.

Regency Cottage

The Grove, Ancaster

Taking it Apart

The Regency Cottage shown above was dismantled during the month of March this year. It was overtaken by creeping suburbs, the roof was compromised by successive additions and the crawl space was full of dry rot.

I have taken this house and am planning to rebuild it somewhere in Ontario. I would like to thank the following people for their help.

Dan Freeborn is a man who can mix incredible strength with meticulous attention to detail. Dan moves antiques and dismantles people homes for a living with his company Mindful Movers. You could not hope to find a person who has more respect for your valuable antiques and collectibles than Dan.

Regency Cottage

Dan Freeborn - Mindful Movers

Ancaster

The frame of the building could well have been built with timber taken from a ship that transported the officers and crew of the Royal Navy to their allotted land grants in British North America (see Woodstock).

What was most interesting while deconstructing this building, was that the huge, 45 by 35 foot building was built with virtually no nails. The pieces were cut out and inserted into one another and held in place with wooden dowels. All the pieces were hand hewn.

Regency Cottage

Log construction

Ancaster

Ty Robertson, John Deelstra, Spencer Smith, Greg Vickers and Scott Bishop worked tirelessly for four days dismantling the major portion of this house.

Regency Cottage

Ty, John, Spencer, Greg and Scott on their first day

The Instructor

The intrepid instructor Brad MacDonald made frequent visits to offer suggestions and help with things we couldn't figure out.

 

Regency Cottage

Brad MacDonald

Ancaster

Ty Robertson, James Harris, Spencer Smith, John Deelstra and Min-Hsiang Chiu after they have dismantled the door and are ready to transfer it outside.

 

Regency Cottage

Ty, James, Spencer, John and Min-Hsiang Chiu

Ancaster

Dan Freeborn, John Deelstra, Greg Vickers, Scott Bishop and Ty Robertson lean it against the bulldozer.

Regency Cottage

Ancaster

John Deelstra and Greg Vickers support Spencer Smith as he attaches bracing.

Regency Cottage

The Grove, Ancaster

Ancaster

James Harris illustrates an uncommon use for a Fubar as Dan Freeborn looks on.

Regency Cottage

The Grove, Ancaster

Ancaster

Not to be outdone, John Deelstra illustrates an uncommon use for a Cat's Claw.

 

These gentlemen from Mohawk College's Building Renovation program took the house apart piece by piece and laid it on the grass waiting for storage.

Regency Cottage

The Grove, Ancaster

Ancaster

The Architectural Technician students from Mohawk College had measured the building and drawn up plans for it during the fall semester. Several of them were very generous in volunteering to move the pieces of lumber, some up to 45 feet in length, to storage facilities.

Here Ryan Degraaf, Steven Roy, Finn Melvaer, Dave Snoddy ( in a management capacity) Alen Costovic and Mat Corcoran load the first long pieces.

Regency Cottage

The Grove, Ancaster

Ancaster

John Farr volunteered to help as well, and Ivan Hribljan was invaluable in organizing the whole crew.

Regency Cottage

The Grove, Ancaster

Ancaster

Mat Corcoran, Alen Costovic, John Farr and Ryan Degraff position themselves to take another piece.

Regency Cottage

The Grove, Ancaster

Ancaster

For the next one, Alen and Mat figure they can do it on their own.

Not only great guys, Alen Costovic and Mat Corcoran are two of the best AutoCAD students I have had in 20 years.

Regency Cottage

The Grove, Ancaster

Ancaster

Not to be outdone, Ryan Degraaf attempts to move the entire 45 foot long piece of wood by himself. And he is successful!

I would also like to thank Jeff Moule who helped in transferring but was not photographed. Rob Walker who was a big help in taking off floor boards and taking apart fireplaces. Bob Edmonds who took apart the blue room. Peter Lloyd who finished off the blue room. Deb Harmer who helped to remove and store trim. Scott Stevenson who helped dismantle the bathrooms and Phil Delvecchio who helped to document the whole experience. Finally Clay and Alistair for their help in transporting all the stuff, and last but not least Helen Vanner who allowed me to take apart her beautiful home with the intention of rebuilding it somewhere soon.

Regency Cottage

The Grove, Ancaster

Rebuilding The Grove

Rebuilding The Grove was not quite as easy as taking it apart. People told me that. Why didn't I listen?

In order to make sure that it was not 'hacked to bits' again over the years, I decided to rebuild it using as much modern technology as possible.

The first step was to find some land. The county of prince Edward proved to be a perfect spot; it was full of wonderful Loyalist home and pastures with Clydesdale horses, and a slower pace of life. I bought some land and hired some good people and set to work.

