MANY Canadians who have their places of business in cities do not seem to appreciate the allyear-round country homes as do the English people or even the people of United States. That of course, is a fault of all young countries where distances are great, roads indifferent and time at a premium. Fortunately more and more Canadians are realizing the joys of living in the country—right out among the hills and trees, in absolute quiet, away from all the noise and bad air of the cities, and yet near enough that one may get into town for business, social affairs, theatres and music. Just as a wealthy Londoner would feel entirely incomplete with only his town house, or as the New Aorker who has his Fifth Avenue home, has also his Long Island or other country residence, there are a growing number of Canadians who are enjoying country life. As a people we are widely known for our love of the great outdoors and Canada is a mighty playground of summer homes.
Our rigorous winters make it more difficult, than in England for instance, for our country houses to be too far from cities or main thoroughfares, but around such cities as Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, etc., these homes are becoming more numerous and Canadians are beginning to understand country life from a more English point of view. English people, no matter what conveniences they have in the way of motor cars, love to walk and seem to have a finer appreciation of the pleasures and fine healthful exercise of long tramps. Even riding does not bring one into such intimate contact with nature as the leisurely saunter on foot when one may stop to examine a buttercup, or chase a. butterfly. Now that it is possible to have just as many conveniences in the country, such as water facilities, heating and lighting, not to mention radio, and even more opportunities in the way of obtaining the freshest vegetables and dairy products, there seems to be no reason why Canadians shouldn’t avail themselves of the privileges of living in our lovely rural districts.
The Home of Dr. Bruce
/~\NE of the first persons to see the possibilities of the country north and east of Toronto, on the Bayview Avenue Road that overlooks the valley of the Don, was Dr. Herbert A. Bruce, one of Toronto’s noted surgeons, who some years ago built a fine home in this lovely hilly district skirted by the river Don. Since then Mr. E. R. Wood, Sir Clifford Sifton and others have erected interesting homes nearby. Mrs. Bruce is a charming young English woman who is particularly w ell fitted by her English experiences to be chatelaine of this beautiful home.
The house itself is large but of a simple
design that is dignified and suited to the surrounding country. There is no attempt at being ornate or too pretentious. One enters the grounds from the picturesque stone gate and lodge along a driveway flanked with evergreens to the large expanse of lawn that fronts the house. The house itself is of grey stone and stucco and faces west towards Bayview Avenue. The entrance^ hall is pleasant and spacious, paved with red tiles, panelled in oak and carpeted in a soft red and blue English carpet which is also used on the massive stair case and upper hall. It all has an English atmosphere with its old grandfather clock of English make and the view into the living room and the library. Lovely mullioned windows light the stair-case and upper hall.
Overlooking the Rolling Valley
' I 'HE living-room is on the south and
east and has many huge French doors and windows from which one gets the full benefit of the wonderful view of rolling
valley, clumps of fine trees and glimpses of river—probably one of the finest views near Toronto. The prevailing tones of the room are old blue and soft browns. The rug is a beautiful Kermanshah in blue and subdued terra-cotta and the same blue is carried out in the heavy portieres and curtains at the long windows. The inside curtains are of silk of a cafe-au-lait color and next the glass is medallioned real lace net. The walls are panelled half way and the ceiling is beamed with oak. Oak also outlines the white marble fireplace and takes away from the coldness of the white stone. The upholstered furniture is done in plain soft brown velour and there are other interesting chairs of carved walnut. There are two particularly unique tables from India with legs wonderfully carved and beautiful hand wrought brass tops. Brass is used again in this room for the huge fuel-box, quaint old bellows, tongs and fern pots, and all the brass-ware is richly hammered and designed. They are apparently the pride of the parlor-maid to judge from
their fine polish! Built-in bookcases are at each end of the long room and many interesting lamps, several of them original designs in bronze, are in convenient nooks. A very fine Italian bronze figure of Narcissus stands on a marble pedestal at one end of the room. Two large portraits in oils of Dr. and Mrs. Bruce painted by an English artist are on the long wall between the French windows. Hanging near the fire place are some clever little etchings. One end of the livingroom has an alcove with something the character of a music room, as the grand piano and a fine radio set are there.
Some Interesting Antiques
ONE of the most interesting antiques in the room is an Italian desk of carved walnut of wonderful coloring. Its size, balance and carving are a joy to the eye of a connoisseur. On this desk is a particularly fine set of alligator leather with silver monograms. On top of one of the bookcases is a group of colorful porcelain military figures. They are Royal Staffordshire china and only three hundred and fifty of them were made and the mould destroyed, so that Dr. Bruce has some worth-while originals and they add a gay and humorous touch to the otherwise dignified bookcase. This whole room has a most homelike air with its many jars of cut flowers, fine ferns and some interesting books lying about on the tables. It is a room, one feels, that is used by people of wide interests.
Next to the living-room is the dining-room, also on the east of the house and commanding the same view from its large French windows. One of these French doors leads into a spacious sun-room and all along the east side of the house is a paved piazza below which are the formal flower gardens, including a rose garden that yields some beautiful varieties.
