Natures Millworksis the dream of Paul and Helen Crysler. They purchased the property in the winter 2000/2001. Paul took early retirement from teaching at Upper Canada College in the Spring of 2002. Work on renovating the mill began in earnest in the spring of 2002. Our progress to-date:
Fall 2001 - Mill race sealed so flood waters cannot enter the mill this way. Clean up of the remains left by the uninvited wild life begins. Mill machinery and parts that cannot be used for decoration are removed and stored in the basement. The patching of holes in the floors for mill machinery begins.
Spring 2002 - Roof on the GreenHouse repaired using metal roofing. Patio stones from the Credit River, over 80 years ago, are used for a walkway from the parking area to the entrance. The uninvited wild life are evicted and the mill was cleaned using high pressure water.
June 2002 - Commercial space was insulated with foam and the windows on the first three floors were replaced. This essentially sealed these areas and made them habitable.
July 2002 - The Cryslers move from Toronto to the mill and work begins in earnest. Paul and Helen sleep at their cottage, about 35 km from the Mill and work at the Mill in the daytime. New windows are installed in the GreenHouse. The framework for the front overhang is built. Siding that was destroyed by the elements is replaced using lumber that had been stored in the basement of the mill. Holes in the floors for machinery are finally all sealed. The floors are now an interesting patchwork of old and new woods.
August 2002 - Water from the mill’s well is brought into the mill. A sewage pipe from inside the basement under the GreenHouse is connected to the town of Paisley’s sewage system. This involved drilling under the road and a lot of shoveling.
September 2002 - Scale diagrams for the commercial and living space are drawn up. Paul and Helen decide that they will set up house in the GreenHouse for the winter of 2002. This involves building a loft in the GreenHouse area for the bedroom. Ultimately this will be used as a suite of the bed and breakfast service
October 2002 - Hot and cold water service is installed in the GreenHouse area. The first successful flush of the toilet in the loft was a momentous occasion.
November 2002 - Walls are built and electricity installed in the GreenHouse. Also a propane heater and insulation, the GreenHouse is now livable. Paul and Helen move into the GreenHouse and the cottage is put up for sale.
Late winter of 2002, early Spring of 2003 - Artisans and suppliers were contacted and an inventory was created based on the themes Earth, Fire, Sun, Water and Wind. Tables, shelves and other ways of displaying the goods for sale were installed.
May 17th 2003 Nature’s MillWorks Opening - There were flowers, balloons and refreshments to celebrate the Opening. Many from far and wide came to share in the festivities and to reduce the inventory.
Winter of 2003 - 2004 - Paul adds a guest room on the main floor and installs a furnace to heat the main part of the Mill. Maps out the first walking tour starting at the Mill. Paul is very active with two issues that are critical to Paisley - The closing of the school and the building of a large hog farm operation.
Spring 2004 - Both Paul and Helen are very active in the Paisley Chamber of Commerce. They also found time for an accommodation review for the school, sessions on the state of the watershed, Lake Huron Shores Tourism Partners Committee, and Doctor Attraction and Retention
Fall/Winter 2004/Spring 2005 - Paul completes the renovation of the second floor of the Mill, providing meeting room space and over night accommodation.
Spring 2005 - Web site is overhauled. Plans for special events, tours and meetings are made.
Summer 2006 - Outside of Mill was painted. See photos at right, “Mill 2006”