Consecon

The first people I hired were, of course, the excavators. Jason Forth of Greenthumb Landscaping in Trenton and his 'big toy operator' Rob made a wonderful job of the excavation.

My site manager Mat Corcoran did a wonderful job with the footings, and before long he was erecting the ICF. Consecon

Regency Cottage

ICF

ICF

ICF is a modern way to build exterior walls both in the basement and on the main levels of the house. It provides an 'R' value or insulation value of between 30 and 40. The typical 2" by 6" exterior wall provides 20. It is marginally more expensive, but you will get this money back very quickly as heating costs rise.

Regency Cottage

ICF Detail

ICF

The styrofoam is held together by plastic ties that are designed to hold the re-bar in place.

Regency Cottage

The Grove, Ancaster

ICF

The walls are firmly reinforced.

Regency Cottage

The Grove, Ancaster

ICF

Then filled with concrete.

Regency Cottage

The Grove, Ancaster

Lumber

Once the ICf was in place, the floor joists and interior walls could be added. I wanted to use as much original lumber as possible. My wonderful History of Architecture students helped to transport the material to the site.

Regency Cottage

 

Leaving

The long stuff was loaded, then the wood kept in storage in Hamilton was loaded.

Regency Cottage

The Grove, Ancaster

On site

The old wood was stored in the basement while the walls were constructed.

Regency Cottage

 

Geothermal

Outside the geothermal bed was being prepared.

Regency Cottage

 

East Porch

The east porch has a concrete base, so that was poured.

Regency Cottage

The Grove, Ancaster

Windows

Meanwhile in Paris Ontario the windows were taken apart by one of the geniuses of restoration Drew Skuce of PSC Heritage Restoration.

It takes a special mind set and a special touch and that medieval respect for materials and craftsmanship to make a seriously rotted old window look better than new. The final product is stunning.

You will not find a better, more honest, more knowledgeable restoration expert than Andrew Skuce. His colleague Cole is wonderful too.

Regency Villa

 

North Elevation

The only phrase to describe this valance is Over The Top. The whole house is filled with such gems.

Regency Villa

 

The Second Floor

Wanting to use as much restored material as possible, the carpenters and site manager managed to place the old ceiling joists into position.

Regency Villa

 

The Second Floor

These beams are as straight and strong as they ever were.

Regency Villa Portico

 

South

From the south side, the building looks a lot bigger.

Regency Villa

 

Chimney

One of the stars of the project is a local mason Bree Blaker and his trusty aid Ryan. I asked for a Georgian chimney. I got a Georgian chimney.

Regency Villa

Cobourg Ontario

Fireplace

I asked for a Rumford fireplace, I got Rumford Fireplace. Notice how the front edge of the brick is cut perfectly, in proper Regency style.

Regency Villa

 

Spring

IN the spring, a group of students from the Building Renovation Department volunteered to come up and put the front doors in. Here Travis Pede, who was a ring leader, screws in the side of the outer door.

Regency Villa

 

Windows

The windows were reinstalled one by one. They look breathtaking. The problem now is to see if the other restored materials can come up to the standards required by Drew Skuce of paradigm Shift who did this window.

Regency Villa

Cobourg Ontario

The installers

These wonderful guys really deserve a better photo than this. Thanks a million to

Travis Pede

Brendan Bellchamber

Luc Seguin

Tim Swartzenburg

Sean McVey and

Nick Schaeffer

Regency Villa

 

Front Door

The door opening had to be prepared before the door could be put in. Tim is more or less in charge, but they all know what they are doing.

Regency Villa

Cobourg Ontario

Restoration

Spencer Smith was part of the first group of Mohawk College students who took down the original Grove. He was part of the crew putting up the frame in the main hallways and the beams between the first and second floors. He helped to put on the upper roof, and he restored this window while in Drew Skuce's shop. Here he stands proudly in front of it.

Regency Villa

 

South

The windows were reinstalled one by one. They look breathtaking. The problem now is to see if the other restored materials can come up to the standards required by Drew Skuce of paradigm Shift who did this window.

Regency Villa Portico Portico Portico

People I would Recommend for Restoration Work

These are the people I had the pleasure to work with. There are many others, these have just been a big help to me. These are not paid ads, I just know how hard it is to find decent people - here they are.

The people listed below beside their work do excellent work, are extremely knowledgable, and are honest and dedicated to their work. I would recommend any and all of them.

Masonry

Bree Blaker and his father Aubrey from Blaker Custom Masonry did all the brick and concrete work. They are honest, dependable, and clearly skilled. The guys who are assisting, Ryan and Mike, are also terrific and easy to work with.

