The Friends of Devereaux Construction Committee is working
with architect Marina Huisson of Green Propeller Design to
prepare the farmhouse for re-newed life. The scope of the
work ahead is two-fold:
1. repairs to extend the life of the building and that preserve
heritage detail; and
2. incorporation of sustainable technologies where possible
A detailed understanding of the heritage features and structural
challenges is offered in the reports by the Architectural
Conservancy of Ontario and The School of Restoration Arts
In keeping with the sustainable living practices of the settlers,
it is intended to demonstrate energy efficiency throughout
this project. Although the building envelope originally had
a significantly lower thermal performance rating than is typical
in today's construction, rural 19th century found ways to
maintain a comfortable living environment by the standards
of the day. Today's new technologies and traditional sustainable
techniques will be employed to produce an energy efficient
and sustainable project. The goal of sustainable design practice
is to reduce the "environmental footprint" which
we place on the globe. We can do this by using less energy,
and by using environmentally friendly energy sources. Our
strategy for creating a sustainable building is to build using
reduce, reuse, recycle efforts, introduce supportive technologies,
and also by training users about energy conservation in building
Systems proposed for the project:
Geo-thermal heating and cooling with forced air high efficiency
On-demand water heating
Low flush toilets
Insulation of upper floor walls and ceiling
Occupancy sensors and photo-sensors
Energy efficient lighting
Solar water heating
Top of Page
ACO Heritage Report
22 January 2007
At the request of the Friends of Devereaux House, Georgetown,
the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario requested the undersigned
to prepare a heritage evaluation of the Devereaux House located
at 11494 Trafalgar Road, Georgetown, and to report on its
value for potential restoration and incorporation into a proposed
cemetery development. The site was visited on 16 January 2007
in company with Ann Lawlor, Chair of the Friends of Devereaux
and Sandy Mackenzie, a member of the Committee who provided
some of the background of the site.
This report is a preliminary assessment and not intended
to be a comprehensive professional evaluation. It should not
be used for reconstruction or conservation. Appropriate skilled
and professional assistance is recommended prior to proceeding
with any work.
It is our opinion that this is an exceptional and unique
example of a house of this period and type and that it has
evidence of changes, notably the south doorway and central
hall, which are also of unique and historical interest. It
is well worthy of historical designation and protection. The
building is representative of the second stage of farm development
in the area after the prosperity generated by the trade in
agricultural crops with England allowed for the construction
of enhanced and embellished dwellings by the prosperous community.
Much of the original building form and fabric remains in
such a way that very little conjecture is required for restoration
save for the exterior porches and trim which we understand
are illustrated in early photographs and which would be available
for interpretation for restoration. While some structural
deficiencies are noted below, these can be addressed and allow
the building to perform a real and viable service to the community.
Goldsmith Borgal & Company Ltd.
410 Adelaide St. West, Suite 500
Toronto, Ontario M5V 1S8
(416) 929-6556 Tel.
(416) 929-4745 Fax
The house was constructed c1860 and is reputed to have been
occupied by the same family up until it became derelict approximately
10 years ago. The building is a 1 ½ storey polychrome
brick centre gable house with an offset tail of approximately
2500 sq. ft.
The front wall is distinguished by its ornate detailing of
the cornice, which includes "chain" carved bargeboards
at the centre gable and an ornate finial and drop (which is
in poor condition but which can be reconstructed using available
early photographs). The cornice is heavily modeled with heavy
dentils and moulded trim (which details carries to the eaves
on the side elevations).
Of note on this elevation, as well, is the ornate brickwork
using a flemish bond and combination of red and yellow stock
bricks to accentuate the quoins, window voussoirs and decorative
The window above the main door is unusual with its having
rounded corners at the exterior and with a pair of round headed
lites (which is throwback to an 1850's esthetic).
We were unable to inspect the front door in detail, but the
sidelights and transom surmounting a 4 panel door are characteristic
of the period although elaborated with a diamond-shaped pattern
between door and sidelights. The door sit in a projected portion
of the front wall which support the centre gable - which is
a precursor to later fronts which projected and formed a pair
of porches to either side. The intent to install a full width
front porch is apparent by the blocking set into the masonry
although no nail holes or paint patterns exist on this elevation
to suggest that a porch was ever installed.
