After several years of interest in the County it took only a few minutes in the Devonshire to realize that it was something very special. This combination of architectural heritage, a spectacular shoreline location and the warmth of the township of Wellington is very rare.
We first approached the project as a modest interior renovation. Our hope was to freshen-up the guest room interiors, to improve the decor in the public spaces, and upgrade the kitchen equipment as fast as possible, to re-open the Devonshire in 4 to 6 months. Our primary goals were to create a high quality guest experience, an exceptional work environment for our staff, and to make a proud contribution to the community of Wellington.
As the project began we discovering a series of unforeseen issues that suggested a major reconstruction of the south portion of the inn was necessary. This one story addition, included the kitchen, dining room, and deck, had very limited capacity to house our required renovations. For the Drake's first project outside Toronto we chose to work with renowned heritage firm ERA Architects. With offices in both Toronto and Picton, ERA assembled a team of exceptional local professionals including: planning consultant Larry Spencer, structural engineer Ernie Margetson and construction manager, Loyalist Contractors.
We worked hard on the renovation project for several months and made every effort to retain the entire building, but the investment to upgrade the building was prohibitive. In consultation with our entire team the difficult decision was made to retain only the heritage building and replace the single story addition.
The original 100 year heritage portion was retained with a considerable investment made to stabilize the building. This included a significant upgrade to the basement and foundations. We worked closely with the Prince Edward County planning department and Quinte Conservation to design a new, and compliant, addition to the Devonshire. The addition will include several new guest rooms, an expanded kitchen, new staff facilities, and an improved dining room. The new addition draws its inspiration from the heritage building and, in true Drake style, will be a playful mix of new and old.
The Devonshire is a very special place, worthy of the considerable investment The Drake has made in the community. We very much appreciate Wellington's support in the project and look forward to opening our doors in mid-2013.
Michael Awad (Project Manager) + Bill Simpson (Chief Development Officer)