“Go explore! Take a peek around,” she said as I entered the Solterre Concept House Retreat. But I couldn’t move. It was as if it was Christmas morning and I was in awe of everything set out in front of me…feeling the need to admire all of the beautiful packages before taking the time to slowly unwrap everything.
By the end of the weekend, I’d asked “where’s this from” a number of times as Jennifer Corson, my friend and owner of this amazing cottage, explained each item…the doors from the RCMP home that once had multiple layers of paint but when sanded and refinished…stood in all their stately splendour on tracks and opened to the beautiful rooms behind them. The kitchen island…removed from the old Grace Maternity cafeteria…”The South Shore’s Great Outdoors” sign placed on the front to add fantastic interest and colour to the space. The kitchen counter…removed from an old farmhouse…its turquoise and red Formica top and chrome edges just perfect for where it lives now.
“Those ledges on the windows are from the same farmhouse,” she said as I noticed the deep-set windows and the beautiful wood base of each…my realization that the walls were as thick as they were to keep the heat in during winter, out during the summer.
“Where’s the Samuel and Co. sign from” I asked as Jennifer went on to explain the process of sign making and how she’d come to own this fabulous template.
The shower walls…from yet another sign. Recovered, reused…recycled.
And the floor…a beautiful concrete boasting recycled glass.
I was in awe of every single item as each piece told a story…and as a storyteller myself, this home spoke to me in ways that a home hasn’t spoken to me before.
On top of that…I was once a fan girl of Jennifer herself.
Now, part owner of Renovator Resource, Local Jos Cafe, and Solterre Design, I was much more familiar with Jennifer as a TV personality on the nationally televised show “The Resourceful Renovator”…where I enjoyed listening to the denim overall clad woman speak of turning junk yard finds into beautiful treasures long before I’d heard of anyone else doing the same.
Jennifer had that personality that brought me in…she showed me how to turn simple items into beautiful pieces on a budget…at a time when I was a new homeowner and looking for brilliant decorating ideas on a shoe string. She was, to me, the MacGyver of the DIY world and here I was…years later, standing inside a home she built that encompassed everything she stood for. Up-cycling, re-purposing, re-cycling…and living off the grid.
Back when I watched Jennifer’s show, I had the feeling that we could be friends…and low and behold…here we are.
Jennifer and her husband Keith are known around these parts for their sustainable designs. Their work has brought them around the world as they share their knowledge. In fact, Jen, Keith and their two children have recently returned home from Ghana, where they were working on various projects to help improve the lives of folks in the small village of Abetenim.
The Solterre Concept House combines the best aspects of Solterre’s 20 years of experience. The award-winning, off-grid, sustainable retreat was built in 2012 and sets a standard for self-sufficiency while providing a comfortable, open concept space for family and friends.
I will admit…I DID NOT go to my friends cottage because I was taken by the concept of “off-grid” (though after seeing how it all works I have to admit it’s pretty awesome). Nope, I went because it was a girl’s weekend where THIS kind of stuff happens!
Where a walk on the beach clears your head.
Where finding “Christmas Crackers” in an old shed has you wearing ridiculous paper hats and making even more ridiculous faces.
Where laughter and foolishness is on the days menu…along with a great amount of wine and some fabulous food.
And where breakfast is delivered in bed!
(On a bed that’s a sheer masterpiece…created from the drawers of the teacher’s desks from the old Lunenburg school house and the headboard from an old church organ!)
It was an amazing time in a beautiful home nestled on a hill overlooking Second Peninsula, just outside of Lunenburg.
The perfect setting…for a girl’s weekend away!