Awen Farm

Jon and I bought our home in the summer of 2010. It's a log house with log outbuildings and it’s about 150 years old. To the best of our understanding our house is two log structures that were moved and put together to make one home on the property in about 1930. 

Before - August 2010

We have a story and three-quarters on both sides...with one side making up kitchen and eating area (with front porch and back hall additions) on the main floor, with our bedroom and bathroom above. The other side of the house is the living and original dining room - now our library downstairs with three small bedrooms upstairs.

Our home was vacant and bank owned when we looked at it. It appealed to us for a number of reasons...

  1. it was in our preferred location
  2. we wanted at least 5 acres (we have 7.2)
  3. we both love old houses
  4. the challenge it presented
  5. there was very little to undo
  6. it's the right distance from the road
  7. it has several outbuildings
  8. the property is beautiful - it's like living in a park
  9. the closest neighbour is 2000 ft across a field - and no possibilities of anyone building closer - ever
  10. Jon has room for all his stuff
  11. I can garden to my heart's content
  12. our dogs have plenty of room to play and not bother anyone
  13. it's close to a couple of towns (including Ottawa) so it will be a good place to stay indefinitely.

Part 2.......

While in the process of buying the house we discovered that there was no septic system in the house and that the well was bad. This would be enough to turn most people off, but we decided it was a good thing. Not only would we be getting this great house that we could make our own but it would have a brand new septic system and well.

If you’ve ever lived in or considered buying an old house you know what a big deal the septic system is; so a brand new one sounded like a great idea to us. We offered on the house asking the bank to put in a new one, along with a new well. In Ontario you can’t mortgage a home without a proper waste disposal system (we have no idea how it happened before us) or with no source of potable drinking water; so we really felt it worked in our favour. The bank agreed to the conditions and ta-da a new well and septic system were put in just days before we took possession.

Let’s back up a little to the first time we came to see the house. As mentioned the house had been vacant and sitting empty for sometime (we’re not sure how long) and it was so dirty we had to tip toe around and not touch anything for fear of what we might be touching.

I can’t even describe how gross the whole house and property were. Our realtor thought perhaps we were nuts; especially when we arrived for a second look and discovered that both the heat sources had been stolen – a wood stove from the kitchen and a pellet stove from the living room.

The yard just after we took possession.

At this point we didn’t know about the well and septic issues but we did know the house had no heat, no kitchen to speak of, critters and birds calling it home and more dirt than we thought the poor house could collect in all its years here.

Another shot...This is where Meg calls home now.

In all honesty I was scared. I’m a city girl and the prospect of the work this house needed was feeling like a little too much to undertake. Jon and I weren’t on the same page. He loved the place just looking at bad pictures on the internet. He clearly saw something in our home that I missed at first, we talked about it endlessly and gradually I came to see what he was seeing and maybe even more.

Every day I drive down our very long laneway I can see our home fully renovated, our buildings done, the gardens growing and our pup swimming in the pond. It’s my dream coming true and every day I’m grateful that Jon saw something here and made sure I could see it too.

Our laneway before clean up, the trees
are still there but it's much neater now.

We spent several weeks living in our R.V trailer while Jon got a make shift kitchen working and making sure we had a working bathroom. The boys were far less impressed with the place than we were; they really did think we were crazy. Maybe we were/are but I told them it would be an adventure and that’s exactly what it’s been so far. I know the day will come when we can all look back on how far we’ve come and relish the memories we’ve made. Each new day brings new things to experience and I’ve been documenting them in photos and I will continue to do that here.

It’s a wonderful life to have your dreams come true. Ours are coming true here as we bring our old girl back to life. I like to think she’s glad to have us and glad to have a family living here and loving here and making memories.