Get ready for a trip back in time

Seaway News - - OPINION - Mar­jorie McCoy Lo­cal Homes

When you walk into Ann Bru­in­ing’s kitchen, it’s like go­ing back in time. A re­fur­bished Fin­ley cook stove sets the tone for the rest of the house.

The house was built in 1862, another of the crown land grants that were com­mon in this re­gion. There have been only three own­ers of the prop­erty, and the orig­i­nal own­ers are un­known to the Bru­in­ing fam­ily. Heine and Ann bought the house from Del­bert Flintoff who had lived there since 1943.

The house is con­structed of three lay­ers of brick. Be­cause of this, it was an in­ter­est­ing chal­lenge for the elec­tri­cians, and all the out­lets are in the floor. All of the up­stairs rooms ( 3 bed­rooms and a bath) have been dry walled and painted, but down­stairs, the plas­tered walls have been left in there orig­i­nal state. With the help of sev­eral fam­ily mem­bers, all the hard­wood floors and the trim were stripped down and re­fin­ished.

An old chim­ney runs through the cen­tre of the house, and in two of the bed­rooms, there were square, floor level open­ings that al­lowed the heat to flow from room to room. The chim­ney is still in use, but a new in­sert has been in­stalled along with an elec­tric wood stove in the base­ment.

Many changes have been made to mod­ern­ize the in­te­rior in or­der to suit their needs, but, al­ways mind­ful of the his­tory of the house, they tried to keep ev­ery­thing as close to the orig­i­nal as pos­si­ble.

Ann noted that over the years the house had been well kept and the struc­ture was sound. Ren­o­vat­ing the kitchen was a must as the orig­i­nal lay­out sim­ply didn’t work for her. New cab­i­netry and an is­land were de­signed and in­stalled by Heike Yew­dall. The pine cup­boards and hinges, al­though repli­cas of the orig­i­nal, are very much in keep­ing with the age of the house

The Bru­in­ings hired a con­trac­tor, John Douma, to do the ren­o­va­tions, and it took him al­most a year to com­plete the job . Al­though he some­times ques­tioned her re­quests and sug­ges­tions, Ann noted that in work­ing with John, they reached a point where he just knew what she wanted - and he did it.

The kitchen floors were weak­ened over the years and years of use. They were braced up and re­placed with new floors from a lum­ber yard in Finch.

The orig­i­nal in­ner back door once led to an open porch with a field stone outer wall. The porch led to the sum­mer kitchen, which in turn opened to the wood­shed and then the out­house - a two seater. Much as it is no longer in use, this fa­cil­ity has been kept in­tact as a lit­tle his­tory les­son for their chil­dren and grand­chil­dren so they can see how things used to be in the ‘ olden days’.

Orig­i­nally, the floor­ing in the sum­mer kitchen was sim­ply wood planks over a crawl space. It has been built up with gravel and ce­ment. Now the fam­ily room, it boasts a field­stone fire­place, also built by John, and gar­den doors over­look­ing the pa­tio and

Dear Santa,


Ev­ery­where you look, the fur­nish­ings are rem­i­nis­cent of a time gone by. Pieces like an old cup­board in the kitchen, a birth­day gift from Heine, was re­fin­ished by Blythe Wat­son.

“I didn’t want to clut­ter up the house, I just wanted it to be in­dica­tive of the times” Ann stated,

Just off the kitchen, what once was a closet space and small bath­room has been opened up and is now the main bath and laun­dry room.

French doors sep­a­rate the liv­ing room/ din­ing room from the den/ of­fice, and a sec­ond fire­place was added to the liv­ing room.

Over the years, the Bru­in­ings have col­lected an­tique fur­ni­ture and dec­o­ra­tions, many of which were ei­ther birth­day, Christ­mas or an­niver­sary gifts for Ann. They also dis­cov­ered a trea­sure trove of ‘ good­ies’ - old cans, bot­tles, etc. in what once was the

Hi Santa, my name is Abi­gail. I am 3 years old. I have been a good girl this year. For Christ­mas I would like mon­ster high dolls, my lit­tle pony dolls, dress up clothes, sofia the first bed­ding, sofia the first cas­tle and the dolls that go with it, new clothes, some movies and some stuffies and some puzzles. Thanks a bunch Santa. I will leave you some cook­ies and root beer and for your rein­deer some car­rots.

Love, Abi­gail Mar­so­lais

Dear Santa,

car­riage house.

When asked how they came to buy the house, Ann replied “I al­ways con­sid­ered the house to be the most beau­ti­ful in Osnabruck Town­ship. I’ve al­ways been in­ter­ested in older homes, their fur­nish­ings and the his­tory they bring with them”

Like oth­ers who have taken on the chal­lenge of re­do­ing a cen­tury home, their prime con­cern was to main­tain the char­ac­ter while mak­ing it a com­fort­able place to live.

“We knew the house had po­ten­tial, and when the op­por­tu­nity to buy it arose, it didn’t mat­ter what it looked like. I not only wanted it, I felt I needed it” Ann stated. “I’m very pas­sion­ate about this house. I ap­pre­ci­ate the work that was put into it over 150 years ago, and we just wanted to hon­our that and re­store it to its for­mer glory. I think we’ve ac­com­plished that.”

Hi Santa, my name is Emma. I am 9 years old. My Mother and Fa­ther said I have been a good girl for the most part. This year for Christ­mas I would like, Mon­ster High dolls, ds games, Ipad mini, new movies, Katie doll, friends lego, books, some new clothes and what­ever else you think I would like and de­serve. Thanks again for all the presents last year. I will have cook­ies and milk for you and some car­rots for your rein­deer. Have a safe flight.

Love, Emma Mar­so­lais

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