Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Stoned again!

We spent some time in the Harrowsmith area yesterday. Fell in love with some heart-breakingly beautiful stone houses; my neck's still recovering from all the head-turning as we travelled the backroads and villages looking at all that beauty and history.
I spoke to the fellows who are renovating the house pictured at left and reluctantly declined their invitation for a tour due to time constraints. Inside are all the original fittings, including built-in hutches, original floors and woodwork, stone fireplaces and a brick bake oven. The main house dates from 1843; the wing to the right in this photo was the original settlers' home, built in 1811. The windows look to be the original 12 over 12 sash, the panelled door and sidelights appear likewise. The lads told me that Harrowsmith magazine did an article about the house some time back, so I will have to try to find it.
The refined and imposing Georgian in ashlar finished stone at the right sits above the mill-pond of a hamlet we explored on our way home. Exquisite. We reminded each other that at one time in our lives we'd each wanted an old stone house - he in England, me on the upper St. Lawrence. Glad in so many ways that we didn't tie ourselves to the life's work that loving such a house would have been. This way we can flit promiscuously from one limestone beauty to another. Or flirt with river-washed cobblestones. Or cut-granite fieldstones.


  1. Oh, how could you possibly resist that invitation to have a tour?!!?

  2. In 1980, I boarded at the 1843 house when it was still the summer home of Patsy Fleming, the antique decoy collector. Although even then it needed work, this is a SUPREMELY important house and not just because of the stonework. It has an architectural cupboard in the dining room and the parlour still had beautiful faux-mahogany and maple paint-graining (doors and millwork). It was the latter that caught the eye of photographers (yes, the parlour was in Harrowsmith but also Century Home magazine and it's been in at least one book). I always felt very protective of this house and trust the renovating "lads" realize what a gem they have.