the happy house   15 comments

Sage and Shelby enjoying a sunny afternoon in the front garden of the happy house

As another summer comes to a close, it seems an appropriate time to look back on the house as it appeared when I first arrived here in Round Hill in April 2010 (see below – click on all photos for larger views).

the forlorn house back in April 2010

What do you think? Four summers of plenty of sweat and elbow grease has made quite a difference! When I first arrived here, the old place was in a shambles. As many of you may remember, I bought it sight unseen other than through photos and video clips. Upon arrival, I wasn’t dismayed. In fact, the state of the house barely registered as I was still in that peculiar state of seething fury that sustained me during the first three or so years after Don’s death. Perhaps it’s good that I felt that way. Otherwise, I might well have abandoned this project as there was just so much to do in order to make the house even passably inhabitable. The truth is that living here has been a pretty spartan existence. Fortunately, that didn’t bother me much. Most of the time, I was entirely oblivious. I expect that my few-and-far-between visitors wondered if I was off my stick for staying here. Well, perhaps I was.

new doors put on about two weeks ago

Anyhow, things are better now. Great strides have been made this summer. I won’t go into a detailed enumeration, but suffice to say that the house is looking and feeling much happier these days.

Brook Trout painting on the screen door

And, things are finally to the point that I’ve even been inspired to get creative – painting floors and fish on doors – and so on.

new windows on the east side of house overlooking the brook

One of the nicest projects was to get some new windows for the brook side of the house. The best of the original windows could then be added to those that I had been rebuilding for the front of the house. When I arrived in 2010, most of the front windows were a rotting, unsalvageable mess. However, now with the extras, I was able to assemble enough for the three front windows. I even had enough of the rippled antique panes of glass to fill all of the upper sashes. They look wonderful from inside the house – like looking out into a slightly watery impressionist painting. In daylight, the same panes throw beautiful shadows and reflections on the interior walls.

Sage and Shelby investigating the repaired cellar entrance

The collapsing cellar entrance is now well shored up with concrete and reinforcing rods. No longer must I worry about a cave-in on the way into the basement!

All in all, it’s been a terrific summer — between playing music with friends, cooking up the bounty of the prolific vegetable patch, and seeing the completion of a number of projects. It’s all been good. The forlorn old house has grown into a much happier place.

my folk art totemic weathervane on the peak of the tower roof

Written by bev wigney on October 7th, 2013

15 Responses to 'the happy house'

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  1. such a beautiful transformation– your creativity knows no bounds and all of your hard work shows all around your happy house 🙂


    7 Oct 13 at 10:13 pm

  2. What a journey of transformation for you and your house over the past four summers. Stay happy! xoxox (And safe travels)

    Judy Pollock

    8 Oct 13 at 6:31 am

  3. Very definitely a happy house! So good to see your dreams come to fruition, Bev!


    8 Oct 13 at 7:11 am

  4. The transformation is so beautiful, Bev. If every home was a work of art like this, we would all be living in a splendid dream.

    robin andrea

    8 Oct 13 at 10:18 am

  5. an old house is just a house until you give it tender loving care
    … then it becomes home.

    it is truly a lovely home bev and, no doubt, one hard to leave.

    rose white

    8 Oct 13 at 12:05 pm

  6. I am really proud of you, Bev..Excellent job!! Nothing is impossible..Busy woman like you always shows her skill!


    8 Oct 13 at 2:52 pm

  7. Truly a happy house along with your contented dogs together on the lawn in the sunshine. Wonderful front door fish. Great photo of your spirit ally with whale weathervane! Thank you for sharing all this creative energy.


    8 Oct 13 at 6:00 pm

  8. Thanks, everyone! The house is still a lomng way from being finished – if indeed it every will be – but it is so nice to be at this point. The house seems a happy place to be these days.


    9 Oct 13 at 9:58 am

  9. Bev. Thrilled to death to see the results of this summer’s work. Just beautiful! Of course I want to know where you got the fantastic steamboat gothic screen door. I know who painted it. (grin) Also the wonderful fish looks almost like a 3D painting. Did you paint on glass with fish on front and reverse paint water on back?

    Multipane: windows look terrific also. I know what a pain it is to pane, (groan) after having to putty just one 6 paned windows this summer. I figure at this fantastic rate I can get one window a year finished.

    Window molding: I just love the little half moldings at the top of each window. They look almost like drapery from a distance. Have never seen anything like it in any Victorian architecture I have seen to date, and childhood home Hannibal is loaded with old Victorian homes. Am amazed that these particular features lasted so long and in such good shape.

    Weathervane. Looks like it could have been native to the house as folk art but there is something about the whale that also looks very Bev. Lovely.

    Greatly enjoyed all pics.

    Thanks for sharing,


    P.S. Clap clap! More! More! If time allows, would you consider posting a picture or two of the new steps to it brook or ocean side of the house?


    10 Oct 13 at 1:56 am

  10. Hi Joan. Thanks! The fish was just painted in acrylics on the door – no glass. I paint colours in layers with a bit of glazing medium in the paint, so perhaps that’s why it looks a bit 3D. The cornices are drop cornices which are, I’m guessing, meant to somewhat resemble draperies. This house was built in 1860, so well before the Victorian houses you see further west. They are deep and provide a bit of weather protection for the windows. I have been looking around for similar styled cornices, but have only found one other building with almost the same style – the Garrison House B&B in Annapolis Royal. It is simiilar, but actually not as substantial and well-designed as the ones on this old place. They were in reasonable shape when I worked on them. The south facing windows were more weathered, but the eastside windows were quite good.


    10 Oct 13 at 8:12 am

  11. That is so awesome. Like you rebuilt your life in so many ways and the house benefited from it as it look like it was heading for destruction and now it’s a proud old house showing the love that has gone into it. Happy pictures in all ways.

    Rain Trueax

    14 Oct 13 at 8:32 pm

  12. The old place looks absolutely marvelous, and I like the whale on the roof, and the trout on the front door. The pink door is just so cheerful.


    15 Oct 13 at 5:15 am

  13. It is a nice transformation. Originally it looked kind of Bates-motelish, but now it has an almost enchanted look. There are some nice architectural features, and your artistic touches really finish it off.

    Mark P

    16 Oct 13 at 10:22 am

  14. You have really transformed this old house into a home! Amazing! I’m sure your neighbors are pleased!


    22 Oct 13 at 10:57 pm

  15. Hi Bev

    You have done a lovely job I really like all the animals you have painted on doors, floors etc.

    The dogs look lovely, healthy and happy.



    29 Oct 13 at 7:22 am

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