One Last Christmas in a Beloved Home

I’m repeating this story from last Christmas because the house and village are both charming examples of ‘Canadiana’ at Christmastime.

~~~

Christmas is a special time in Unionville, a village just north of Toronto.

Blog Photo - Unionville Main Stree at Christmas -  Lorne Chapman Photo

The main street sparkles with decorations and, starting this Friday, Christmas activities.

Main Street photos by Lorne Chapman

Main Street pictures by Lorne Chapman

Locals and visitors alike will enjoy the Olde Tyme Candlelight Christmas Parade, skating on Toogood Pond, shopping in the stores and farmers’ market.

Karyn Boehmer photo

Karyn Boehmer photo

Christmas is also a special time in local homes, and perhaps none more so than at this home, below. The family who has lived here for 23 years is selling and moving on; this will be their last Christmas in this home. 

Karyn Boehmer photo

Karyn Boehmer photo

Interested buyers may visit the “open house” on Sunday Dec 14 from 2  to 4 p.m. 

Homeowners Lorrie and Mark created the large addition that connects the original brick house, above left, to the old barn, extreme right and below.

Karyn Boehmer Photo

Karyn Boehmer Photo

Blog Photo - Stiver House L and Charlie

Blog Photo - Stiver Staircase

Blog Photo - Stiver Christmas Decor CU

The original house was built in the 1870’s by Charles Stiver, a carpenter whose family ran the local mill (now the site of the local farmers’ market). Its history is recorded in documents and paintings, such as this one above the fireplace.

Blog Photo - Stiver House Family Room Fireplace, Painting and Chair

Every Christmas here has been special, says Lorrie. 

“Our most memorable Christmas was undoubtedly last year with the ice storm! We were without power for five days and hosted Christmas dinner for 21 by candlelight! The three fireplaces kept us toasty and the food was heated by stove-top and a nearby neighbour’s oven.” 

Photo by Karyn Boehmer

Karyn Boehmer Photo

Three children have grown to adulthood here. 

Blog Photo - Stiver House Christmas Mat

Lorrie’s fond memories include baking with the children and “the kids banging pots in the kitchen”. There have been many meals and discussions; homework; celebrations; laughter, tears, arguments and hugs.

Blog Photo - Stiver House Kitchen Area 1

She remembers extended family visits, especially her mother’s. Everyone — adults, kids and dogs — loved walking the nearby trails, stopping at the ponds.

**

Mark and Lorrie honoured their home’s heritage in the addition. 

Blog Photo - Stiver House Chair in Conservatory

Blog Photo - Stiver House Conservatory Wideshot

Karyn Boehmer Photo

This photo and the two below are by Karyn Boehmer

Karyn Boehmer Photo

Blog Photo - Stiver Staircase

The results earned the couple a heritage award. Their work has been “a pride and joy” for Mark:

“The 12-inch baseboards in the addition were milled to match the ones in the old house. The antique barn beams in the addition mimic a post & beam structure. The pine floors are milled from 100+ year old pine barn beams. The stairs, railings and fireplace surround were milk painted and distressed on site.”

There are whimsical touches in several rooms, including the mural in the master bathroom, painted by an acclaimed artist.

Blog Photo - Stiver House Mural Poppies and Iris

Blog Photo - Stiver Hosue Mural2

Blog Photo - Stiver House Unionville Mural1

After 23 years here, the family is moving on with mixed emotions.

They can never forget this place. They hope that the new owners will love it.

Blog Photo - Stiver House Entry and Courtyard

blog photo - stiver house christmas urn

blog photo - stiver house window box

**

Christmas decorations by Jan Corbett.

Thanks to Karyn Boehmer, Lorne Chapman and the Unionville BIA for their images.

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82 Comments

Filed under A Good Home, Architecture, Barns, Canadian life, Christmas, Christmas Decorations, Christmas in a Village, Heritage Home for Sale, Heritage Homes, Heritage nieghborhoods, Home, Interior Design, Ontario

82 responses to “One Last Christmas in a Beloved Home

  1. Oh boy that would be hard to leave!! What a spectacular home full of history! I LOVE the distressed finishes and especially that kitchen table!!

  2. What a perfect home for Christmas celebrations!

  3. Not my taste in a home, but loving review and photos. Maybe you could be a realtor or helper in selling homes with your lovely reviews. 🙂

  4. That is a beautfy! I love their history added to the previous + the love goes on–thank you for sharing! Truly a dream home:-)

  5. a beauty-lol…hmm..I need to proof read sometimes! or I made up a word-lol

  6. Georgeina

    What a gorgeous house. How could anyone leave it?

  7. Thats a beautiful family home, 5 days and no electricity in the winter is a challenge, especially at Christmas.

    • Lorrie was telling me that theirs was one of the few homes where the family could stay home in those 5 days – between the insulting factors and the fireplaces, they stayed warm and even hosted Christmas dinner.

  8. I know they must be heartbroken to be leaving such a lovely home with so much heritage and history behind it. Wish them well as they seek the next chapter.

  9. Lovely home oozing with character. Thanks, Cynthia. 🙂

  10. It’s always nice to see people restore instead of rebuild, and they did a fine job. It’s a beautiful house in a perfect fairy tale New England village that somehow made it to Canada.

  11. 23 years in the same house is a long time! Lovely home too and full of memories for sure. We have the same Christmas door matt!!

    Merry Christmas to you Cynthia and your family!
