Rebuilding the Suites

When first built, the outside dimensions of the house, including the open-air kitchen - outside, against the left wall - were only 21 feet deep by 20 feet wide. The only source of heat was, of course, the fireplace; and as expected for a house of the time, the bathroom was outside somewhere (we don't know where) and running water did yet not exist. We have found and refurbished the old well which is in front of the house. The well had been hand built and is about 60 feet deep. Amazing.

Willow Suite Front Door

This is a picture of the west end of the house shortly after construction started. This is where the 'Willow' suite is situated, overlooking the pond to the left (out of view in the photo) where the giant weeping willow tree is located. This was the first portion of the house to be built over 200 years ago. It entailed just what can be seen in this photo - only one room with one window, one door, one 'dormer' - that's it. Except for the bread oven on the west wall, all other walls were simply solid stone.

The living room, 18 feet by 10 feet, was the main room of the house. The outdoor kitchen, 18 feet by 6.5 feet, was the only other room. The peak of the roof is about 21 feet high. The volume above the ceiling and accessible only through the dormer was the grenier or the grain and hay storage area. Summer-grown forage was stored here through the winter for feeding the animals.

We believe that the kitchen was not totally enclosed. It had a roof and a closed wall to the North. We believe it was totally open to the South and, perhaps, had a half wall to the West. Here, in this photo, we have removed the debris on the west side of the house and have started the new walls. This will end up being the kitchen, again.

New foundations were built for the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom (in the rear of the house) and the waste pipe system was installed. The foundations were faced with the native stone. Outside walls were built and the subfloor was poured over the thermal and moisture barriers.

Willow Suite New Walls
Willow Suite Interior Willow Suite Living Room

The roof was placed next - rafters, tar paper, and tile laths. The roof tiles, slate over the kitchen, bathrooms and bedroom and original terra cotta over the main house, were then placed.

The West facing exterior wall and the original, interior, stone walls were picked and rejointed. Custom-made windows and doors, fashioned from Mahogany, were mounted in the rough openings. With each suite enclosed, electrical conduit, hot and cold water pipes and the heating pipes were anchored to the subfloor. Hot water radiators were mounted to the walls.

Willow Suite Kitchen

Finally, a three-inch deep layer of concrete was poured and directly covered with tile. The tile is not attached to a dry concrete by a mastic; rather, the tiles are embedded into the cement, itself. Drainage, gutters and downspouts were installed and the ground was graded up to the suites. Inside the Willow suite, we built the kitchen around cabinets supplied by Ikea and appliances from Darty, the local appliance chain. The plumber arrived and provided the final hot and cold water connections to the sinks in the bathrooms and kitchen, the showers and connected the waste pipes.

Willow Suite Grounds

We initially furnished the Willow living room as a dining room and left the connecting door to the Cinnamon Suite open. We lived for the next 2 1/2 years in these two suites while the main house was being rebuilt.