The Carriage House

roof frame

The original 1830s pole barn frame.

Some time in the summer of 2021, I was talked into having two gifted reconstruction carpenters take down an 1830s carriage house from Closson Road, and reconstructing it 3 kilometers away on my property, Gryphon Cottage, in Consecon, Prince Edward County. Anybody worth hiring is not available for at least six months, so it was January of 2022 before Gene Power (Trinity Bay Construction) and Bill Beaton (Loyalist Framing) delivered the pieces, all numbered and accounted for, to my property. In October I poured the concrete pad, and we started putting together the frame before the snow fell.

At some point, I decided to make the building ‘three season’, so I looked into SIP panels (hideously expensive now) and other methods of insulation before deciding to use the timber left over from the reconstruction of my Regency Cottage, as an exterior frame, and make the walls of cob. My property is adjacent to 15 acres of conservation land. I wanted something that wouldn’t offgas, melt, or seep toxins into the turtle nesting area. Cob is made by mixing clay, sand, straw, lime, and a touch of Portland cement. Judging from the thousands of cob buildings I have seen in Europe, it should be good for another 500 years. And it is mostly natural.

There was a reason women were encouraged to have many strong sons. It is back breaking work. The cob should be finished by July 7. The following week Gene, Bill and I will apply the lime mortar and skim coat. Then the hemlock floor will go in, and the place will be a workshop, yoga retreat, music studio, or craft center. 

The building should be mostly finished by August 2023, and completely finished by October 17, St. Luke’s Day.