A closeup of the Swedish kakelugn tile stove. Although we have big love for the round versions, it's special to have a mantle to display some beloved objects. Some antique finds on the left, a couple of Masanobu Ando's Box of Air sculptures and a meiping shaped vase acquired at an antique shop/cafe in Japan several years ago.
Dreaming of going to the stone house. Don't you just love the deep window sill? Objects are starting to accumulate. Troll Vase by Anderssen & Voll, lavender from Coriander Girl in Picton, a Märta Måås-Fjetterström textile, some natural finds from Frank and Emily's summer stay, a special edition urushi Kin tea light holder by Claesson Koivisto Rune, a watering can bought from an antique market in Tokyo and the newest addition, a brass candle holder found during our last stay at one of the antique shops in Stirling.
This old door handle really gets me. Seeing it photographed though, it deserves some better screws...add that to the to do list!
John recently installed some Matureware hardware, including this neat adjustible lock, available for special order via Mjölk.
There are two doors into the bathroom. I think on our next visit we need to sand what appears to be a wood door handle.
Also installed in a few locations are Matureware brass light switches. So much better than the readily available standard plastic. I want to change all our switches everywhere but it only comes in single or double.
The Belgian barber cabinet has a few items in it. I like how we have closed storage in the bottom and then some glass display shelves as well. The other two urushi Kin, plus an antique wooden head and a Byredo candle from a very kind customer. On top, an antique mask, and Socket Light from Menu (currently in stock despite what the webshop says).
Overview shot of the bath area, with antique stool. On the wall is a bronze wall vase prototype in the spirit of Masanobu Ando and Tomii Takashi's wall vases. We are hoping to produce some in time for the holidays.
It's been awhile since we've been to the Stone House. In part because it's still a little under constuction, but also because of the usual September busyness of back to school and an increase in customers at the shop who have returned from their summer activities.
The kids had a four day weekend over Thanksgiving so we decided we needed to go for a visit. Thankfully Peter Tan from Studio Junction accommodated us, despite his (very tidy) construction zone.
It was heaven. A perfect sort of moody, foggy, drizzly but not too wet weekend. Everyone was so calm and happy, and surprisingly busy with the little things.
I spent quite a bit of time enamoured with the landscape. The colours were just changing so it was mostly golds and greens, with splashes of red and purple. The property becomes so lush over summer it's interesting to see everything wither.
This front area is the only larger open field area that we have. Last year the middle patch was so natural and pretty. Our farmer friend razed it last fall and we tried to till and plant wildflowers but unfortunately something else took hold, a variety of very strong grasses/wheat? It didn't have the same appeal so we are going to cut it back again and work a smaller section. I guess it'd be good to have a larger space to play too.
I imagine using this open space for archery. It's the one thing from my day camp days that I loved doing and never ever got to do it enough. If anyone has any tips on real kid friendly sets or places to buy, let us know via email. I started looking while in Belleville and am not sure the hunting shops would sell leisure/kid friendly archery equipment.
Under construction, Peter and his crew have been working hard on the drive through doors - they will become a solid wood entryway and on the other side a large picture window. The concrete pads have been poured, hence the protective tent.
Glad that the cornfields are still hanging around. They were working across the street on Friday...but seem to get to these fields last which I appreciate.
This is the only window we didn't switch out. I am sure we will come to regret that as the wind begins to whistle through. I am enjoying this little view into the kitchen.
We are just waiting on the glass panel for this massive picture window that will look out onto our tiny apple orchard. They found a perfectly good concrete pad already there so to make things easier, the window will sit atop a concrete ledge but the bonus is we will have a little bench on the inside, perfect for contemplation.
More textures, colour and fog.
I found John under the only producing apple tree. Unfortunately all the apples had fallen but he was salvaging what he could.
No filter required, these apples are pretty much the only colour going right now.
I am pretty envious of John's get up. Where can I buy this without going to the UK? Not a rhetorical question, shoot me a message via juli_at_mjolk instagram or Mjolk email. It sounds silly but I feel I need an appropriate wardrobe of tweeds and horseback riding fashion breeches (I had a great pair from Club Monaco circa 1994. What ever happened to Club Monaco? They lost me awhile back...).
We have lots of little paths around the property. Here I found the kids exploring on their own.
Meanwhile, inside we drank a lot of coffee, had fires, and enjoyed the dark moody interior. The kitchen is obviously still a work in progress but the light, THE LIGHT! It's like living in a Vermeer.
