Within a matter of hours of arriving to Prince Edward Island I made a beeline to the ocean. As a water sign boy who grew up a short stroll from Willows Beach in Victoria, feeling 'at home' begins when I hear the surf crashing on the beach. No matter where in the world I am, it's both comforting and a way to realign myself with nature.
I wish I felt that way at our Charlottetown triplex, but the main floor suite is in the throes of a significant renovation and the second floor tenants are raging over the noise and dust, with threats of complaining to the governing powers that be. Although I'm sympathetic to their plight, I'm a little crushed- if not dismayed over their lack of patience and understanding. The thing is that they will soon be enjoying two outdoor terraces when currently have none. One will be a sundrenched deck off the kitchen perfect for coffee klatching, and the other a generous covered porch off a bedroom perfect for sipping iced tea on a hammock on hot summer days. Instead of accepting the temporary pain for a wonderful gain, the tenants are negotiating a rent reduction while advising us they're looking for new digs.
Our feelings are hurt, of course. My pal James and I have taken what can at best be described as a former dump and, over the past few years, invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to create luxury accommodations. The current rent said angry tenants are paying is well below the rent it will be worth when the side porch deck and rear deck tower are completed, so isn't it worth the wait? Apparently not, so we may have to financially assist in their speedy exit. I quite love their suite, so if they leave I may very well occupy it myself for a few summer getaways. That would be nice!
In the interim, here's a pics of work being done:
This transformation includes the imminent construction of a small open concept 'Conservatory' on the side of this kitchen/diner. Situated in the location of a former teeny tiny washroom, this new light-filled space with 14 foot soaring skylit ceilings will serve as the main floor's lounge area. The proposed barn plank floors, wood barn beams and white beadboard walls will all reference the house's historical past, while serving as an open concept entertainment space for this three-bedroom unit.
Here's a sketch of the direction this is going:
While the building renovation is underway, my amazing friend and landscape designer Dan Nuttall, who did both my garden at The Button Factory and my patio terrace at The Movie House, is alrady getting the landscape plan and installation underway. With the wood shingle exterior and new windows of the house both finished matt black (you can see some of this in the top photo above), we're searching the nurseries this week for shrubs and trees which also lean to black. Our intention is to have a bit of macabre fun here. Call it 'Edward Scissorhands Goes To Prince Edward Island', except without the topiaries. Weird, right?
So far, for the street side of the property, Dan is considering Weeping Purple Beech (Fagus sylvatica 'Purple Fountain'), Purple Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius 'Diabolo'), and Royal Purple Smokebush (Continus coggygria 'Royal Purple'), all of which have dark foliage. They'll sit behind a picket fence of red cedar which will age silver over time, so with some tall grasses and pops of flowering colour, the house will have a welcoming brood to it. This proposed tension, contrast and interplay between a domestic structure and the landscape it occupies fascinates me. I'm quite excited for the transition the house will undergo over the next few months.
We're also having a 'Greek Revival' Side Porch constructed on the driveway side of the house, which serves as the point of entry for the main and third floor suites in the triplex (the centre hall front porch located street side of our shingle house serves as the entry for the second floor suite). By making it architecturally prominent, passersby will know it holds as much importance as the front porch, thereby ensuring none of the suites feel like a 'poor sister'. This elegant porch with soon-to-be-installed hurricane lamps will be quite substantial in length. It accommodates the front entry for the Main Floor Suite, with the broad covered staircase (wrapped in plexiglass to protect it from the elements) leading to the entry for our sun-drenched Attic Atelier suite. Click HERE to see how our interior renovation of that suite turned out!
There's a lot on the Go! at our Charlottetown property. If you're intrigued to see how this unfolds, stay tuned for more Tales Of Upper Hillsborough!