Regina couple preserving a peice of city history:
An old carriage house that is currently in the process of being repaired by Regina couple Joe Michel and Tammy Kwan in Regina on August 19, 2015. Joe Michel is shown in the photo. The carriage house has been lifted as a new foundation is being built for it.
Tucked behind Regina’s busiest street, lies a remnant of a bygone era commonly characterized by horse-drawn carriages.
In the back alley of the 2900 block of Albert Street is perhaps the last remaining carriage house in the city.
The regal old building, now sitting high atop wooden planks, it is ready for its new lease on life.
Joe Michel and his partner Tammy Kwan are in the first stage of restoring and repurposing the old building.
“It was built about 1911, the same time as the house and it was a genuine carriage house designed for the horse and carriages at the time,” said Michel.
The green and brick-coloured building complement the much larger main house. The white trimmed doors and windows provide a faint hint of the home’s former country life.
A small, wooden door in a corner of the carriage house was once used as an entryway for chickens.
Rather than a double-car garage, it has double carriage doors while a hayloft doors flank the ends of the building.
Michel purchased the property three decades ago, but for years the old structure sat dormant.
Two years ago, the couple decided to do something with the building, but were unsure of where to start.
“It’s basically all original because very little has been done to it since it was built,” said Michel.
The only options were to restore it or tear it down.
Erecting something new, was just not feasible because a modern building would clash with the classic look of the main house, which they love.
In 1911, it was a state-of-the-art carriage house.
Unfortunately, it was built at a time when that technology was being phased out.
The couple received a lead on someone who could help them with the monumental task at hand.
But first, it needed to be stabilized.
As soon as the house was lifted, the sloped roof corrected itself, which was a pleasant surprise, said Michel.
The house will soon be repositioned and placed on a new foundation. A new roof, windows and doors will complete this year’s work.
Next year, the focus will be on the interior.
Kwan said she wants a private little getaway while still staying at home to read, relax and exercise.
“Like a little cottage in the woods,” she said.
Both are excited about the project and so is the rest of the neighbourhood as evidenced by the many observers drawn to the work.