On Saturday we went into Belleville, to L'Auberge du France for some promised french fries. Next door is Scalliwag Toys which we popped in to grab a new board game (based on my Instagram Stories and availability, we bought Ticket to Ride). We were feeling a wee bit high on family life and ended up buying the deluxe Brio train set...and a Playmobile bakery too. The owners of the shop were very sweet -- the very reason it's important to SHOP LOCAL. I don't know how this little shop survives with all the big box shopping mall competition but I hope that locals begin to appreciate their very cute and walkable downtown main street. It's high time we reclaim our retail landscape.
A mini tour of Belleville, to inspire you to shop local.
Middle: Stephen License Bicycles & Hobbies - this place is so classic. We almost went in but I was feeling reckless and knew I'd end up buying an electric John Deer riding car or something. Also the reason we didn't go into the neighbouring pet shop...that bunny in the window was so cute and living life in a cage that was past due for a clean up. It's important to know when you have no boundaries.
Right: We haven't been to The Lark yet, but know many people who have or who know the owners so we look forward to visiting the next time we are up and without kids.
Back at the stone house, the kids were playing hide and seek, which always tickles me considering there are nearly no places to hide. Howell usually ends up running shoeless outside in search of cover so Elodie ended up out there too. They returned about 5 minutes later with a bucket of leaves and proceeded to work quietly on the perfectly positioned large scale Fly coffee table. Using the leaves they acquired they did leaf studies. Be still my heart!
So quiet, so focused.
The Hans Wegner Peacock chairs are together again. We just couldn't separate them, despite our best intentions to buy two and sell one to pay for the other. That corner needs work but it's a great start! It's my newspaper reading corner.
Next post will be about some new hardware and small design objects.
The view from the parlour towards the guest bedroom and the bathroom.
A few views into the guest bedroom from the parlour.
Guest bedroom details:
Companions Bed in walnut by Studioilse. Evidently this is the best bed ever.
Walnut and cast iron McQueen bedside chest by Matthew Hilton (also available via Mjölk but not currently on our website).
Carrie Lamp from Menu is battery operated and handy for walking to the bathroom or contending with bats at night
(aka using as a night light to keep the bats away).
Walls are painted with Belgian Wilderness lime fresco from Pure & Original Paint.
Same as our showroom, different technique.
Not that you can really see it here, but the blue, purple and green flatweave Swedish rug is by Judith Johansson. We were first introduced to her work at JP Willborg in Stockholm (I highly recommend a visit there), where we bought a gorgeous red and blue rug. We then acquired a brown and orange one via auction. So one could say we are fans.
Waiting for a desk. Disappointed we cannot place a desk in front of the window but due to a second door that goes into the bathroom the bed is in the way. Mexiko Pendant from Kalmar (for some reason it's not on our website but it is available via Mjölk). A shaker box in the deep set window. Artwork found at an antique market in Tokyo.
A view into the bathroom. To the right of the door is a sandcast brass light switch by Oji Masanori from Futagami. We managed to get a few for the main floor. Adore them.
Black cabinet is a Belgian barber cabinet from the early 1800s. Don't get me started on the trial
that was acquiring this.
Striped rug was a surprising find from Ikea. We had bought a rug on Etsy and then forgot that we actually bought it, found this rug at Ikea which was perfect, then found out we actually did buy the Etsy rug. Super organized over here! Etsy rug is now bedside in the guest room.
A view of the white oak console, with baskets from Ingegerd Raman's collection at Ikea. Towel rack and towels from Momogusa. Artwork bought in Japan, by Swedish artist Gunnar Larson.
We switched out the overworked and underwhelming Elephant Grey for Pure & Original's Old Linen. We are so happy with the change. The room feels calm and warm, and it doesn't interfere with the view outside. It also has less contrast with the chair rail.
I'm going to be honest, I am kind of sad that I am all caught up with these renovation posts. In July we got another shipment of furniture to the stone house. The vintage pieces have been loboriously aquired over the previous two years (remember we put our offer on the stone house back in 2016).
Vintage light fixture is by Vilhelm Lauritzen. These fixtures were site specific, for a place called Christiansborg. We actually bought one for a client project and then lucked out finding another one for our own place!
A better view of the Hästhov (coltsfoot) rug, and a shaker stand for candlemaking.
The unresolved corner, recently a little more resolved since we brought the second of the Peacock chairs over...
they just begged to stay a pair though we had initially hoped to fund the purchase of one with the sale of the other.
