1812 Table

A  British Invasion you'll love. Rockers and Gentlemen alike will enjoy this little gem. To commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, we created this delightful 42" round pedestal dining table. The black and silver turned-pedestal mimics a cannon. Meticulously hand-painted; distressed and gracefully worn; sealed with flooring-grade urethane; and custom-crafted to suit your space (so far, we've made them up to 8' round). Starting at $2,800   PHOTOGRAPHY: SuzyLamont.com      
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AUTHENTIC: REPLICATING AN 1840 FIREPLACE MANTLE

Mastery of hand-tools defines the ability of  a craftsman.  Sometimes, a computer or CNC machine simply cannot do what the human hand can do. For instance: Sir John Alexander Macdonald practiced law in this building in Kingston, from 1849-1860. There were originally two flanking fireplace mantles; however one was removed during a previous renovation. We were commissioned to reproduce it, so that a matching pair would once again adorn the rooms. And while we have every modern machine at our disposal, Hand tools, common to the period, were used to recreate, authentically, this important piece of Canadian history. The imperfections of hand-worked lumber and mouldings are delightfully nuanced, and authentic. And....it is a workout more rewarding than a gym.
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What is Luxury without Comfort?

Hot water-heated towel bar; marble; elegant yet relaxed pine woodwork
Stone arch doorway; marble trims and floor; Hot water-heated towel bar; elegant yet relaxed pine woodwork
Victorian majesty, in a relaxed finish. All-new woodwork and carvings turn an ordinary room into something extraordinary
Victorian majesty, in a relaxed finish.
All-new woodwork and carvings turn an ordinary room into something extraordinary

So many of the so-called  'contemporary-classic'  new homes are reminiscent of mausoleums.

Strictly elegant, white, cold.  Not at all comfortable, in any sense of the word.

For what is luxury without comfort?

We don't live in showrooms; and if some do, then that is another issue entirely.

It's often difficult to blend elegant looks with a relaxed feel.

The solution lay with material choices.

This ensuite bath, sauna, and steam shower combines very detailed Victorian woodwork and marble,

 that ran the risk of looking too formal and stuffy.

That's because Victorian Style is typically crafted in rich, dark mahogany and walnut.

However in this discreet Canadian lakeside home, informality was key, while still respecting the Style.

Pine, in a 'Canadiana' honey patina, was the obvious choice.

So much of 19th Century Canadian furniture is formal, yet cozy and relaxed due to the warm honey tones of this plentiful wood.

Indeed, left untouched: it ages from white to honey, in only a few years.

Likewise the porous marble floor: dull, not polished; irregular in surface, and not smooth,

lends the most 'established' feel to this home.

It looks like its been there for centuries!

Which is precisely what the client requested, and what we delivered.

Comfort  can be luxurious; and luxury can be comfortable.

It's what we do.

Designed and crafted exclusively, in-house, by artisans.

 
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Anatomy of a Traditional Door

  Wood entrance doors will last centuries, with normal paint/varnish maintenance. What is 'normal?' Simple answer: when cosmetically ugly, it's time to paint or varnish!   It is vital to keep the wood sealed at all times, to prevent water egress. It's too bad that this vital principle doesn't always  start at the manufacturer! It can lead to unexpected expenses To explain: recently we had to make two new church doors, 9' high, because they were rotted beyond repair. And....they were only 21 years old! Water had entered at critical points, and under trims, keeping them damp,  because normal cosmetic painting was not done . Further, at time of their  construction, none of the trims were sealed before assembly. Here's a pictorial of how we seal vital components AT  TIME  OF  ASSEMBLY. Is this process new? Not to us: we are shipbuilders, for centuries, and as such,  have taken care to make every effort to KEEP THE WATER OUT!   "We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape u.s" - Churchill  
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DIGNITY

