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

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.

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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.

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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.

A Good Home, Afternoon Tea, Friendship, Gardens, Joyful Moments, July Garden, Kindness, Nature, Ontario, Outdoor Living, Red currants, Relationships, Summer Garden, Vegetable Garden, Vegetables

Food, Friends, Verandah

Everybody was complaining about summer.

Not me.

Blog Photo - Muskoka Chairs and Flowers

After a painful several months – much of it spent in bed – I welcomed the summer by taking to the verandah.

Colourful cushions, simple wood furniture and time-worn rugs created a homey feel.

Blog Photo - Verandah chairs

A verandah is a place for serious summer reading….

Blog Photo - Verandah - Reading intently

Or some serious hanging out….

Blog Photo - Verandah - dogs on old rug

Blog Photo - Julius lying down

In the nearby garden, sometimes it rained and hailed and the wind was crazy.

Blog Photo - Rainy Peonies

But flowers bloomed everywhere.

Blog Photo - Peony deep pink single

Birds sang.

The air was fresh.

Blog Photo - Blue-Pink clems

Family and friends came to visit.

Some invited themselves, which I loved.

Blog Photo - Verandah - Bee Balm Single

“How are you coping these days?”

“I’ve taken to the verandah,” I replied.

“I’m coming to visit!”

It was the summer of the verandah. Of  kindness and affection. Laughter and quiet moments.

My editor Tim, returning home to South Africa, spent most of his last week in Canada with our family. He held court on the verandah like an eminence grise, saying wise, cryptic and funny things to everyone.

Blog Photo - Verandah - Tim Mischief

Some people wondered how he’d handle returning to a country which he left decades ago. Tim’s enigmatic reply: “Did I mention I’ll have the use of a heated swimming pool?”

“Long way to go for a heated swimming pool,” we laughed.

Blog Photo - Verandah Visitor 2K

Of course, one should always feed one’s visitors. Despite one’s lack of cooking talent.

“You are the best cook I’ve ever met,” Tim declared, straight-faced, to loud laughter.

I swatted him with my dinner napkin.  He complained  – theatrically –  of “the abuses I suffer in your home”. 

Blog Photo - Verandah Guest 1

We alternated between joking, serious talk and companionable silence.  If tears were hovering, we didn’t let them show. This man has been a stalwart friend to me through life’s challenging times and I shall miss him.

Blog Photo - Verandah - Tim says something wise

Marilyn visited next. Marilyn’s the doyenne of tea (See Simply Splendid Victorian Afternoon Teas.)  She kindly admired my floral arrangement and I wisely served a cold lunch… no cooking required.

Blog Photo - Verandah Guest 3M

“I caught that salmon, smoked it and sliced it,” I lied.

“Well done,” she praised, playing along.

Blog Photo - Verandah - Salmon and lettuce

Seriously, though: the lettuce, tomatoes and red currants came from our garden.

Blog Photo - Verandah - Red Currants

Longtime friend Dale arrived late one night, on her way back home from visiting family out west. I made breakfast, the only thing I cook consistently well, and we caught up on family news.

Blog Photo - Verandah Path

Marie, who lives way up north, took an evening break from her role in an important cross-country hearing. My husband cooked supper that day, as he did for my childhood friend, Angela and her family. Wonderful occasions.

Jacqui dropped in and lucked into one of the nicest dishes I made this summer.

Blog Photo - Jacqui on verandah

“But this is GOOD!” she declared.

“Don’t tell anyone!” I pleaded. “You’ll ruin my reputation.”

Blog Photo - Verandah - Dogs in Foregorund and Visitors in BG

Anthony Trollope once asked: “What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book and a cup of coffee?” 

My answer: “A verandah, a garden, and loved ones to share them with.”

Blog Photo - Verandah - Garden bed outside verandah

Dedicated, with a grateful heart, to my caring family and friends… and everyone who appreciates a verandah.

A Good Home, Architecture, Bond Head, Canadian life, Canadiana, Canadians, Country Living, Country roads, Farncomb Family History, Gardens, Heritage Homes, Historic Bond Head, historic neighborhoods, Home, Homes, Lakeside living, Life in canada, Lifestyle, Marina, neighborhoods, Newcastle, Ontario, Outdoor Living

Lost Without a Clue – Pt. 1, the Ebor House Series

I kid you not: I could get lost in a room. 

So – naturally – I got lost while coming home from an appointment in a nearby town.

Blog Photo - Bond Head main street

The key to getting lost graciously is to act as if where you’ve ended up is where you’d meant to go all along. But I was too agog at where I’d ended up to even pretend to be gracious. My mouth fell open.

Blog Photo - Bond Head Whtie fence and flowersIn no time at all, I’d gone from modern streets and brand-new neighborhoods to this old country road and a feeling that I’d time-traveled into the 1800’s. Beautiful old houses flanked both sides of the road.

Blog Photo - Bond Head White House1

And I knew, without being told, that some of these homes had belonged to certain local families for generations. It was that kind of place.

Blog Photo - Bond head grey hosue between trees

Most were surrounded by expansive grounds with big old trees…

Blog Photo - Bond Head Grey House and Lawn

Sweeping lawns and glorious gardens.

Blog Photo - Bond Head GRey House 3

On the lake side of the street, were more gardens, houses and infinite vistas….

Blog Photo - Bond Head Bayard and lake

Parkland and beaches and families at play….

Blog Photo - Bond head family playing by lake

Boats at the marina…

Blog Photo - Bond head marina boats in bg

People fishing…

Blog Photo - Bond Head Marina, Boats and Man fishing

Where on earth was I?

Blog Photo - Bond Head Boats at marina

Not one to panic till I’d run out of options, I kept going…  and thought I’d seen that enormous old tree just a minute or so before I turned…

Blog Photo - Bond Head huge tree and fence

So I turned around again and kept going…..

Blog Photo - Bond head lake shot

And discovered a sign…..

Blog Photo - Bond Head sign

Historic Bond Head.

I’d never heard of it.

Later, I’d learn that Bond Head, formerly known as Port Newcastle, was once a thriving harbour, with ships ferrying cargo to and from Quebec, Toronto to the west, Kingston to the east and various American ports.

In 1856, Bond Head and the neighboring village merged under the name of Newcastle. The overall region is now known as Clarington.

But right now, I was just busy being lost.

And then I saw a strangely beautiful old house.

This house must have a great story, I thought.

And this is how I met a man named Ron, whose historic home had belonged to generations of an illustrious Bond Head family which counted as relatives two Lord Mayors of London, England, and had a big impact on the life of many Canadians, including themselves.

I’ll introduce Ron, his house and the family to you in my next post.

Stay tuned.

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Dedicated to lovers of history everywhere, including residents of Bond Head and Newcastle in Ontario.

 © 2008 CSR