Back when the Frenettes were university students, they used to stare at a home on the city’s south side and wonder what it was like inside.
The husband and wife were captivated by the Ridgeway Street home’s verandas and general curb appeal.
“We said that’s kind of a in our wildest dreams house and someday we’d maybe like to live there,” Liana Frenette said.
Built by R.A. Mason in 1912, the Queen Anne Revival home was considered one of the finest homes in the area. In 2003, the Frenette’s dreams came true and they bought it. Because it was converted to apartments in 1953, the couple spent the next four years renovating it back to its original glory. Now celebrating the home’s 100 th year, the Frenettes opened it to the public as part of the city’s Doors Open 2012, which shows off 13 buildings throughout Thunder Bay to the public.
For Frenette, opening her doors is a way to give back to that young university couple who used to stand on the curb and wonder what was inside.
“It was always hard to see a lot of the old buildings in Thunder Bay, homes, that were torn down,” she said in her grand dining room as people filed through Saturday morning. “It’s fun to see people and see them enjoying it.”
The Frenettes tried to preserve and renovate as much of the home, dubbed Windrose, as possible. They even had the help of the original owner’s granddaughter and her photographs to complete the restoration. It’s also been filled with antique furniture and china, some of which were herilooms and others collected in Thunder Bay, to keep the home historic. It even has a grand piano, something original owner Cora Morris would have enjoyed.
“She was an entertainer I understand,” Frenette said of Morris, who actually designed the home.
Getting people to appreciate that sort of history is what the bi-annual Doors Open event is all about Heritage Advisory Committee chair Andrew Cotter said.
“You don’t often get an opportunity to go inside these buildings and see how the homeowners have preserved them,” he said. “By learning about the past we learn about the future as well.”
The tour also included one of the city’s newest buildings, the Superior North EMS headquarters on Junot Avenue. Cotter said that’s because they want the event to also highlight newer environmentally friendly designs. The new building is LEED Gold Standard.
Click here to report a typo or error
You must log in to add comments.
Create a new account
Remember me next time.