Building “Stillwater”

This is the journey of buying and renovating our “Aging in Place” home on Lake Scugog (about an hour from our current home). 

These are the photos from the original listing, but we were lucky enough to buy it before a sign even went up thanks to our amazing real estate agent Pearl Carrigan.  Looking for lakefront in the Kawartha’s?  There is no one better,  Click HERE for her contact info and current listings.  She made our dreams come true, imagine what she can do for you!

On March 18th, 2021 we bought our Lake House. It needs work, but with almost 100 feet of lake frontage, a nice quiet road and great neighbours, it’s nothing we can’t tackle.

These are the original house drawings supplied by our amazing neighbours John and Natalie and Dayton and Susan…

These are Dave’s rough sketches. We plan on blowing out almost every wall and moving every room and then adding an extra level of about 675 sq. ft. Total square footage will be around 2,683 sq. ft. (that’s rough math). We’ve also added some first drafts of the kitchen design.  We already have design changes in mind thanks to the Kiki Arch!.  Looking for A great home designer, find her HERE.

The demo work inside started on April 22nd and 23rd with flooring, carpets and drywall being pulled down. Neighbours say the they took away one BIG bin already and this was half full. I feel like we are getting there and definitely made the right choice in builder based on the clean and neat job site. Who’s doing all the work?  Jeremy Farr of J.Farr Carpentry who lives just down the road.  Looking for a builder or need renovations done?  Reach out to Jeremy at his Facebook page HERE.

We started clearing some trees on the property on May 1st.  The first was a crab apple tree that is in the location of the weeping bed (to be). We then moved to the shoreline and removed the cedars that were leaning over the edge of the bank.  Last was an old mature weeping willow that was leaning over the water pretty precariously.  We took off the lower branches to ensure a longer life and less chance of toppling into the lake. The guys from Joss Tree service did exemplary work and we could not be happier.  Reach out to Calvin for a QUOTE.

On May 5th, 2021 we got our first round of drawings back from Mark at Residential Home Design  those drawings have been updated. 

May 22-24th, 2021 – We reached out to Caplan’s Appliances to get pricing and ran into the greatest sales guy In Ed Quinn.  Not only did he respond on the long weekend, but set up a zoom call and helped us get all our appliances ordered (including a kick ass WOLF stove). It does not end there,  he also made suggestions and helped us get all the Lynx appliances ordered for our outdoor kitchen. It will be a while before we get them (thanks COVID) but it will look amazing.

June 19th we got the preliminary working drawings and things look great. Next stop…permitting.

Hailee is doing our yard design work. We are thrilled with her first set of drawings below as well as drawings that show plants and lighting. Need landscape design reach out to Hailee on LinkedIn

July 19, 2021 – We ordered our Magic Windows Window Wall and doors yesterday and they will be about 14 weeks for delivery.

July 20, 2021 – We just heard from the City of Kawartha Lakes and our permits are approved and will be picked up tomorrow. We are now ready to move forward. 

October 14th, 2021 – Making progress. Sunroom, soffits and eavestroughs removed in preparation for roof removal.

October 23rd, 2021 – Up to check on the septic system.  Lorne found the old system, and the new will be ready to go in over the next couple of weeks.  While up, we stopped into the Lindsay Design Center and saw bathroom & kitchen cabinets in the warehouse (Jo still loves them :-).  Also dropped in a photo of the view.  It never gets old being on the water.

October 28 & 29th – the roof is coming off and we are making progress.

November 5th – We’ve had a great experience with the septic tank being put in by Lorne Bagshaw Excavating.  A great placement that allows us access around the tank and bed when it comes to back yard landscaping.  Nov. 20th, the septic system has been approved and has since been graded over. Just waiting on some risers to add to the tank ports.

November 13th – Inside walls up and things getting ready for beam and floor joists, a second floor and the roof trusses to come next week.  A special thinks to Sarah, Julie and Gary at Lindsay Design/Building Centre for all you assistance in making things happen/

November 26th – We have a second floor…floor!  Main cross beam in and floor joists laid.  Next week, second floor walls and trusses. We heard that our Magic Window walls are being delayed a couple of weeks, so likely arriving the same time as the other exterior doors and windows.  A special thanks to CPE Structural Consultants Limited who hustled to engineer the beams over the Window walls and french doors in the basement.  The whole project is looking better each time I’m up.

December 6th week – Wow, we are really making progress now with the guys getting the roof trusses started this week. The trusses were designed by Home Building Centre & supplied by Kingdon Truss.  

December 13th week – The roof is sheathed and the shingling has been started and it’s starting to look like what I had in mind.

