Our First Home Renovation Journey...

The above picture was taken before we did any kind of work to the house. The country fence was probably one of the first things gone. 

Our first home renovation journey has been so amazing and the end is close. We started out with this home renovation thinking we were going to live here "forever" but soon realized we needed something more. 

I thought I would compile the very long list of changes we made to this place so that if I ever forget how much work we did I can come back here and read all about it. 

This journey started in 2006:

- Cut down 45 trees from front lawn. Including cutting off all of the branches and chopping the logs into pieces and stacking them and then burning what was left over. (probably the biggest job that we did on the property)

- Re-seeded the front lawn with grass and planted 20 new 7ft spruce trees 

Front yard before:

The point all of our neighbours thought we were crazy, yes we burned that all in the front yard:

Front yard after:

- Cut and cleared 20 trees from the back yard. 

- Cleaned up all 10 flower beds(ok maybe we added 3 or 4 more) but they were lacking everything and completely over weeded. 

- Built a 1500 sq ft garage, all of our sweat, blood and tears poured into this project. We did everything ourselves with no contractor's. 

- 32 Dump Trucks of fill so we could build the new garage 

This is the old garage:

This is what now stands in its place (the double door is actually cut off in this picture):

- Fresh coat of paint inside the entire house, including the bathroom (3 coats after bad colour choices - lesson learned)

- Installed a new vanity in the bathroom.

- Bought new washer, dryer, and stove 

- New carpet in both bedrooms 

- Kitchen counter top was removed and replaced (some ugly laminate thing) we also did the back splash. 

Our sweet little kitchen will be missed:

- Pot lights added in the kitchen 

   - Painted all of the window trim and doors on the outside ( from an ugly washed out green to black)

- New shingles on the house 

- Completely re-did the mudroom (new paint, new slate tiles, and new light fixtures) 

- Installed new well pump and water softener 

- Refaced the driveway with new 3/4 gravel (10 Gravel Trucks)

- Replaced all of the door handles in the house

- Replaced all light fixtures in the house and the 2 ceiling fans 

- Stained the back deck and the front entrance way steps. 

In between all of this we got married in 2010, made many trips to Florida for vacation, visited New York City twice and Boston once. (I agreed to baseball games on all trips and Branko agreed to shopping) 

Once we are completely done (which should be next week) I am going to post one final picture of the front of the house. It looks a bit different now. 

Till then....happy home renovating. 


Home Run

It's crazy to think back about the journey we've been on these past couple of months. Working in the heat, long nights, lots of thinking and re-thinking. We are in the Home run stretch of finishing this project and then the For Sale sign will go up. Once we reach that point all of our focus will go to the new house to get it ready so we can move in. 

This weekend we finally completed the final touches to the mudroom. Branko and his dad worked on the garage addition that needed to be completed. All the siding was put up now just the small details need to be finished. I managed to get some cleaning done inside the house and pack more stuff. This week will be full of painting and more cleaning. I am really looking forward to having our real estate agent come up and see all of the changes! I think she is going to love it. 

We even managed to hang out with our neighbours Sat night. It was full of laughter and "beverages". I will leave this post off with one of my favourite quotes. 


Missing out on Summer

Yesterday I received an email from a very good friend who said she will be passing by our place on Saturday and driving up to Collingwood area to do a race(she's a super athletic runner and does some pretty amazing races, she also climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, raced a full marathon and competes in triathlons) She asked if I wanted to pop into the car with her and head up to the race hang out, watch her race and then head home. I would have been home by around 1pm. When I mentioned it to Branko he was like "what! no way we have so much to do this weekend" (side note he really likes this friend of mine and is usually all for it whenever I want to hang out with her for a day) He clearly pointed out that while he was working outside I needed to paint the bedroom, paint the bathroom, fix all the paint trimming and clean the house because of the drywall dust that settled into the corners. He then tells me oh ya and I got rid of the baseball tickets we had for July 29th because we just won't have time to go. I'm pretty sure I felt deflated. I miss my friend, I miss some time to myself and I miss doing fun things with Branko. The summer is just passing by us, I can't believe it already July 20th!!! 

I understand that we won't be this busy forever and that soon enough my friend time and our date nights will come back. I sometimes sit back and wonder if we are working way too hard. We work on the house every night after work and almost all weekend. 

She was also an awesome bridesmaid!  

On that note, we also went to the new house last night to take some measurements of the powder room. I wanted to make sure that we could fit a decent vanity size in that small space. We have decided not to make the powder room larger by configuring where the sink will go, moving the door and installing a pocket door instead of a regular door. The vanity space is 40"!!!! I really thought it was going to be something around 30-32" so good news on that!  

I will leave this post off with this view which makes so many things that much better...this morning just me and the road....gotta love Fridays


Weekend update...

Our weekend was jam packed as usual. The numbers on our to-do list for the old house is coming close to an end. We have been working so hard but also taking some breaks along the way. 

The bathroom saga is finally coming all together. Branko's dad came up on Saturday and helped him out all day which we are both extremely thankful for! He installed new pot lights in the kitchen, finished all of the trim in the mudroom and helped him install the bathroom vanity. 

Sneak peak of the vanity installed! 

Other then that we made sure we enjoyed sitting outside on Sunday. Here are a some pictures I snapped while relaxing(I purchased a Canon T2i a couple of years ago and just love taking photos with it - see note at the end!)

The maple tree that we are going to greatly miss, it is so full that when we had some summer showers coming down we didn't get one drop on us:

Branko's Cars sitting pretty in the driveway:

On a side note I have been working on our kitchen dimensions in our new house. Who knew this was going to be such a daunting task! I almost have the island figured out. Now I just need to work on the rest of the cupboard space. Thank god for Ikea and Lowe's kitchen displays! ;) 

For all of you photography lovers out there if you have any tips on buying lenses new or used or photo editing websites please share!! 


