I have been cagily avoiding any outside pictures of the farmhouse, and although I'm not ready for a big "reveal" yet, I think I could start giving you a flavour of it. After all, it's almost spring!
Here's the front door. As befits a country house, you can see that it isn't used - in fact, inside it is nailed and caulked shut. There are no steps, and the bushes on either side are overgrown and getting in the way anyway. This picture also showcases the siding that I don't think I've mentioned. At the bottom is, I believe, Insulbrick. If you haven't had the pleasure of encountering this building material before, it's a type of asphalt shingle made to look like brick (most commonly) or angel stone (in this case). Since angel stone is already fake stone, another layer of fakery on top of it has never quite made sense to me. Above we have faded white aluminum or vinyl siding - we have both on the house, and I can't recall offhand which one this part is. The typical aluminum screen door finishes it off.
Some day I hope we will have steps up to a small porch - just 5 by 5 feet or so - with a roof overhead to keep off the rain as you come in. The roof will be the floor of the balcony above, if all goes well.
Now for the "good"... around the door you can just see the faintest suggestion of something reddish that has not been covered by the siding. This is a picture from inside the back woodshed, showing the original exterior of the house. The house is made of poured concrete, and the final parged layer has been carefully scored while wet, then painted white to look like brick.
When this house was built, a brick house would have been quite a status symbol. You can see it any time you drive from Ontario into the US - as soon as you're across the border, there are fewer old brick and stone houses, and more old wood frame houses. In the US it was much more common to build a big house out of wood, where in Ontario, if you had the money for a big house, you had it built of brick, even if it meant a smaller house.
I love this concrete made to look like brick! Call me crazy, but our plan is to strip away all the mismatched siding and restore the exterior, painted white lines and all. It's probably a good thing I have 50 years to finish this in...