Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sad Cornwall Homes 1

I want to start a new series of occasional posts. This one being the first.

Cornwall has a lot of really beautiful older homes, but for the most part, the people living in them are leaving them to rot. Many people are on very low incomes, and houses are not cheap to maintain, but sometimes it's just very sad. I don't want to post only the bad, I also plan to showcase some of the nicer well-kept homes (there are many of these, too).

This post is about a 2 1/2 storey (I think?) brick foursquare just a few houses away from my Mom's place. She's the one who told me about it.

She told me that they have been taking out bins full of stuff from the house, and she thinks it will be torn down.

So I decided to go have a look, since I wasn't' sure which house she was talking about. As it turns out, it's one of the houses that I rather liked. I've walked by it dozens of times. Like my house, it's a foursquare, and was being used as a rental property. I know that there's a rather nice archway between the living room and dining room.

There's a sign on the front window for a building permit for "exterior cladding & framing" but why are all the windows boarded up? Then there are 3 notices from the city on the door, saying that they need permits for the interior work, since apparently they ripped out all the floors and some walls (or something) and the floor joists are sagging "beyond acceptable levels", and one said that one of the exterior walls looked as though it may not be structurally sound.

So yeah, what a nightmare.

At this point, I decided to write a letter to the owner, and I wedged it in the door frame next to the notices. Basically, if the place is being torn down, I'd like to be able to save doors, hardware, the stained glass, and any other interesting items (if there are any left).

This is more or less the view from my Mom's place, which shows the back side of the house, which is in really rough shape. The whole balcony looks like it's rotting and falling apart.

The front of the house still looks pretty good. I love the overall foursquare look, and especially the top third floor over the roof. It has windows on 4 sides!

All the old houses in this area of town have these nice painted blue and white numbers, and several corner houses had the street names on them. I'm seriously thinking of adding a set to my house. I still have my original blue & white house number. Also note the original dentil moulding.

If the house is indeed being demolished, this is the piece I want to save the most. It's a rather beautiful stained glass (sort-of transom) on the front window of the house. This particular style and the general colours and textures in the glass are typical of the era. Many older houses have similar pieces. The Victorian houses, however, tend to have just plain coloured squares around a clear window. So this is a rather "fancy" piece.

It's hard to make out the colours, but you can see a ruby red border, orange highlights, and the vase looks like a light yellow.

The west side of the house looks as though it had a staircase added, and later removed; possibly in the past month, due to the caution tape, since I can't remember if it had one up until recently or not. I mainly walked past the east side of the house.

So yeah, hopefully I can turn this into an opportunity to salvage some neat stuff, and hopefully they're not tearing it down.


  1. It really looks rough. I hope something is done for it before it collapses into itself.

  2. I hope you get the window and some doors and hardware. I look at something like this and think about all the life that was lived in it, and all the emotions that were experienced within it.

    A house from the 1940s on my street was torn down this past weekend, and it was in very good shape. A retirement community is buying up my street and replacing each house with over-scaled structures that, taken one by one are nice, but as a whole, are cookie-cutter. It's disappointing to lose the individuality.