December 21st – I met with the team (thanks Jeff and Dan – the owner!) at Dock in a Box to learn more about, and buy a dock. They talked me through some of the pros and cons of the design I had in mind, brought in some great tips for better usage and in the end, provided me with a much more usable platform.  Not just for docking a boat, but for those Scugog chairs that have to be part of it.  The design is below and a photo of a similar design.  I can’t wait to see what it looks like in the spring.

December 23rd/24th – Just got a few photos from John (one of our great neighbours) showing the new windows going in.  The cut outs in the concrete and brick are for the Magic Window walls that should be installed in the next couple of weeks. New windows are going in all around and the bay window is here and ready to go in.  Some of the views are looking out from inside and some from the new upper floor.  What a view for a bedroom.   Looking great!!!

January 2nd, 2022 – Things slowed down over the holidays but will be ramping back up in the coming week,  We are expecting to have the the doors, bay, and Magic Windows installed shortly. Next up will be meeting with Jeremy (our builder extraordinaire) for a walk through with the trades as we prep for furnace and ducting, electrical and plumbing. 

January 7th, 2022 – The bay window and front doors have now been hung, a temporary set of stairs installed, the magic windows rough opening has been framed in and we are ready for them to be installed.  Next week the trades get in and start their magic. 

January 12th, 2022 – Exciting news.  The Magic Windows are being installed on Monday and I just ordered a boat to add to the dock.  Looking forward to warmer weather and getting back to the water (both living and sailing).

January 18th, 2022 – The first Magic windows went in (a day after the snowstorm), with the rest going in the next day.

January 21st, 2022 – We are scheduled to meet Mike our electrician from Mariposa Electric, and the plumber to walk through, spec out and measure things up.

January 26th, 2022 – We are planning on moving in mid-April, so listed our Thornhill home and sold it in less than 3 days.  Thanks Jeff Tabachnick for making it happen.

January 28th, 2022 – Ducting is going in. The basement stairs are removed and floor is broken up for plumbing tie ins and also to pour footing for main beam post to sit on.  Looking good.

February 4th, 2022 – Wiring is going in.  Pot-light holders and vapour barrier in.  Plumbing (drains so far) being added.  Met Lisa of Brock Built-In Specialists today to price and book the security system and central vac by Beam.  She made some great suggestions and we’re hoping to get her crew in to install in about 2 weeks or so (after the other trades).

February 18, 2022 – I rented a truck (smallest they had left!) to take up a few skids of plumbing supplies (toilets, tub, faucets etc.).  The drain lines are in and were inspected, so now finishing basement concrete work then lower level walls, HVAC and electrical.  

February 25, 2022 – The concrete work around/over the drain lines is done and the furnace is in and most of the ducting too.  We’re making good progress.  Next a few walls in the basement, finish up the wiring and the last few ducts.

March 1, 2022  – Looks like security and vac system are going in next week and insulation to follow.

March 5th, 2022 – We stopped by at Overridge BBQ‘s to buy a BBQ for the top deck and at Homestead Furniture & Appliances to get a Mattress and some great Kawartha Rocking chairs.  We drove up and dropped off a couple of toilets and checked out progress.  The basement is framed in and I now have an office, Mitch a bedroom and we have a good sized family room.  The gas main is in, the furnace and HRV are hooked up so heating can begin once insulated. Also added the bathroom tile, cabinet, and counter colours that Jo has picked out.  Looking good.

March 12th, 2022 – Things are looking amazing with the insulation in (thanks to Trevor at Thermo Seal) and the house getting sealed up.  There is one electric heater in the basement keeping the whole place at 65-70F when it’s below freezing out. We cleaned up the garage a bit so there is room for drywall being delivered on Monday.  Also planning to meet up with Skylar that’s handling all the plumbing to rough in all the valves, showers, tub etc.

March 18, 2022 – Jeremy and the guys are flying through with the drywall, with the tape and mud guys due next Wednesday.  GREAT PROGRESS!.

March 25, 2022 – Met up with Rob of R&A Taping (905-995-1592) doing the drywall tape and mudding today.  The guy is an artist and it looks so simple the way he does it (and almost no sanding).  It reminds me why we use pros.    Met up with the guys for the delivery of my stove, so now I know we won’t starve πŸ™‚  Also made a stop in at Rural Wave and met up with the amazing Debbie to set up our home internet and phone service.  She made this home possible by being my go to when inquiring about internet availability and speed. When we asked about Wakeford Road, she sent back a note to BUY!).  Thanks Debbie.

April 7, 2022 – Met with Terry our painter extrordinaire who’s getting all the interior paining done, and Richard from Studio Stairs who was in to measure for our stairs to go in in about 2 weeks.

