Thursday, July 22, 2010


42 comments:

Dyche Designs said...

Wow, I think you guys are crazy but what an amazing transformation. So much hard work. I've done some small reno's on our homes over the years but I can only imagine the amount of hours that must have gone into it so far. Great job, it's fantastic.

George said...

Well, Gwen, one would have to say that you and your husband are either totally insane or boldly creative and determined. I choose the latter characterization. It's an amazing renovation, one that inspires me and undoubtedly many others.

Steven Cain said...

I so want to come help!

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

...to tell it's little story. It is no little task you have accomplished, with love and family around...you are living a dream, yes you are...

Linda H said...

WOW!! You are putting a tremendous amount of love and hard work into this place. It will be so special when finished. Now I definitely want to stop by when we get to St. Martins..someday...

Lord Wellbourne said...

In a world where everything from chocolate chip cookies to laundry detergent is 'awesome', the two of you are amazing and I am awed-- by your talents and your perseverance. I love preserving architectural elements. They have so much to say......

Anet said...

Ahhh... so this is what you guys have been up to.
It's really wonderful! It will be a wonderful space to work in.
Oh... and your grandkids are SO cute!

Penny said...

What a wonderful transformation. No wonder you havent been blogging much!
Cant wait to see it finished.

alaine@éclectique said...

Wow! What a mammoth job...not only the shed but putting this post together! Congratulations to you both and I'll look forward to seeing it filled with your wonderful artwork!

Danielle Barlow said...

WoW! What a phenomenal amount of work you took on. You must be absolutely exhausted, but it looks fantastic! I know you are both wonderful craftsmen(people), but I am in awe of your energy and commitment.

Are you curious about me? said...

Hi Gwen

'CONGRATULATIONS'

What a wonderful post and I love all of the photographs...

Just keeping this diary must have been a feat of indurance in itself... I would have forgotten to take the photo's when it was most important to make a record.

Your diary will become a wonderful part of your history to pass down through the generations... You will be known as those 'mad, intrepid recycler's ' that took on that old barn... And what a good job they did too..

I've just had a thought you could put a copy of this in a sealed tin and hide it in the rafters with a letter to future restorers...And in another hundered years or so they will be thrilled to find your wonderful diary..

Congratulations once again ~ Julie

rachel said...

I love the idea of your wonderful old wreck of a building being given a new and long life, still retaining its integrity and its history. Well done, and here's hoping that whatever emerges from the studio is as successful!

pRiyA said...

You guys are unbelievable.

ArtPropelled said...

Phew, what a lot of hard work but so worth it. I love the double doors.

Sheri L Larsen said...

Really, really awesome. Good for you two, wow...big job. Great images of the whole experience. Congrats! Oh and I love that little door with the glass at the bottom, that you mentioned, beautiful.

liZZie said...

I'm awestruck. I like how you go about this sort of thing and admire your vision and skills. It was worth it. What's the next project?

Gwen Buchanan said...

DD, George, Penny, Terri and Priya.. Yes we are totally crazy insane!!! It has certainly been an adventure.. we are so looking forward to being done we can almost taste it!

Steven, where have you been with your hammer and nails????

Linda, looking forward to meeting you when you make it to the village..

Lord W, yes, I love old architectural remnants... reminding us of the sense of thoughtfulness, quality and craftsmanship that existed in those days.. I do wish I lived 100 years ago.. or even farther back.. the simpler the time, the better...

Hey Anet.. the things those rascals get up to !!! completely innocent though... cute as buttons too... bet you can't wait till some are hopping around your place...

Sheri, Thank-you, I think we are putting the little windowed door on the bathroom... with a curtain, of course!

Robyn... a fellow came over last night and told me he remembered the old doors and the old store they came from the way it was when he was a kid.. he kept talking about all the beautiful woodwork and cabinets that used to be there... wish we could have seen it..

Thanks Rachel, Alaine and Danielle, We are so itching to start creating in it.. can hardly contain ourselves.. it will be so great we won't know how to act!!...

Julie, Thanks, that is such a good idea!! I really loved documenting the process.. sometimes when a person is too close to a project they forget the little improvements along the way.. this really helped us see the whole thing..

