A Good Home, Building a Water Feature, Canadian Homes, Canadian Village Life, Carol and Wayne Shaw's Gardens Summer 2018

What’s Wayne Up to Now?

Glad you asked!

We’ve been following him and Carol as they expanded their small house and garden into what our family now calls “The Shaw Estate”. 

Blog Photo - Carol garden at front with plants and house front

And I promised you that I’d revisit them when the Coach House interior is complete. (He plans to do this in cooler weather.)

Blog Photo - Carol Garden coach house beautiful exterior

But our family has known Wayne and Carol for many years and I should have known that Wayne is always up to something. 

Blog Photo - Wayne at work on a new building

“I came up with the idea about 3 months ago,” he says.

A neighbour bought the property next door, and made changes that affected Wayne and Carol’s use of the back of their property.  Wayne decided they needed a water-feature there.

Blog Photo - Wayne's fountain and first pond at night

“I started looking around for the ideal rock fountain and finally found it in nearby Campbellford. I took Carol up to see it, and we decided on it that day. While there, I made an appointment with the gentleman (Jim Spencer) who builds and installs all their water features. We came up with a final layout (in our heads).”  

 Q: Did you make a sketch, Wayne?

A:  “I did not. It was a vision/plan in my head, and when we met, he and I understood each other within minutes. No plans were drawn!”

Blog Photo - Wayne's Fountain Rock Arrives 2

 Jim, whose property is fully landscaped, has been doing this work for 40 years. He and colleague Wayne (yes, another Wayne) arrived weeks later with backhoe and fountain boulder.

“As you can see, the 6,000 pound fountain boulder was a little too much for the small backhoe to manage! They had to bring in a heavy duty boom truck.” 

Blog Photo - Wayne and Heavy Duty Boom Truck

Blog Photo - Wayne's Fountain Men Placing Fountain Boulder

This wasn’t just a fountain, however. They built a patio, a stream and three ponds and planted a cedar hedge as a backdrop.

Blog Photo - Wayne's fountain and stream and two ponds

Q: How did Carol react when she saw the finished product, Wayne?

 A:  “She was elated, as are all of those who have come around to see what we are up to out back!”

Blog Photo - Wayne's Fountain with stream and ponds and garden bed

Blog Photo - wayne's Foutain closer of pond and cedars and rocks

Jim allowed Wayne to operate the backhoe one day, but mostly, Wayne designed and supervised the project.

Blog Photo - Wayne's fountain and Patio at night

Blog Photo - Wayne's Foutain finished Product with patio and steps

Q: So are you and Carol lounging about, having drinks and admiring the new water feature?

A: “No. But we do go out at least once a day and admire the work the boys did!”

That’s because Carol is busy working in the garden and Wayne is now building an office inside the main house.

Blog Photo - Wayne's Fountain shows back of house and coach house and rocks

Meanwhile, Jim Spencer, pleased with the collaboration, asked Wayne to assist with a future project, and he agreed.

Blog Photo - Wayne's Fountian front view of garden and coachhouse with water feature in BG

And double-meanwhile:

“As soon as I’ve finished the office, I hope it will be cool enough to go back and complete the interior of the COACH HOUSE!!!” 

Yes, and we’ll have pictures!

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Photos by Wayne Shaw.

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A Good Home, Canadian Families, Canadian Gardens, Canadian Homes

What a Project!

Whenever I phone my longtime friend Carol, I always ask: “And what’s Wayne up to now?”

And as soon as she says, “Well, let me tell you…” I’m already grinning.

Wayne, you see, is always building something — from cars to houses — and he thrives on a challenge. 

Blog Photo - Wayne and Carol House 1

He played a key role in the recent renovation of Justine Viske’s SOS Lounge, one of many interesting projects.Blog Photo - SOS Justine and Wayne

But he has also been working on his own home between these client-projects. And what a project!

Wayne and Carol bought their current home several years ago, in the village of Warkworth, a 90-minute drive east of Toronto. Long before they moved in, Wayne had plans.

“First up”, says Wayne, “was Carol’s garden shed (with the stained glass windows, lighting and power).” 

Blog Photo - Wayne and Carol Gdn shed2

And since Carol is a serious gardener, the front landscaping also needed attention.

Blog photo - Wayne and Carol front garden

And since the house was small, they decided to extend it. 

Blog Photo - Wayne and Carol Addition1

“Now it’s 2014 and the addition is starting to take shape”, Wayne recalls. “The foundation and sub-floor are in place. The walls and trusses are up, and it is beginning to look like we know what we are doing!!…LOL.”

Blog Photo - Wayne and Carol house addition

The addition houses a family room and more:

“Well, by late summer 2015, we have a washroom for overnight guests. Carol has an office, and I have completed all mechanical necessities in the main entertainment area, including the fireplace, and have built custom cabinetry throughout.”

Blog Photo - Wayne and Carol Family Rm inside

Blog Photo - Wayne and Carol Family Rm inside 2

Blog Photo - Wayne and Carol tiny new office

Wayne carefully designed every bit of space.

Blog Photo - Wayne and Carol Closed-in Porch

It was the same with the new kitchen.

The original was dark and inconvenient for Carol, who is a great cook. So Wayne decided to build her a much better one, in the adjacent room. He redesigned and built the whole thing from scratch.

Blog Photo - Wayne and Carol Kitchen Pantry

Blog Photo - Wayne and Carol Kitchen ws

Blog Photo - Wayne and Carol Kitchen 2

That’s Wayne. Where other people might see an insurmountable problem, Wayne sees an exciting challenge. 