My Country Drive....

Many people always ask me "how far do you live from work" 

me: "1hour drive"

people: " WHHHHHAATTTTT......that must take you forever!!!" 

me: " no not really, how long does it take you?"

people: "30min"

me: "ummmmmmmmm so I'm 30 min longer then you?" "what do you do in that 30 min when you first get home?

people: "watch tv" 

me: " well, in that 30 min I drive on a hilly country road with amazing scenery, release any pent up frustration from the day, blare the music really loud and sing at the top my lungs (on most cases Branko will call me and say "are you having a party in your car again?") 

people: "oh"

Yes "people" the drive is not that bad! When I get home the air is fresher and noise is....well there is no noise just peace and quiet while I sit outside on my cushy outdoor lazyboy chair with a coffee in hand. 

So for anybody out there that thinks they could never live in the country because they are worried about the commute think long and hard because the drive just isn't that bad. 

This is my view everyday that I drive home:

I'm curious to know....how long is your commute??? 


Upside Down House = Living Simple

Lately our house has been upside down! I mean that literally, as mentioned in my previous post we had a bathroom saga issue. In the old house the vanity was custom built (who builds a 43" vanity!!!) I searched high and low for a vanity because the one in the house was outdated and for selling purposes we really needed to change it. If I wanted a custom vanity made it would cost us probably over $1000 which was way out of our price range for something we are selling. When we measured the vanity we thought it was 42" and my mom god bless her she always has random things in her basement and had a brand new updated modern 41" vanity top with sink(my parents built a brand new home) so she offered us to take it and see if we could make it work. We ripped off the top of the vanity and laid the new one down. It looked ridiculous. So off to home depot to see what options we had, we picked out a 36" vanity and decided I would go back in the morning and purchase it. 

Back at home we ripped out the remaining part of the vanity and realized the previous home owners did not continue the hard wood all the way to the wall. WTF! Why do people do this! Now our issue was the vanity we picked out was elevated from the floor and you would see that there was no flooring! We couldn't find anything in Canada that would fit properly so I searched the US Home Depot website and found a vanity that would work in the space. It was only $279 and came with a mirror as opposed to the Canadian one which was $499 for vanity and mirror. 

The old vanity:

The new vanity:

It hasn't been installed yet because the old mirror had to be ripped out and we needed to fix the drywall. Tonight I will paint and then we can install the new vanity. It certainly isn't the most fanciest vanity or something we would have picked if we were staying here but for selling purposes it is 100 times better then what we had! 

And now for the living simple part of this write up! Because the house is upside down and it has been so nice outside we have been eating outside. The problem is we moved so much stuff we don't really have anywhere proper to eat so we made a little eating area that will do for now! Haha Branko took a picture and said "this is what simple living is all about" :)

Yup, you are seeing that correctly. The step ladder is holding our salad! 

And now for some news about our new home, this came in the mail yesterday:

We are going to apply for managed forest tax incentive program. We had to pay somebody to come and analyse the property. Basically what it is, is if you have a large piece of land and most of it is forested you can apply for a tax incentive so long as you don't cut down all of the trees you get a tax reduction. ****sort of saving the trees idea**** It was neat to learn about the land history and any tax break is good for the bank account :) 

Is there a tax incentive program that you are a part of or know about??? I would love to hear about! 


On Vacation!!!

Vacation happened last week actually but I just havn't had time to update what is going on around here! Since we bought our new home we put off any travelling for vacation. Normally we would take a week around Easter and a week around Thanksgiving and go to Florida. Not this year :(. We are hoping that by next April we will be able to use one week and make a visit to our favorite vacation town!

Our vacation started off last week with a special request to Branko, I have been wanting to check out Aberfoyle Antique Market since the first time I heard about it at least 2 months back. Branko and I have been looking for a grain scale type coffee table with caster wheels since we first saw one in March at an antique store. Sadly it was $1200 and way out of our price range! When I saw the photo that Brittany Stager from http://www.mydailyrandomness.com/ posted of the table she scored at Aberfoyle, I showed Branko and then told him the price. Haha his response was " we really need to check that place out!" (thanks brittany!!) On Saturday night I casually brought it up with Branko that I think we should take out the caddy with the top down and go for a cruise to Aberfoyle. Suprisingly he was on board, we had so much work to do that Sunday morning that I really thought he would say lets just go another Sunday. So exciting correct!!!! INCORRECT! We woke up early prepared our coffee and tea in our mugs and off we went. It was about a 45min - 1hr trek so we took our time and drove along the back roads. It was a perfect day for a cruise with the top down. We were honestly about 5 min away from Aberfoyle Market and the car started making this horrible sound.....yup the water pump was going on us. We quickly turned back and tried to make it back home but we didn't get far. Just past Guelph the water pump failed and the coolant all leaked out :( We had to get towed home and we never made it to Aberfoyle. Hopefully soon we will try to go again but for now we need to focus on the house and get it up for sale.

We have been working on the mudroom in the old house what seems like forever and I can finally say the end is almost here! The light fixtures and trim are all up. The door has been painted and put back into place. We just need to clean the floor one more time and put trim around the door. Yippee!!! The mudroom has never looked this good. I am not too sure what we were thinking waiting to get it done. I hope the new home owners will enjoy the fancy new entry room.

Now for some pictures!

Here is a picture I sent to Branko, he had to work on Tues. so I was left to starting the work on my own. As you can see painting is not my favorite thing to do:

Door painted black(it was an ugly green before):

Ceiling light fixture: 

I will update further next week about the bathroom saga inside the old house. 

We are so close to the finish line and getting this house up for sale!!! Then the real fun begins :)