This is exactly the sort of listing I long for – an elegant blend of old and new, a really exciting renovation, character galore, all set against a bracing Canadian landscape. Trouble is, I had nothing to do with the acquisition of this one. That honour goes to my colleague Anne-Marie Mackenzie. But Anne-Marie’s giving birth this week - perhaps even as I write this - and so I have the pleasure of introducing this particular property to the world. I won’t do it as well as she would, I admit it, but at the very least you should check out the Realtor.ca listing here (at least it will be here any minute), along with all the really fabulous photos.
So. You’re about three miles west of Gananoque, the prettiest little town I know of in these parts. And this really lovely red-brick three-bedroom farmhouse (it could easily be four bedrooms) sits very proudly at the end of a long driveway and at the centre of 68 acres of rolling pasture and woods, with a couple of great ponds too. From the living room, or the front porch, or the verdant green lawn out front, you can see the river, winking at you through the trees. It’s a distant waterview – I mean you’re not going to rip your clothes off as you peel out the front door – but it places this house, it puts it on the map, and by that I mean that you could tell people in most of the world, “This house is set just back of the St. Lawrence, a few miles after it leaves Lake Ontario,” and they’d know exactly where you were (and they’d likely be jealous).
The original farmhouse has had a very modern renovation (have I said this already: you really do need to see the pictures) and features an open-floor plan and a wonderful, glammy kitchen the likes of which belongs in Bon Appetit, I reckon, or in one of those Masterchef episodes where they take the contestants out in the field and let the cameras roam over all the glossy surfaces while the steam rises atmospherically from the gas grill.
The two-storey addition at the back of the house is in concrete and you might think that’s an odd choice, but it’s a really unified whole that’s been created here. And the second-floor family room and office really give you some breakout spaces, somewhere quiet and away from it all to ponder your good fortune.
In fact there about 2400 square feet on offer. And a double garage too, and a south-facing porch to sit on with your craft beer (an excellent IPA from the Gananoque Brewing Company, I assume). And a big old barn that wants to collapse in on itself (which is no crime; I feel that way myself on a pretty regular basis) but that was built of the most exquisite old timbers and would surely justify a renovation of its own. This barn was where they stored the ice a hundred years ago, and then transported it by horse and buggy into town. The track is still there, and probably some marks from the wheels too. You stand out there, as I did last night, and you can just about hear the history calling to you.
I think you get the idea. I like this place very much. I picture a more rugged and rural version of me setting up shop here, or a hobby farm at least. And for the next little while I’d be thrilled to tell you more about it. Or show you around. So give me a call. We’ll chat, and maybe I’ll even let you know how Anne-Marie’s doing.