The remaining elevations are simpler in expression save for
the ornate trim at the upper roof on the tail and of the gables
on the front wing which echo the detailing of the front facade.
These elevations are of common bond with headers located every
Of great interest is the presence of a second front entrance
on this elevation, which also has sidelights and a transom.
This is unusual and coincides with trim in the hallway inside
which suggests a later date than that of the original house
(c1880 to 1890). Other clues, such as a wall which intersects
the main front door, an offset fireplace in the south (front)
room of Rumford design, and heavy (remnants) of a newel and
stair spindles of later than 1860's vintage, suggest a major
change and renovation to the house happened a few decades
after its original construction. Based on the layout, the
house could have been used by two sets of occupants with the
two front rooms of the original wing used as an apartment
for a farmworker. This, in itself, is a story of heritage
An insert nailer in the masonry, and historic photographs,
indicate that this elevation becomes the "front"
elevation intended to be protected by a full-width porch.
Windows and Doors
Interior and exterior windows and doors are present and can
be used to infer changes and can be accurately duplicated
where required. The loss of some original windows will require
reconstruction or repair. It is noted that some original features
such as sash weights, remain even in the damaged rear wing
window despite complete loss of the sash.
While much damage has been done by vandals, the interior
trim is not only sufficiently intact to support restoration
- it can be used to date renovations and changes to the floor
The house is a rare example of the a simple High Victorian
Farmhouse both in terms of the completeness of its original
ornate trim and the expression of the masonry on the front
elevation. This is accentuated by the presence of two front
doors which is both unique and which demonstrated the casual
attitude to renovations frequently done but now rarely seen
in the latter 19th century. The house expresses the economic
development of the community and, by its proximity to the
road allowance, the earlier scale of the road onto which it
faces. The building can be a picturesque and viable component
in the proposed development.
The water supply for milling purposes is what attracted the
founder of Georgetown c1823 with his mill becoming a small
settlement. Completion of the York-Guelph Road in 1827 helped
to bring settlers to the area which was later augmented by
the Grand Trunk Railway. Although by 1837 there were still
only three families, the Barber brothers bought a wooden mill
and foundry from Kennedy and gave the settlement its present
name. This was followed by other industries including leather
and shoe making, and papermaking which by 1854 became a real
source of prosperity with the community growing rapidly during
the 1850's and 60's. Incorporation as a village occurred in
The Devereaux House, date to approximately 1860, was constructed
squarely within this boom period. It is almost certainly the
second house on the property, with the first being the initial
settler house (typically of log construction - which would
eventually become a shed or out building). This was the site
of one of the original settler families of Esquesing Twp.
Being a farm in close proximity to a rapidly growing community
would have permitted a high level of prosperity and justify
the elaborate decoration of the house when constructed.
An historic photo is printed on the following page. Of note
is that steps exist to the front door (which suggests that
it is still in use at the time of the photo) as well as steps
(but no porch) to the south door. The elaborate door on the
the south side appears to a blocked in or flush, although
the sun angle would flatten the shadow detail in a manner
that detail is lost. The batten for a porch roof is visible
at the centre of the south elevation although it appears to
be a shadow line rather than a plane of solid wood blocking.
The costume worn by the lady in the front of the house may
be of late 19th or early 20th century period. The tall chimney
is consistent with a Rumford fireplace and inconsistent with
chimneys typical of a building of this original design (which
would have been located at both the north and south ends of
the roof ridge). All of this suggests that the picture was
taken shortly after the construction of the south door.
Of interest, too, is the south extension of the kitchen wing
(whose roof line is visible on the south wall of the existing
brick tail). An archaeological dig in this area is recommended
to establish the perimeter of this addition for potential
future restoration in the event that an expansion of the house
The masonry is generally in good shape save the rear (west
wall) of the tail which has bulged. Some under pinning has
been completed under the wall but it cannot be determined
if this caused the bulge or stabilized it. Re-work of this
elevation will require some reconstruction in company with
more effective tie-rods.
