The transformation of the Ruggles-Munro house is a story of faith and vision, co-operation and craftsmanship. The house was much loved by the families who lived in it and was greatly admired in its heyday as one of the “prettiest houses in town” .
But time and illness take their toll and, over the years, it fell into disrepair. Knowing my interest in the house, the Munro family allowed me to buy it, and their delight and pride in the transformation of their old home has been life affirming for us all.
The work done on the Ruggles-Munro house is what is known as “historical rehabilitation”. Here is how Nigel Hutchins described it in his book Restoring Old Houses:
“This is the process of returning a property to a state of utility, through repair or alteration… The term may be defined as keeping the best period details of the house while allowing for the creature comforts and practicalities of twentieth century living.”
My rehabilitation crew consisted of craftspeople and tradesmen of Annapolis Royal and surrounding areas who worked on the house and its gardens between August of 2006 and September of 2007. Without these men and women – smart, dependable, patient and resourceful – the house could not have been saved.
The Ruggles-Munro house is a municipally designated heritage building. In 2008, its rehabilitation won two awards — the Annapolis Royal Building Award in the category of residential restoration, and the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia award for excellence in residential heritage preservation.
For more information and pictures of the Ruggles-Munro house rehabilitation project, please use the following links: