About Mel

Since 1969 Mel Shakespeare has been designing award-winning homes in the tradition of early 19th century Ontario. The company name, Tradition Home, is now synonymous with period homes of distinction.

A Thousand Dollar Cross

A Thousand Dollar Cross On a beautiful site looking out over Sturgeon Lake, somewhat North of Peterborough, we were just finishing up the work of the Graham’s period log house. Though not overly large, it was a beauty, just the size for a cozy cottage. We had designed all the amenities cottagers would ever [...]

By |2023-07-18T10:28:25-04:00July 18th, 2023|Vintage Homes|Comments Off on A Thousand Dollar Cross

Woodworking 101

Woodworking 101 It is a well-known fact that hobbies contribute to our mental and bodily health, particularly those that combine the exercise of the mind, the hand, and the eye. Much satisfaction is found when even the simplest objects of craftsmanship, those that may employ the common-sense ingenuity used in traditional methods of construction [...]

By |2023-07-18T10:25:27-04:00July 18th, 2023|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Woodworking 101

A Deerfield Forum

A Deerfield Forum There was so much to learn about antiques and early architectural building methods. The Old Deerfield Forums were a great way to study both aspects. Jean and I had visited Old Deerfield many times but it was their forums that we found particularly exciting. You had to book in early to [...]

By |2023-07-18T10:22:27-04:00July 18th, 2023|Vintage Homes|Comments Off on A Deerfield Forum

Wrap it Up

Wrap it Up The stones in this house near Nobleton Ontario had to be the nicest I’d come across. They were fashioned ever-so-carefully into various sizes of wide rectangles. And they came in so many lovely colors. I thought quite a bit about coming up with a way to have them taken down and [...]

By |2023-07-18T10:18:57-04:00July 18th, 2023|stone houses, Vintage Homes|Comments Off on Wrap it Up

The House of Six Sallys

The House of Six Sallys The Thibideau stone house north of Cobourg was one of our more ambitious projects. This classic five-bay Georgian house was resurrected from Forfar, a small village in eastern Ontario. It took me years of search and then negotiation to finally purchase the building that, although built solidly of the [...]

By |2023-07-18T10:16:10-04:00July 18th, 2023|stone houses, Vintage Homes|Comments Off on The House of Six Sallys

The Dog Trot

The Dog Trot The first phone call had come from Texas. I was asked if I knew what a dogtrot was. I affirmed that I did. They needed one for the History of Texas Museum being built in Austin as we spoke. The dogtrot was to be a permanent installation. I wondered why they [...]

By |2023-07-18T10:12:25-04:00July 18th, 2023|log homes|Comments Off on The Dog Trot

The Old Way

The Old Way We’d been given the tip where it might be but we’d need a canoe to get to it. That was OK with me. I’m as comfortable in a canoe as a chrysalis in a cocoon. We came back a few days later and paddled across, saving miles of treacherous undergrowth and [...]

By |2023-07-18T10:09:24-04:00July 18th, 2023|Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Old Way

Insult to Injury

Insult to Injury I’d heard the rumors. That piqued my curiosity. I drove into the mile-long driveway to the top of the hill where the c1840 log church that I’d built for Jim Calladine and his wife Kathryn has stood since 1980. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I couldn’t see it for ugly additions [...]

By |2023-07-18T10:05:59-04:00July 18th, 2023|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Insult to Injury


TRADITION   There is a timeless truth that is as relevant today as ever. And that is tradition. To speak of tradition is to speak of an immutable principle and an application that transcends this moment by its having been a primary precedent of conscientious men. Tradition, not as custom or habit, nor even [...]

By |2023-07-18T09:59:53-04:00July 18th, 2023|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Tradition


Home There’s a house I think you’d better look at west of town.” This from a realtor friend who knew the kind of place that might interest me. I’d been looking around Port Hope, Ontario for about seven years for something worth restoring. When I saw the house, such as it was, set well [...]

By |2023-07-18T10:00:34-04:00July 18th, 2023|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Home
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