Age of PRESER­VA­TION

CEN­TURY OLD ROCK­CLIFFE PARK HOME IS RE­STORED TO ITS ORIG­NAL GRANDEUR

Ottawa Business Journal - Ottawa at Home - - PROFILE - writ­ten by araina bond pho­tog­ra­phy by mark holleron

WWhen Miche­line McEl­lig­ott de­cided to move from Mont Trem­blant back to Ot­tawa’s Rock­cliffe Park, she quickly dis­cov­ered that there were very few houses for sale in the neigh­bour­hood where she and her hus­band Bob wanted to live. Driv­ing back to Trem­blant, a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed, Miche­line brought a sou­venir with her—a photo she’d taken of a home she’d fallen in love with. Un­for­tu­nately, that par­tic­u­lar house wasn’t for sale, but she tucked the photo into their house-hunt­ing file.

About two weeks later, Bob made a trip of his own and called her, ex­cited about a gor­geous home that had re­cently come on the mar­ket. His de­scrip­tion sounded a lit­tle fa­mil­iar, so Miche­line asked him to check the file. Sure enough, they were amazed to dis­cover that the home he was so ex­cited about was the very same one she’d pho­tographed.

They moved in soon af­ter with their in­fant daugh­ter, Brigitte, and now, a decade later, they are still thrilled with their luck. Yet, it should be no sur­prise that the McEl­lig­otts know their own minds when it comes to real es­tate, con­sid­er­ing their vast and var­ied ex­pe­ri­ence in the field.

Af­ter more than four decades in the busi­ness, Bob’s pas­sion for build­ing and prop­erty devel­op­ment has evolved, as his busi­ness, Tim­ber­lay, grew in size and rep­u­ta­tion. In the late six­ties, Bob was one of the first to build high-end lux­ury town­homes in Ot­tawa, and he fol­lowed that suc­cess build­ing and de­vel­op­ing con­dos, houses, and even a re­tire­ment home, in key spots all through­out the city. You’ve prob­a­bly passed by one of his de­vel­op­ments with­out even know­ing it, such as Rock­cliffe-on-the-Lake, Beech­wood House on the Rideau River or Som­er­set House down­town.

When the real es­tate mar­ket in Ot­tawa turned flat, he turned his sights on Trem­blant, where Bob was one of the peo­ple in­stru­men­tal in get­ting In­trawest to in­vest in the moun­tain. The McEl­lig­otts en­joyed life at Trem­blant, and saw the moun­tain de­velop from a small

vil­lage to an in­ter­na­tional des­ti­na­tion, while Bob con­tin­ued to con­sult for other com­pa­nies and de­velop his own projects in the area.

When their daugh­ter was born, the cou­ple de­cided to make the move back to Ot­tawa, and they were thrilled to land the house of their dreams. Here, Bob’s skill for pre­serv­ing the in­tegrity of a place built over a cen­tury ago could be put to good work.

“ It was a mess,” Bob says. “ It vir­tu­ally hadn’t been touched in 100 years.” But, keen on un­der­stand­ing the his­tory of his new home, Bob took this as a chal­lenge that he could sink his teeth into. The fact that it hadn’t been ren­o­vated meant that many of the home’s most at­trac­tive fea­tures were in­tact, but in ma­jor need of a lov­ing touch. A cozy, wood-burn­ing fire­place in the den was re­stored to its orig­i­nal splen­dor. “ One of my favourite spots to re­lax is the oak-pan­elled den, with all its orig­i­nal wood­work, that over­looks the back yard,” notes Bob. He adds that, “ the pre­vi­ous owner told us it was a ‘ happy house’ and we whole­heart­edly agree.”

From the moment you walk in the door, it’s easy to see why. Just past the front en­trance, you’ll find the orig­i­nal ex­posed stone wall that leads into a French coun­try-in­spired kitchen with bev­elled win­dows and co­pi­ous nat­u­ral light. In each room, you get a sense of how the cou­ple high­lighted the charm­ing arts and crafts fea­tures with sim­ple, con­tem­po­rary up­dates.

Bob was in­volved in ev­ery stage of the restora­tion, metic­u­lously re­search­ing the his­tory of the home, care­fully se­lect­ing which as­pects to re­place and which to coax back to their orig­i­nal con­di­tion.

The McEl­lig­ott’s new­est ven­ture, build­ing and de­vel­op­ing 50 vacation prop­er­ties in an old growth for­est on Lac St. Sixte, is very much a fam­ily af­fair. Miche­line, as COO of Brick­land Tim­ber­lay, is us­ing her ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence as a for­mer prop­erty man­ager for For­eign Af­fairs to or­ga­nize, mar­ket and pro­mote the project. Bob’s el­dest son Paul, a pas­sion­ate out­doors­man, tim­ber framer and a her­itage cabi­net maker is us­ing his pas­sion for restor­ing and work­ing with wood to help build a devel­op­ment that is at one with na­ture. He is the Di­rec­tor of Op­er­a­tions at Lac St-Sixte and will be the project man­ager of new home con­struc­tion for fu­ture own­ers around the lake.

“ We’re do­ing ev­ery­thing from an en­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly and sus­tain­able way any chance we get, us­ing the wood from sur­round­ing trees to build the out­build­ings, for ex­am­ple, and the leftover wood chips to line the paths that wind through the for­est,” Bob ex­plains, his eyes light­ing up with ex­cite­ment as he de­scribes all the con­ser­va­tion-re­lated ef­forts they are mak­ing.

It’s a trib­ute to Bob McEl­ligot’s com­mit­ment that he speaks with pas­sion about his projects, tak­ing pride in how each one has stood the test of time, or im­proved a neigh­bor­hood. This same pas­sion is re­flected both in their ef­forts to cre­ate a peace­ful, beau­ti­ful haven that is at one with na­ture at St. Sixte, as well as their lov­ingly-re­stored— and happy— home.

this page: Orig­i­nal de­tail­ing es­tab­lishes the home’s charm right from the en­trance. clock­wise, fac­ing page: The McEl­lig­ots in front of the orig­i­nal wood-burn­ing fire­place. French doors open to the fam­ily’s re­treat. A coun­try kitchen with all the ameni­ties.

Photo:wpm­cel­lig­ott.com

Aerial view of Lac St. Sixte.

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