"Shopping" for the new home

Yesterday I managed to convince my mom to drive all around the city with me to check out some stores that I don't get to visit too often. 

We met up at square one and did some quick shopping...(not really for the home but the rest below is!)

My mom bought me this beautiful coat from Zara for my birthday! I love Zara coats and I bought a grey one last year. They have some great sales on coats right now in case you are in the market for one.

Once we finished up at the mall we headed down to West Elm. I just love this store! So many things that I want to buy for the new home. It really took everything in me to walk out of the store empty handed. No need to have new stuff sitting around collecting dust! 

But....I really love this duvet cover and have been dreaming of a grey and white bedroom for a long time. I didn't want to buy the cover just yet because our current bed is a queen and in the new house it will be a king bed. Once we left I was talking to my mom about why I didn't buy it and she quickly reminded me that I already have a king duvet(she bought it for us 2 yrs ago) 

I will definetely be going back soon to buy this....


We've always purchased the cheapest kettle when ours breaks but for the new home I have decided I am buying this kettle spotted at West Elm yesterday.....


I'm also thinking I want some dishes with colour...


Those are just a few items I saw that I really loved, we squeezed in some time for EQ3, Kitchen Stuff Plus, and Ikea. It was a full fun day of imaginary shopping(other then the coat!)


Update on the old home! 

I started painting the windows..they were a cherry red colour(which I was never a fan) but Branko initially really wanted that. Now that we will have new windows in the new part of the house we need to paint them all white to match! YAY! 

The addition is in full swing....all the framing is up and the roof is half done. Pictures to come in the next post! 

Hope everybody had a great Christmas and a Wonderful New Years! 


Reflecting on 2012 & Thank you!

2012 has come and gone with so many amazing changes.  

We bought a new home Feb 7th, 2012. 

I became an aunt for the first time on June 2nd, 2012. 

I took my very first family photo shoot on Aug 28th, 2012. 

 Last but not least I started this blog Jan. 23rd, 2012

Through this blog I've had the chance of sharing our ups and downs, figuring things out and mostly talking about our home renovation journey. 

I have a feeling 2013 is going be an amazing year for Branko and I.  

A big shout out and Thanks to these amazing people who have inspired me to be healthier, to want to do better, to laugh, to enjoy every moment I have, and to be more daring:

Lynne Knowlton from http://www.lynneknowlton.com
Aleksandra Oleksak from http://www.realtyqueento.com/
Jeanette from http://www.thisdustyhouse.com/
Abby from http://www.crabbyfox.com/
Lisa Mackay from http://www.wickedandweird.com/
Brittney Stager from http://www.mydailyrandomness.com
Angela from http://ohsheglows.com/
Trissy from http://bringingfurmanhome.blogspot.ca

and to our friends and family who have been so supportive. 

Cheers to 2013 
Thank you. 



So life has been kind of crazy lately...

With everything that we have going on in our lives in between our 2 homes things have been kind of stressful. We have so many important decisions that will affect us greatly in the future. 

I feel like Christmas has just creeped up on us. 

Christmas has always been such a special time to me. I love buying gifts for people and watching the looks on their faces when they unwrap an unexpected gift. I love spending time with all of our family. I especially love decorating and putting up the Christmas tree.

With the devastating events that happened in Connecticut last week it really made me sit back and be very thankful that I have all these things to look forward to over the Christmas Holidays and even though LIFE has been stressful I still have my family by my side. 

Then I saw this tweet from Lindsay Stephenson from @littlehouseblog:

"Someone loaded a $100 gift card at  and told the barista to let it pay for everyone who was after him. No joke."

I turned to Branko and said "oh wow, isn't that so cool!"

Branko's response " you could that" 

I walked away thinking about all of those stories you hear from people doing just that, paying for the person behind them just "because" 

So today at work(we have a Starbucks in our office building) I loaded a Starbucks card with $30 and asked the barista to pay for everybody behind me in line until the card runs out. 

I really never thought that such a small gesture could make me feel so good. I didn't turn back to see the reactions (there were about 8 people in line behind me). I quickly walked away, put a lid on my coffee and walked out of there. 

Life goes by so quickly so try to sit back and soak it all in because you never know what can happen tomorrow.....