Carol has a say, of course, in both design and decor.

Blog Photo - Wayne and Carol Living-Dining

But she’s quick to point out that “It’s all Wayne”, while praising him for his meticulous work.

And it is meticulous – the kind of work that stands up to close inspection, whether it’s indoors or out.

Blog Photo - Wayne and Carol garden with red maple.JPG

“Early in the nice weather of 2016”, Wayne says, “WE decided to do a little landscaping before starting work on MY pet project, the garage — better known as ‘the Coach House’. 

“As you can see, the landscaping involved the acquisition of a considerable number of fair sized rocks (I FOUND them at the sides of the road, and on the outskirts of farmers fields!!)”

Blog Photo - Wayne and Carol new landscape

“Some rather larger rocks were used in the landscaping of our new driveway, the one leading to the new ‘Coach House’. I have to admit they were very difficult to get into the back of my SUV!!!”

Blog Photo - Wayne and Carol new driveway and huge rocks

As their friends know, Wayne gets restless without a project.  He completed the kitchen just weeks ago, and returned to the project he started last year: the Coach House, with room for his vintage cars and a guest suite. 

Blog Photo - Wayne and Friends raise coachhouse walls

Blog Photo - Wayne and friends inside coachhouse walls
Wayne Shaw, right

The Coach House exterior is now complete, while work continues inside. 

My family and I can barely wait to see the finished product.

Blog Photo - Wayne and Carol Coach House

 Meanwhile, we’ve dubbed their much-expanded home  “The Shaw Estate”.

Blog Photo - Wayne and Carol House exterior with fence

Blog Photo - Wayne and Carol House and Fence sideview

But we’re betting that one of these days, I’ll call Carol and she’ll say, once again: “Well, let me tell you…”

Bravo, Wayne and Carol!

~~

Photos provided by Wayne Shaw.

A Good Home, Canadian Homes, Home, Keeping House

Housekeeping Wisdom and Foolishness

Lately, I’ve been going through my journals. As you can imagine, it’s not all pleasant reading. But some of it is funny, and even wise. Sharing:

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I’m known for my cooking. How I wish that were not so. My cooking skills are legendary for all the wrong reasons. 

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Of course I believe in miracles! I say that every time something I bake turns out well.

Blog Photo - Cake 2

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If I could, I’d have all-white furniture in my living room, and admire it from afar. I’d have to. There’d be no real living going on in that room, I tell you.

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How do they do it, those people in the magazines?  Their sofas and chairs are spotless, their kitchens – their entire homes and gardens — are immaculate. There are no books or magazines left behind on a comfy chair, no cushions fallen from the sofa to the floor, no threadbare old carpets, no signs of daily catastrophes in any of their rooms.

How do they do it?

“They don’t,” says my friend. “It’s just for the photos.”

“Then I wish they’d stop,” I replied. “They’ve given me an inferiority complex.”

Blog Photo - Verandah - dogs on old rug

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A house can be a showplace, I suppose. But my home – now that’s something else. Though I am all for making a comfortable nest for my family and self, mine is a dwelling that shows the marks of living. By that I mean that items are often out of place, forgotten in one room on the way to another, left there till they become fixtures in their new location.

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Blog Photo - Kitchen Pies on Table

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I’ve assigned a virtue to my brand of housekeeping. I call it the “lived in” look.  Well, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. My home looks and feels lived in, with books, blankets and cushions comfortably misplaced and eyeglasses and notebooks in any room but the one where I most need them.

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An interior decorator told me there’s a big difference between “storage” and “display”. My dining room cupboard was meant for display purposes, he said.

Oh dear.

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Blog Photo - Journals

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One thing the catastrophes of recent years have done for me: I have shed most of my false pride and pretense. And I’m trying to stamp out the rest.

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I don’t worry about impressing anyone. As long as the house is clean, as long as there are fresh sheets and flowers from my garden in the guest room, and people have enough to eat, I’m content. But this attitude of mine didn’t happen overnight. It took years. 

Blog Photo - flowers white daisies in vase

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The wisdom that age brings is knowing that we don’t always have to accept what others think, or what they do…especially when we have experience of our own and some commonsense too.

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I hope your new year is off to a  good start!

 

 

A Good Home, Canadian Gardens, Canadian Homes, Christmas Arrangements

The Undomestic Diva – Christmas Planter

You’ve never seen such a glamorous photo of me, I know!

Blue pyjamas, my husband’s house-robe, black socks and beige slippers. And yes, that’s a single blue curler in my hair. Don’t ask why.

Blog Photo - Christmas 2017 Planter and Cynthia in houserobe

I woke up determined to do this thing that I’m so inadequate at. 

It took me such a long time that breakfast had to be brought to me right there on the floor. 

Mr. J., the grand-Pug, kept circling me, bemused.

I kept taking out the dried hydrangea and putting them back in.

And this is what The Thing looked like by the time I surrendered….

Blog Photo - Christmas 2017 Planter Outside

As with all my arrangements, it was still missing something — more greenery, brownery, reddery?

Or a birdhouse. Or a shiny thing. Or something.

But that’s for figuring out on another day. 

My Ingredients:

  1. Small branches of cedar and pine
  2. Wild sumac flowers from the roadside
  3. Dried hydrangea from our garden
  4. White birch branches from our garden
  5. Magnolia leaves bought at the nursery
  6. Potting soil – I normally use potting soil from the summer garden, but this year I used fresh potting soil.

I have no doubt that you are greatly impressed.

Photos by Dan Leca.