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Great Spaces: An Aussie expat takes a sledgehammer to her Creemore farmhouse

Great Spaces: Home on the Range

Carolyn Chapman, who was an administrator at Upper Canada College for almost 25 years, and her husband, Patrick, bought their 25-acre farm near Creemore soon after they got married. Chapman had been longing for rural vistas like the ones she remembered from growing up on a sheep station in Australia. Their farmhouse, originally built in the 1880s, had a crumbling 1960s addition and became a decades-long work-in-progress. “Once, my husband and I were having tea with a friend, and we mentioned that we’d been meaning to knock down one of our living room walls,” Chapman says. “Our friend said, ‘There’s no time like the present.’ So we picked up some hammers, and that wall went out the window.”

When Chapman retired in 2008, she decided to embark on a full-scale renovation. She brought in Chris Pommer of Toronto’s Plant Architect Inc. and builders Porter Skelton, who replaced the old addition with a two-storey box—a modest and modernist departure from the original structure. Chapman was skeptical at first, but she’s happy with how the personality of the place was preserved. She especially loves the cedar-trimmed windows that frame the bucolic views—it’s as if she has the countryside all to herself. “I’ve never woken up in a more beautiful place,” she says.

Great Spaces: Home on the Range

Number 1

The Risom chair and ottoman are from Design Within Reach.

Number 2

The antique rug is a tribal pattern from northwestern Iran. “I like to mix old stuff with new stuff,” Chapman says. It came from the now-closed Khan Oriental Carpets on Queen—it was in the owner’s personal collection before he moved out of town.

Number 3

The Bantam sofa is also Design Within Reach, and the rustic throw cushions came from …Of Things Past.