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Intrepid local couple continues to garner praise for their historic builds

Community ProfileIntrepid local couple continues to garner praise for their historic builds

What initially started as a one-off renovation project three decades ago for Dan and Carol Lyn Brown, turned into a passion for renovating, and building classic houses across Brantford.

“We bought a house that was in ill repair in 1991, and we learned pretty quickly how to do some home renovations. It took us a long time to do that house.” Dan Brown continued, “We knew nothing about doing repairs and how to do plumbing and that sort of thing…so that first one probably took us four years to do. We learned a lot from that first one.”

“We were so excited about being able to buy a house. It wasn’t even a problem that we didn’t have a kitchen for three and a half years. It was just so exciting to us that we were able to do something right. So, the passion grew over the years, into being able to build nice houses to look at, that isn’t a cookie cutter style, and brings people joy when they drive by and see those every day,” noted Carol Lyn Brown.

Pictured here is Carol Lyn and their dog Ol’ Leroy, who accompanies the couple on many of their recent projects. Photo courtesy Dan & Carol Lyn Brown.

After finishing that project, the couple fell in love with the process and decided to embark on another renovation project which took around two years to complete.

However, fast-forward 34 years completing many projects and establishing their company Dan Brown House Reconstruction within that time, the Browns started to garner interest from the community.   

“I think that the project on Tollgate Road sort of launched an interest in what we do …It was a house that had been neglected [and] looked as though it had been abandoned for decades. And people probably thought it was haunted…And then to see it transformed…I think that people took interest in that,” said Carol Lyn Brown.

Pictured here is Dan working on a round dorner window on their ‘Orangery build.’ Although the couple is involved in many of the facets of each build, they work with various contractors and specialists to make their design dreams into reality while aligning with building codes. Photo courtesy Dan & Carol Lyn Brown.

She then noted how the city helped during the Tollgate Road project especially when it was discovered that the building needed to be torn down because of structural issues.

“We’ve had to embrace that we needed help [and guidance] through this process. We hired experts to help us, but the city is the one that’s going to put the brakes on it or rubber stamp it because they are looking…to make sure…it will be a safe and long-lasting build. I understand why these processes are in place, it just takes time and impacts our excitement towards completing something,” explained Carol Lyn Brown.

Dan and Carol Lyn Brown have been active on social media for several years and recently launched their YouTube channel early in 2023 called ‘Reign of the Chatelaine’ which showcases their renovations and builds across Brantford. Photo courtesy Dan & Carol Lyn Brown.

Despite the ups and downs during the project, it has become one of the crown jewels in their portfolio.

“This has been my favorite project not only because it was a big deal to the city, but also because it was the first time we had to learn how to build a new house as well. It kind of came as a shock that we had to tear it down [and we] …struggled to figure out how to build a new house, [but] we learned as we went along, after doing so many renovation jobs on our houses; it was [a] different process to build a new one rather than fix it,” said Dan Brown.

Pictured here is one of the more popular builds that the couple masterminded. Dan and Carol Lyn had plans to restore this house on Tollgate Road, however, they had to demolish it because of structural issues. They successfully rebuilt it and has since garnered much attention from the City of Brantford as well as the community. Photo courtesy Dan & Carol Lyn Brown.

The couple, however, translated that experience from Tollgate Road into opportunities for taking on some builds and expanding on their knowledge which was mostly related to renovations.

“We’ve built a few new projects now [and have learned] there’s a lot more technical stuff and more red tape to get through [in order] to get a shovel in the ground. We’ve also been involved in meetings the city has had for stakeholders where builders could have their say [on building] processes,” said Dan Brown.

Pictured here is Carol Lyn cutting the fish scale slates for the roof of their ‘Orangery build.’ Photo courtesy Dan & Carol Lyn Brown.

Along with managing their company, the couple decided to showcase their builds and renovations through social media which has included Instagram and Facebook. They have even launched their ‘Reign of the Chatelaine’ YouTube Channel earlier this year.

“It all started back when we posted pictures of the inside of the house that nobody had seen before and then we had 250,000 people on our Facebook page! And people followed along as we had to tear the house down, and then we had to build it. Many of those people followed us through a lot of our projects [and suggested to us that we] should start videoing rather than just posting pictures on Facebook.” Carol Lyn Brown continued, “In January, we decided that we were going to start filming everything [and] has made every project more interesting…People seem to have been enjoying that as well [and] what we’ve been doing with it.”

Here is a picture of the ‘Oak Street Project’ in Brantford which has since been sold. Photo courtesy Dan & Carol Lyn Brown.

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