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 at Willowbank.

Sustainable Technologies

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 operation.

Systems proposed for the project:

Geo-thermal heating and cooling with forced air high efficiency furnace
On-demand water heating
Low flush toilets
Insulation of upper floor walls and ceiling
Smart metering
Occupancy sensors and photo-sensors
Energy efficient lighting
Solar water heating

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ACO Heritage Report

Heritage Evaluation

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.

Front Wall

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 eaves panel.

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.

Other elevations

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 6 courses.

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 interest.

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 plan.


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 1864.

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 is desired.


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 interior components.


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.

Yours sincerely

Christopher Borgal

(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.)

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Willowbank Existing Condition Report

Existing Condition Report - Devereaux House, Georgetown
by The School of Restoration Arts at Willowbank in Queenston, Ontario
(Prepared Early Spring of 2007)

Ground Floor

Centre Hall

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.

Main Room

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.

Room B

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 east wall.

Room A

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.

Second Floor

Bedroom A

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.

Bedroom B

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.

Bedroom C

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.

Bedroom D

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.

Bedroom E

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.

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