The Beginning of the Dream-Our Retirement Bungalow
Yeah I know, folks look at us funny when we say we just got our retirement bungalow. But we have. Carl does not like to move too often, so when we looked to downsize we were looking for more of a permanent move rather than a temporary one. This is our fourth home. We have had old and new and huge and small. We have had a bungalow (our first home) and a two story, a five level back split (the monstrous home we have at the moment). Next is a mid-sized bungalow which was built in the seventies.
The new home is still larger in stature than we planned to buy, but it ended up to be the home perfect for us in every way. It has had one owner, and that man, I guarantee, was a big family man of European stature (I am going to guess Italian). I don't actually know as it is an estate sale and the Lawyer has Power of Attorney over the sale. The man took great pains to make a lovely home of the finest quality. Fine wood trim with double doors to welcome folks into the vestibule. A lovely covered sun porch on the Southern front of the house, painstakingly built so someone could enjoy the day and evening without being distracted from the elements.
We purchased the Kitchen and Dining room suites. The kitchen is the light ash Queen Anne style and the dining room suite is cherry maple high gloss Queen Anne with a high cabinet with glass shelves. The Queen Anne style will go with our living room suite. There was also a beautiful wrap around bucket chair in champagne velour. We bought it to complete the living room. It will go nicely with our light camel velour. The kitchen reminds me of Andrea and Marcel's kitchen. They were a Belgian family my parents and I lived with until I was 7. They had a daughter Annette who was like my sister. Mom stayed home and looked after me and Annette and Andrea, Marcel, and Dad went out to work. Living in the basement apartment of Andrea and Marcel's made it possible for my parents to buy a home of their own. And we got an extra family out of it. It was where the concept of big family came from for me. As an adult I too adapted this love for others who became extended family.
The living room and dining room style reminds me of my Grandpa Bill and Nanny Lil's Oshawa highrise apartment. Queen Anne all the way. Fine furniture and a wonderful warm feeling place. The coffee table always had the giant lead cut crystal candy dish with the big lid. Ma (my Great Grandmother) would sit in a chair and suck a candy and knit. Aunt Grace ( my other Great Grandmother) would hang out with her when they visited my grandparents. Carl and I even considered moving to that building on Stephenson Road when Carl got the new job in Oshawa. It was on our list of options if we could not find a house we liked.
What furniture was left in the house was of the finest quality but it was dated. Retro seventies for sure, but it was in mint condition. We made an offer to buy the furniture. It will match well with our own furniture, as we are retro collectors ourselves. We have lots of furniture from the fifties and sixties handed down to us from our parents (who also kept their stuff mint), and some we have found in the "Sally-Ann"(Salvation Army Store). The retro feel is the first reason the house is us.
What does the retro mean to Carl and I and why is it so important to our life? Number one: quality. Even old arborite is better than the stuff of today. It is definitely better than the wood veneer over particle board of now.
Even the bathrooms have their original fixtures and the porcelain is perfect! Not a chip or scratch, not one blemish or crack. Retro colours like lime and lemon. Even the main bathroom has two sinks with swag chandeliers. The master bedroom has a chandelier! The dining room has a chandelier. The master bathroom is wallpapered in a very regent french pattern paper in green, and the large main bathroom is wallpapered in the same regent style in a yellow-gold. I won't change a thing about them. I love them. I will be true to the home as the owner saw it, and I will hope to preserve it as long as I can.
Our friends can imagine how much we can expand upon the gawdy and keep it in its blessed and most loved frame in our life.
The basement has a huge second family kitchen. So Italian, so Newfoundlander. Just perfect for our lifestyle of lots of cooking and long dinners around the big table. On either side of the kitchen (which is in the centre of the basement). The second kitchen reminds me of going to my school-mates homes. Friends of Italian, or Greek or Portuguese descent had basement entrances and the upstairs was off limits. Eating food and listening to music or watching TV took place in the amazing functional basements. It is the same for Newfoundlanders. Carl's Mom has a second kitchen in her home. She has always done all the big cooking in the basement. It is a very culture based idea.
Akin to the kitchen is a laundry area. It is open to the kitchen and large, yet it has a curtain to pull across to keep the kitchen grease etc from getting in the laundry area. It is great though, so there is a large work space when you are folding laundry and ironing. There are lines above your head for hanging finished work or damp clothes, and a huge area of storage shelves built in and tucked away out of sight.
