Adding Character to a Wartime House

Wartime House 5
Wartime House 2

Our First Project House.

Our first long term project home is our frame Victory house built in 1947 located in Brantford, Ontario Canada 100 kilometers west of Toronto. This house is very small and has little to no character defining features.

Wartime Housing Limited built these little robust houses for the men and woman coming back home after the war for their growing families. At first they were rental units, our project house would have fetched the princely monthly rental fee of $22… for a bungalow consisting of five rooms, bathroom included. These little house although small in floor space boosted a very large lot of 40 feet by 110 feet.

We will be removing the existing hardboard siding and restoring the original fir clapboard siding and placing decorative shingles in the gable ends – all the while adding beautiful wood windows and doors to create an eclectic beautiful cottage in the Arts & Crafts style.

Wartime House 7

A row of single-storey wartime houses.

Wartime House 1

These houses were the larger 1 1/2 storey houses.

It was not until the early 1950’s that the Canadian government started selling these houses to the occupants ranging from $2,500 for the little bungalow up to $4,500 for the seven room one-and-a-half-storey version.

This was the birth of suburbia, in our little bungalow mom dad and three or four kids would have been raised within its 24 foot by 24 foot walls, boys in one room girls in the other mom and dad maybe sharing an add-a-room in the rear along with the wringer/washer!

Wartime House 6

The birth of Suburbia!

The one defining element in these houses that make them hard to live in is STORAGE! or conversely the total lack of storage. To live in these houses unchanged you would have to live a very minimalist lifestyle – however we are going to approach this as a house for a small family! We will find many innovative ways to provide storage – And lots of it!

Wartime House 4

Our donor windows c.1820

The windows in our project house were originally 6/6 and have long since been replaced with vinyl.  The windows above are from a 1820 house that was sadly torn down.  These windows fit perfectly into the original opening.  They will be restored and have new frames and wood storm windows made.

Wartime House 3

The windows, roof and siding need plenty of attention!

The window above left is the only wood window left in-situ – we will completely restore the pair and add new muntin bars to the lower sash which were removed at some point providing a lovely 3/6 double sash window. The roof will have new metal roofing installed.

We will bring you individual episodes on flooring, the colour and design consolation, paint, paint and more paint, roofing, lighting, moulding, plumbing, electrics, kitchens and baths and most importantly storage – how do we get more storage and closet space, all the while remembering that we are introducing character and a bit of panache to inspire your castle!

And of course we won’t forget the exterior pretty bits: the most important thing that is so hard to achieve CURB APPEAL… Fences, gardens both vegetable and posies, decks, fun stuff like a kids playhouse that is a stand in for all the summer lawn chairs and garden tools in the winter.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Mario Elena says:

    was there a follow up to the renovation being completed? Was curious to see what this looks like now.

  2. B Donald says:

    I have one of these in Victoria. there are a few left but lots were demolished for high end condos. I aim to create a sustainable project, with one or two additional garden apartments on the large lot. A project true to the mission of affordable homes for small families. Not empty condos with out of town owners. Getting a budget together now.

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