1867 fieldstone manse

In rural Northumberland County, this manse has stood for more than a century. Its original features and historic elements drew the owners to it, but antiquated systems led them to seek out updated solutions, as well as a more open kitchen and additional closet space.

What made this beautiful project unique?

Working with original stone walls, floors, interior doors and trim was pretty special, and knowing that you were dealing with items that were hand-crafted 150 years ago. The passion that the owners had for the history of the home shone through, and we wanted to honour that element. Everything about this renovation was unique in order to meet the requirements of building in a century home.

Were there any significant challenges?

For sure! Work had to be halted for more than a month to deal with a decades-old bat infestation in the attic. Plus, electric wires were rodent chewed, and all had to be replaced without going through the toxic environment caused by bats in the attic.

Plumbing pipes were significantly aged and had to be replaced, and heating was quite insufficient. We replaced the previous system with a boiler system and radiators. The well was also unsafe and had to be re-bored. And finally, the kitchen was too small and there were no closets upstairs, so we reconstructed those areas to make more space.

How were structural elements dealt with?

We removed walls in key locations to allow for larger rooms and closet installations in bedrooms. Where walls were removed, original flooring had to be matched and patched before refinishing.

What were the most interesting and captivating design choices?

The use of white walls and trim as a calming and peaceful characteristic throughout the home is one of my favourite touches. This was juxtaposed with the owner's antique furnishings and the natural-pine refinished floors. With local pops of colour, it creates a spacious and simple living environment.

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“Gilbert + Burke’s team of truly talented individuals were committed to this project for close to a full year. With each setback, Gilbert + Burke found often ingenious solutions that spoke to their decades of experience and depth of character. Design advice was given enthusiastically, and with an eye to our budget.”