A teeny tiny update of what has started 


The calm before the storm....

Working on the new house over the entire weekend was sort of therapeutic I believe for Branko and myself. We know that starting (hopefully this weekend) on the old home addition will be chaotic.  

I only say this because we want to get it done in the best timely matter that we can which means working over the holidays during our time off. 

We will still do our family dinners and my traditional shopping day in Buffalo for my birthday (Dec. 27th) but other then that it will be all home reno's. 

Yup, those are our floor plans that we designed ourself. Big risk...maybe....only time will tell. The master bedroom will have the back of the current brick fireplace which we have now decided to paint white. We are moving the laundry room to that extra room beside the wash room that way it will be removed from the current spot which is beside the kitchen. 

It's a fairly simple addition but will attract such a better buyer's market. Every single person we have talked to has said it's the best decision we could go with. 

If all goes well we will start this weekend. 


Longest post every maybe but I couldn't let the changes of our new home go missed! 

We worked there all weekend finishing up small drywall pieces. 

Here are a few photos...(sorry for the spots on the camera!) 

This is a snapshot of what it looks like when you enter the house. The kitchen is to the right and the dining area to the left. That upper peak still needs to have drywall put up. You can also see the side of the fireplace. 

The Hallway:

 We opened up that ceiling to make a peak and also moved one of the doors to the bedroom on the right of the picture. If you look closely you can see the entrance to the house in the back ground. 

The hallway that currently leads to nowhere! Eventually an addition will be added to make this hall way extend into the master bedroom. 

And last but not least - The closest we added to the smallest bedroom: 

So that's it for now boys and girls! The fireplace full update is hopefully going to come next week. Once it's installed and fulling working I will take some nice photos of that area all cleaned up. 

Hope everybody had a great weekend! 


We have stairs!

This is exciting for many reasons but most importantly we no longer have to go outside, around the house, and unlock the door to go downstairs! 

They will stay wrapped up like that until we are done the upper floor so that they don't get ruined. My dad built the stairs for us and they turned out perfectly! 

Once we start working on the basement we will build a nice storage system under the  stairs. 

Here are some inspiration pictures of storage ideas that I really like:

We also really love the idea of the 2 tone steps and will probably gear toward this:

I couldn't help myself but insert a small tile update for our fireplace! 

I found some nice tile for the base of the fireplace for $2 sq ft! Much better then $4.49 or $5.49 on very similar tiles. 

So if you are in the market for tiles make sure you check our Tile & Stone Etc. @ http://tilesandstone.ca/ 

The service was great! The girls were really helpful and the prices are pretty nice too! The store is not as clean as regular tile store as it is more of a warehouse style store but for the price point I didn't mind at all! 

If you have under-stairs storage send me a link I would love to see other inspirations. 


Old Home Update

If you have been following along (anybody out there????) you will know that we bought a new home without selling our old home first (http://www.countrychicrenovator.com/2012/07/our-first-home-renovation-journey.html.)

We did this because the new home needed some serious renovations and they are close to each other and we needed a place to live while we renovated. 

Our old home is tiny with a big garage and a beautiful piece of land but.....it's not selling. Granted we didn't put it up on the Market at the best time and it has only been 3 months. But all the feedback has been the same...."too small of home - if it just had one more bedroom"

Last night Branko and I had a long talk about all of the pro's and con's of what a small addition would do to help us make the home more appeal able. 

And so...it's looks as though our beloved new home will have to be put on hold once again to complete a small 500 sq. ft addition. This would be a master bedroom with an en-suite bathroom, a smaller bedroom, dining area and relocate the laundry. 

In turn we would have a larger living room area in the existing space and a pantry for the kitchen. 

I'm sad...I don't really want to spend more time on this home as I dream everyday of our new home. 

But in reality I know this would be the best outcome for us. 

You still with me....


Fireplace Part 2 - Stone Tile and Spray Paint

When we first bought the place we had initially thought we could install a regular wood burning fireplace in the wall and build a mantel around it. Unfortunately due to lack of space the only fireplace we could have was a sub-zero fireplace which would have cost around $6000. We both knew that was not in our budget and we also knew that we really wanted a real wood burning fireplace. 

