hello!neighbor -joanne & iain

For November's Hello! Neighbor post we are back in the picturesque town of Stratford, Ontario. This time we are visiting Joanne and Iain in their lovely cottage. This is a couple who are not afraid of a little colour - just check out the different paint shades of each room! I'm not sure if I could live with that much variation (as a dear friend recently pointed out when I was urging her to paint her walls a dark blue - but Emma all your walls are white or black) but I'm happy to see other people be a bit daring! Also a few readers were a little disappointed that we didn't show more of the kitchen in last month's Hello! Neighbor post. Well...we aim to please around here so Kristin went back to Stratford and took some photos of Tara and Michael's kitchen just for you. You can see the images here on her site.

Enjoy the tour!

Names -  Iain Reynolds, Joanne Dente Reynolds

Occupations - Iain-Site Supervisor and Project Manager for Feltz Design Build Ltd.  Jo- Administrator at same Construction company. Ex- set and costume designer for theatre, constant design and craft flirt.

Kids, pets? - one Dog, Abby- a great find at the Stratford OSPCA

Year Home was Built (if you know) - We think between 1859-1869

How long have you lived in your home?

5 years

What’s your favorite room and why?

Iain-Living room/dining room because of its focused view through the pocket doors. I also love the massing of the exterior of our house. It's just simple, iconic geometry. A triangle on top of a square,like how a child might draw a house.

Jo- Every room- for the endless potential to be historical and modern at the same time.

How did you find your home? 

Iain - When Joanne and I moved back to Stratford we had mentioned to our real estate agent that we admired Ontario Cottages. The agent immediately set up an appointment here and the rest is history. I had been in this house several times in the years prior to us purchasing it. I was familiar with not only the couple we purchased the house from, but also with the couple previous to them.

Jo - Yup- it was too good to walk away from!

Where do you get your inspiration from?

 Iain - I like the challenge of undertaking projects with pieces and things we find and can modify to make work comfortably in our home.

Jo-I get inspired constantly by everything- fabrics, music, views out windows, tons of pinterest and blog references.....finds at garage sales, our place is filled with stuff from Stocks Auctions- 15 minutes out of town- it goes every Tuesday at noon. Bigs and smalls.

One of my favourite things is the vintage iron bedframe that we bought at auction- Iain stripped the lead paint off, went at it with a wire wheel so it is all irregular and sealed it with a gloss shellack. Looks awesome! It's in the spare room.

I use to just like historic weathered, seasoned pieces, all layered. Now I have acquired a real appreciation for meshing eras and their characteristics together- a real appreciation for modern design and aesthetic as well- that is all thanks to my husband,.... and he is slowly accepting my whims as well. There are lots of things we do overlap on....

How did you end up living in Stratford?

Jo-We decided to try looking for a home that we could afford AND LOVE-and Stratford seemed full of potential. We were both ready to move away from our hectic careers in theatre and film so we weren't tethered to the big city anymore. Some of Iain's closest friends had recently moved back to Stratford from Toronto and were loving it and hey we followed!

What did your home look like when you first saw it? What work have you done on it to make it your own?

It was super staged when we first walked through. Not quite our style but obviously totally workable. Lots of space. Lots of light- Lots of classic character. Very open.

We loved the ancient original wood windows but have since replaced them with new vinyl inserts. We have re-roofed as well- both changes have allowed us to change the exterior colour scheme to a rich, modern, warm gray from a dated blah brown. Iain has built a modern storm door that still highlights the original carved front door.  Iain has also totally reroofed and refaced the shed with corrugated steel and built amazing bi-folding doors, adding a salvaged china hat light out front. We have painted the upstairs sloped attic ceiling warm white and redone the narrow windy stairs adding great wool carpet. We also repainted the walls and ceiling the same mossy taupey gray, added an auction sourced deco- ish tall dresser at the top of the landing and repainted it a beautiful cream that ties in with our new wall colour.

We want to change everything(!!) and are doing so bit by bit. The house is slowly transforming as our lives do; as we find the right time and the right things to instigate a project or adapt a room.

What would your dream house look like?

 Jo- It changes every day. Probably pretty close to our finished version of this one, I am so excited to see what that is!

Iain- Ditto that. I'd love to juxtapose a modern, Miesian addition onto this classic house. When most people enter into our place for the first time, they are shocked at how tall the ceilings are, given that the house looks so small from the outside. I'd love to have the same, shocking effect as you walked from the old house into an adjacent, contrasting addition.

What was the last thing your purchased for your home?

Jo-Linens!!!! 6 different striped fabrics (any friends of mine will chuckle at this) to do pillows and cushions for all sorts of rooms- our bedroom, spare room, living room AND a new off white coverlet and pillow shams for the spare room. (I'll probably make an apron and some napkins too.) I have alot of sewing to get to! Good winter projects.

Iain-Vintage Eames fibreglass chair (burnt orange wool) and some salvaged marble from a local high school to be used in a kitchen island we are slowly (painfully) trying to get around to designing and welding up.


Thanks Jo and Iain for inviting us into your home.

All images by Kristin Sjaarda for The Marion House Book.