Travelling to other parts of North America and Europe has been a huge source of inspiration in my work. We travel a little bit (I would love to see more places), and each time I try to take time for walking those back streets where you find the most amazing vignettes of beauty. I have literally been stopped in my tracks by the splendour of an old gate, the charm of a stone fence, or the beckoning of a brightly coloured front door.

You may have noticed through reading previous issues of Seasonal or in the Portfolio section of my website that many of my clients gravitate to an architectural style reminiscent of places they’ve lived in or visited. When we consider inspiration and where it comes from, it is only natural that we develop our tastes based on experiences, observations and influences. In any creative field, whether it’s art, architecture or music, this is true. I love listening to classical music and it is interesting to hear the announcer talk about composers’ lives and how their travels to other countries affected and shaped their compositions.

So - when you’re on vacation this year, keep your eyes open for the unexpected, the unconventional and the unusual!


Builder Beware!
Build for Life in Canada!

As much as we love to look for ideas from around the world, it’s crucial to consider our climate in Canada and the impact this has on our choice of building materials and methods. Here are some critical areas to consider:

Foundations: Many structures in southern climates do not have basements- they are built slab-on-grade. The reason most Canadian homes have basements is to ensure that foundations are low enough in the ground so that frost does not heave them.

Exterior stone and brick: Used commonly in many parts of the world, stone and brick have stood the test of time. Canadian winters however, have a greater temperature fluctuation and more potential for the ‘freeze-thaw’ cycle that wreaks havoc on masonry. Proper installation requires the vertical faces to be capped or covered by a roof overhang to prevent water infiltration that can freeze and split the stone & brick or the mortar joints connecting them.

Roofing: We see slate and tile roofing around the globe but very little of it here. One reason is its upfront cost for supply and installation. Another reason is the additional structural requirements for the roof to take into account the weight of the product when compounded by heavy snow. When I have worked through the cost and life cycle comparisons using the heavier slate or tile verses conventional asphalt or steel roofing, our conventional shingle or steel roofing is more cost effective.

OK… OK!… I changed my mind! In the Winter Seasonal I said I love winter and now I’m definitely READY FOR A VACATION!! I shouldn’t complain though- a house I designed being built in Markdale has been framed this winter through ice, snow and frigid temperatures. Those framers - pictured at left are the true heroes!

All the issues of ‘Seasonal’ have now been added to my website. I appreciate feedback and suggestions for articles!


Escape ‘On Vacation’ with me for a few moments while I share some of my photos from trips. I am not a city girl and that’s especially true when we’re away. All of these pictures were taken on strolls through little hamlets & towns, on city streets less travelled, along back country lanes and I must admit, sometimes when I shouted, “Stop the car!” (my husband is very patient!). It is interesting that after compiling these fifteen photos, I noticed a common theme. Each home is set in the context of its approach- a picket fence, a garden, a well-manicured lawn, or a stone wall. It’s not just the home we are appreciating; it is also its setting. Hmmm … another great inspirational topic! … to be continued!

1. Stone farmhouse, Addingham, Yorkshire, UK
2. Clapboard house and picket fence, St. John’s, Newfoundland
3. Garage & lane, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, USA
4. Walkway entry, Niagara-by-the-lake, Ontario
5. Stone arch, Farmhouse & Gate, Devon, UK
6. Thatched roof cottage, Holten, The Netherlands
7. Stone house, Addingham, Yorkshire, UK
8. Quaint home, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
9. Townhomes, Sydney, Vancouver Island, BC
10. Stone fence and cottage, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
11. Entry door and spring blooms, Addingham, Yorkshire, UK
12. Stucco cottage, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
13. 1700’s Stone farmhouse, Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK
14. Street entry, Belgium
15. Front porch & garden, St. John’s, Newfoundland


We’re really going on vacation - we’re heading out for dinner! I want to share our favourite eatery with you - Port Soiree in the village of Schomberg. Alvero Nascimento opened the restaurant in 2006 with the dining area on the main floor. In 2008, the outdoor patio was opened. Alvero expanded again by renovating the walk-out lower level into a cozy wine bar called ‘The Cellar’ in 2013. The restaurant is a favourite spot for locals - we often meet neighbours & friends there. A varied menu with fabulous specials means there’s always something new to try, or if you’re like my predictable husband (they know his order exactly), the lamb is always cooked to perfection. The wine list is varied, the servers are efficient, attentive and friendly, and the atmosphere is warm and comfortable. Always phone ahead for reservations! It’s at 174 Main Street Schomberg. Phone 905-939-7678. Visit for all the details. Maybe we’ll see you there!

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