Our first sleep over at the stone house occured over a kid-free May long weekend.
On the way we stopped at Yorkdale Mall to buy some linens for our bed, only to discover that RH only sells via online (despite their new lavish mall showroom). Scandalized, we grabbed a bite at Jamie Oliver's restaurant, which was actually quite good. We are Jamie fans. I preamble with this to say that we didn't really arrive until about 3pm.
We set up the bedroom. Well, at least the kids who aren't here with us are all set up. We slept on the mattress cover.
The upstairs woodstove didn't end up where we had planned, which is making the space cramped in one corner. Kind of annoying but where we wanted it we had to install the kakelugn, who's pipe comes right up through the floor to the roof. We had really wanted a sitting area for in front of it but now I am not sure what's going to happen.
The kid's beds are from Ikea.
Early kitchen set up: it's called making do. We have a fridge, a bar cart, a stove and a kitchen table. Keen eyes will note that our table is the Enfield Table, our own production. Early review: we love it.
Here John is firing up the wood cook stove for the first time...to reheat our leftover pasta from earlier in the day.
While we unpack our meagre kitchen items we realize we forgot one essential: mugs for our morning coffee. It's getting late in the day as far as small town life is concerned so I do the 7 minute drive into Stirling and find a little candy/novelty shop that is open. Success and relief! The town provides.
While we wait for the stove to fire up, we go on a walk about.
Our lawn maintenance pal Mike makes sure to mow us a path through the meadow, as well as a few openings to the stream, making it quite pleasant to wander around and check out all the sights.
Look at that copper trough. So. worth. it.
We were in total awe of the light on this particular evening. It was the warmest of welcomes. The trim, having been painted recently from white to drop cloth, was the perfect choice.
Walking through our small orchard that is comprised of about 5 apple trees, with I think two varieties of apple. Last year we didn't get any apples but the year prior we had some really tasty ones.
You can see the drive shed in the background. To the immediate left would be the farmer fields (not our property). To the right is a tiny sliver of a forest, and then the stream.
This was the first time we experienced spring at the stone house. Apple blossoms!
Two more angles.
A peek inside the drive shed, with feed bag ghosts.
Time for another walk about. The view from what will become a corn field (not ours).
That night we watched some Westworld and then a bat woke us up at 3am.
Our first morning waking up. I am shocked that this photo was taken at 9:52am, seeing as how the sunlight just comes right on in, and we wake up to the vistas that surround us. Then again, we continue to be sleep deprived parents, in this case, without said children to deprive us.
On this evening, we were also visited by a bat. I will assume it was the same bat as the first night. There always seems to be one bat. I of course know there are like 50 bats, but there is only ever one at a time inside. It's like they stumble in accidentally, I can't even figure out from where because we sealed so much up. Anyway, this time John managed to get it downstairs and out the door, using a Jaime Hayon Pillow.
On our last day we grudgingly decided to get the primer painted. We added water to the can because the paint is quite thick (suggested) and used a regular roller for this part, just like you would with regular paint.
Not gonna lie, painting always seems like a great idea, like no big deal when you start, but it always takes longer than expected. Then again, the results are worth it.
I don't really want to spend much time indulging you in this living room as is here. I do like for you to see that sometimes one has to go with one's gut and make a change--and that yes, even we make mistakes. The grey was chosen when we had a completely different intention, and it turned out to not even be the grey we intended! Between not feeling settled on the colour, and the painter overworking it anyway, it wasn't such an ordeal to have to repaint it ourselves. Plus we got the opportunity to work with the Pure & Original paint product we are selling at the shop. I am pretty sure you are going to like where we do end up taking it (two posts from now)!
The sofa is the Mayor Sofa by Arne Jacobsen. Gold velvet with smoked oak legs, you may have seen it in the showroom. More photos to come.
That Playsam Saab Roadster ride on car has been sitting in our basement for 8 years. We originally had it in the showroom when we carried Playsam, but it never sold and since we knew we were having kids we figured we'd just hold onto it. Because of it's width I found when the kids were smaller they couldn't make it go, so now they are just the perfect age for it and they had fun zooming around the summer kitchen on their first visit up.
In the upstairs bedroom we have the unique issue of three beds in one room ("Goodnight Ma! Goodnight Pa!"). We looked for a long time to find something a bit more fun for the kids, but not so much fun that it clashed with the grownup natural linen vibe.