We  Branko found this cute little wood stove on Kijiji for $200. It works well, all it needs is some TLC. 

Last night we stopped into Home Depot to take a look at tile for the fireplace and also pick up some supplies that we needed. 

Of course I made my way down the paint isle and found this:

When we initially bought the fireplace I knew that there was no way I was going to keep it looking in that rough shape, so I did some research and found out you can in fact paint the fireplace with High Heat Enamel Paint. 

Once I get the wood stove painted I will definitely update you on how it went! 

Our second purchase was a big one and unexpected! We were looking for tile for the floor part of the fireplace, something in large grey stones so that we could get the stove working and heat up the house. 

Well we started looking at the type of tile we want for the wall portion and then realized the price on it was 1/2 off compared to the regular price. 

So we purchased 14 boxes of tile that looks like this:
Note:Sorry for the lack of where this picture came from....I went search and save crazy this morning. 

Branko is ecstatic, I am having slight paranoia about the colour tones. 

Wish us luck!  


Some before and after's update...

In the past 2 weeks we have been working to really get as much drywall up as possible. Even if it's 3 sheets a night every little bit counts and now we are really seeing the big changes that we have done take place. 

Here are some pictures of before and after's, sort of 3 stages. If you are wondering why we are using a spot light it is because we replaced all of the electrical in the house and are just waiting for the panel to be replaced. So currently we just have a few outlets working. 

Living Room and Dining Room Changes:

Stage 1: Things we needed to change - the wall between the living room and dining room needed to be removed, the sliding doors and windows needed to be replaced, and the carpet was all removed. 

Stage 2: Removed the wall between the living room and dining room and inserted a new support beam, removed all of the carpet, and changed the windows and door(they are now full length fixed windows and a new French door)  

Stage 3: removed the existing hardwood floor and installed a new sub-floor, changed the dining room window(before it was 2 small sliding windows) we inserted a new support beam and new large picture window, replaced the brown entrance door with a new white door, replaced all wood panelling with new drywall and insulation. 

Kitchen Changes:

Stage 1: Kitchen needed to be completed gutted and window replaced, remove wall on the left of the picture , and close up powder room to the right of the picture (the powder room was re-configured to exit into the new mudroom that we are going to build)

Stage 2: New window installed with a new support beam, wall removed and main bathroom gutted out with a new larger window installed for the corner(fridge and pantry will be in the far left corner by that window), carpet removed, also new support beam installed to match the middle beam. 

Stage 3: Drywall! Well not completely as we need to do a few things to that wall before we put up the drywall, old hardwood removed and new sub-floor installed. 

Different view of the kitchen standing in the living room:



Other exciting things that are happening is the process of having our fireplace prepared to be used and hopefully getting our stairs this weekend! YAY for no more having to walk around outside to the basement! My dad was kind enough to offer to build our stairs. 

Hope everybody had a great weekend, let me know your thoughts on our changes :) 


The Fireplace

My parents came up on Sunday to help us out at the new house. 

First thing up was the fireplace and what we needed to do to make sure we can properly install a TV above it and not burn the house down. We also need to get it working because currently we are not heating the house(ducts need to be cleaned) and in order to finish the drywall we need heat. 

The previous owners had the fireplace coming out at the top of the fireplace and the pipe running outside. We needed it to be lower so that we wouldn't have to encase the fireplace to make a mantel and put up a TV. 

As you can see in the photo below the red arrow points to where the previous owners had the opening and the new opening below that my dad and Branko created yesterday. 

This people is going to make life much better....you can also see our cute little fireplace in the corner of this picture. We plan to re-finish this probably next year with a nice black coat of fire resistant paint. 

Here are a few pictures of the look that we hope to achieve that I found on pinterest:

Haha I know each look is sort of different but you get he idea with the "type" if fireplace that we have. We want to make the fireplace wall covered in thin stone and the bottom where the fireplace will sit is going to be similar to picture #1.

Would you do a reclaimed wood mantel or a steal beam mantel or cement mantel??? We are not sure yet. 

We also managed to somehow put up some more drywall this weekend...

Hope you all had a great weekend and if you've ever installed your own wood burning fireplace please feel free to leave some advice below. 


Halloween and Birthdays...

