• May 28, 2018

    The Stone House: First Glance Inside

    We walked up the overgrown drive towards the extension, known as the "summer kitchen". Summer kitchens were once used for cooking during the summer months and messy chores like laundry, so that the main house kept clean and at a more comfortable temperature. This particular version also has a set of drive through doors so they could have the horse and carriage go right through the building.


    The realtor was using the large drive through door as the access point so we in effect entered into what could only be described as an unfinished garage like space.


    Moving through the door, it quickly became clear that the previous owner spent all of his time in this summer kitchen space. It was chopped up into three rooms, a windowless bathroom, a small bedroom and a kitchen and sitting area. 


    Some personal remnants.


    The nice thing about the summer kitchen is that it was obviously and immediately deemed everything must go


    In the parlour, looking towards the summer kitchen, we peeled off some wallpaper to reveal the plaster. Thankfully the plaster and wood floors on the first floor of the main house are mostly in great shape. A momentary win!


    In the parlour looking towards two rooms, the left will be a guest bedroom and the right will be the bathroom. 


    Looking toward the parlour from what will be the bathroom.



    On the left, a close up of the plaster and very simple woodwork. A part of me wishes we could leave it as is, but another part of me feels a desperate need to freshen everything up. Besides, there are repairs that needed to be done. On the right, the classic farmhouse staircase to the second floor.


    Oh boy. Where downstairs was positively cheery and manageable, upstairs was basically scary. We later learned that the house had been dubbed the bat house


    Colour scheme is not bad, I guess.



    Gorgeous views from every window. We later learned there are mouse hotel rooms under the window sills.


    Layers of wallpaper. We take inspiration from the gold.


    Old note, Dec 3 1950 age 14


    Look at those plank doors. 


    The plaster. The room on the left in particular was falling apart. The boarded up window is an unfortunate loss from when the summer kitchen addition was built.




    Looking back towards the stairs. I really cannot believe we bought this house after seeing the upstairs. Ha! 


    Interior demolition is up next!

  • May 25, 2018

    An introduction to the Stone House

    Several years ago, lost in the midst of raising two small children and running our shop, we began to yearn for a place of calm. We were already fortunate to have the inhereted family cottage, however summers seemed even more hectic and the beach community has so much energy and structure, it wasn't providing the grounding we were craving. 


    We also have a serious little house on the prairie pioneering itch to scratch, and so began the hunt for a farm house. Naturally it couldn't be just any farm house. Round one included two visits to a lovely log house near Horseshoe Valley but something just wasn't quite right. Plus the 100 acres seemed overwhelming when it was discovered you can't just go wandering into the woods (you have to actually prune and create time for that!).


    Round two brought us out to a stone house near Belleville. The initial website images were enough to scare anyone away but encouraged by the temptation of a little getaway to nearby Prince Edward County got us through the door. Once inside we were nervous. It was rough and unlived in for a few years, and smelled so badly. Yet, there was something magical. It was August and the house was surrounded on three sides by fields of tall corn stalks. A small grouping of trees and a stream ran along the property line. It was peaceful and despite the decrepitness of the interior, the exterior stone suggested solidity, strength and security.


    We didn't depart sold, but we arrived at the Drake Devonshire for lunch about an hour and a half later, and within minutes of sitting down, we were feverishly contacting the agent to put in an offer. Funny how these things happen.


    We hope that you follow our journey in bringing this old stone home back to life.





  • May 17, 2018

    Non-Finito Exhibition


    On Thursday, May 17 we hosted Brian Richer of Castor with his first solo stone carving exhibition at Mjolk.  The show runs until the end of the month so pop by in person if you can! Otherwise, here's a little pictoral overview of the show.


    Non-Finito Vase, limestone - $700 (edition of 3 - for brevity we are using the term edition to mean there will be a maximum quantity made, though they aren't technically an edition because they are made by hand)


    On the left is a wood stand holding Brian's tools, which Brian made himself. 


    Non-Finito Bowl - $700 (limestone, edition of 3)


    Close up of tools.


    Brian's handmade tools on the left.
    We also left some of our antiques in the mix, as they complimented the stone work beautifully.



    Non-Finito Alabaster Cube - $975 (edition of 1) and the only piece made of alabaster.




    Non-Finito Copper Bowl - $1200 (edition of 1)


    Close up: Brian grew the copper onto the marble bowl.


    Non-Finito Tall Flower Vase - $2400 (limestone, edition of 3)


    Non-Finito Stool - $2400 (limestone, edition of 3)


    Non-Finito Shaker Table - $5400 (limestone, edition of 3)


    "There's a Judd in that stone!" - $5400 (limestone, edition of 3)


    The stone carver: Brian Richer


    The night of the opening was so much fun. New and familiar faces turned up to see the work, enjoy a cold Ace Hill beer and some truly lovely Japanese inspired stew made by Matty Matheson. Thank you Matty for the food and your time serving and chatting with all the guests. Unfortunately I neglected to get a photo...too busy enjoying the evening. Check out the highlight reel on the @mjolkshop instagram.


    Finally, a shout out to Ace Hill brewery for supplying our beverages for the evening.



  • May 10, 2018

    Non-Finito Exhibition at Mjolk









    The Captive (or ‘unfinished’) figures of Michelangelo are the primary inspiration for the series by Brian Richer. The Creative Director at Castor Design is also a trained stone carver. He has worked on many architecturally significant buildings in North America, and has explored captives for years.  


    The Captive sculptures are simple forms, carved using only hand tools, mallet, and chisel. Unlike most sculptors—who built a model and then marked up their block of marble to know where to carve—Michelangelo always worked freehand. He saw the sculptor’s job was to reveal the work that already existed within the stone. In these figures one can still see the grooves from the chisel, the process of the work, revealing the hand of the sculptor.


    The Captive collection is one that presents classic forms (such as a stone bowl, a Shaker table, a Donald Judd chair, etc.) emerging from rough blocks of Indiana Limestone. Each object is partially consumed by the natural material in either a roughed or rectilinear shape. The series ascribes the same value to these pieces of furniture that is given to Michelangelo’s figures. The result is both recognizable and venerable at once.


    Non-Finito: a solo exhibition of captive stone carving by Brian Richer. Ace Hill drinks and stew will be served at the opening reception by Brian Richer and chef Matty Matheson.


        Thursday, May 17, 7–9pm


    2959 Dundas Street West

    Toronto, ON, Canada

    M6P 1Z2