Friday, 30 December 2016

2016 in review

I can't believe the year is already at its end. What with all the celebrity deaths this year, I think a lot of people are excited for 2016 to be over but to me it seems like this year positively FLEW by!

I've decided to just take some time and share with you a brief recap of my year (since this blog started). These will be a small list of my favourites, most popular, etc. So strap yourselves in for the recap of a lifetime!!! (...ish)

Most Read Post:
July 31 - First day at the new house

First time entering the house when it actually belonged to us!
I'm not 100% sure why this particular post got the highest ratings in terms of readership but I suspect it partially had to do with the fact that the hunt was actually over and there was such hope for good renovation content!

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Back at it!!

First, let me just say I hope you all had a very merry Christmas this year! I know I did!
Christmas is my absolute favourite time of the year and I was totally and completely bummed out that we couldn't be in our house to celebrate.

One of the 6 Christmas trees that I decorated this year.
This is my sister-in-law's mother's tree ha ha!

In hindsight it was probably a good thing we weren't because we wouldn't have had much time or money to do Christmas right there (I have big plans for decorating next year!! I promised my neighbours that they wouldn't have to look at such an un-festive house during the holiday season ever again!)

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Sometimes, you're just an idiot

We did something dumb.

Or rather, we DIDN'T do something smart. Or if not quite to the point of smart at least correct. 

Have I lost you yet?

Let's start from the beginning (this is me pretending this is a much more exciting and long-winded story than it actually is). 

When we bought our lovely house, it came with two metal gazebos in the backyard. The kind that have fabric coverings to provide sun and rain protection. This was amazing for me. 

Kind of like this. Except our cover is beige and we didn't have the bug netting up.

If you don't know me... here is everything that you need to learn: I. Hate. Summer. 

Monday, 28 November 2016

I am well aware that I am, in fact, the worst

It's been over a month since my last blog post.

It's been even longer than that since I had anything new to say about renovations.

And I STILL have nothing new to say about renovations.

I'm afraid we've hit a bit of a lull on that front. We've had a few contractors come in to get quotes on getting the dry rot fixed and due to a financial and timing thing we've decided to fix it ourselves after all. A lot of back and forth on that one for sure. But aside from that, we've hardly had time to work on the house. Our weekends have been insane and our weeknights aren't helpful thanks to the lack of sunlight.

Here's a long-dead wasp nest we found in the wall while taking the insulation out of our bedroom.
Good times. 

So this post will instead be dedicated to the things we've been doing INSTEAD of renovating. Mostly as a way to appease those who have threatened me for not posting more (literally no one).

Thursday, 27 October 2016

A little bit of life

So, things totally are happening at the house... but as I said in my last post, it's mostly just demo.

Since finding the dry rot we had to change gears on our demolition plans but we hope to get some of it taken care of this weekend. Which is a very good thing because the temperature around here has dropped quite drastically in the last week. As a lover of cold weather, I am floored. But as an owner of a partially demolished house that does not have insulation in it or the heat turned on? I am less than enthused.

But onto the main topic of this post: our lives, more specifically... HALLOWEEN.

From September until pretty much the end of January is my all-time favourite. There is SO much to do, I love the clothes, I love the food, I love how deliciously busy (in the best way) I get.

Taken last week before I got in the car to drive to work.
Kallonen Maple Farm.

Monday, 24 October 2016

A break from demo

Before you start to panic on our behalf... no. We are not taking a break from demolition. I just thought that YOU might want a break from it.

I haven't been very consistent with my updates lately and going through my photos I realised that I haven't even been taking many pictures. The reason for that is because it's all demo. Demo, demo, demo. I'm getting bored with it, therefore I assume you all must be too.

To fill you in on where we currently stand:
- Living room is completely down to the studs
- We found some extensive dry rot in there that we need to take care of so we decided to get the main floor down to the studs before fixing it so we can just do it all at once
- As of yesterday, the main floor (with the exception of the kitchen since that was a much newer addition and should be easy to demo) is completely down to the studs!!
- we need to take stock on where all of the dry rot is and then we will work to repair it all on the main floor.
- After the main floor is solid, the next step will be to get the upstairs back to the studs (and to sister up a beam in the master bedroom ceiling)

Living room down to the studs. I don't have any pictures of the bathroom/study or the dining room.
I'm a terrible blog writer.. sorry.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

A taste of the "fun part"

As anyone who talks to me (or reads this blog) knows... I am SO over demolition. I'm pretty sure I was over it two days in to be perfectly honest.