This post is so off topic from home renovating.....because we took a night off!!!

Branko's birthday falls on Halloween and his younger brother's birthday falls on Oct 21st. My in-laws host a joint birthday celebration dinner on Halloween this way I get to hand out candy(we don't have neighbours just country folk that are km away) 

Of course I had to share pictures and talk about it here because I must say it has been one of the best Halloween's so far. They had more kids then usual, we had some great laughs, oh and I got a birthday gift too! (my birthday is Dec.27th) (best in-laws ever!) 

Pictures of the birthday boys....

Take note in the picture the re-used birthday candles, we all had a good laugh about that. Nick was extremely excited to blow out candles...or maybe just get it over with so we could get to the gifts. 

Nick was a little disappointed that his bag was so much smaller! As you can see Branko and their dad thought this was pretty hilarious. 

I love this picture....Happy Birthday Boys. 

Thank you to Branko's parents for hosting another great dinner and to Caity for all the great laughs while giving out candy. Those little kids brats sure kept us on our toes! 

Tonight...it's back to home renovating. 


Aberfoyle Last Day Treasures & Home Progress Update

Everything about this weekend was so perfect. 

I was on a mission to get to Aberfoyle Antique Market before it shut down for the season. There were a few items that I really wanted to get to be able to use in our new home for décor purposes plus there was something special I wanted to get for Branko's Birthday(Oct. 31st) I know cutting it close! 

After checking the weather report Sunday morning was calling for no rain between 7 am and 10:30 am. It was my mission to not be walking around in the rain! I arrived at Aberfoyle  at 8:30 am and started on my hunt for treasures. 

I knew which dealers carried the items I wanted so I headed straight to their booths.

My first purchase: a painter's wood ladder. Now I just need to get some amazing quilts. We love to cover ourselves on the couch so when I saw this idea on pinterest I knew it would be perfect for out home. 

Painter's wood ladder: Original Price $15, Paid $10 

My second purchase: copper boiler. We use a wood fireplace...a lot. Last winter we had kindling's always laying on the side of the fireplace and it really annoyed me. So when I saw this idea on pinterest I knew it would work well in our new home. 

Copper Boiler: Original Price $85, Paid $70

Now onto Branko's Birthday gift. 

Yes, he reads the blog and yes I ready gave him his gifts because it was just too big to hide. 

The first time we went to Aberfoyle we came across a peddle car. The look on his face was like a little school boy he was so excited. The price was $400. He and I both knew we were not paying $400 for a peddle car so on we went. 

It was my mission to find a peddle car so he could hang it in his new garage. 

I searched kijiji and craigslist but couldn't find anything at a reasonable price, I even had my mom keeping her eyes open for one in her area. 

My last hope was to check Aberfoyle again. The first one I came across was $100 but in really bad shape, the second was from the same guy and he still wanted $400. Just before I was going to leave I went to check out a few last booths in a different area. There it was a fire truck peddle car. I figured he would want an arm and leg for it but I figured may as well ask. 

ME: "Excuse me, is that your peddle car? 
Dealer: "Yes it is"
ME: "How much?"
Dealer: "$25" 


 I didn't bargain. I just took it, paid and ran. 

I also picked up this coke crate for Branko. Just because he loves Coke and Coca-Cola Products. 

Peddle Car: Paid $25 
Coke Crate: Original Price $15, Paid $12

Now onto the House Update. 

Things are starting to really shape up in the new house. Each day we get more and more excited because once we see drywall go up it will start to look like a home again. 

All of the electrical is completed and almost all of the insulation has been put in on the upper level. I helped Branko with this over the weekend and damn that stuff is itchy! I had a long sleeve shirt on and gloves but seriously even after showering I still felt icky. 

Oh well, update picture of the walls being closed in:

This is exciting stuff people! 

I can't wait to show a full update with good quality photos next week. 

Hope you all had a great weekend! 


Tile Shopping...

Normally when I need to make decisions I feel like I am prepared and know what I want ahead of time. 

I have my kitchen layout ready to go, already decided on wall paint colour and flooring throughout most of the house. I know exactly what kind of couch I want. Had a beautiful dining table made for us. Been scouring Home Sense for décor ideas and pinterest to make our new home as dreamy as we imagined it. 