April 13 & 14, 2022 – I spent a couple days up at the house as the new well pump system was installed, cable run into the house, fireplaces installed, flooring delivered, met our new cleaning lady, saw the flooring down and our kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities delivered, discussed the backyard layout with Kyle and more…

April 18th, 2022 – My #1 Brother-in-law Dan and my nephew Nicholas jumped in to install the cabinets when COVID took down our kitchen installers. We made a day of it and have them set up so appliances can go in on Wednesday.  The builder and his crew, the tilers, painters, electricians and plumbers are all hard at it to get us in next week.  These guys are the simply the best.

April 20th, 2022 – Up at Stillwater for another day, meeting some more great people.  The appliances we got from Caplan’s Appliances were great (a huge thanks to Ed Quinn for making it all happen in spite of COVID).  Ed also suggested and had them installed by the team at Just 4U Complete Inc.  Troy and his crew made it look easy, while having fun and all the while took took great care in keeping the floors protected while getting things installed and working. It was also great to have Brock Built-In working on installing the security system (gotta protect those appliances after all).

April 25th and 26th, 2022 – we started to move things into the new place as the crew works around all of our “stuff”.  Water is on and about half the hydro.  Hydro One has delayed our pole and new fee replacement until May 6th.  Once that is done, the panel work can be completed and next steps started.  We are awaiting counters and sinks, then siding, fascia, eavestroughs, a deck and a whole lot of landscaping.

May 10th, 2022 – Closed on our old place so we only own one home now.  Looking forward to getting settled into the new place.

May 11th, 2022 – Lots more progress.  A great job by Richard and the crew at Studio Stairs in getting the stairs and railings in to a very tight spot.  Jeremy and the boys are doing well with the siding going on and making a huge difference.  Terry Davis is a fixture in the house now, moving from room to room painting trip, accent walls and touching things up and hiding the flaws.  We love these guys.

June 23rd, 2022 – okay. I’ve been a bit behind in updating this page.  In the past month we’ve been away sailing, on vacation and celebrating our son Matthews wedding in Verona Italy.  That’s my excuse.  In that time we’ve had lots going on and I’ll add some more photos shortly.

A few notes of progress… Jeremy and they guys are working on the deck (just awaiting glass), Stewart MacDonald has done a great job in getting the HVAC and gas piping all in and now we really love him for getting the Air Conditioning unit in and hooked up.  Thanks to Mike @ Mariposa for the electrical hook-upon the A/C and he has the generator coming this week for install.  Terry got the rest of the painting done while we were away and the place looks great.

We got a bit fed up with the front yard looking like a war zone, so I rented a skid steer, got about 18 yards of topsoil and cleaned things up a bit  (above) until we get the “official” landscaping work done.  Toys for the big kids in us πŸ™‚

We switch the “Dock in a box” order from grey planking to beige as we’ve been delayed several times due to manufacturer back orders.  Rod Kavanaugh from Nautibuoys has picked it up and we are hoping to get it installed in the next week or so.

Eric and John have been working with Lindsay Design Center and the counter installers, to get our kitchen finished.  A few screw ups in ordering, combined with back orders and delays in installing have pushed it all later, but we are getting there and their work is great.

Lastly we picked up a couple kayaks and Jo and Mitch got out one day after work for a paddle.  What a life…kayak after work and before dinner !

June 28th, 2022 – Got our new 24kW Generac generator installed today.  Stuart will be back to hook up our gas feed, Mike will do the tests and we’ll be all ready for the next big storm.  We also made great progress today as the guys from Nautibuoys installed our new Dock in a Box.  Just add 2 chairs and a table and we have another area to enjoy the view.

July 5th, 2022 – The railing is in, the glass panels go into today and siding is starting on the lower level.  We are now racing to the finish.  we got the cat set up and launched on the weekend and WOW is it fast.  With the great wind we have here I’m sure it’s only a matter if time before we see if it can really hit 16 knots.  We picked up a Hurricane 187 deck boat to tour around in and tow the kids.  I think we need a bigger dock if we want visitors πŸ™‚

July 7th, 2022 – Jeremy and the boys have been doing the siding, adding glass to the deck railing, and a hundred other things.  Looking forward to Cole getting out with some topsoil this weekend to cover the side yard (over septic) and prep for seeding. On Monday we’ll have Ed from All Ontario Hydroseeding out to do their thing. Looking forward to some grass πŸ™‚

July 12th, 2022 – Terry Davis finished up the last of the painting (a bit of trim here and there) after doing such a great job on the house.  If you want to check out his work just go to or check out the photos above.  From prime to finish, walls, ceilings, floors, trim and even the stairs, it’s all amazing.

July 14th, 2022 – Yesterday we had counters and sinks installed and Skylar was back to install a hose bib at the side of the house, the basement toilet and the shower door (looks amazing) in Mitch’s bathroom.  Today Eric (the Great) from Reliance (he also does home inspections) install the drains and faucets and finished things up.  We are really getting there

July 25th, 2022 The guys at Latitude Countertops did a great job of installing the counters (Made of Dekton) last week and the backsplash today.  Nice to see the kitchen almost finished (just some lighting to do).  Mike is due back this week to set up and test the Generator, install back yard lights, set up soffit lighting controls and the odds and ends.