Dignity. It's in all of us.  At times it's hidden, but it's there nonetheless. And as you are about to discover: appearances can be deceiving.
Wine Trunk to be auctioned in aid of Parkdale Food Centre
Wine Trunk to be auctioned in aid of Parkdale Food Centre includes a bottle of Three Dog Wine, Prince Edward County
We refinished  an antique steamer trunk to be auctioned in aid of the Parkdale Food Centre at the Gala May 1st http://www.parkdalefoodcentre.org/2014/04/01/uepresentspfcgala/ When we delivered the trunk, the Centre was filled with the hungry and the homeless: families - men, women, children! - that are unemployed, vulnerable, and often sick; and who work for less than a living-wage.  It is these good people who have been sidelined by society, and who rely upon the generosity of the wider community. One chap in particular was sitting in a corner, looking defeated and forlorn, shoulders sunk.  In a word: defeated. What was his story, I wondered? Suddenly he raised his bowed head and looked at the trunk I was carrying.  His eyes lit-up as he exclaimed: "That's European!" "Where did you get that?" he demanded. I explained that it was an antique trunk we had acquired, and that we had restored it and converted it to a wine-chest,  in aid of the very Centre he relied upon. His eyes aglow; his shoulders high, where a moment ago they were bowed, he proceeded to explain all of the characteristics of the piece; its peculiar European construction and wood; its hardware; its likely age.  All of it, in correct terms and detail.  He was not now the street-urchin I had witnessed a moment ago. "How do you know all of this", I asked. He replied that his father was an antiques dealer; that he had grown-up in the business, and was now unemployed as his father was dead, and the business lost.  The only work he could find was menial labour in this great City of Ottawa; this government town; and the very citadel of the realm. I was amazed at the contrast of his hobo-like appearance with his intellect.  I could easily picture him attired in a suit, ensconced in a high-end antiquities shop. Appearances can be deceiving, indeed. As he finished speaking, his shoulders sank again, as the grim reality of his economic circumstance invaded his thoughts and resumed the slow but steady destruction of his soul. What a waste is all this talent and knowledge! His story is far from over, for there is indeed a place for this man in our wide community of artisans. We all have dignity, no matter our station.  We all form a part of the community. "No man is an Island, entire of itself... any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.   Therefore ask not for whom the bell tolls: it tolls for thee." - John Donne                  
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CONDO ‘BLUES’

Not the bad kind. These are good blues.  PPG brand eggshell latex 'CAVALRY ' to be precise. BEFORE we redecorated, we were greeted with the usual hum-drum institutional beige. Everywhere.  Throughout. Which is OK if you're into SHAKER STYLE and minimalism. However the owner was downsizing from a 4,400 sq. ft. Edwardian brick and had a collection of cherished antiques and books that had to be incorporated into 800 sq. ft. The lack of ANY Edwardian features (massive and ornate trims, plaster-work, cornices, parquet and plank floors, gorgeous windows) meant that COLOUR was the key here.  It's all we had ! Here's what greeted us:
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BEFORE - Kitchen and Gallery/Hall
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BEFORE - Entrance Foyer
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BEFORE - Living/Dining
                    Then the fun began. Instantly we knew that the tranquility of blue was the remedy to all this drab; and the glue necessary to cohesion.  Like a great carved wooden bed, the choice of a complimentary quilt is vital. And the client liked it too.  Which is everything: the designer must always remember that he/she won't live there, and that our guidance is often all that is required. Our custom-crafted Library/Media Bookcase blends perfectly in a relaxed and distressed Canadiana finish, made with heirloom tools and methods. A skillful and strategic placing of antique mirrors makes the 12' x 24' Living/Dining, and adjacent hallways, seem bigger than they really are.  Mirrors are not always a sign of vanity; sometimes they are vital decorating tools.
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AFTER - Kitchen and Gallery/Hall
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AFTER - Living/Dining
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AFTER- Entrance Foyer. NOTE the custom upholstered padded & quilted bedroom door panels: we've done this for over 30 years, in those areas where softness is needed. AND it makes for great sound reduction in echoing hallways.
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AFTER - Living Room with our custom Georgian Canadianan pine Library case
                        The AFTER photos present a lovely contrast. It's not everyone's taste, to be sure. But the client is thrilled. And that is what makes the creativity and art of Design-Building so personally rewarding.
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