But with some amazing help (shout out to Dave, Candice, Greg, and my parents!) I can actually see the end of demo. Don't get your hopes up. If anything, we have now EXTENDED the timeline for when we might be able to move in because we found some dry rot that we need to take care of. The good news is that the living room is completely down to the studs. No plaster. No lath. No insulation!!

My parents working away removing lath and the oh so messy insulation.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

When expectations get shattered by cooler things

As you know, Jake and I went to the Aberfoyle Antique Market's Fall Show this past Saturday as part of our anniversary celebration. Not only was it AMAZING to have a Saturday free of all obligations (we were determined to not do anything that we didn't actually want or have to do. A luxury that we have not had since buying the house), but it was also so much fun shopping at the market this year!

I've never seen it this packed before!

SO many cars!

The day was amazing too. I've never been hesitant to tell people how much I loathe summer, so when the temperature on Saturday was only going to hit a balmy 18 degrees (Celcius) I was floored. It smelled like Fall in the morning and I got to wear tights for the first time this season!! (This is probably only awesome to me...)

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Blocking - A term that took me forever to remember *VIDEO*

Early on in our renovation journey, Jake informed me that after we removed the plaster and lath, we'd need to put up blocking. I'm fairly certain I smiled and nodded along until he mentioned the b-word. What the heck was blocking?

He explained that since this is an old house, there wouldn't be any pieces of wood in between the studs to keep things level and solid. They used to rely on the lath to do that. The lath that we were going to completely remove. To compensate, we'd have to brace the walls before we could add the plumbing, electrical, and drywall. 

From that point on, I called it bracing. 

It makes WAY more sense right? The purpose of it is to BRACE the walls. Not BLOCK them! So why on earth would it not be called bracing? 

I'm not kidding when I say that it took me two months to remember the proper terminology. Once I got the idea in my head (the super logical idea) that it was called bracing, that's all I could ever think of when I tried to remember the proper word.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

2 years and counting!

Today marks 2 years of marriage for Jake and I. 

Even a year ago I wouldn't have thought we'd be where we are today, with Seamus, an old house under crazy renovations (which we're doing ourselves), and living back at home with my parents, albeit a completely different home...

Monday, 19 September 2016

My brand of curb-appeal - The urns get a new home!

First, you may have noticed a slight change to the layout of the blog. I adjusted it in order to make all of the pictures bigger. For a while now I'd been annoyed at how dinky the pictures looked, especially if you were reading on a cellphone. So today I took some time to figure out how to adjust the layout to make larger pictures fit. I even went back and edited every single post for your viewing pleasure and my own sanity. 

We just went from pictures this size: 

To this size:

So if there was something in a previous post that you wanted to see a bit better... now you can. You're welcome :) 

Now, to the point of this post.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Plaster Removal: A not-so-smart thing to tackle during the hottest summer on record

We're finally getting close to the end of demolition!

Well... maybe not quite CLOSE... but the end is actually in sight now. It really hasn't even been in sight for a while. One of the main reasons it's been taking so long has been the arduous task of removing plaster.

The previous owners renovated the living room in the 70s.
We found all sorts of drawings and writing on the plaster when we removed the panelling.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

The art of the move

Again, I am totally aware at my lack of consistency with regards to updating this blog.

In my defence, the last three weeks have been sheer insanity for us. We moved into my parents' house and therefore were split between three different "homes". We finally finished moving out of our apartment completely this week and that sense of relief has allowed me to feel the pressing guilt of not writing.

My parents' new house.

Now. Let's get to it.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

A place to lay our heads

We decided before we even took possession of the house that we were going to be demolishing pretty much everything. We intend to take every room back to the studs so that we can re-do the electrical, improve the insulation, and move some of the plumbing.

We also decided that this was going to be a monstrously large project and since we are not millionaires, we wouldn't bother finishing every single space before moving in.

The only room that we both agreed needed to be 100% completed was the master bedroom. We wanted at least one space that we could escape to, knowing that we would never, ever, ever, ever, EVER have to go back and re-do or "finish" something in it.

This gives us a pretty tall order to fill before moving in since we are not leaving our bedroom to look boring.

Here's where we started:

Back section of master bedroom.

Friday, 5 August 2016

A spark of new in front of the old - Mailbox Revealed!

We last left off with a completed mailbox. Now it was time to figure out how to mount it out front. 

We already had a post from the old mailbox and since this was ultimately going to be a temporary (albeit long-term temporary) solution, I saw no reason why we couldn't just re-use that. 

