Before and After: How Royal Wood transformed his childhood home in the Kawarthas into a paradise for his young family
“We had to repaint every square inch, gut all of the flooring, fix the plumbing and electrical, upgrade the furnace, install a new roof, and replace the windows and doors”
Royal Wood is an award-winning musician, an iTunes Songwriter of the Year and an international headliner. He’s now also an accomplished home renovator. After becoming parents in 2020, Wood and his wife, Alison, moved from their condo in Liberty Village to the artist’s childhood home: a century-old Tudor farmhouse in the Kawarthas, which the couple renovated from top to bottom. Here’s their story, in Wood’s own words.
—As told to Alex Cyr
I spent my childhood in the Kawarthas, on my parents’ hobby farm. My three older brothers, younger sister and I all worked the pastures—we fed cows, picked fruit, fixed fences and landscaped. My dad had grown up a farmer in the Windsor area and wanted his kids to develop a strong work ethic like his own. So a lot of our childhood was spent caring for our animals and maintaining our property. That all ended when I became a teenager. Once I discovered girls and music, I forgot about farm life and headed out into the world.
I left for Montreal and attended McGill with the dream of becoming a musician. Meanwhile, my siblings all did their own exploring, and our farm disintegrated into mostly deserted pastures.
By 2007, I was in my late 20s, and I concluded that making it as an Anglo artist in Quebec was a pipe dream. It was time to return to Toronto. The move was good for my career, and with newfound income,