Thanks Lizzie... next project?.. haha you're Hilarious!!!!

Seth said...

Truly amazing. I can see the love in this project, as I can see it in all that you and your family does. At the end of all this hard work, you will end up with the perfect place to create.

simply blue said...

I love to visit your blog...in hopes I'll see a new post...you live in such a beautiful place....that aside...WOW....what a treat today. What you and your husband have done is absolutely amazing. Talk about sticking to a project....and such talent between the two of you. Thank you so much for sharing this creative journey....and you're still married! An incredible execution of a vision...

...louciao... said...

There's a fine line between creativity and insanity and you and your husband both seem to walk it beautifully! What a daunting task, but obviously the vision you held kept you at it and you'll reap the rewards for years to come. I'm sending the link to this post to all the handymen I know; I know my own husband will be enthralled. By the way, we happen to own an abandonned house right next door to us if you're ever lacking for something to do.
;-)
We must drive out to St. Martins before summer's over and see this labour of love up close! Thanks for taking the time to sort out all the pix and tell the story in such fine detail.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Seth and Simply Blue... sometimes Creativity takes over good sense and Time... Hopefully we will be finished soon... and thank you so much for your support!

Hi Louciao, yes indeed I'm sure the locals thought we were nuts for putting effort into this old tumble down... for a while we tried selling it and even giving it away to a family member but No Takers...
We couldn't even find one person who wanted to work on the place for pay, so we were destined to do it ourselves, it was now a member of the family and we had to teach it to straighten-up... I'm glad we did.
... in this economy might as well save everything we can.. we just didn't think it would take as long...

yes, if you do take a drive out to this part of Fundy, Please drop in and visit... Wasn't the moon fantastic last night on the water!... makes it all worthwhile...

Ruth said...

I know what fabulous recyclers you and John are, so none of that surprises me, but it does inspire me to no end. What amazes me is how quickly you got through this massive project!

That's the same wood stove we have right here in our family room! :D

The choices you made for the doors, windows, the singles (YES! those triangles!), all of them, SCREAM Gwen and John. The most glorious aesthetics and craftsmanship. Your community is incredibly fortunate that you have taken this recycled recycle and recycled it again into a state of beauty and grace.

Thank you for taking the time and energy to chronicle it for yourself, and for us. I'm incredibly impressed and would love to see it in the flesh one day. Don and I always talk about going up to the Bay of Fundy to meet you guys.

kathi dunphy said...

Can't think of any other couple brave enuf to tackle such a wreck and transform it into a thing of beauty. What a lovely asset to St Martins is being created where once a derelict shed forlornly stood.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Ruth... same stove.. Go on... isn't that fun!! I'll think of you and Don every time I throw a stick into it... Thanks for being sweet.... I know the wonders you guys have worked on your charming homestead.. it is a cozy country paradise...
Wouldn't that be Super if sometime the two of you made your way up here!!.. but you would have to be careful.. this Fundy Bay gets into your blood...


Hey Kathi, Coming from you who would also tackle anything and do it better than Mike Holmes(!!!), I am greatly flattered... it was such a sad sight for so long.
John may finish the door surround today... but you know how fussy he is...

Cuidado said...

What a project! The journey is as important as the destination and the pride in what you have accomplished will delight you in years to come. You will see your hard work pay you back tenfold.

kathi dunphy said...

Oh I saw the door and surround from a distance today, I was turning left at the corner going home and glanced over. Even from that far away I could tell it's a work of art. Any one else would just stick in a plain ugly steel door, not you guys!
kathi

Chris said...

Congratulations to you both! What a lot of work. I love the added touches you included. I'm sure it will look so lively with your art work hanging on the walls.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Cuidado... I know what you mean... I have always enjoyed the process as much as the finished piece.. it is a more active component in creating... and exciting.

Thanks Kathi, it was really fun to plan and make come to life... there sure was a lot of sawdust!! Glad you stopped in!

Thank you Chris... we are getting antsy now!!! I know John is anxious to start using the place for what it was intended.. can't wait..

Are you curious about me? said...

