It is the story of an old barn that has become a garden house. With its gray planks and its tin roof, its cremone windows and its sidewalk of old planks, it looks like the house of the Petit Poucet. A mini house to play the life of yesteryear, the life of 200 years ago.
The actress Jacynthe René, owner of agricultural land on the South Shore, is well known for her passion for natural and ecological life, she who never buys new toys and who recovers furniture and materials from flea markets.
“I had an acquired right for the presence of a barn on the property,” she says. When I knew that one of my neighbors wanted to demolish his own, I asked him if he would give it to me. We moved it by crane and placed it on new foundations, to prevent its base from rotting further. She stayed there for two years before the renovation was started. ”
Meanwhile, Jacynthe runs the flea markets and, one after the other, uncovers 11 heritage windows, all different. “I drew the sketch of the renovations from the windows,” she reports. The barn has retained its original structure and dimensions, 14 feet by 18, and a portion 6 feet wide has been added to it, giving a total area of 14 feet by 24. ”The walls of the addition are assembled piece by piece, wood recovered from an ancestral home in the region. The joints of this part are in “Jam Log”, an old product that she brought from Saint-Tite. The interior barn beams have been finished with skating wax from the Old Cabinetmakers.
Bright white patina
Robert Pomerleau, skilful handyman behind this major renovation, did not lack resourcefulness for the interior finish. After repairing and strengthening the structure close to the ground, he built a custom counter on one of the 14-foot exterior walls, whose drawers and cabinet doors come from a flea market cabinet.
The wood has been given a bright white patina with a few coats of milk paint.
As a man who is not afraid of anything, Mr. Pomerleau also made the mosquito nets, with the barn wood that remained. The cremone bolts and handles, made of iron, were rubbed, cleaned and free of rust.
A place to be well
“We spend a lot of time in our garden house, it’s so relaxing,” says Jacynthe René. The old wood, the abundant light, the absence of toxic materials, the fact of being very close to the ground, the absence of television, all this provides great well-being. We feel grounded. You feel like you are outside. ”
After school, Louis, the eldest of the family (8 years old), takes refuge in his “pirate hideout” on the mezzanine, where there is also a double-leaf chest made of a recovered drawer. “It’s a place to just be, sit and play with bits of wood. It is also the home of Angela, the cat. ”
The rest of the wood from room to room was used for the garden tables and the sidewalk. “Nothing was lost,” says the owner.
Jacynthe René tells the story of the renovation of her bicentennial property, including barn and flea markets, in her book Respirer le bonheur, published last March. The actress and author talks about recovery, permaculture, cleaning with natural products. She shares her ideas to harmonize with her environment. She insists that you can buy second-hand furniture and buy children’s toys at garage sales.