What do you get when you combine a history buff and a retailer with a keen curatorial eye? Only the perfect couple to tackle a historical home that’s so stately it has its own Wikipedia page. Cited as “an outstanding achievement in its day,” Tara Hall in Wellington, Prince Edward County, Ontario, was originally built as a family home in 1839, but it only functioned as one for a few short years. Since then, the sprawling Georgian house has served as a boarding school, a Masonic lodge, an antique shop and a bed-and-breakfast.
Homeowners Shelley Durnin and Ian Letts bought the house in 2011 and have since toiled to bring back its original grandeur. Shelley is the co-owner of home and gift store Kokito, in Bloomfield, Ontario, and the owner of Keep, in Picton, Ontario, while Ian is part of a commercial directing team, The Perlorian Brothers. Together they took on the renovation, painstakingly peeling back wallpaper, opening up partitions and turning ballrooms into comfortable salons and former maids’ quarters into guest rooms.
Tara Hall has seen 180 Christmases since the original owner, merchant Archibald McFaul, moved into the home with his family. In those early days, the owners were famous for hosting lavish parties, some rumored to have lasted several days. Under Shelley and Ian’s stewardship, the house continues to rise to the occasion. Scroll down to tour this heritage holiday home!