We decided to re-use the post from the old mailbox. 

First thing, we needed to make sure that our new mailbox would fit properly and that we wouldn't have any issues mounting it. We attempted a dry fit and discovered that the length of the arm that it would sit on needed to be cut down. 

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

In the midst of chaos, there are easier projects to do

We are currently in the middle of taking down all of the plaster.

I'm sure I just made a lot of old house purists gasp in shock and horror but the simple fact is that I hate the stuff. First, we need to take it all down so that we can re-do all of the electrical and better insulate the house. Second, I know that the point of it is to have that "imperfect" character, but I hate walls that aren't smooth. I hate seeing little bumps and waves. That is not my idea of a nice looking wall/ceiling.

Dining Room. This is the first wall I did. Took FOREVER.
I've since gotten into a stride with removing plaster. 

Plus there is great comfort in the fact that if, down the road, we need to change something else it will be a bajillion times easier with drywall than it would be with plaster.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

First day at the new house

Friday, July 15, 2016 was a rather stressful day for Jake and I. It was the day that we were supposed to be closing on our brand spanking new (and yet over a hundred years old) house!

It was also the day that we were mildly panicking for a number of reasons.

A) we were going to be home owners... WHAT?!

B) the house we decided to buy was OOOOOLD

C) we intended to do a major renovation immediately to said old house

D) we were worried that the closing might not actually happen that day and that could really have put a damper in our weekend plans

A, B, and C are all pretty self-explanatory but just let me give a teeny bit of explanation for D.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Lady Luck finally noticed us!

So far, you've read of my complaints that Jake and I picked the WORST time ever to decide to buy a home. I previously worked in a real estate office for five years and this spring was the craziest market I had ever witnessed in Cambridge, specifically Hespeler. 

There is a reason we wanted to live in Hespeler beyond the fact that our family and friends are here. Hespeler is a commuter's paradise. And while we don't have to commute too far, Hespeler is in a prime location to get to the areas that we DO need to get to. 

That also means that it is a booming residential town. People who work as far as Toronto have been buying in Hespeler because you can get more bang for your buck around here. 

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Promises of New Content

One of the main reasons I've had issues coming up with inspiration for my blog lately was because I was bursting at the seams with excitement.

We did it! We actually did it! Jake and I bought a house!!

First time opening the door to OUR HOUSE!

I kept sitting down to write blog posts but then would get lost in the day-dream of our new house and all the things we have planned for it and then the topic I was about to write seemed dull by comparison.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Hespeler Reunion 2016

I admit, I've been horrible with blog updates lately. But there are a number of things going on right now that have prevented me from doing anything blog-worthy.

Then I realised that one of them is TOTALLY blog-worthy and I really ought to write about it.

This upcoming weekend is the Hespeler Reunion. This will be the 7th reunion since the very first one was held in 1906 (it was called the Old Boy's Reunion back then). Since that original event, there was another one held in 1926, 1947, 1966, 1996, and 2006.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Slacking with my posts, but look! A pretty thing!

I've been horrible lately for writing a new blog post. I know, I know... I'm totally the worst.

But there was one project I did recently that I definitely wanted to share with my hordes of readers (all three of you)!

If you recall, a while ago I fixed up some cast iron urns with the main intent of making my front entrance look fresh, pretty, and like the people who lived there cared somewhat.


What I wanted to do next was paint the front door a nice, bright, new colour. Nothing says "I LIKE LIVING HERE" than a beautifully painted front door. Or so I hear...

Thursday, 9 June 2016

"Making improvements" is too loosely defined...

Last year a duplex came on the market just down the road from our apartment. Real estate nerd that I am, I have always kept an eye on new listings, even though I knew we weren't ready to buy a house. The market in Hespeler last year was pretty normal so there was no crazy rush and eventually, the listing expired without being sold. 

2015 Listing View

The "For Sale" sign came down and I thought nothing of it. Until the sign popped back up a few weeks ago. While we'd rather not go the landlord route, Jake and I understand that our options are incredibly limited and we really might not have much choice. At first I was in sticker shock over the dramatic rise in price when comparing to what it was listed for a year ago. It went up by $53,000!

Friday, 3 June 2016

Surprising even myself - Cast Iron Urns Revealed!

Most people who know me would likely describe me as a rather lazy creature. And to be honest, I will be the first one to agree with them. But after the excitement of finding a pair of cast iron urns for such a good price I decided to ride the wave of euphoria and get them cleaned up and painted as soon as possible.