In front of the kitchen is a huge family room. It is in the front part of the house. It has a nice fireplace, and is cozy with its vintage carved berber carpet in gold tones. (That carpet is also going down the stairs and has the crazy plastic scuff-cover on the stairs!) We purchased a sofa and chair set with the house for this room. It is of rich red and orange with highlights of brown and black. A great set with no wear and tear. Remember splayed arms on sofas that made it easy to lay down on them and have a great angle for your head? These pieces have them!
There is dark tacky paneling on the walls of this room. I myself do not like paneling like that. Carl loves it. He can't get enough of it. I can't fault the stuff. It is a veneer that you just can't kill. I will do my best to liven up the paneling without killing its spirit. The room even has mariner wall lamps with little shades all built in. I know why Carl loves it so much. It reminds him of the basement his Dad built. The basement that he lived in until he moved out to marry me. He can sit and remember his dad who build a great paneled basement and his brother who also built a great paneled basement. I know he misses them a lot.
The ruckus room is behind the kitchen. This is the play area. Half paneled in barn-board spread on one side. Topping off the barn-board laminate paneling and Italian bottle plaster walls plus again those great wall lamps. Half way down is the roughed-in wet bar area. Obviously one of the family members wanted the mementos of the bar and took them before the house sold, so we will do our best to create a piece to fit the mood of the ruckus. Overhead there are glass swags that drop down over the imaginary bar, just waiting for a party. The room is very large. Will suit our life. I envision the drum kit set up in the corner and instruments on the wall, waiting to be played. The bar is a dream for Carl. He has always wanted a little bar and a fridge for just his home made beer. He will have that. I will create the bar with Adrian's help. Something to match the Retro feel. I will love doing it. The ruckus room reminds me of Uncle Gordie's basement and the amazing parties held there. Folks played cards a lot in those days. We'd always celebrate the holidays, and it seemed there was much more interest in having fun times with your friends on a weekend with a dinner and a game, rather than heading to a club or watching a TV movie.
In the back corner of the basement is a fourth bedroom. It is the smaller of all the bedrooms. But still larger than the smallest bedroom in the current house. It has a walk-in closet set up with huge shelves that are deep. This room will be my studio. The shelves will work well and the closet should hold most of my yarn stash drawers. I will also have a bed down there for guests to use. You see, it seems, for now, Alex and Amber and Cam will be staying with us. I don't now for how long (they all feel it is temporary). I have disappointed them a bit by explaining our art will be on the walls and the rooms won't really be decorated by them to their tastes. I just don't want to have to do a huge fix up job when they leave us, to get the rooms the way we would like them for our future.
None of the kids have seen the house. I think they will be surprised. Their rooms are bigger than our master bedroom in the current house, and the closets are better. The ruckus room will house the big TV for video games and have lots of couches for jamming. We even bought a mahjong table for gaming. I figured the drawers would come in handy for holding game pieces and the table folds up so it stands freely with the table folded upwards so it can store flat against a wall.
We have been separated from the social world by life. We have raised our kids and gave them our time and attention. We have enjoyed them to bits. We have worked hard, and now it is time to do as we desire. We desire dinner parties and card games and a little nostalgia. The old ones are getting older fast. Many are gone. Our elders celebrated life over fifty. So shall we.
So we leave Newmarket in the North countryside of Toronto and we head to Oshawa on the East edge of the Toronto Megalopolis, also known as the GTA. Carl will enjoy his work at the Durham College/UOIT (University of Ontario Institute of Technology). We will be on the main train line. We can travel by train and commute to the downtown of Toronto in 45min, or we can catch the VIA rail for travel across the whole country. We are 10 minutes drive from Lake Ontario which is one of the vast Great Lakes. We will miss our friends in the North. We won't be strangers. We also got a toll free telephone number for our friends to use. (If you checked your facebook you do have the info in your EVENTS area). We will be happy to be able to re-connect with our friends and family in the East area (which are many). We are right thrilled that we are a train trip away from our Ottawa friends and we still have a home big enough for them to visit.
We are also happy for Carl to be in his most favourite job yet. He is excited to take this job beyond retirement age if he wishes. It is a perfect fit, only a few minutes from our front door. He loves the environment of being around the students. The young energy of the school breathes life into the business area where he works. He walks through the hustle and bustle of the young adults and walks through a door to the IT division where he works on managing new IT systems to keep the school's admin current or cutting edge. A small group of folks manage the back end of the students' communication systems like forums and lecture notes and video notes. Plus they manage the email and chat system. They also are responsible for the whole of the admin information system of student data.
Me......well I am happy for a home with no ridiculous stairs which makes it impossible for our mothers to visit. It will be fantastic to be able to entertain our Mom's again.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
The Beginning of the Dream-Our Retirement Bungalow