A Good Home, Home, House cleaning

Dark Matter



If you find yourself in pain of any kind, heed my words:

Do NOT lie on your front on the floor, trying to do the exercises the therapist ordered.

If you do, you’ll see the dark matter of the universe.

Hiding under the heavy wood cupboard, clinging to the underside of the sofa,  it’s been there for so long,  it’s turned dark charcoal, almost black. 


You’ll immediately forget your commitment to exercise.  Moaning and groaning, you’ll find yourself fetching a small brush, some damp paper towels and a large garbage bag.

As you swipe at the dust, you’ll find yourself muttering words that would make a sailor blush.

You’ll feel a strange wheeze coming on. You’ll realize that you’ve been inhaling this dark matter for months, and maybe even years, but never at such close quarters. Or so you think.

And all along you’ll know that the back pain is getting worse and you really should stop this madness. But you’re now a person possessed.

Until the dust is gone, you cannot possibly return to your exercise.

Except that – by then – you’ll be good for nothing but lying down, wondering what on earth had gotten into you. Perhaps the dust was more toxic than you realized.

But you’ll feel virtuous.

Until it dawns on you that there are more rooms in the house, and more dust. In dark corners, under the heavy furniture that’s never moved.

But as the pain wracks your body, you’ll finally understand what your mother meant when she said,  “Sometimes, you just have to turn a blind eye”.  

And you’ll wish you’d thought of this wise saying before you got yourself into trouble.


This post is dedicated to everyone who knows when to turn away from trouble.

A Good Home, Architecture, Canada, Couples, Courage, Following your dreams, Home, Homes, House cleaning, Interior Design, Kitchens, Libraries, Life in canada, Restoration, Restoring old houses

Drum Roll, Please! John’s House Pt. 6

Ladies and gentlemen!

— Drum roll, please —

The Library is now complete!

The ceiling is done….

Blog Photo - John's Library Ceiling

And the walls are painted.

Blog Photo - John's Library Walls Painted1

Even the floor has been swept.

Blog Photo - John's Library floors

And with that, all of the repairing, re-plastering and repainting of the rooms has been done.  Year One of John Garside’s incredible 3-year mission to restore his large old house, coach house and grounds in Prince Edward County, Ontario, is almost over. And this means that he and his wife Ann can finally move in.

(Gee whiz – I feel like stopping everything right now and having a celebratory drink myself – and it’s not even my house!)
Blog Photo - John's House - Front

But before we get too excited, I have to tell you there’s still a bit more to do.

Like putting in the baseboards (skirting) around the newly installed floors on the third floor.

And removing all the scaffolding and tools from inside the house.

Blog Photo - John's House Scaffolding

And paint cans from the kitchen.

Blog Photo - John's Kitchen

And then the big clean-up.

All that before Move-In Day on May 7.

But even during the push to finish it all, John’s feeling delighted with what he’s accomplished – by himself.

“For example, the quote I got to repair the plaster ceilings and crown moldings was $5,000 a room.  Instead of going down that path I invested in $50.00 worth of materials (per room) and did it myself.  The results are truly amazing!  Even the local contractors are impressed!”

Blog Photo - John Red Room Finished

He still arrives at the house a little after 7 each morning and works steadily till 4 p.m., stopping only for a light lunch.

“All is on schedule and all deadlines will be met!  Ann will be arriving on Sunday (May 4) to help with the final cleanup of the house just before the movers arrive on Wednesday.  Great happiness!”

When I told you that John was doing all this work by himself, I wasn’t joking.  His wife Ann, a partner in an accounting firm, has been in Toronto, more than two hours away. This is the busiest time of her work-year – tax season – and Ann’s been working flat-out at her job.   She hasn’t been to the house since mid- February, when she made “a flash-visit”.

Blog Photo - Picton Staircase 2

So how does this work for them? How does Ann know she’ll like what John has done?

“Lots of pictures are sent each day to provide Ann with the state of affairs at 27 Centre Street,” John explains.

“Does she trust you THAT much?” I ask John cheekily.

And he replies: “That is why I send the pictures each and every day . . . Feedback is always good!”

Blog Photo - Picton Staircase

On reflection,  I’m really liking the sound of this arrangement:  Husband does all the hard and dirty work, while wife stays away from all the chaos and white dust, returning when the work is done.

Hmm… Ann, you’re a girl after my own heart.

Way to go, Ann!

Ooops! I really meant:  “Way to go, John!”.


 Photos by John Garside