Get ready for a trip back in time
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
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
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