Joists under the south portion of the main wing have rotted
extensively as a result of condensation caused by evaporation
of the standing water in this area. The building perimeter
should be tiled, a new sump pit and pump installed to remove
the water. All rotted material should be removed from the
site and replaced with material of similar dimension.
The metal roof should be replaced with an appropriate shingle
(wood if affordable) and all damaged sheathing repaired. Insulation
of the roof space (with suitable ventilation) is encouraged.
As noted above, it is recommended that existing windows be
restored where possible and augmented with exterior storms
(with the result that they will be 95% as energy efficient
as sealed units in modern frames). Existing doors can be repaired
and augmented with appropriate salvaged doors as required.
Extensive removal of interior finishes is not recommended.
By insulating the basement walls, restoring windows and adding
appropriate storms, and by restoring and insulating the roof,
a high percentage of heat loss can be reduced without damage
to original plaster finishes and trim at the interior. The
interiors can then be restored in conjunction with any proposed
changes needed to accommodate new uses.
A high efficiency gas-fired heating systems is the minimum
recommended although a geo-thermal system could also be installed.
In the event of the latter, it is still recommended that it
be used in conjunction with a heat/exchanger fan unit. Installation
of radiant floors is not recommended due to potential long-term
damage to wood flooring and the potential loss of heritage
We have no reservation in suggesting that the proposed use
of meeting room, cemetery office and upstairs office can be
accommodated in this building (all subject to appropriate
planning and permit requirements being met).
This is an interesting and viable project. We understand
that you have secured funds towards its completion and we
encourage your efforts. Please do not hesitate to contact
the undersigned for further information.
GOLDSMITH BORGAL 7 CO. LTD ARCHITECTS
OAA MRAIC CAPHC
(Mr. Borgal specializes in heritage buildings, evaluations,
building conservation and restoration. He is past President
of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario and membership
director for the Canadian Association of Professional Heritage
Consultants. He has worked on projects across Canada, the
U.S and Caribbean.)
Top of Page
Willowbank Existing Condition Report
Existing Condition Report - Devereaux House, Georgetown
by The School of Restoration Arts at Willowbank in Queenston,
(Prepared Early Spring of 2007)
The trim is painted blue-grey, and has an intricate butted
molding with very large corner blocks. It is very different
from moldings in the rest of the house. Baseboards are very
deep. They are in good condition. There is more modern paneling
on the walls hopefully protecting original plaster beneath.
The door on the south side is a 5 panel door and has a mix
of glass and wood panels and has been damaged. The middle
horizontal glass panel is not original to the door. There
are 2 side lights and one top light. These are also damaged.
There is a small vestibule between the outside panel and the
interior door. This is filled with debris and pieces of the
door. There is a rail that runs along the east wall at 6 ft
that could be a coat rail as it shows evidence of coat hooks
having been affixed to it, similar to those in a room upstairs.
There is also a small plate affixed to the baseboard close
to the heating vent of unknown origin. The forced air vent
cover is missing. The door under the stairs is a 4 panel door
with hardware. The space under the stairs is roughed in with
a mixture of old and newer materials. There is a door way
to the rear ell which has been boarded up poorly, presumably
to close off that area from the rest of the house at some
point in time. The main staircase has been severely damaged.
The spindles are all smashed, the baluster and newel posts
have been broken off. Most of the shattered remains are still
on site, which will enable easy replacement/restoration. The
staircase steps are in fair condition, having only the third
damaged. It is painted white and has been carpeted.
The moldings in this room are 8" wide with a mitered
corner. They are painted a deep buff colour. The baseboards
are also deep. All is in good condition. There is drywall
over the plaster above the fireplace. It has been damaged.
The mantel is missing. The fireplace is in poor condition.
