Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cottage Life

The simple one-and-a-half storey house with hip roof is found everywhere in Ontario. The 'generic' name for this type of house is the Ontario Cottage. Author Marion Macrae describes the evolution of this form in her scholarly 1963 work The Ancestral Roof. A stylized version of the basic cottage, with wide verandahs, treillage and large windows or french doors took its place in our built heritage between 1830 and 1860 as the Regency Cottage. (By the way, for an amazing story of heritage preservation - a rescue - visit Shannon Kyle's website, go to 'building styles' and check out 'Regency'. Shannon chronicles her adventures with dismantling a Regency gem. She's a preservation saint!! Follow this blog for more links to her rebuilding project in Consecon, Prince Edward County, or just Google her for an amazing story!

I photographed this lovely cottage yesterday, in a little old cul-de-sac neighbourhood west of the Moira in Belleville, an old industrial neighbourhood. Most of the houses are frame, and in pitiful condition, but with intriguing proportions suggesting their origins. This little beauty is in brick, with a rubble-stone kitchen tail with massive chimney and a delightfully crooked doorway at the back. There is a fine brick-work frieze under the eaves, which are supported with small brackets. The windows at the front are large and low - Regency pretensions? - with cut stone lintels and sills, while the side windows sport neat soldier lintels of brick. There is no porch of any kind. My, I would love to know this little house's history.

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