Article by Canadian Lodging News


Canadian Lodging News Article

Article by Colleen Isher Wood, Editor Featured on Canadian Lodging News

Today Windbreak Farm B&B and Woodworking is a well-restored century home, with a spacious front porch, gardens that include a miniature church, a woodworking shop out back and a horse named Misty roaming the grounds. It has three guestrooms named the Dove’s Nest, the Robin’s Retreat and the Swallow’s Loft, the latter an aerie in the attic.

But when Cathy and Bob Hutson looked at the 110-year-old Windbreak Farm, located on Line 26 outside of Fullarton, more than two decades ago, the real estate agent didn’t even want to show it to them.

“It was derelict,” Cathy told CLN. “It was in poor shape for sure, with lots of critters. Rob wanted to tear it down, but I saw the potential.” Renovating took three times longer and was three times more work than starting over, she added ruefully. “The first thing we fixed was the roof — when it rained we had 50 cooking pots catching water.”

Over the years, they renovated many things themselves, calling in contractors when necessary. “I knew Bob and I could do it ourselves, putting the house back [to its original condition] was a labour of love. We had to remove trim, lathe and plaster, finish the walls and floors. There was a big cistern in the attic with copper tubing, and pipes ran down from the gravity-fed cistern. There was one [clawfoot] tub up there, and we later added another one.”

“Cathy has an eye for colour, while I’m good working with wood,” said Bob, who restored all the woodworking in the rooms, adding new materials to replace those that were damaged in the originals.

Windbreak Farm was the Hutson’s family home up until 2011, when they made the decision to convert it to a B&B. Cathy was raised in the tourist industry, as her family owned a camp in French River, Ont. She had always wanted to do something similar — interacting with people and giving them a holiday. They were both homebodies, who didn’t mind being tied down. Bob worked as a teacher for 30 years, leaving that career in his mid-50s. In preparation for that move, he went to Fanshawe College for cabinet making. In the meantime, Cathy was working various jobs. The idea of running a B&B would allow both to work from home, earn a few dollars and would suit Cathy’s hospitality and cooking skills admirably well.

“We get a lot of repeat business,” Cathy said. “A lot of people have come for six years in a row. They always want to know what’s different, what’s new on the menu.” Cathy even published a cookbook titled Savour the Morning Flavours, printing 100 copies and selling it at the B&B last year.

“The majority of our guests are from urban areas. And it’s been a very long time or their first time spending a night in the country,” Bob said.