It was too late to start by the time we got home from picking them up, so I set my mind upon working on them the next evening. All day at work I was antsy and giddy at the prospect of finally having a front entrance that looked "pretty". I told everyone I thought might care at all about my find and how I planned to spruce them up (no one cared quite as much as I did, and I could definitely tell they all thought I was crazy for the level of my excitement). 

Finally the work day ended and I raced home to change. I got all of my things together and then asked Jake to bring out the urns for me. I was then informed that I'd need to wait for him to finish cutting the grass first. There may have been some misguided phrases to have come out of me but there was nothing to be done for it, the grass was in need of a trim. 

My weapons of choice

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Dipping my toes into the Kijiji ocean

As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently became the owner of a pair of cast iron planter urns.

I'm not much of a gardener, I'm rather like my mom in this way. We both love gardens and the idea of flowers and vegetables all over the place, we just don't quite have the gift of keeping them alive. We've even managed to kill bamboo somehow.

But that has never stopped my mom from buying hanging baskets of flowers and having planters all around the property. It really does wonders to brighten the exterior of a home and make it look like the people that live there care at least a little bit.

That was my intention when I decided that I wanted to buy some urns. I wanted something classically beautiful, that I could swap flowers out seasonally, and place by the front door to make it look like we cared about how our home looked. Even if that home is the back apartment of a house.

And so my hunt began!

Of course I could have taken the easy route and just picked up a set of these from Home Depot:
24" Classic Urn, on sale for $20/each 

Monday, 30 May 2016

Incredulity instead of heartbreak

House hunting has proven to be a very tiresome business. Particularly since the Hespeler market is currently cheering vigorously for the Seller's side. I check every few hours to see if something new in our price range shows up but it has been pretty slim pickings thus far.

To make matters worse, nearly every house in our price range is selling within a few days (sometimes hours) and since there's usually a bidding war occurring, they sell for asking price or well above.

When something catches our eye, I usually email our real estate agent and we set up a time to go see it and Jake and I so far have left feeling disappointed and uninterested.

Until we found the house.

Picturesque front view of house.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Productivity for the win!

I think this may well have been the most productive long weekend I have ever experienced. I had an incredibly long list to work through, and while I did not complete quite everything on that list, I did manage to knock some pretty big items off of it.

Here is the list I started with:
 - Deep clean entire apartment (this includes steaming the floors and finally finding a spot for all of the things that we had to bring from my parents' house when they started their renovations a few months ago)
- Wash the windows, inside and out
- Plant flowers in my new urns (more on the urns in a later post)
- Apply another layer of teak oil to our outdoor rocking chairs

A simple flower arrangement I put together for our dining room table to brighten up the space after I cleaned.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

The things you learn on the internet - Quilt Rack Revealed!

We left off with me buying what I knew would one day become the the coolest looking clothes drying rack ever. But after piling it in the complete disaster that is recently the back seat of my car, I realized I needed to do something about the tarnished state before I'd be willing to even put DIRTY clothes on it.

This required some research.

I used the Google logo, but in reality I'm one of the only people on the planet that uses Bing. 
Go ahead and judge me, I like the pictures.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Buying on a whim should be called “Instant Clarity”

A few weekends ago, Jake and I decided to do one of our favourite “non-lazy” time wasting activities. We went antiquing.

Yes, we are THAT couple. The kind that looks 25 years old but is probably closer to 70ish on the inside. We’ll often go to different antique stores, spend an hour or two, and buy absolutely nothing. Or, if we do miraculously purchase something, it will be for a gift.

This is the tea set I bought as a wedding present for my friend three years ago. 
Teapot, four cups and saucers, cream and sugar bowl WITH the dish for them and it all cost me $80. 
(I  priced it all out online and it comes to $320, plus taxes, and shipping)

That’s why we went out this particular time. It was a drizzly spring day and we had every intention of staying inside to curl up on the couch and watch a movie. But then panic set in when I realized we had a wedding to go to the next weekend and I hadn't even started putting together the gift I wanted to make (more on that later).

Friday, 13 May 2016

And It Begins...

Lately I've become addicted to renovation blogs. Specifically blogs about renovating old homes (looking at you Victoria Elizabeth Barnes and Old Town Home). I'm a colossal history nerd and have always loved the way that old homes could exude elegance without even really trying. BUT I have lived in brand-new, custom-built homes almost my entire life and thanks to my parents' good taste and appreciation for things done right, there are a number of things about old houses that drive me insane.

This is one of the houses my parents built. We lived here from 2006 - 2010.