Camomile London is a splurge, but these linens should last us a long time. We liked that we could layer different prints and colours. Unfortunately when we were buying they were quite sold out (Elodie is more a purple kid) but we made it work pretty well I think.
This photo was taken after unpacking the linens in the guest bedroom. More on this rug later.
Some teaser shots of the upstairs. It's completely different than we first imagined.
Let's check in on the bathroom again, just because it's pretty and the trim is now painted.
See that plastic section of wall? Hopefull by the end of September it will be a large picture window. We are working yet again with the amazing Studio Junction. They will be crafting our kitchen, the large window, and our main entrance. The spaces where the window and entrance are located used to be a "drive through" door to drive horse and buggy through to unload goods. Wild.
Just off the living room is a door. Why is this not our front door you ask? Good question, sometimes I wonder that myself. But then I think about muddy boots and snowsuits being flomped down in the middle of the kitchen and dining area, and I am reminded why we are building yet another entrance (which will be to the left of this one, accompanied by a big storage unit to hide all the stuff).
Another view of this side of the room. You can see where the new entrance will go, where the bright light is coming from on the left of the photo. We decided since it's visible from the driveway that we would make it all wood for privacy.
In this corner, where the big picture window is going to be, will be our creative space/ a space to contemplate. So excited about having a spot where I don't have to be so neurotic about our children's art making. Pictured is Mike, amazing guy all around (currently taking care of our lawn) probably showing John a video of all the snakes in our basement. Haha. Snakes are good luck right?
Continuing the tour around the summer kitchen, lo and behold, the cooker has been installed. We deliberated forever on where to locate this. Originally a cabinet was supposed to go here but the location we wanted for the cooker didn't really work for the installation.
In order to fulfill our little house on the prairie dreams, only a wood cooker would do. We found the answer in this Esse 990 Wood-Fired Cooker. Some people may scoff at us for going this route (these city folk don't know what they are getting into, there's a reason for modern conveniences!), but it's all about slow living baby.
The firebox is in the top left corner. It's an interesting system, whereby, should one read the manual, one would discover that if you flip a switch, the smoke redirects through the system to heat the ovens. Reading the manual is essential or you will be waiting several hours to heat up a pizza. Just saying. Read the manual. The cooktop on the left side gets going way faster, within 30 minutes. The oven I think takes a little over an hour if done correctly. It is also helpful to have woodworker friends who can offload their excess wood to your cooker needs.
Guess what? We are one post away from our first sleepover visit. Exciting stuff, thanks for hanging in for the ride!
This is a photo of a once neglected but now very happy stone farmhouse with a new cedar shake roof.
Not going to lie, this was a painful if not reckless financial choice. However, onward we move, knowing we shouldn't have to worry about the roof for many years to come. It adds texture and warmth, it's a natural material, and it will fade to grey over time, to match the stone. No regrets. The copper eaves seem like an additional extravagance, however, they honestly weren't much more than regular painted eaves troughs.
Just wait until you see it all with newly painted trim. It positively glows with warmth and joy.
The other upstairs addition is the Shaker Stove from Wittus, designed by Antonio Citterio with Toan Nguyen. Since the furnace isn't connected to the second floor, we figured a cozy fire would be a good idea. How could we not go with this stove? Inspired by shaker stoves but practical for today's needs. And yes, we need to extend the base out...we'll get to that...
Late February, the upstairs floors received some patch work repairs and sanding to attempt to even them out and clean the boards up.
An exposed copper pipe was our solution to a plumbing issue that couldn't be buried.
Finally, a mousy discovery was made under the wood windowsills: mouse hotels! We brought the window sill back to the stone while we thought about a finishing solution.
Amazing how the sunlight transforms the space. Here you can see the smoked oak ceiling that was installed.
Downstairs, the bathroom is getting drywalled.
Outside we are considering the roof, and how we can't seem to escape all the hidden leaks. Everyone says this is a tin roof for life ("they don't make them like they used to"). Originally we were going to paint it in the spring but we have decided to remove any doubt and put a new roof on.
You may also notice that you cannot see the 6 over 6 lines on the windows. This is because we initially painted them a grey blue colour and you can't see it for the screens and bright white. In the end we decided we wanted to head in a different direction...stay tuned to see what colour we choose!
Ahhh February, that point in the year where you become very very done with winter.
Wallpaper has been fully removed and plaster repair has begun.