    Michael

  12. A lovely house beautifully restored. I found it hard leaving a home after just ten years!

  13. I have packed my bags and am moving to Unionville…NOW! A Picture post card perfect town and a fabulous house. I can just imagine the good feeling which any prospective buyer would get just walking in there. All those happy experiences and the love and heart and soul which has been poured into it do not leave with the owners.It is a very special place.
    Thank you Cynthia.

  14. Dear Cynthia,
    Greetings from Switzerland. Wow Unionville, looks right out of a Thomas Kinkade painting, or a town on Hallmark, will have to visit it when I am next in Canada, have friend in Kingston I’ve been meaning to visit. Thanks for sharing these amazing pics, what inspiration, the house is amazing too!!
    Jodie

    • Hi Jodie:
      It is a special place, for sure. Perfect for strolling, gawking, and just a feeling of pleasure when you notice how beautifully the village has maintained its heritage. Nice restaurants and shops too.

  15. What a beautiful home .. It will be hard to leave. I think the mural is lovely 🙂

  16. Was just looking through the pictures of Christmas in our city home. Moving is never easy but memories are portable! 😊

  17. Well said indeed. Thank God for that.

  18. Gorgeous! Makes me want to have a big meal at that kitchen table and then settle by the fire.

  19. You live in such a picturesque town Cynthia! The cottages in the first picture are so cute, I thought it must be a movie set. And the house that’s pending sale is simply gorgeous. I love a house with great old bones.

  20. What a beautiful home. It is quite unlike anything here. It must be a wonderful Xmas house. How sad to have to leave it.

  21. Some very lucky family will give this home another beautiful future. It is so full of warmth and good memories.

  22. Im sorry that you feel the time has come to move on, and I hope the next owners will cherish it the way you have. Thanks for sharing the true beautiy of this place, there are very few like it any more. beebeesworld

    • I know that Lorrie, Mark and family will read your comment and be thankful for it.
      And you’re right: there are fewer and fewer homes like this, especially in the Toronto area, which seems to have been seized by the ‘faux chateaux’ fever – new homes and renovated ones are almost always of that style.

  23. All the best with the sale of your home and your new life afterwards. We sold our family home in Kingston last year and downsized so that we had less work and responsibility and more freedom to travel etc. Home truly is wherever the heart is. And even though I miss my old home at times – a lovely new family is taking a turn there. Hope the same happens for you.

    • Not my home, but I am wishing the family all the best too. I hear you about downsizing. Many of my friends are doing so now.
      How nice to picture a new family “taking a turn” in your old home. That’s how it goes!

  24. What a gorgeous home!

  25. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

    That is a dream house; how could you ever leave it willingly? I can understand opting for a smaller place with less stuff and work.
    May God guide you into this next step. ❤

  26. Must be an emotional time for this family especially it’s this season of Christmas. Thank you, Cynthia, for this beautiful post. All best wishes and blessings for the season to you and family, Cynthia! Love, Iris

    • You’ve hit the nail on the head. It is a very emotional time for them, Iris. Preparing for Christmas while trying to get your beloved house sold must be a very challenging experience for anyone.
      My best to you.

  27. I have to say that that village seems to be taken out from a fairly tale move. And the house…. you wan´t to adopt a 32 year old Spanish guy? What a comfy house that is. Very beautiful both the village and the house.

  28. Hey Charly:
    I wish that family would adopt me! OK, just kidding. But it is a special place, and very Canadian too. I’ve only been there a few times, and each time I notice something I hadn’t seen before.

  29. What a lovely town, so charming. Brings back memories of my trip through Canada and all the lovely little towns. I only have one thing to say about the house. That is my dream home. 🙂

  30. I really like all the decoration. C’est très coloré 😉

  31. Joyful festivity post.The Spirit of Christmas is everywhere .Merry Christmas.Jaalal

  32. What a glorious home! I wish them well in their new one 🙂
    Hope the Christmas season is kind to you, Cynthia.

    • Thanks, Jo, and the same to you.
      That home: it is quintessentially Canadian, as I realized when I visited. Not in its size, but in the look, feel and spirit of the home. Modern, yet honouring the place and time in which the original part was built.
      I’ll pass on your good wishes.

  33. What a charming town – those first 2 photos are straight from a Christmas card – just lovely photos – they look like paintings. The home is unreal. I can’t imagine ever maintaining a house that size in the way it needs to b cared for. I’d have to have staff! But it is breathtaking throughout – what an amazing job they did.

    • Gee, I could use some staff right here in my much smaller home! I agree – it must take a lot of cleaning, dusting, etc. But it is such a lovely place. Every room is beautiful and it has a great ‘family feel’..

  34. An amazing home! Thanks for the tour!

  35. Pingback: One Last Christmas in a Beloved Home | Cynthia Reyes

  36. What a charming little town.

  37. There is a book called “Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn” that I’d bet Lorrie and Mark would love to read.

  38. I enjoyed reading this post again. Did they move? Are they happy?

  39. I think my heart would be broken if I had to leave such a place. I still see my grandparents’ house in my dreams.

  40. It’s a very beautiful home, Cynthia! Thank you so much for sharing it with us! 🙂

  41. A truly beautiful home, built with a lot of love.

  42. I must have visited you last Christmas because I remember the post, Cynthia. I hope they are very happy in their new home. I love the use of coloured ribbons. Merry Christmas to you, hon! I hope that you and yours have a joyous and peaceful time. 🙂

  43. What a gorgeous post, Cynthia. I need a character house fix every once in awhile. It inspires me to love on my own humble 1940’s abode a bit more and do what I can to make it shine better. Home Sweet Home.
    Christmas Blessings on your lovely home & family ~ Wendy

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