There is a 2" gap on the right side between the plaster
and brick that has been filled with Portland cement. There
is a wood nailer above the fireplace opening and nailers on
either side. The interior is on poor condition. Brick is cracking
and spalling and the smoke shelf is in poor condition. There
is a discoloration around the opening of the fireplace that
may indicate where the mantel sat. The south window has a
floating panel section below the window and flat panels on
either side. The moldings are in good condition. The window
is 6x6, muntins in good condition and glass is broken. Note
interesting mitered detail below window. The east window has
the same features as the former. It is in good condition.
Note detail on sash to hold open window. This wall seems to
have an extra layer of wallboard over the top of the plaster
and a thick triangular corner piece bridges the east wall
and the wall to the main room. The door to the main room has
2x2 panels and the same trim as the rest of the room but in
only fair condition. The door has the right, lower panel cracked.
Escutcheon plate is present but other hardware is missing.
Walls have wallpaper. The door between the parlour and the
main hall has been cut to accommodate the sagging floor toward
the middle of the house. A piece has been added on top to
compensate. The molding is the same but is gaping in the miters.
There are cracks in the plaster at both upper corners of the
door. There is a crack in the plaster and a hole cut out at
floor level to accommodate a heating vent. The cover is missing.
The floorboards are pine with varnish, 7-8" wide, covered
with carpeting. The floor is visibly sagging toward the centre
of the house. The ceiling is 12x12 acoustical tile with a
small newer cove molding at the top.
The wall between the parlour and the main room is in good
condition with cracks toward the centre of the house. The
door has a mitered molding with an unusual detail bumped out
at the top. This molding is used throughout the room. It is
generous and painted a deep buff colour. The door is 2x2 panels
and the hardware is missing. The door on the east facade is
closed in by particle board. The wall is in good condition
but the connections in the corners seem clumsy. The east window
has a floating panel detail below and on either side. The
sash are 6x6 and the top muntins are intact but there is no
glass. The bottom has no muntin bars and no glass. The window
on the north wall seems identical but it is covered by kitchen
cabinets part way up so this is not visible. The top sash
has the muntin bars but no glass. There is the same pine floor
as the parlour but here it is not varnished. Along the west
wall, there is a crack that runs from the corner of the right
door. This door identical to the previous door but still has
the knob. There is a brick veneer pad between the two doors
and above there is a stove vent. There is evidence of lots
of movement around the left door over the casing and at the
baseboard. There is big hole at the south wall and cracking
seems to radiate towards both inside walls.
This room is a mixture of recent renovations and older finishes.
The door on the south wall has plain panels and is in poor
condition and has the knob. The baseboard has a crack on the
east wall and there are different baseboards and door moldings.
The door to main room has panels with hardware. The bathroom
bottom cabinet is from the mid-20th century with arborite
backsplash and light fixture above. North window has the same
casings as the parlour. The sash are 6x6, good condition.
Over the window there are cracks in the plaster. The molding
on the right side is cut off by the wall. This wall is in
poor condition and is a mix of drywall on plaster. Bathtub
wall is covered with plywood and plaster. The bath enclosure
is in poor condition. In the the left corner there is a cupboard
framed in that looks like it would hold a washer. Baseboard
is old but cupboard is newer. There is a rail at about 6'
that looks like a coat rail.
There is wainscot that runs all around the room that is painted
a dark brown with faux finishing in the inset panels. This
has a chair rail. The finish is in fair condition with some
abrasion and cracking. The casings are generous. The south
exterior door is paired with a window. The molding is intact
and generous. The door is in pieces. The escutcheon plate
is art deco in design but has no doorknob. This door shows
signs of having had perhaps 4 different lock sets throughout
its lifetime. The window has the same moldings, is 6 over
6 and is intact, but still requires some minor repairs. The
doorway to the hallway on the east wall is leaning. Part of
the trim is missing, the brick of the east wall is visible.
The plaster that is left is cracking above the door. The door
is in poor shape and is missing hardware. The stair to the
north has plain molding. There are 13 stairs, the stairway
plaster is in good shape but there are cracks on the east
side where the brick wall is. The ceiling plaster is missing
on the west side and a steel plate is holding plaster up along
the inside edge of the door lintel. The rest of the east kitchen
wall is rough with cracks in the plaster and pieces missing.