Then Branko says to me: "Did you decide on bathroom tiles yet" 


Sadly I haven't thought about bathroom tiles or colour schemes. Even more sadly is now that we are down to the nitty gritty of this decision making I have no idea what I like. 

I've scored magazines, websites, stores. I just don't know. 

Here is what I sort of envision:

I'm sure I will figure it out....well wait I don't have a choice, I need to figure it out soon. 

On a side note we visited Home Depot again last night to ensure we are prepared for the weekend:

Side note 2: sheets of drywall are heavy...just sayin. 

If you have bathroom ideas please send them my way....soon. 



Come for a walk with me to our sunset point....

A look out point with a sunset view. 

While searching for a location for our future swimming pool we found this little spot that is perfect for sunset views. One day hopefully in the future we will be a able to have the swimming pool with a path to this perfect spot.  

Sounds magical right....

It starts here

Which leads to here....


And finally the sunset spot...

Yes, yes I realize there are a ton of trees in the way that sadly some day will have to come down. 

For now I will just sit in between the trees....


12 Hour Days

Over the weekend we did something crazy....we worked 2 full 12 hour days. 

Saturday was cold and rainy but we kept at it and tore down most of the that board and batten. Sunday was a continuation of this job.

We were tired...actually I was completely wiped out. I have no extravagant updates...putting up plywood is boring and tiring. 

I dropped a hammer on my neck. 

I stubbed my thumb. 

I went to sleep Sat night at 8 pm and woke up Sunday at 7 am. So unlike me! 

I almost lost it Sunday night when Branko just wanted to put in 1 more hour of work. 

I have pictures. Two to be exact. 

The top portion if the picture is currently the side of the house and this area will in the future have a master bedroom addition with en-suite bathroom(dream free standing soaker tub included) and walk-in-closet. This area will be between 400-500 sq. ft. 

The bottom portion of the picture is the back of the house. You see those bushes, well there is a huge drop off there. We hope to cut down just a few trees here to allow more light into the back of the house. And yes, that ugly metal antenna stand will be coming down. 

This post became so much more detailed then I had expected...we also framed the new bath room inside and the closet for the small bedroom. 

This week and weekend will provide some major changes...by next Sunday the house will be fully wrapped, the electrical will be done, and insulation and dry wall will start to go up. 

Now that's exciting! 


THANKFUL for every moment.

So much happened this Thanksgiving weekend that I actually woke up Monday morning and couldn't believe it was already MONDAY! 

Saturday was a full day of working on the new home. We managed to almost finish all of the sub-floor that we are putting down. This includes burning all of the old pine floor that we are pulling out and laying down all of the new sub-floor with new ply-wood. 

I am very THANKFUL that Branko and I have the capability to work so well together.  To be able to understand, trust, and know that we are both putting all of our effort into this home Reno.  

Sunday morning we woke up early to finish the last room for the sub-floor so that Monday morning we would have a fresh start. 

We finished up around 11am, cleaned up and then headed down to my parents place to have a wonderful dinner with my parents, sister, brother, sister-in-law and my little niece. 

I am very THANKFUL to have such great family in my life. My mom always cooks the most amazing dinners and puts us all into a food comma afterwards. And of course being able to have a visit with that cutie in the picture my little niece Christiane. 

Monday was spent getting over my food comma! Haha kidding, we worked all day, it wouldn't be like us to just sit around. Branko's dad came over to work some more on the electrical and Branko and I started our next phase of our project. This phase is to remove all of the current siding(board and batten) put up new plywood sheets and wrap. 

I am very THANKFUL for all of our parents help. As mentioned before his father is helping us with the Electrical and my father is building new stairs and a kitchen for us. Our mother's are my décor eye's and ears! ;) 

All kidding aside we wouldn't be able to be so successful without them. 

With all of that said I will leave you with my "new bedroom" collage inspiration board. I hope to re-create that headboard. I absolutely love it right down to the wording "awake my soul". We had several solid wood dressers that were left in the house so I may just recover one them for the room. And that old window frame! I would love to put one of our wedding photos in there for our room. 

I am very THANKFUL to be able to be living out my dreams. 

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving weekend!