. . . to our house, to the story of how we ended up living in this neck of the woods. In February 2006, I fell in love with an internet photo on a realty website. It was a distance shot, taken from the street through the trees circling the yard. This little house looked like a cottage nestled in the woods and I wanted it.
I researched Saskatchewan; the economy was beginning to take off: check 1. I read up about Cut Knife. Its history was so accessible, so immediate, so intriguing, and the Realtor boasted of the town’s amenities: check 2. And, the price was right: check 3. We arranged for a viewing.
Ever heard of rose-coloured glasses? Well, yes, I was wearing them. The house had been a rental for 4 years and had sat vacant for one. Plywood covered two broken windows; there was a hole punched through one of the walls upstairs and the house hadn’t been cleaned. No heat during the prairie winter meant broken pipes; no operating sump pump meant there hadn’t been any drainage; ice on the basement floor meant we could have gone skating.
I also ignored the orange shag rug in the living room, the dark 1970s paneling in many of the rooms, and the painted plaster-like spackling in the rest of them. Instead, I focused on the Douglas fir staircase leading to the loft rooms upstairs, the remaining, original, multi-paned windows, and the sun porch. There was a huge garage (that’s another story), a raspberry patch, and lots of space available for a vegetable garden.
The house was almost 100 years old. It had been neglected and then abandoned, and it was a fixer-upper in the truest sense of the word. But I’d fallen in love with what it could become. I envisioned it restored, and I convinced my partner it was practical, doable and worth it. All we had to do was gut the interior and go from there…
All photos, except where noted, copyright D. MacLeod. All rights reserved.