Don't you just adore the mottled plaster? Maybe we should have kept it. We didn't. But our paint decision in the guest bedroom was informed by the current colour. We chose Pure & Original's Belgian Wilderness (and later we also chose the same colour for our back showroom at Mjolk!).
Check out the simple but nice molding in the windows. We'll be keeping all the molding.
Out in the living room, the walls also have an interesting texture and colour (which, spoiler alert, subconsciously ends up informing our colour choice as well). The light continues to be beautiful, even in December.
This side, not as much!
The summer kitchen is coming along! The concrete has been poured, and there is a new drop ceiling of whitewashed rough boards. We're thinking the beams need some refinishing now.
The green tape on the floor is us trying to figure out how the kitchen will be placed. We've worked through many variations as the space is a bit odd, with several doors, and a low window.
You can see here that one of the beams has been refinished. It's nice to have things fresh and bright. Originally when we started this project we wanted to head in a darker more moody aesthetic but we can't seem to help ourselves with the pale wood.
Not much has happened upstairs, besides being cleaned up. There is frost on the inside of the roof...a worrisome sight since we have no aspirations to replace the roof...
Wallpaper removal progress in the parlour. The demo team gave up and left the rest for the painter.
The guest bedroom is at a stand still.
The room that is designated to become the bathroom was in the worst shape on the main floor so we have decided to pull it back and drywall.
Really nothing much happening in here except the gorgeous late autumn light. It's going to be so spectacular when we are settled in. A part of us wants to leave the plaster as is but we will be testing out Pure & Original paint instead.
I just love the space, with the farmhouse staircase to the second floor. I still remember a similar stair at my grandparent's house.
In other news, the fill was laid down and I didn't bother to photograph it. The insulation and pipes have been laid for infloor radiant heating. We figured it was the best way to maintain the temperature in this space. The main floor of the house is forced air, and in the upstairs bedroom we will be mostly relying on a wood stove. We may regret this.
The summer kitchen is a big space! Next step is concrete.
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 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!
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 paths...no 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.
Detour Coffee is now accompanied by Dear Grain heirloom breads, and they have started to serve open faced sandwiches which I cannot wait to try.
Probably the most significant changes occured with the investment in new Oak flooring from Relative Space as well as using Pure & Original Lime fresco paint in Bone. What an incredible difference this subtle textured natural paint gives to plain old boring drywall. Mjölk is now a representative in Toronto and the surrounding area for Pure & Original Paint.
We were able to reappropriate the banquettes they already had, but changed the proportions and painted them out with the really soft and pretty Farrow & Ball Vert de Terre. The Josef Hoffman chairs were a lucky find at Williams in our Junction neighbourhood and have the very cool history of having been previously used at the Toronto Public Reference Library.
Hanging above the tables are Mass Pendants in copper by Norm Architects.
On the other side of the cafe the first major thing we proposed was turning the squared off insert into one with an arch, and the effect is astounding.
We found the antique mirror at local Junction antique shop City Furniture, the last stop on our search and it was exactly what we were hoping to find. The long brass candle snuffer is by Stian Korntved Ruud.
Dedicated Detour customers may recognize the repurposed counter with its new bright top. The Oak flooring was extended up the back wall. A pass through window allows for customers to see the bread oven for Dear Grain breads. The cream coloured swing doors have always been there but they've been freshened up with a bright coat of paint and the brass fixtures have been polised, making the doors look brand new.
It being our ninth year at Mjölk as well, we decided it was finally time to refresh our showroom. Luckily we had recently happened upon a product that would really inform the more major change in the back of our showroom. Pure & Original paint from Belgium came on our radar during several other recent projects and the timing was right to incorporate it in our showroom.
In the front space we used "Milk", wooed by the name. It retains its gallery like open feeling, though there is a subtle texture added to the walls as shown in the above photo.
Over the years, the back of the showroom has been a struggle. The addition of a shoji lightbox over a window and new permanent white oak shelving fixtures definitely helped but the white drywall was reading as bland. The limited light did nothing to make the space pop so we decided to move in a different direction, opting for the dark green Belgian Wilderness from Pure & Original paint. We used the up/down effect and it has added so much depth and texture. This colour also works really well with the various woods, brass and plant life.
The desk area is slowly getting more layers. After a refresh it's just like moving into a new home. One is reluctant to poke holes in the new paint job, or overcrowd the space. New to the showroom is the simple FRAMA shelving as seen above.