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Schoolhouse to Home – Part III

March 19, 2012

Let’s leave the beautiful kitchen (if you can!), and travel down a long narrow hallway that leads to the biggest surprise of all.  It’s a long walk, about twenty feet; turn left into the great room or go straight out the back entry Marvin door with full glazing.  Another hanging lantern style fixture punctuates this back entrance that leads out to the spectacular garden, pool and dining cottage.

 After the long walk down the narrow hallway you don’t expect to see this vast soaring space–the new great room was once the 1960’s classroom addition.  It had a ten foot ceiling, which was higher than average, but the footprint of approximately thirty by thirty, although large, wasn’t big enough to accommodate the desired office, family room, gym and powder room.

Another thirteen feet was added to the height, making the top of the new cathedral ceiling an  impressive twenty-three feet tall at the peak.  What an inviting space, with its reclaimed wood beams and trusses, full-height stone fireplace with Rumford insert, antique wood floors, and Marvin windows, all custom designed by Adele Barrett Interiors.


Other custom designed and built features of the family room include:


  • The original slate chalkboards with blue and red horizontal lines have been installed into new millwork, with wide crown mouldings, book shelves, and cork board, and the wood was painted in a rich clay colour.
  • A twelve foot tall bookcase was made from recycled hemlock that houses the T.V.
  • An open staircase was hand-crafted using antique wood, topped by glass panels in the loft railing.
  • A craggy six-foot barn door made from salvaged wood slides open to reveal the home gym.

Warm and beautifully aged decorating details are everywhere.  There is a very old, ornately carved wing chair with vibrant upholstery in shades of lime and blue that resides beside the fireplace (see above and below).  The floral matelasse is original, and I carefully matched distressed velvet in lime green and blue to replace worn areas.

The area rug, from Elte,  is a patchwork of old orientals in every colour of the room, with a  warm red tone prevailing.  A pendulum floor lamp from Restoration Hardware  provides good light for reading, and a rich brick red and gold cut-velvet, damask fabric from Robert Allen makes the cosy sofa very inviting.

The powder room in this area is my favourite, from the black and white basket-weave ceramic tile floor, to the Restoration Hardware Library sconces, this is a little gem.  It is the closest bathroom to the in-ground pool and hot-tub, so I designed a bench, with cubbies to hold baskets and a shelf and hooks for pool towels, all painted in a beautiful antique teal.  A whimsical touch is evident in the tiny wood blocks of original art sprinkled across one wall, featuring a chandelier, a doll and a diamond ring, among other objects.

The loft office is washed by light from the two skylights and the large window with arched wood insert.  A bespoke cabinet lines the long wall, which allows for plenty of office storage and is topped with the same slate black board that was carefully removed from the old classroom walls.  There were originally two large walls of the old blackboards (you can just imagine row on row of cursive writing lessons) and only one was needed for the new chalk-board millwork in the family room below; we didn’t allow any of it to go to waste.


Jenn and Jim’s art collection is abundant in this large space, from the painting of colourful houses on the mantel, to the row of tiny portraits of earnest school children that look right at home on the blackboard, to the ice skating gentleman,  to name only a few.   The art adds to the charm and vibrancy of this fantastic home.

Continue to Schoolhouse to Home – Part I
Continue to Schoolhouse to Home – Part II

About Adele Barrett

Adele Barrett is a consulting interior designer in Hamilton and Dundas. Over twenty years of conferences and continuing education classes keep Adele Barrett Interiors design practice both on trend and timelessly classic. She started collecting paint chips from the local lumber yard when she was 3 years old, and a seed was planted that grew into a career. Continue reading...