Houses of the Gatineau Hills

The following article first appeared in "The Low Down to Hull and Back News" in the June 30, 2010 issue. Reprinted with permission.

Hilltop farmhouse a blend of brick and log

by Marketa Stastna

Overlooking the lush green valleys of the Gatineau stands the Farrelton farm owned by Wiebke Martin and Shayne Bradley. Their 200-acre holding is not only home to them and their four children - Tessa, Kiefer, Mieka and Shadie - but also to a collection of farm animals.

The panoramic view from their hilltop location offers a varied pastoral picture. When I arrived to visit, Bradley and his band, The Chislers, were in the middle of shooting a music video in the valley below.

Houses of the Gatineau Hills
Wiebke Martin and Shayne Bradley's Farrenton farmhouse was buill in 1880 on Lac Bernard before being dismantled, moved and pieced back together in its current location.   Marketa Stastna photo.

"The location is everything to me," says Martin, a Wakefield native. "It's a magical location."

The farmhouse is at the centre of it all and, unlike most, theirs comprises two separate buildings both built in the 19th century, as far as Bradley knows.

One of the buildings, the log cabin which now houses a living room area and a kitchen, came courtesy a former neighbour in Shawville. A masonry furnace, located in the corner of the kitchen, heats the open-style cooking area and open living room, which used to be a parlour for guests when the house was built.

The floors as well as the furniture are made of pristine white pine. The other part of the house, including the doors and brightly-colored staircases, came from a brick house in Lac Bernard.

Houses of the Gatineau Hills
Marketa Stastna photo.

What is now their living quarters, Martin says, used to be one of the first cabin-style homes in Lac Bernard, at the time it was built, around 1880.

The two original buildings were dismantled and moved from their respective locations, only to be pieced back together and blended into a style of home that seems to evoke images of the Alps or Brittany.

The Martin-Bradley house, valued at $450,000 four years ago, sits on land that was purchased 18 years ago for $50,000. The acreage was basica]ly empty and Martin says even the trees were imported to give the land a hosmey feeling.

Houses of the Gatineau Hills
Shayne Bradley's band, The Chislers, shoot a music video on the farms property. Marketa Stastna photo.

As Martin takes me to the back of the house, she stops to let eight baby goats out to pasture. As we walk over to the porch with a view to the west, she recalls their first winter, when the house was still in pieces and they had to sleep in the animal shed.

Now even though the house is still far from being fully decorated, the domestic warmth penetrates from within the walls of the log kitchen.

"I believe strongly (in) mixing heritage with modern (decor)," she says. "I think you can totally mix it."

Walking out of the farmhouse, Martin is yet again greeted by one of the creatures that share their home. Their emu, know as Crazy 8, eyes her suspiciously before funning off. Martin says Crazy 8 ran away from home once and was found two months later in Poltimore, about 50 kilometres away: Martin suspects he was searching for a mate.

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