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Honey we're home ! Our renovation plans for our 1873 stone schoolhouse | Design the life you want to live | www.lynneknowlton.com

Tristan here !

It feels beyond exciting to be able to be able to say that Andrew and I are finally moving out to the countryside into a little charming 1873 stone schoolhouse. The most unexpected part of this move is that the property is right across the road from my parents, and the home where I grew up. The way that this deal fell into place feels like the biggest push from the universe.

QUICK BACKSTORY …

I’ve always loved the city and taking in everything that it has to offer, the energy, the people, the shops, the patios, the ability to go to an inspiring pilates class or grab a coffee in the park with friends. I’d been loving that life for over a decade. It was also really easy to escape back home to the country side of West Grey. It felt good to go back to the place where I grew up and where my parents still live. I especially loved it for the times when I needed a break from the city and get my country stillness fix. In the back of my mind, I’ve always known that the country is where I wanted to plant my roots and eventually find myself back there. It’s always had a big piece of my heart and where I felt the most free. I just didn’t realize how quickly my dreams would turn to reality.

Over the last year with the pandemic, Andrew and I were spending quite a lot of time at my parents house. We would stay for weeks at a time and I really started to the notice the shift that HOME had on the both of us. Andrew helped my Dad create a mini golf course in the field and would get up super early to go for long walks and run outside after the work day to hit some golf balls. We spent a good portion of the summer living in the cabin or treehouse, making fires at night and having coffee with my parents in the morning. It was the most non pressure / testing the waters way of finding out what life in the country would look like for us.


  • Why we decided to leave the city and move out to the countryside and renovate a 150 year old stone schoolhouse | | Design the life you want to live | www.lynneknowlton.com
  • Why we decided to leave the city and move out to the countryside and renovate a 150 year old stone schoolhouse | | Design the life you want to live | www.lynneknowlton.com


Fast forward to January… We weren’t even looking to purchase a home just yet and we were going to wait another year or two before we made a move up North. Then it happened… we got an unexpected call from our lovely neighbours across the road. They called my Mom to see if they could have our realtors number and ask if we could help them with some tips on how to stage their home to sell. My Mom told me about it and instantly, I had an overwhelming feeling that it could be the perfect home for us. My Mom and I went over to look at the stone school house and wow, I fell in love with it!! My sisters childhood friend grew up in the house so I had played in it as a child. This time though, I looked at it through a different lens and the thought that this could be ours, felt really special.

I brought Andrew and my brother back to take a look and see what they thought of it. Brett had nothing but nice things to say and helped me think through some renovation plans. Andrew LOVED the garage (ha pretty typical) – and was instantly able to picture a life there with all the possibilities. We ended up working out a private deal with the owners and a few weeks later, the sale was official!!




Honey we’re (almost) home !!

What’s the house like?

The exterior has allllll the stone charm I could dream of. It was built in 1873 (for $9, WOW) and remained a schoolhouse 72 years! Andrew really dove into researching the history of the home. I have just been smitten with stone houses since I can remember. The interior hasn’t been touched in maybe 50ish years. This excites us, because we see value in taking on a project and making it our own. The house needs a new floor plan for a better flow and to be able to utilize the space better. We will slowly start to upgrade the different parts of the house. We want to move in and take our time and get a feel for the house before doing anything drastic. There is a loft bedroom that we would like to add a bathroom to down the road. It has an outdoor insulated bunkie that can be used as an extra bedroom or office and a pretty great steel garage that we can use as a workshop and storage.

Inspo for the bunkie

  • Why we decided to leave the city and move out to the countryside and renovate a 150 year old stone schoolhouse | | Design the life you want to live | www.lynneknowlton.com
  • Why we decided to leave the city and move out to the countryside and renovate a 150 year old stone schoolhouse | | Design the life you want to live | www.lynneknowlton.com



We close on the house in May and we plan to start with some exterior upgrades while we save for the bigger interior renovation. We want to paint the steel roofs on the bunkie, garage and house. They are all red right now, and we’d love to paint them black. We have major heart eyes for black and stone. Short term, we would love to be able to add a second bathroom too but we will wait and see what’s possible.

When the snow melts we will be able to see what the lawn looks like, and for now I have just been dreaming and pinning up a storm about the possibilities of some long grass gardens and wild flowers. I really love the look of big climbing hydrangeas and would love any gardening advice or sources you turn to for tips. My level of expertise is equal to a kindergartner growing a bean. Would love to have an outdoor table for sunset dinners, some loungers for coffee on the grass and maybe even a classy little fire pit, because we are a s’mores loving family. There’s also just something so nice about sitting around a fire on summer nights. Definitely going to be filling in the property with trees, wild bushes, hammocks filled with summer blankets, string lights and an outdoor lounge space. Cue all the wicker. Will be sharing all of this as it unfolds.


  • Why we decided to leave the city and move out to the countryside and renovate a 150 year old stone schoolhouse | | Design the life you want to live | www.lynneknowlton.com
  • Honey we're home ! Our renovation plans for our 1873 stone schoolhouse | Design the life you want to live | www.lynneknowlton.com
  • Honey we're home ! Our renovation plans for our 1873 stone schoolhouse | Design the life you want to live | www.lynneknowlton.com
    Chris Luker
  • Why we decided to leave the city and move out to the countryside and renovate a 150 year old stone schoolhouse | | Design the life you want to live | www.lynneknowlton.com
    Credit: Byrne Architects
  • Honey we're home ! Our renovation plans for our 1873 stone schoolhouse | Design the life you want to live | www.lynneknowlton.com
    pufikhomes
  • Honey we're home ! Our renovation plans for our 1873 stone schoolhouse | Design the life you want to live | www.lynneknowlton.com
    Amber Lewis
  • Why we decided to leave the city and move out to the countryside and renovate a 150 year old stone schoolhouse | | Design the life you want to live | www.lynneknowlton.com
    source unknown
  • Honey we're home ! Our renovation plans for our 1873 stone schoolhouse | Design the life you want to live | www.lynneknowlton.com
    Amber Lewis
  • Honey we're home ! Our renovation plans for our 1873 stone schoolhouse | Design the life you want to live | www.lynneknowlton.com
  • Why we decided to leave the city and move out to the countryside and renovate a 150 year old stone schoolhouse | | Design the life you want to live | www.lynneknowlton.com
    Davide Lovatti
  • Honey we're home ! Our renovation plans for our 1873 stone schoolhouse | Design the life you want to live | www.lynneknowlton.com
    Tessa Neustadt
  • Honey we're home ! Our renovation plans for our 1873 stone schoolhouse | Design the life you want to live | www.lynneknowlton.com
    Lauren Miller



