Rebuilding After a Codrington Fire


Homeowners still marvel at the ease with which their homebuilder transformed a tragedy into a triumph.

OUR HOMES Peterborough Spring 2017A version of this article originally appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of  OUR HOMES Peterborough Kawartha Lakes Cobourg Port Hope Brighton Bancroft, p.38. Find local businesses in our Peterborough directory

OUR HOMES Peterborough Spring 2017
After making the old schoolhouse in Codrington, northwest of Belleville, their home, the owners preserved the original wood floor. It was marked by screws that had kept desks in place. “People would come over and say, ‘This was my desk. I sat right here,’ ” she recalls.
Four years ago, the schoolhouse home burned down. Mice gnawing on varnished cloth insulating old electrical wires sparked a blaze that destroyed the building and everything in it. It was a tragedy not just for the owners – the neighbourhood lost an 1885 landmark.
Very few belongings were salvaged. The heat from the fire had destroyed even the wood stove and the refrigerator. The family eventually undertook the painstaking process of replacing almost everything they’d owned. Familiar with the beautiful homes of Gordon Tobey Developments Ltd., they approached Stephen Tobey to build their new home.
The owners wanted high ceilings in their living room to mimic the 12-ft. ceilings of the schoolhouse. Varnished pine ceilings give the principal rooms a warm, cosy ambience. A modern kitchen and granite-topped dining bar, open to the living room, was a must. 
An array of custom-stained cherry-wood cabinetry, reaches to the kitchen ceiling. A glassed corner cupboard displays the colourful bowls and pottery of Frantic Farms potter Monica Johnson. Three-quarter-inch oak from Sine’s Flooring covers floors in the main living areas. They chose a light hue for the hardwood floor because they elected a darker colour for their custom-made Mennonite furnishings. Their dining table with matching chairs, china cabinet, and their bedroom, den and living room furniture are hand-made of quarter-cut oak with old-world craftsmanship. Golden-brown leather sofas and a comfortable armchair from Bennett’s Home Furnishings complement the oak furnishings in the living room. VanVark Electric supplied chandeliers and most interior lighting.
The master bedroom, with a walk-in closet and en suite bath, inhabits the main floor just steps from the living and dining rooms, kitchen and laundry. Upstairs are two bedrooms, one of which was enlarged into unused attic space to create a nursery for visiting grandchildren. The two bedrooms are connected by a lofty hall that overlooks the living room.