When Jane Watson and her husband John moved from Toronto to Guelph with their young family, they took a chance and purchased a downtown property that had previously been used to accommodate students from the university.
The house had been built in 1905, and at one time had three apartments with a total of 10 bedrooms. An addition at the back of the house was sagging. Neighbours not so lovingly referred to it as the “Animal House.” Stories are told about students jumping from second-floor windows into an above ground pool in the backyard, and the police weren't in frequent visitors.
The couple began a slow 10-year restoration that would touch on every floor. Jane insisted that the house need not be perfect, but perfectly comfortable for the family to interact and be together. She drew plans for the built-in bookcases in the living room and designed and drew up specs for the front porch, master bedroom, rear addition and reading nook in the basement.
Jane explains that this is a house full of artists. Both John and Jane do voiceover work, television and theatre, and they also act in local theatre. Blythe, the youngest, is interested in fine arts, singing, and plays clarinet. Hugh plays the flute, is a vocalist, and is a budding philosopher. The eldest sibling, Thomas, plays trumpet and spent the better part of his summer in Stratford studying acting in the theatre intensive program. He’s off to Ryerson to continue his studies in acting this year.
The rooms on the main floor offer an easy flow between the open concept kitchen/dining room and the living room. A huge island is the focal point of the kitchen, with ample space for all to participate in meal planning and preparation, which is something the family regularly enjoys.
Upstairs are four bedrooms. Jane’s vision for the master bathroom included a partial wall behind the bed to disguise a much-needed closet and an open three-piece bath with glass shower.
Jane and her sister, Mary, have strong values rooted in family; share a love of music and the arts, co-own a thriving business, and live in creatively beautiful homes.