The Safe House

It will soon be three years since we moved into Tett House.

The first two were fraught with stress and unexpected challenges. Not only were we adjusting to a new home, new jobs, and new people in a new place, but things kept going wrong and the repairs were adding up. We were constantly on edge, waiting for the next unwelcome surprise. Early on, I realized that I had become afraid of the house I’d initially fallen in love with, and it took us a long time to feel safe and comfortable in our new lives.

But even the toughest times slowly make their way into the past. One by one, we tackled projects, and they were no longer major, urgent repairs, but little upgrades we wanted to do.

Last summer, with delight, I fitted out the screened in porch as a bright, fresh gathering space with rocking chairs, an alfresco dining table, and a vintage daybed, which I talked about in my last post.

I also picked a couple of new nightstands and bedside lamps. Little pieces, big impact!

We finally got around to cleaning out and painting the room we had earmarked for Trevor’s office.


During.

Colour: Beau Green by Benjamin Moore. I love the depth and contrast with the cinnamon-toned wood. The office isn’t quite finished yet, but at least it’s functional!

We wallpapered a feature wall in the Front Hall and loved it.

I even started painting the old grates, but this is still an ongoing project. The paint is fairly noxious and I can only do one or two at a time. What a difference, though!

My favourite thing this winter has been our brand new wood stove! Our propane furnace – which is also new – heats really well, but we wanted to cut down on fuel costs. Thanks to the removal of several large, dead trees on the property, we had a carriage house full of wood to burn, so there truly is no great loss without some small gain. Jim from Rideau Valley Hearth & Home installed a brand new Jøtul F500 for us and it’s a beauty.

I love that it looks as if it has been there, always. When you’re working with an old house, it’s so important to honour and not compromise the historical character. We try to find a balance between new and old.

We had to completely reconfigure our living room to accommodate the wood stove, but it was worth it! We’ve enjoyed many cozy nights around the fire this past winter.

We hosted a reunion of first cousins in September and a big family Thanksgiving dinner in October. Together with our improvement projects, these served to re-establish my original connection with the house, which has been growing stronger ever since. One day, I woke up realizing that Tett House had finally become my home and I didn’t need to be afraid of it anymore. I could embrace it, with open arms. I gave myself over to that feeling, and frankly, it’s the only place I ever really want to be now.

And it’s a good thing, too. Who could have foretold that the Spring of 2020 would bring with it a pandemic that meant we couldn’t leave our house even if we wanted to?

With the advent of the Coronavirus, the house I’d gotten used to fearing, suddenly became our safe place. Its aloofness and remote location made self-isolation easy, and we feel quite independent. We can go outside and wander our six acres of trees with no chance of encountering others or compromising anyone’s health, including our own.

Our family was at low-risk for COVID-19, but we sequestered ourselves in mid-March, willingly and gratefully. Since then, we’ve found solace and boundless inspiration in the beautiful natural landscape that surrounds us.


We miss our friends and family, but the deer enjoy the view, too, and have been keeping us company… while respecting social distancing recommendations, of course!

Life may have suddenly slowed down, and the Great Pause of the world is upon us, but every day at Tett House still brings something new: budding trees, flowers poking up out of the ground, and even snow! Trevor captured this bit of mid-April magic and made a short video out of it, just because he’s awesome that way.

I feel as if Tett House is rewarding us now, for all the blood, sweat, and tears we put into the property early on. This stately Victorian lady is taking us under her wing and offering shelter, a safe haven. Even when the news is scary and things are uncertain, we feel protected and comforted.

When we first moved in, I joked to Trevor about wanting the house to be a place where we could “survive a Zombie Apocalypse.”

Please don’t let there be any zombies!

To read the story of our move to Tett House from the beginning click here.



11 Replies to “The Safe House”

  1. Wow, someone who saw beatiy in the grand lady.
    For 20 some odd years my mom and dad helped maintained the church, along with the tett family.
    We met the previous owner a couple of times while there.

  2. All I can say is wow!! You have done an awesome job. We spent many evenings there with BB over the years and I’m sure he is smiling down on you.
    If ever possible we would as his niece Odette would love to have a tour.
    Well done guys!!!

    1. We still Have a long way to go with our reno’s and repairs, but we’d love to meet you and Bill Boss’s niece! Please feel free to message us if you’re in the village and would like to drop by!

  3. I so enjoy your story of the Tett house and the journey you and your family have experienced. You really have the best to home to be in to self isolate.
    Take care and thanks again for sharing with us. Joy

  4. Your story and video were lovely. Most of all it made us homesick for our BELOVED Canada and our special friends there. We hope we’ll be able to join you all for the summer season. Stay safe and well.

  5. You truly are living the life that many can only dream of. I am so very happy for you & your family. But I miss you like crazy!

    1. It ain’t easy, but we’re glad we decided to give it a shot. If we’re not trying to make our dreams come true, then what the heck are we doing in this life? That being said – I sure miss you, too. Hope you are well in this crazy time. *hugs*

  6. Hopefully all of this social distancing will come to an end as the summer approaches.
    You’ve done an incredible job with the house and keeping the historical presence.
    My Grandmother went into labour with my mother while playing the piano at the Tett house in Aug 1934. Sadly we lost my mother Billie this year.
    Hope we can meet up this summer, we are just around the bed on Loon lake.
    Alison Turnbull

    1. Thank you, Alison, and my goodness – that’s a great story! Oddly enough, I have sometimes thought I heard faint piano music in the house (but we don’t have a piano.) I wonder…

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