There’s no doubt that this year has challenged us all when it comes to our homes and home life. It was not very long ago that I was feeling a bit stuck and uninspired with my surroundings. A place I turned to when I felt that way was challenging myself to find joy in whatever was in front of me in that very moment. Maybe it’s a sun leak through the window, a morning ritual to get lost in (my fave is to refresh my office for the day and light a bunch of candles), or taking in a beautiful song in the background. I really try and come back to that place whenever I am feeling stuck. All of those moments this year have led me to feeling incredibly grateful and taught me so much about loving what you have in the present and just trusting your life’s path.

Living across the road from my parents nestled in a little stone house is a dream that I never imagined to be possible. It puts the biggest lump in my throat.


If you have any advice for me, please share!! I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

With love,


What I have my eye on for the stone house

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  1. jan says:

    Congrats! And how lovely for your Mom and Dad too! Can’t wait to see what you do to it Tristan!

  2. Lois Coplas says:

    First, congratulations on such a wonderful new home and chapter of your life.
    My advice is to be patient with the process. It’s as much about the journey as it is the destination.
    I would encourage you to plant a tiny tree, a species you both like, and watch it grow over the years you are there. And maybe lilacs! Best wishes to you!

    • Tristan Knowlton says:

      Thank you soo much. I really love your advice to be patient with the process and thank you for reminding me it’s about the moments along the way. We live in such a fast world and it can be so easy to get caught up in wanting to get to the finish line. We plan to go in with a really calm mindset that it will take time and to just enjoy it as it comes. Absolutely love lilacs. My parents have a tree that blooms every year and I just can’t get enough of it. Thank you for your comment and ideas !!

  3. Karen says:

    I am so inspired by this post and can’t wait to follow along. It appears that your taste is a tad more primitive than your mom’s…I’ll wait and see.

    • Tristan Knowlton says:

      Thank you so much Karen !! It is so fun to get lost in the inspiration and possibility for this place. I am so happy you are here to share the process with !

  4. Karen Anderson says:

    Have fun! A new house is like a blank slate! Congrats!
    Auntiepatch =^..^=

    • Tristan Knowlton says:

      Hi Auntiepatch 🙂 Thank you !! Yes, it will be so special to make it our own. Feels like a such gift to be a small part of the history of this home. Thank you for your years of support and comments around here !!
      Tristan

  5. Roberta Phelps says:

    Your parents are so blessed that this is happening. I fell into (not really) a house next door to my son and it has been such a blessing! Then my granddaughter and her hubby bought the house next to me. (Blessing no. 2.). Now they are expecting their first baby (Blessing no. 3). Also, my other son and his family live within a stone’s throw. How wonderful is that. We do not have to travel to have our family reunions. Enjoy your new home. Love your news letters,

    • Tristan Knowlton says:

      so many blessings !! You have brought all of that goodness into your life. What a fun road party that must be. I love that.

      Feels like such a gift to only be a few steps away from a tea, a Dad hug, a funny moment with my Mom. Life has a really funny way of presenting things when you need them the most.

  6. Grandma says:

    Beautifully written Tristan……
    I love all your inspired pictures and thoughts. Maybe the only thing I would add (which is small I know) is wonderful bird feeders around the house. I have two areas that I have bird feeders that I can see when I’m drinking coffee in the morning. I just love it, it’s so peaceful and relaxing and I’m planning on planting shrubs and flowers that will attract butterflies and dragonflies (but not flies lol)
    I’m so happy for you and Andrew to have this incredible home in such an awesome location. Well done

    • Tristan Knowlton says:

      Hi Grandma!

      Thank you so much. I learnt from the best writer 🙂 Bird feeders would be so special. Mom has the best ones, and you’re right, there is something about sitting with a coffee and just soaking it all in. If you have any luck with the butterflies and dragonflies I hope you will teach me your ways.

      You and Grandpa played such a massive role in bringing this dream to life and making it all possible. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

  7. Joann Deriggi says:

    Love your stone schoolhouse! I’m sure you are both so excited to start on your new adventure. I can’t wait to see the new additions. Where upstate will you be moving to?
    Much happiness
    Joann

    • Tristan Knowlton says:

      Thank you Joann. I have always had a thing for stone houses! We are the most excited we have ever been and I can’t wait to share more as it all unfolds. We are nestled in southwestern Ontario !!

      xx

      Tristan

  8. Sandra Reynolds says:

    Congratulations to you and Andrew. How wonderful that you will be so close to your parents. I can’t wait for you to take us along your adventure!

    • Tristan Knowlton says:

      Thank you so much Sandra !! So so wonderful. Thank you for being here and coming along with us on this adventure xx Excited to share this new chapter !

  9. Charlene says:

    Please please please plant a lavender hedge.

  10. Danielle says:

    What a lovely piece of fortuitous joy coming your way. I can’t wait to see how it unfolds for you. Congrats.