(PHOTO: From December 2016, Jennifer McGahan stands in front of her building on Main Street. Photo by Barry Gray.)
Since January, we’ve been watching the transformation of Lytle House from the outside, as Jennifer McGahanrenovates and restores the century-old brick home on Stittsville Main Street. On Saturday, the public gets a chance to peek inside. JMI is hosting an open house from 2pm-5pm at 1495 Stittsville Main Street and the whole neighbourhood is welcome.
(This weekend is also Doors Open Ottawa, with several local buildings participating: Goulbourn Museum, Fire Station 81 on Stittsville Main, and the Hazeldean Masonic Lodge nearby on Young Road in Kanata.)
UPDATE: I dropped in for McGahan’s grand opening party on Friday night & snapped some photos. She’s done an incredible transformation on the old home. Congrats Jen! -GG.
(Photo:Jennifer McGahan in front of the building on Main Street that she has purchased and will renovate for her business. Photo by Barry Gray.)
After over a century as a private home, the old brick house at 1495 Stittsville Main will soon become the home of Jennifer McGahan Interiors.
McGahan made the announcement last week on Facebook: “I am thrilled to announce the next big step for Jennifer McGahan Interiors Inc. We are relocating the office to our new Stittsville Main Street location. We plan to restore this important heritage building to its original, and rightful beauty in the heart of the village. We plan to be respectful and true to the bones of the building, while improving the streetscape by adding our modern design touch. Opening April 2017!”
McGahan says she loves the history of the building and the family story connected to it. She says that structurally the building is in good shape, and many original features remain. “We’re going to try keep as much as possible while we renovate. We want to keep it intact.”
The house belonged to the Lytle family for over 60 years. Cathy Lytle told reporter Devyn Barrie about the history of the house in an interview last summer: “It was built in 1900 from a bachelor and it was sold four years later to a young couple… he was a tinkerer and they raised their daughter, Evelyn. She took cancer and died and then the father died of old age and the mother died after she sold the house to my parents… she lived with my parents for five years, she had herself written into the deed, for one bedroom and three meals a day and they got along fine, until she passed away.”
The house doesn’t have official heritage designation, but it is on the City’s heritage registry, which lists buildings of historical importance.
McGahan takes possession in January, and hopes to have the renovations finished by April. I’m thrilled to hear that this charming piece of our village history will get the attention and care it deserves. Congrats Jennifer!
(Above: Barn at the Bradley-Craig farm. Photo by Steve Garecke.)
There was bad news and there was good news for heritage buildings in Stittsville in 2016.
First, the bad. In January, I took part in a multi-hour marathon in front of Planning Committee at City Hall where residents and community groups tried to convince councillors to stop the demolition and relocation of theBradley-Craig barnto Munster. The debate was so long that councillors ordered in pizza, and one fell asleep. In the end, the committee and City Council voted to allow the barn’s owner, Richcraft, to dismantle the building piece-by-piece and move it to Saunders Farm. A new development, probably big box stores or a strip mall, will be built in its place. Continue reading →
(ABOVE: Cathy Lytle stands in front of her family’s home at 1495 Stittsville Main Street. Photo by Devyn Barrie.)
After more than a century on Stittsville Main Street, the Lytle House is up for sale. The asking price is $499,000 according to Brent Taylor of Brentcom Realty. “Redevelopment ideal for retail, service commercial, office, residential and institutional uses, including mixed-use buildings, and excluding auto-related uses,” says the listing.
It’s a large lot, 100 feet along the street and 160 feet deep.
Cathy Lytle says the house has been standing since at least 1900, and it’s been in her family for 64 years. While it doesn’t have a heritage designation, it is on the city’s heritage registry. That doesn’t give it any protection, but if a future owner applies to demolish it, the City could do a review that could lead to full heritage designation.
DEVYN BARRIE: What can you tell me about the history of the house?
CATHY LYTLE: It was built in 1900 from a bachelor and it was sold four years later to a young couple… he was a tinkerer and they raised their daughter, Evelyn. She took cancer and died and then the father died of old age and the mother died after she sold the house to my parents… she lived with my parents for five years, she had herself written into the deed, for one bedroom and three meals a day and they got along fine, until she passed away.
DB: It must have been something to grow up here and watch the town change all around it, hey?
CL: It’s not the [same] town anymore. Doesn’t matter which window you look out, it’s not the same at all. It’s funny, we were just saying I can remember all the places we used to go and play and climb trees and whose farmer fields we used to run through. And I said, now people look at you and say “well no, there was something else” or “No, no that was just all field.”
But yeah, [there have] been changes, it’s been hard on some of the older ones to see some of the changes.
DB: What’s it been like for you?
CL: I’m okay with some of the change, I just don’t like people coming in and telling me how to live. They want certain things changed here… but you’re taking away the essence of a small town.
DB: Why sell the house?
CL: Oh, we can’t afford to keep everything up. [My mother is] 87, she’s not well. My dad was a small contracting excavator, he left her a little bit of money, she was only on old age pension, she can only do so much. I only work part time and I work a minimum wage job… I can’t afford it. So, we decided to go to something that we both can manage and enjoy.
DB: How does it feel to have to leave this house behind?
CL: I’m okay. I’m ready. And I think she’s ready too. She’s had [a longer time] here, she’s raised her family and I was born here. We’re all business and everybody else has gone out and done better, this will help pay for some medical bills coming down the road…
… It’ll be sad in a way, but we have our memories, we have our pictures and they can’t take that away from us.
DB: Any idea what might happen to the house if it does get sold?
CL: We’ve had a business here for 40 years, like everybody else on Main Street. They had their house and their business right there. Last 20 years my dad’s been dead and we got rid of the business, so it’s kinda nice to think that somebody else will come in and make a go of it… maybe put something in like an ice cream store or something that reflects the core, not an office building or something. But it’s up to them.
DB: What do you think about the state of Main Street in general today?
CL: Well, when I grew up there was no sidewalks. It was a main highway… the traffic was heavy but now… you can’t sit outside, it’s hard to hear outside, the dust picks up, people come in on either side of you… it’s changed a lot compared to what I used to play, run and climb every tree in this place. It was a lot different… I watch the kids over in the park, but it’s not the same. We used to like the trains coming in and watching the people and wave, you don’t do that anymore. You can’t, there’s nothing there. And these people who are using the park don’t understand what was really there and I think they would have enjoyed it a lot better.