Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Sunday, January 11, 2015


sunny days return to One Walton 
the arched front door exiting the Gothic portico

If you live in Prince Edward County, or link via social media with one Alex Fida, you are getting regular updates on a bright new chapter in the life of the historic Downes house on Walton Street in Picton. I posted about the house recently, but was coy about the new owner's name for, after all, it was his news to share. And happy news it is too. Alex (like me) has loved the house since he was a child, and is excited to be saving it from what many worried might be oblivion, neglected as it was amidst encroaching commercial development. And he loves old houses, and will be faithful to the architectural legacy of this unique and beautiful place.
the astonishingly wide doorcase in the wide welcoming hall
As anyone who follows Alex's Facebook updates with Johnny CY Lam's evocative photos knows, the place is regaining its former elegance by the day, its beauty arising from the clutter and neglect of recent years. Restoration and reuse plans are underway, and the gracious home is already hosting happy social events.
the west bay window
Last Wednesday, I spent the morning in the house, delighting in Alex's delight, and pinching myself at being inside a house I have long admired.

one of four fireplaces - two marble Victorians
dado panels below French windows

house only looks small from outside

one of the four principal rooms on main floor

not your everyday kitchen window view
the oriel window waiting for Johnny Lam
to do it photographic justice

Looking out of the windows onto the snowy lawn, I was aware, not of the activity of the town, but of the calmness of the property, a feeling of refuge.
stunning simplicity of landing, gable-hugging window

There is lots to be done, but many gifted and sensitive craftsmen to assist, among them Kip Brisley of the well-known heritage preservation family.

interior window looking out onto the former verandah
Alex has many ideas and plans for the house, but I'll leave it to him to share them. Watch this spot.
built in fireplace cupboard
Alex contemplating the window mouldings

luscious ceiling mouldings

no Home Depot light fixture needed for this plaster medallion

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