The wainscot and chair rail are intact. The door to the basement
shows evidence of the floor slanting towards the centre of
the house. The molding is the same as in the rest of the room.
The vestibule to the basement shows that there might have
been access to the centre hall through this area. There is
cracking plaster and holes for a stovepipe. The flooring is
pine and ceiling has cracked plaster. The doorways on the
north wall go to a small room along the north side of the
building. The casings and a cupboard are missing but the wainscot
is intact. Plaster is missing at the right, top of east door.
The west door jamb is slanting. Doors are in fair condition.
The east door has hardware but the west one does not. Where
the wall meets the west wall, there is a large gap which pulls
away at the top. The west wall window is the same as other
but sash is missing and wall is bowing out. There is a hole
for a stovepipe in the centre of the wall, at the top. There
is cracking radiating away from the window frame and from
the door. There appears to be a metal rod tying the room together
along the north wall. Ceiling is tile over plaster. Flooring
is pine with no finish and with two holes in floor at the
This room is accessed off the original kitchen via two doors.
There is an apparent wall that has been removed that would
have broken this room in two, hence the two doors. One room
would have had the window, and the other a door to the outside.
The floor boards have been removed, exposing the joists set
in brick. There is cracking in the plaster in the south and
east walls. The north wall is rough but intact. The molding
on the north wall is rough but intact. Molding on the north
door, right side missing. West wall is cracking in the north
corner to ceiling and the plaster is missing to left of the
window. The window has louvered shutters with missing parts.
The moldings are simple. The south wall has gaps in the plaster.
1/3 of the ceiling is missing, due to extensive water damage,
allowing easy viewing of the roof boards above, which appear
damaged but in extent condition to be studied further. There
is split lath visible in the ceiling.
This room has wide width unfinished pine flooring throughout,
with a stone thimble in place towards the windows, covered
with a small square sheet of metal. The windows which overlook
the agricultural lands owned by the family are broken. The
window moldings are plain, whereas the baseboards are a grey
colour. The walls are in fair shape, there are some holes
in the original plaster and lath around the room, and drywall
affixed to the south wall, condition of original walling unknown
behind. The low height of the doorway is probably due to a
structural element as this is the joint between the two parts
of the building. The door is unfortunately broken but can
be repaired without much trouble. The closet on the east wall
conceals hatch access to the roof space, original roof boards
can be seen and look in good condition in that area. The stairwell
from below comes up into this room, and the flooring has been
extended to cover this area. The banister has been remove,
the holes for the railing can easily be seen as they have
been filled with cement.
This room has the special delight of the Gothic influenced
arched windows that so influence the look of the front facade.
Although the glass is broken, the frame is in good condition.
The other window (6 over 6) on the east wall is also broken,
having been boarded up on the inside it is not well protected,
but from the ground it looks to be in fair shape to repair.
There is a modern bedroom unit installed with draws and cupboards,
this is heavily damaged. The molding on the windows is plain
and the baseboards are a dark brown colour. The floor is carpeted,
and the paint on the ceilings peeling heavily. There is wallpaper
on some walls.
The window in this room is 6 over 6, and again is broken.
The window moldings and baseboards are plain. The walls are
damaged, in places extensively. The north wall is wood paneled
and wall papered. The doors are broken.
The window in this room is 6 over 6, and again is broken.
The window moldings are plain, the baseboards painted a blue/grey
colour. The walls are damaged, some areas have wooden slated,
some wallpapered, There is a hole for forced air vent. The
door is broken.
The window sash from this room is missing. The molding is
plain, baseboards painted a light yellow. There is a painted
mural on the top portion of the wall. A forced air vent is
in the floor, a metal stack for ventilation in one corner.
Wallpaper on the walls, and wood slates on ceilings.
The hallway is carpeted, the lower part of the door is broken,
and there are holes in the plaster. The ceiling is peeling,
baseboards and moldings are plain and a blue/grey colour.
Top of Page
| About Us | History
| Preservation | Photo
Gallery | Needs Registry
Project Partners | Calendar | Sponsors
| DH Connection | Get
Involved | Contact Us