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House Proud

Every house has a story, and so does this one.

Blog Photo - Brick House3

“I walked through the front door”,  owner Beth says,  “and, without seeing the rest of the house or knowing anything about it, I burst into tears and said ‘We’ll take it’.    The realtors replied: ‘But you haven’t seen the rest of the house’.    I didn’t need to.”

Beth was immediately drawn to the  “magnificent staircase”,  the sight lines from the front door, and the kitchen’s stained glass window.

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 Set on 5+ acres, this large brick house north of Cobourg, Ontario, has been beautifully renovated and lovingly cared.  Beth and her partner Gerry were enthralled with the  original features throughout the house: the woodwork, the 18- inch baseboards,  the stained glass windows in 4 of the main rooms, and the back staircase that leads up to the bedroom once used by  the household staff.

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The house goes back to 1892, one of several built by the Atkinson family on “crown land” (deeded to them by the government).  Descendants of the Atkinson family still live and farm nearby today.

Realtor.ca

But in the 1970’s, the house was in such sad shape that it was slated for demolition.  Then a family bought it and lovingly restored it over 20 years.  Next,  the house was sold to professional renovators.  By the time Beth and Gerry came along, it was already in great shape.

Realtor.ca

Beth has a passion for Victorian homes, and while some of the woodwork is painted, most of it has been kept original. “I have a mission to preserve old houses from being ‘painted’ – as so many of the décor magazines seem to advise right now, e.g.  ‘Paint that staircase white’.  Or, ‘get rid of that ugly wood trim’.”

Realtor.ca

It’s been a good home for Beth and Gerry.

With 5 bedrooms and spacious common areas, the house accommodates their large  family gatherings and also provides separate office spaces for this couple.

They love the views. The sunsets from their west-facing living room. The trees. The fields. And the “free horses” – two Belgians belonging to their neighbours – that come to live in the field from May to October.

Realtor.ca
Photos by Steve Leach – Realty Services

A favorite space is the screened- in porch/sunroom.

“It’s heaven.  Listening to the sounds of nature.  Enjoying the fresh breezes. From the first minute the temperature rises to +5 in the spring,  we are sitting out there for three seasons.  In the mornings with our coffee, at lunch taking  a break from work, and after work with a glass of wine.”

But the time has come for Beth and Gerry to downsize. Their lovely house is for sale.  And though there’s the inevitable sadness when leaving a cherished home, they know that others will enjoy it for years to come.

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8 thoughts on “House Proud”

  1. I have a very different theory of what makes a home which is definitely different than “Every house has a story”.
    We, my husband and I, live in a vertical community. There are 500 homes in our building and 500 homes right next to ours. Every single unit is a “home”. And, the buildings that house those homes also have a story. We live in Leaside Towers in Toronto. The point I make is houses are a structure, the structure has a story and within that structure there is a home … or in our case the structure has many homes, all with a story.
    I sometimes cry with happiness about the views I have from our home on the 39th floor. And, a day never passes that I am not grateful for my neighbours.
    Is it about the house or the home?

  2. One of my favorite stories is to hear about a neglected house being saved and I enjoyed this post. People who do this save a beautiful building for generations to come. Unfortunately a lovely old house in my town was knocked down to make way for a diner parking lot. Worse still it was the end house on a row of beautiful houses. I’m so upset about it 😦

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