Seaton house, before

Seaton House, after

Stained Glass
Margaret Seaton creates the beautiful stained glass windows in their home.

Seaton House, as the construction continues

Elegant shades from a softer palette were chosen.

The bedroom is decorated in vibrant shades.
Elegant shades from a softer palette were chosen.

Drawing becomes a dream home

County HomesBy Margaret Haylock-Capon, County Weekly News

For eight years, Phil and Margaret Seaton searched from coast to coast for the ideal retirement community, then they discovered Prince Edward County. "We knew virtually nothing about this area. Then, friends who bought a place near the Sandbanks, told us about it. So we drove down to take a look and fell in love with the place," says Mr. Seaton.

The Seatons bought a home on Glenora Road and owned it for three years, before selling it to buy their present property, which is nearby. "We were looking for something with more waterfront access and we saw this place for sale. It was not the house, so much as the waterfront access," Mr. Seaton says.

Once the couple had purchased the home, they began extensive interior and exterior renovations, working with Picton architect Glenn Dowds and contractor, Peter Morkis, of The Woodcrafters. "We knew we wanted a southwestern flavour. Glenn would draw and Peter would look at his drawings and explain what would be involved. Eventually we decided on a drawing," Mr. Seaton recalls.

"The workmanship of the team that renovated this house is beyond anything I have ever seen. What they do, they do just beautifully," says his wife, Margaret.

"The most challenging part is living in a house, during a renovation. It is just chaos and we were here, only on weekends," says Mr. Seaton. "We’ve had houses built before, but this was our first renovation. It has taken about 18 months."

The Seatons agree there are many decision points, when renovating. In comparison, building a new house is relatively simple. They encountered numerous hurdles and discovered that costs, generally, ended in being somewhat higher than most quotes.

The Seatons made major changes to their new waterfront home. A seasonal porch with a commanding view of Picton Bay was incorporated with the main part of the house. New decking was installed and existing decking, modified.

All of the plumbing in the house was replaced and changes were made to the heating system. New cupboards were installed by Bay Kitchen and the old cupboards refurbished, for installation in Margaret’s basement studio. She is a talented stained glass artist, who created the decorative panels, that now set off the main entrance of the house.

The Seatons searched coast-to-coast for the ideal home
The Seatons renovated the basement and part of the sun room, last year. Mr Seaton’s father, Major Wally W. Seaton, moved into the basement apartment, last spring. It offers a panoramic view of Picton Bay and is bright, even on the dullest winter day.

Mrs. Seaton observes that the house was beautifully decorated, when they purchased it. "It was very formal and was furnished with some of the most beautiful antiques I have ever seen." However, she and her husband wanted a new look, so they decided to choose a different colour scheme. "Picking the colours was a hard thing. When we started, we had not decided to do the whole house," she says. The sun room, kitchen and master bedroom are decorated in vibrant shades of yellow, blue, cerise and teal. The elegant shades of blue and cream, chosen for the living room, were selected from a softer palette. Earth tones were chosen for the basement apartment.

The Seatons say they decided to use local contractors for all of the renovation projects in their new home. This decision has been justified beyond their expectations. "Peter Morkis has strong, interpersonal skills that make the pain a little more palatable," says Mr. Seaton, describing the contractor’s way of putting the best possible spin, on any negatives encountered.

When unexpected hurdles did present themselves, he worked to resolve problems, in the most efficient way possible. Mrs. Seaton adds that the contractor should introduce a Real Renovations show in Prince Edward County. The workmanship of The Woodcrafters deserves to be showcased.

Finished home
The finished exterior
In addition to extensive renovations to the interior of their home, the Seatons also gave the exterior a new look. Now painted a soft shade of gold, with a contrasting sienna trim, it projects the same vibrancy that characterizes in its interior.

The couple has hired Jason Bucknell of Gateway Landscaping to give a new look to the lawn and gardens of their waterfront home. Eventually, they plan to install a pool in their yard.

The Seatons are looking forward to spending their retirement years in Prince Edward County. It is an area with a strong sense of past. At the same time, it is a progressive community with skilled architects, contractors and tradesmen, who can translate a drawing into a dream home.