Barns turned homes in Prince Edward County
WHAT The multi-barn Cressy Longhouse WHere Waupoos HoW big 2,600 square feet
Alan Gratias has a habit of buying old buildings and bringing them back to life. In 1997, he restored the Ottawa home of Francis Sullivan, a former student of Frank Lloyd Wright. Then, he restored two houses in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, where he lived from 2000 to 2010. And in 1998, he bought three falling-down barns—a pig barn, drive shed and turkey coop—along with a decrepit Loyalist farmhouse on the extreme eastern shore of Prince Edward County that he now calls home. Gratias tackled the farmhouse first. After getting a thigh-high river, several rat carcasses and “ten years’ worth of crap” out of the basement, he moved in and turned his attention to the old barns. He now uses the renovated, antique-furnished turkey coop, drive shed and pigsty as stylish guesthouses. When visitors pull into the courtyard of Gratias’ estate, they still see a collection of old barns. But once inside, it’s a cozy dwelling looking out to chardonnay grapevines and the pounding waves of Lake Ontario. “They walk through the door, and they’re like, ‘Oh, geez! This is not Ontario, this is the south of France,’ ” Gratias says.