“This house has good, sound bones,” says Kate Campbell of KateBuilds, builder, contractor and self-proclaimed designer who, along with her husband, Dave Coleman, restored The Major House – a 160-year-old farmhouse in Whitevale, one of the oldest homes in the Pickering area, circa 1850.
Kate, who has worked with Mike Holmes of Holmes on Holmes and many other trades professionals, entered the skilled trades in 2005. It was when she first picked up a power tool that she realized she had discovered her passion for building, which incorporates carpentry, electrical, plumbing, finish carpentry, design and several other trades.
The Major House, named after a prominent farmer, merchant and son of one of the area’s earliest settlers, had been boarded-up for a number of years when Kate and Dave decided to give it some TLC.
The dilapidated home had survived extensive renovations, losing most of its original interior features. Main beams were cut and it was sinking in the middle. The exterior of the home was in disrepair, but it was nestled on two-and-a-half acres, in a beautiful, tree-lined hamlet on the banks of West Duffins Creek, which runs through the heart of Whitevale.
The couple invested “heart and soul” into restoring the 3,500 sq. ft. home, offering large stately, principle rooms on the main floor, with bedrooms on the second. The structural exterior of the house remained intact. The couple were adamant about preserving its original, charming board and batten siding. They painted it a rich blue, Trinidad & Tobago by Para Paints – with white trim.
They worked closely with the town of Pickering’s heritage committee. They put together a plan and began gutting and renovating the interior of their home while living there, essentially building a new house from the inside out.
A new upstairs bathroom with a slipper tub, a central glassed shower, heated towel rack and white vanities made from repurposed dressers, was their first project. With a vaulted ceiling of whitewashed salvaged planks and sleek marble flooring, the bathroom set the tone for the rest of the renovation.
Gleaming white cupboards and an island and countertops covered resilient Dekton from Cosentino Canada formed the new kitchen. Above the island, reclaimed wall studs frame antique metal ceiling tiles.
Next to the kitchen is a sunroom with large windows overlooking the yard and surrounding farm fields. White sectional sofas and rustic tables of metal and distressed wood furnish this bright, airy space.
Once the interior was complete, their attention turned to the overgrown backyard. They installed low-maintenance materials and architectural details for the 1,500 sq. ft. deck, incorporating Trex, a high-performance, composite, wood-alternative, with a natural grain appearance. They also built a Trex pergola with bright yellow Sunbrella shades and installed Dekton countertops. A fire pit below is surrounded by stone.