Hi Gwen

With inspiration received from you I am just about to start keeping a diary of my studio being built, first pictures today. Sadly we don't have a building to recycle it's a new build that my husband has designed.

Trying to add another page to my blog...

~ Julie

Lorena said...

Nice to see people taking time and care to work on "building a life" aside from the beauty of a hand made, salvaged building which will last and give pleasure to all who see it, you are creating a beautiful life, beautiful family memories, and connection to place- a true holistic work of art. I hope to visit someday. Thanks for sharing your story and photos, love your artwork too!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Julie you are going to enjoy so much looking back at the steps and progression you and your husband make towards your new studio... You must be excited!!! I'm going to keep checking in on it...

Lorena, Thanks so much for your very kind words... when I look through your blogs I can see that you care deeply from the heart for everything you touch and see and do...
Good luck with your new dog... We'd love you to visit..

herhimnbryn said...

All that work,all those long hours. It was so worth it. What a beautiful transformation.

Sandy said...

This was an incredible pictorial journey through an arduous time but with beautiful results. Wow, I'm so impressed and enjoyed reading all about it.

Love the whole look of it.

Your grandkids are pretty darn adorable. I think it's the first time I've seen pics of them so I enjoyed seeing them.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Sandy and Herhimnbryn, Thanks for taking the tour of our project ... We have a few more things to do to the doors and then I'll post about them..
Ahh the little rascals.. the boys are 3 1/2 and the little girl on the right is 4 1/2 and what they don't think of.. were we all mischievous like that when we were kids?

Shayla said...

It took me two visits to take it all in- wow, you guys are hard workers. It is going to be gorgeous! Love the 11 ft high ceilings, lighting, the doors you chose and the triangle shingles.

Deborah Carr said...

You two are miracle workers. No wonder I couldn't find you when I was in St. Martins...I never would have given the original garage a 2nd glance...passed right by, never the wiser. But now? You've once more created a masterpiece. Congratulations!

What else would I expect, dear one?

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Shayla... I did kind of cram a lot of stages into one post and it is a lot to take in in one gulp... sure am glad it is almost finished even though we are way behind... maybe we will just think positive and think we are early for next year.. haha...

Deborah... Darn...We're so sorry we missed you!!! We would have enjoyed your visit so much... hopefully next time you are out we will have it presentable enough for a cup of tea... take care...

Sally said...

just amazing... all of it...congratulations

Sophie Munns said...

What a magnificent building and reallly...hard work and perpsiration aside... just so inspiring!
Best wishes with this wonderful endeavour!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thanks so much Sally and Sophie for taking a tour .. today John and I are laying the hardwood floor in the back addition ... Hope it turns out!! Life is a great big experiment, but it does keep it interesting...

BumbleVee said...

had a great time reading this post... hopping to it from the more recent one...

How I love to see renovations and people doing their own things..... I can understand each photo and recognize plenty of the effort put into all of it.

I wondered immediately what those extra pieces of plywood on the scaffolding were.... John's invention to hoist the drywall... We, too, had to be ingenious in order to lift some long sheets of it... but, in a cramped bathroom exactly the length of the sheets. I absolutely couldn't lift my end and keep it up even with a 2 x 4 and some other boards helping..so we had to invent a jig for the top end of the wall... to help hold things..it worked wonders.. like an extra man on the job...

We have done most of the finishing now on most of our in-home projects...but, my guy has wrecked his knee and I wrecked my back lifting my end of the big heavy bathtub...so, that's it I'm afraid for certain projects now... we will just have to limit the heavy stuff and play with the lighter ends of things....

What a wonderful and amazing job you two are doing... John is a just like my Greg and what a treasure. Do you find it amazing that they can "imagine-eer" a job and see it finished in their mind's eye even before they begin a project....? I do.... I always like it to the drywall stage...then I know how it will look... hahah.... takes me a long time to believe it will come to fruition I guess...

It will be an amazing studio... loved all the photos....

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi BumbleVee, Thanks so much for a most interesting response about your adventures in home reno... and sorry you both hurt yourselves.. some of those jobs can get tricky sometimes.
.. doing the finishing always takes longer than we hope..

...I love your recipe blog.

...all the very best to you....