Archive for Historic Renovation

A Crumbling Brick Beauty in Scotland

Posted in Abandoned House with tags , , , , , on August 28, 2016 by countybandits

I finally made it back to Chatham-Kent to pick up my fixed and functional HP desktop computer (which I am posting from now, hooray!). On my trip home, I exited the 401 at London and took a different route home, hoping to see an abandoned place to photograph.

My wish was granted when I rolled in to Scotland, a small community in Brant. A beautiful, but very dilapidated brick home caught my eye immediately. I had to do a couple passes in my truck to figure out where I could park; the home had no laneway nor were there any side streets nearby. I found a small utility yard and backed my truck up to the chainlink fence, grabbed my camera and walked the short distance back to the house.

No one seemed to notice or care that I was wandering around the home, but it was the middle of the day and I had my camera around my neck. I suppose I looked like I had a reason to be there. The front windows and doors of the stately brick home were boarded up, but were open on the sides and rear. The roof and floors were almost completely caved in and I dared not risk setting foot on the small shreds of flooring that remained.

I’m unsure what this style of home is called, but I could see how beautiful it would have been in its prime. The windows were large and let in a flood of natural light. The rooms seemed like they would have been spacious and the house felt like the perfect size. I loved the layout and would love to clone it brick by brick and live in it today. I hope my photos capture that airy country feeling the house still has about it, even though it’s a mere shell of what it once was.

~Bandit

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A Hidden Gem in Malahide Township

Posted in Abandoned House with tags , , , , , , , on August 21, 2016 by countybandits

Recently I invested in a Nikon DF, a uniquely styled DSLR that looks like an old film camera. I didn’t really consider the problem of post-processing my images until after I had the camera in my hands from Amazon. I currently use a tiny Kangaroo portable desktop computer; fine for web browsing and blog posting but not capable of running Photoshop et al. I did have an older HP desktop tower in the basement collecting dust with an I7 processor and pretty decent specs. I dug it up, wrangled it to my truck (it must weigh 15lbs) and headed down to Chatham-Kent to have my wonderful friend breathe some life back into it.

I decided to take the scenic route and head down Highway 3, hoping to see subject matter worthy of the DF. After a while I realized I probably wouldn’t see much on the main highway so I started to weave down sideroads. Somewhere along the back roads of Malahide township I passed a white farmhouse with a yard full of old vehicles and equipment. Right next to it, so hidden by overgrown trees that I nearly missed it, I caught a glimpse of a gothic window surrounded by gingerbread trim. I turned around and did a slow drive by. Yes, there was another farmhouse hidden on the lot beside the initial white home! I turned around again, parked my truck as far off the narrow road that I could, slung my camera around my neck and jogged up to the hidden property.

Initially I tried to get photos from the road, but the trees and shrubs were so overgrown that it was impossible. I took a look around at all the weeds and overgrowth, glanced at the flip-flops I was wearing and decided to hell with it – I’m going in. Possibility of poison ivy and thorns be damned. I’m so, so glad I made that decision because I was rewarded with perhaps the most beautifully preserved Ontario farmhouse I have seen to date. I bounded around it in my sandals snapping photos as quickly as I could, peering in the windows and being in awe of what I was capturing. I had to work quickly since my truck was sitting halfway on the road with the 4-ways on and I was trespassing in broad daylight.

This farmhouse looks as though the owner left, the door was boarded up and the clock was stopped. The home boasts the original glass in every window, original wood siding, original carved tulip-motif gingerbread and all the original wooden baseboards, doors and staircase intact inside. Even the delicate lace curtains framing the front door look to have been there for an eternity. What I wouldn’t give to own this beauty and carefully restore it, maintaining as much of that amazing originality as I possibly could. A large tree branch has fallen on one side of the roof so I feel the home’s days are numbered. Enjoy the photos of this old Ontario farmhouse that remains in a bygone era.

~Bandit

(PS – These photos are NOT post-processed in any way… I still haven’t managed to find a free day to retrieve my computer!)

A Drive Down Courtright Line, Lambton & Some Interesting Search Engine Hits

Posted in Abandoned House, Commentary, Lambton County with tags , , , , , on August 17, 2011 by countybandits

In my effort to unearth any and all my old photos, I found many that I had completely forgotten about and never got around to posting. The following images fall into that category. I shot these on May 28th, 2008 and I wish I had made a post about them at the time, because at the present moment I have no idea why I was even on Courtright Line that day. I do remember shooting these pictures however, and being fairly impressed that I had found 3 abandoned houses on one short stretch of road. Such a sweet score doesn’t happen very often, but if it’s going to happen anywhere – Lambton County is the place.

I really enjoy being able to share the stories that accompany the abandoned places we explore and photograph, but unfortunately I know nothing of these 3 houses. Since I don’t have any exciting information on them, I’ll share my thoughts on some popular searches that lead people to our site. I love viewing the site stats and seeing what brought people here, I find it fascinating.

“what kind of things can you catch from going in old abandoned houses” — This one made me laugh, because the Accomplice and I often discuss how many years we must have taken off our lives by now from entering these abandoned houses. We’ve seen plenty of asbestos insulation around old boilers and pipes, and walked through more raccoon feces than I’d care to admit. The smell of cat urine has been so strong in some places that in one instance, it actually made the Accomplice sick to his stomach (was it wrong for me to find this hilarious? I’m not bothered by the smell myself). So while I’m not sure if there are specific things you could ‘catch’ from these places, they can definitely be pretty nasty.

“what is valuable from a abandoned houses” — We get asked about finding valuables or antiques in abandoned houses quite often, but our answer isn’t as exciting as most people hope. The truth is that these houses have been abandoned long before we ever came across them, and we are certainly not the first people to walk through them. If they are open to nature (doors freely open, windows broken, holes in the walls / roof), then chances are slim to none that ANYTHING of interest is left. We have seen a few neat things, like vintage dresses and appliances, old iron beds, some portraits – but nothing of any real value or rarity. If you are hoping to come into some riches by exploring abandoned houses, you will likely end up with criminal charges before you end up with something of value!

“gingerbread trim, gothic trim, metal gingerbread molding” — I suppose this isn’t quite as interesting as the first two, but a lot of searches come in from people looking for information on gingerbread trim for old farmhouses. For our own 150+ year old Ontario farmhouse restoration, we purchased reproduction vinyl gingerbread pieces. We figured this would save us the huge headache of trying to repaint wood gingerbread every so many years, and would resist splitting or breaking with age. We ordered our pieces (custom made!) from Wholesale Millwork and the price was really reasonable for what you’re getting. Inside our house, we ordered a reproduction tin ceiling from Imperial Production along with some other trim pieces. Hopefully this information is helpful to someone out there.

Now, on to the photos, and as always please feel free to comment.

~Bandit