Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Friday, November 4, 2011

What were they thinking??

I'm not a snob.
To be called "a purist"can sting.
But maybe, when I am tempted onto the topic of older homes and renovations, I can be a bit picky.

On the scale of problems facing us and our world, this is a small issue. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.

It makes me sad and frustrated when I see unsympathetic renovations made to older homes. Oh, sure, we all understand eclectic, that clever juxtaposition of elements that can make for an interesting interior. But I would argue that harmony and fidelity to style on the public faces of our older homes create more beauty.

I have been watching the house on the left for some time. A lovely man has been pouring time, skill and soul into a porch for the home, using found elements. But, well, it doesn't work with his Victorian era house. I would suggest that both the house and the addition lose personality in this awkward marriage.

At the right is a rubble stone house I've loved for years. It was built in 1863. It has barn-red shutters, a hip roof and that upright and dour Georgian facade. Recently it was treated to a showy bevelled glass confection in place of its former plain panelled door. A beautiful door, but it works like love beads and a miniskirt on an octogenarian.

Sorry folks. Just had to say it.


  1. I agree wholeheartedly!! That big black in-your-face front door is so out of character. One of my favourites in OEH made to look... hmmm... haven't seen it in person yet, but my quick impression from the photo is an attempt to look like some kind of boutique hotel. As for the other one, we, too, have been watching that development with dismay. What were they thinking, indeed?

  2. I agree entirely, about the Belleville house (on Queen Street), with the red shutters. I was walking along Queen during the last Doors Open weekend (September 2011) and I was shocked to see the old doors had been replaced with these showy ones. The new doors look so out-of-character.