The dining-room is very bright with its full length windows and on the opposite wall is a massive fire place. The oriental rug is in tones of brown and fawn which blend into the oak of the panelling. The huge table and side-board are of heavy Spanish mahogany. On the side-board are some very fine pieces of old Sheffield plate and no other articles. Mrs. Bruce does not make the mistake of having a mixture of things together but keeps entirely to the old English silver for her side-board. I was recently in a home where the buffet was covered with so many things, each beautiful in itself, but some of silver, some of copper, brass and also pewter, the colorings and designs quite “knocked each other out” and gave the impression of a collection in a museum or antique shop. The fewer the ornaments in one group the more attention and appreciation the eye can give them, which is a good rule in all departments of interior decorating.
The pictures in the dining-room are especially worthy of notice. They are floral and fruit decorative pieces framed in simple very dark wood that accentuates the delicacy of the brush work.
Across the hall from the dining-room is the library—entirely liveable and homelike. The prevailing tones are soft warm red which is carried out in the rug, in the bricks of the fire place and in the red leather easy chairs. The walls are lined with book cases, many of the books also being bound in red leather. On the mantel piece is a fine bronze figure of a lion and hung about the mantel are autographed photographs of well-known people— famous surgeons, military and literary people who are friends of Dr. and Mrs. Bruce. A mahogany table is covered with all the current magazines and an antique desk has a charming corner to itself between the fire-place and the window. This is an informal room where one may read or write in all cosiness and comfort.
Upstairs all the rooms are spacious and airy. In the centre of the house on the east is a charming guest suite—bedroom, dressing-room, and bathroom, with even
its little hall-way quite apart from the rest of the upstair rooms. The furniture is ivory color and the bed coverings, easy chairs and cushions are in sea-green silk, making a cool restful combination of cream and green. There is just enough bric-a-brac to make it personal and homey and yet not enough to in any way clash with the guest’s own articles.
A DELIGHTFUL room is the nursery of the young son of the house. Such a happy room—with sunlight on two sides and a lively canary to sing to the rows of stuffed animals on the shelf! The walls and wood work are cream, the curtains are deep cream silk and the rug a jolly red and blue with pile soft and thick enough to protect the bumped head or nose when one falls off a rocking-horse. The white fire-place has shelves at the sides where all sorts of intriguing dolls, animals, and toys sit in state just asking to be taken down and played with. There is also a white cupboard where lessons in tidiness may be taught objectively and on top of which stands a row of adorable animals—a sprightly cat with wicked eyes and impertinent tail, a soft furry polar bear, the historical woolly lamb and others. The pictures are all nursery-rhyme watercolors done by a friend of Mrs. Bruce’s in France for this particular room. There is even a little bookcase where picturebooks, paints, brushes, crayons may be kept in systematic order, and a sensible little table for painting, cutting out pictures or even serving tea to the dolls and Teddy bears!
A Happy Idea For a Child
AS WELL as this happy play-room and ui. nursery, Dr. Bruce’s little son has a whole house of his own. It is a little green frame house about twenty feet square built out on the lawns north of the main
house. This little house has its own garden near it for which the small boy chooses the flowers, does the planning and even actual garden work. This is a splenj did idea, to let a child have a house of his very own, where he can carry out his own ideas and look after things himself. It develops a sense of responsibility and gives the child an interest in decorations, in caring for things and being systematic.
In this particular little house, the furniture has been chosen by the seven year old boy. Even the “pictures” on the walls are his own efforts and he does the_ “housekeeping” himself. For a child of imaging| tion such a little place is a never ending source of interest and pride. He serves jolly little tea-parties to his small guests and even his dog who has a kennel nearby, is included in the establishment.
A Bed-room of Individuality
TO RETURN to the upstairs of the big house—one will admire Mrs. Bruce’s bed-room and the spacious airy boudoir off it. The bed-room, boudoir, dressing-room and bathroom take up one wing of the
house, with air and light coming from three sides. The woodwork and walls are light and there is a large white fire-place with a row of quaint porcelain figures on the mantel—Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth, Henry VIII and Sir Walter Raleigh are very gay in their colorful costumes. The color-note of the room is a cyclamen' rose which is the ground-work of the oriental rugs and is carried out in curtains, lamp-shades and in a charming taffetadraped dressing-table made by Mrs. Bruce herself. The beds and tables are Italian walnut and there are just enough pictures to make the walls interesting and not tiring to the eyes.
French doors lead into the boudoir which is almost like a sun-room with its many windows. The boudoir is filled with beautiful objects dear to a feminine heart —personal photographs, books, flowers, comfortable corners and lovely cushions. There are various articles picked up from all corners of the world—mementoes of travels and good times. Perhaps a boudoir, more than any other room, is a key to the tastes and interests of the woman who uses it.
A splendid feature of this suite is Dr. Bruce’s dressing-room, where ample cupboards and drawers make room for every kind of apparel and personal appurtenance. It is a pleasure to open a door and see rows of hats for all occasions or another door where one sees boots and shoes in formal array, and wardrobes for riding clothes, golf suits right along the list to evening clothes, each in its place. The bathroom of this suite carries out the bedroom color scheme — white tiled walls and floors with plain rose rugs and even the towels, linens, and toilet jars and bottles have touches of the same color.
The kitchens, pantries, and pleasant servants’ quarters are all very modern and convenient in arrangement. It seems as if nothing more could be desired to make this house an absolutely delightful spot to call home.
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