The exterior stucco,the chimneys, and the four fireplaces are done by Bree.

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Chimneys and Fireplaces by Bree Blaker

Windows and Doors

When you are restoring an older property, there will be window and door salespeople trying to get you to replace your wooden windows. They will tell you that the new windows are more energy efficient and will save you money.

Time after time, tests prove that old wooden windows with storms are WAY more efficient than any new window. If they aren't, why is a major portion of any condo fee set towards replacing the windows and doors?

Restore your old ones. They will last at least another 200 years. Get Drew Skuce and Barry from Paradigm Shift Customs to do the work. They did all of mine.

 

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Andrew Skuce installing a restored 200 year old window.

Cabinets

Between the finsh clapboard and the interior lath and plaster, the more expensive houses had a sheet of 'windbreak' wood. These were rough hewn sheets, 18, 20, even 24 inches wide and 1 to 2 inches thick.

Bob Crockford of Valley City Manufacturing was kind enough to plane these boards for me. Ron Wyile of Wyldwood Cabinetmakers made them into kitchen cabinets.

 

Ron Wylie

Kitchen Cabinets by Wyldewood Cabinetmakers

Bathroom Sink

Then Ron Wyllie and his son Andrew took rough 200 year roofing members, planed part of them, polished the rest, and added a porcelain sink and last week's cutting edge waterfall faucet.

It's too great.

Wyldewood Cabinetmakers is a small shop outside Burlington Ontario. Ron is one of the most delightful, well informed, honest, and talented people I know. His specialty is kitchens and bathrooms, but he also love antique wood things.

Wyldewood doesn't have a website but his number is available upon request.

 

Ron Wylie

Bathroom vanity by Wyldewood Cabinetmakers

Carpentry

After the first two sets of idiots had messed up the roof, the local Rona in Trenton - always a source of good information - recommended Aaron Pierce of Pierce Construction out of Frankford. While the first two sets of dummies complained that "it can't be done" and "it would never work", Aaron simply looked at the drawings, took apart the mess that the first guys had made, and reconstructed the frame then installed the coffered soffits and lamb's tongue brackets perfectly.

Aaron swept in a couple of other times to fix up messes and set things straight. If Aaron had been in charge of the project, it would have finished on time and under budget. Unfortunately he was pretty booked up when I met him, but still managed to save the day a few times.

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Coffered Soffits and Lamb's tongues installed by Aaron Pierce Construction

Finish Carpentry

Because the students at Mohawk had been so great, I tried to fire them whenever possible. One of the best guys I hired was Matt Coultes who did the seven columns for the two porches.

Matt had been a finish carpenter, then he decided to go back to school and get a diploma in Architectural Technology.

These columns are built out of 200 year old lumber with new column bases which will be painted white.

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Matt Coultes and the columns

Stairs

The Finish Carpentry students at Mohawk made these stairs for me. then I hired two graduates to put them in.

Alex Brearley and Jeff harding of Twin Carpentry did a fabulous job.

 

 

Ron Wylie

Stairs installed by Twin Carpentry

The Waterfall

Part of the appeal of a Regency Cottage is the picturesque landscaping.

I know there are good landscaping companies in the Belleville area, but I needed 'art'. The best waterfall maker in the country is John Albas. He makes the garden feature look as if it has always been there. there is never anything arificial looking.

John Albas and his crew of J.Williams Landscaping out of Ancaster Ontario spent two days moving the rocks around and making a bog so that next summer a swimming pond with natural filters will be part of the landscape.

 

Ron Wylie

Landscaping byJohn Albas of J.Williams

The Waterfall

Without cutting any of the rocks, John and his crew made them look as if they had been part of the natural landscape

Next summer, this will be amazing. I have worked with John before, as have some of my friends, and you simply cannot get a better guy for landscaping, outdoor kitchens, outdoor pools and patios, and overal garden effects.

 

Ron Wylie

Landscaping byJohn Albas of J.Williams

For Everything else, Wayne Robertson

Prince Edward County is lucky to have a well rounded building resource named Wayne Robertson. He can do anything and he does it for a good price, no whining, no drama, no problems. He figures it out and does it.

Over the past six months Wayne has installed ceramic tile, installed faux marble panels, installed historic doors and windows, repaired door surrounds and jambs, installed 200 year old flooring, fixed the insulation, set up the washer dryer, completed the exterior wood finish, installed lamb's tongues and coffered soffits and generally saved the day. The Gryphon would not be completed without him. He is probably the most honest guy in the county. He works out of Carrying Place. I will gladly give his number to anyyone interested.

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150 year old flooring installed by Wayne Robertson.