Sept. 21st, 2022 It’s been a while since doing updates and during this time we’ve nurse the lawn into something resembling grass, hung some photos, cleaned up a bunch of the garage and overall settled in.

The amazing team at Clarke Brothers Aluminium installed our eavestroughs over the past 2 days and did a great job.  They even did the under deck drainage so we have a dry space when the weather doesn’t cooperate.  

Sept. 27th, 2022  We met with Bryce Kramer of The Landscape Company to go over the landscaping of the property.  He was referred by our friends Chris and Cathy and did a few jobs for them that look amazing.  He’s putting together some pricing and the work won’t start until the spring, but we’re so excited to be in this last last leg of the journey.

May 26th, 2023 We are moving on phase 2 of our project…the Landscaping.  Bryce was out to start laying things out and more machinery and crew are showing each day. You can tell it’s a worksite by the outhouse on the front lawn.

June 13, 2023  The retaining walls for the back yard are blocked and backfilling will begin soon.  the idea is to make sure the yard is stable and replaces the messy patio stones that were there in the past.  This as well as the shoreline work (if ever approved by Parks Canada) is aimed to avoid erosion into the lake.  Years of informal back filling along shorelines has resulted in more debris ending up on the bottom of the lake.  We hope to stop that and protect our lake.

July 8, 2023  We are making slow progress and had to bring in some younger labour to get the job back in track. πŸ™‚

July 10, 2023 Ken Phillips and Keith are starting on the front shed and making great progress. While The Landscaping crew are getting more of the stonework done out front and the back is filling in and starting to take shape.  We’ve also scheduled the SunLouvre Pergola to be installed on July 24th…we’re getting there.

July 17, 2023  The kitchen brick work is coming along nicely and we got out the appliances to test fit as we go.  More of the upper deck has been stoned, and hoping to have a good chunk this week. We have a date for appliance installation and hook ups on Tuesday the 25th after the pergola goes in.

July 24, 2023  The Pergola was delivered on Friday and was installed today by Marcin and his crew from SixStarPros.  They did a great job and I can see us enjoying the space even in… not so great weather.

Appliances due to be installed on Tuesday by Frank and his crew.  Ken finishing the last parts of the shed today with the garage door due this week and bunkie to start late this week. 

July 27th, 2023  Bryce and the team got the appliances cut into the counter and more of the “kitchen” floor done.  I really feel like we are in the home stretch on this.  Today we are hoping to have Frank and his crew here for electrical and gas hook ups.

August 1st, 2023  Ken and Keith have started the Bunkie. This time it’s a bit smaller than the shed that was there, and 100% on our property this time πŸ™‚  The “other” Keith and the Landscape team have been finishing up the stone work around the lower deck, and side stairs.  They all started the driveway edging.  This removed soem of the breakage along the side and will give us a couple more feet in width.  

August 2nd, 2023  The driveway is getting trimmed up nicely, as is the garden in front, and the path to the shed.  Backyard has the “Scugog Sunset Viewing Area” taking shape and the Bunkie progressing quickly.  We’ll be ready for the next invasion of the Austrians any time they want to make the trip πŸ™‚

August 9th, 2023  Topsoil is getting spread, fire-pit stone work is finished (but the bowl).  Frank finalizing gas and electrical to kitchen and bunkie (that was wired by Mariposa) today and ken making great progress on the bunkie.  Now it’s some small stone parts, sod, planting and the teary good byes.

August 14th, 2023  The plumber hooked up the sink today, front yard sod done, a few boxwoods to be planted, some mulch to be done, a few last stones and the kitchen doors to be hung and we’re done but the heaters.

August 18, 2023 Ken is finishing up the bunkie.  The Landscape Company is all done except the fire-pit insert, and the shoreline that we are still waiting for permits on…then we’re done.

September 2023  The bunkie is finished.  The fold up/down stairs are installed and Ken has finished the stairs at the side (to the garage) and up to the upper deck.  A coat of black stain in the spring (once the pressure treated beams, stringers and joists are dried out) and that will be done.

We also got our Parks Canada permits for the shoreline work and Bryce/Steve and the crew will be here to do that work in the coming month or so.

Until then, I want to thank everyone involved that made this 2 year project evolve into the home of our dreams.  You all played an important role and we could not have done it without you.  Thanks for putting up with all our “on the fly” changes, providing lots of laughs, and the occasional tear as we watch another sunset and can’t imagine living anywhere else.  I love it when a plan comes together.

Final Photos & Flyby …Thanks to PEARL, the best real estate agent, neighbour and friend!