" - to change the contour
of earth itself
bend a small arc of the horizon
to include this unnatural irregularity
a kind of bump
perhaps displeasing to the cultivated eye
I mean build a house
abstract a portion of the sky
place personal boundaries
on nothingness ... "
- Al Purdy, from "An Arrogance" (1990)
The above photographs (click on one to see full-size) are of the hand-made A-Frame house of Al & Eurithe Purdy. Al Purdy was of course the famous Canadian poet, two-time winner of the Governor General's Award for Poetry, and recipient of the Orders of Ontario and Canada. He passed away in 2000. His widow, Eurithe, who was (at least) equally involved in the building and development of the house over the years since 1958, continued to maintain the property and use it as a summer residence until 2009, when it became too burdensome for her. In 2008 the A-Frame Trust was created with the purpose of purchasing the house and converting it into a retreat for writers.
Four years later, in 2012, the Trust, now called the Al Purdy A-Frame Association, purchased the house. Fundraisers since then have been held in order to raise the remaining money needed to prevent any further deterioration to the building and to upgrade it to current livability standards for use by generations to come. With the money received through these efforts, the APAFA has been able at long last to begin the work! This site will be chronicling upgrades and changes to the property as they occur!
Although not very glamourous, perhaps, the first work has been some much needed roofing repairs on the shed, and the preparation for the electrical upgrades. An informal arborist survey has been conducted, and last month we were very lucky to have some heritage architects from ERA Architects come by and give us some informal comments on the state of the building envelope, etc. Far more glamourous has been the recent reconstruction of the chimney, which began a couple of weeks ago! Stay tuned for more on that!