Materials and Designs

The people listed above can help you build your restored building. If you are looking for materials or someone to provide designs, here are some other resources.

Craig Sims - Has been in the business for 30 years. He has a wonderful knowledge base and can design anything to the right period.

Jan Kamermans out of Hamilton can provide hardware and lighting. He has more door knobs than anyone else I know. He has the largest collection of historic hardware probably in Canada. He's the guy to go to when you need a bunch of matching doorknobs, hinges, lights etc. from almost any period.

Historic Lumber - Allan and his crew take apart old buildings, rebuild them, resotre them, and if the parts can't make a cohesive whole, they make the most amazing furniture out of it. Their store has fabulous furniture made from restored lumber. He has more lumber than anyone else.

Legacy - in Cobourg has windows, doors, hardware, lights, and good advice. Nice people and beautiful things all refinished and ready for sale. Old doors and windows, porches, etc.

Timeless materials in Waterloo, Southhampton or Toronto also has wonderful reclaimed materials.

The "Sister" Regency Cottage

A brilliant example of a Regency Cottage is Captain Drew's Cottage, now called Rathbourn, in Woodstock. The house was constructed in the 1830s with wood salvaged from the ship that brought Captain Drew and his crew to British North America. Nearby Saint Paul's church was constructed at the same time, along with 500 foot underground tunnel that was used for the next thirty years as part of the Underground Railway. Slaves would arrive at the church then disappear down to the basement of Captain Drew's house from

whence they would be placed in local farms for a month or so until paperwork could be supplied that granted them freedom from their new 'owners'. The house was slightly bedraggled until the current owners purchased it and completely renewed it saving the original structure and refreshing the wall finishes, bad paint jobs and the odd structural tick that needed attention. The house sits contentedly among mature trees and new shrubs and bushes. You walk onto the driveway and you can hear the 'ding ding ding' of the bell.

Woodstock

A brilliant example of a Regency Cottage is Captain Drew's Cottage, now called Rathbourn, in Woodstock. The house was constructed in the 1830s with wood salvaged from the ship that brought Captain Drew and his crew to British North America. Nearby Saint Paul's church was constructed at the same time, along with 500 foot underground tunnel that was used for the next thirty years as part of the Underground Railway.

Oakville

Woodstock

Woodstock

Slaves would arrive at the church then disappear down to the basement of Captain Drew's house from whence they would be placed in local farms for a month or so until paperwork could be supplied that granted them freedom from their new ‘owners'.

The house was slightly bedraggled until the current owners purchased it and completely renewed it saving the original structure and refreshing the wall finishes, bad paint jobs and the odd structural tick that needed attention.

The terrace on this Regency extends around most of the perimeter. It provides a beautiful walkway around the house as well as lovely lighting within the rooms.

 

Oakville

Woodstock

Woodstock

The distance between Woodstock and Ancaster is about 50 miles, or 80 kilometers. A horse can travel about 15 miles in a day, which is why most small towns in Ontario are about 7 miles apart. The horse can get in to market, then get home. No further.

This house was about four day's journey from Ancaster. Notice how the front doorway, the front hallway, and the mantel below are almost exactly the same as the detailing in the Ancaster house below.

Historians are now discussing why this was. The house in Ancaster was also made with what appear to be ship's timbers. This house definitely was.

 

I think there is a good story here.

Oakville

Woodstock

Woodstock

Notice how both the mantel and the background colour are the same as those in Ancaster .

Oakville

Woodstock

Books

Blumenson, John. Ontario Architecture A Guide to Styles and Terms. 1978

Boorstin, Daniel, The Creators, Random House, New York, 1992

Kristofferson, Rob, Craft Capitalism: Craftworkers and Early Industrialization in Hamilton OntarioToronto:University of Toronto Press, 2007.

MacRae, Marion, and Anthony Adamson. The Ancestral Roof: Domestic Architecture of Upper Canada. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin, 1963.

Priestley J. B. The prince of pleasure & his regency, 1811-20. New York:Harper & Row, 1969

Thackeray, William Makepeace. The Four Georges … with Illustrations. London: Smith, Elder and Co. ... 1861.

For information on Regency architecture in specific areas within Ontario there are some very good books listed under the About page.

Films

Becoming Jane (2007) - Ann Hathaway

Mansfield Park (1999)
Mansfield Park (2008)

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003) - Russell Crowe

The Madness of King George 1994

"His Majesty was all powerful and all knowing. But he wasn't quite all there."

Persuasion, (1995) (2007)

Pride and Prejudice, (1995) (2005)

Sense and Sensability, (1995) (2008)

Wuthering Heights (1998)

 

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