What would you do....

I have a confession to make. I haven't been writing as passionately as I would like to be about the "Forever Home" because truthfully I am overwhelmed with all of the decisions we have to make so soon.

Who knew that such a simple thing like the placement of a window was going to be so difficult.

I am not a designer.

I am not an architect

and lastly

I am not a good decision maker.

We are framing the master bedroom and the placement of the windows are very important. I am trying to think of furniture placement and the way the sun will shine in from the windows. Where will the mirror and the TV(yes we are having a TV in our bedroom, don't judge) go.
picture via HomeAdore

How much room do I need in the master bathroom. I want the free standing tub directly under the window. But do I want the window to go down to the tub or have it higher up since this is a ground level people can easily look in.
picture via House Beautiful 

What kind of windows do I install. Do I want a window with a mullion in the middle or just 1 nice window that doesn't open. (the side window would open where the sitting space will be)
picture via Home Adore 

Branko has changed his mind on the façade of the house and is now thinking he might want Board and Batton(cedar) with stone. BUT how do we place the stone. The walk out basement is very tricky and we can only use Ledger stone.
picture via Dream Home Source 

How do I want the front over hang to look...do I want pillars or leave it?????

Ohhhh and the ceiling inside the house. We have to rip down most of the cedar ceiling to have spray foam done. I have been given the option to leave the the middle of the house with the cedar...do I whitewash that to give it a unique look or do I just rip it all down and drywall it. AND if the ceilings are going to be white what colour do I stain the beams?????
picture via myself! This is one of the original pictures of the living room before we ripped everything out. 

WHAT WILL BE THE EASIEST WAY TO DO THE PROJECT - this is one of our biggest obstacles. When you are working on something so grande with only 2 people some of the decisions really have to take place surrounding the level of difficulty in the work process.

At least I still know I want a grey kitchen.....
If anybody knows where this picture is originally from please let me know, as I would love to see the rest of this kitchen! 

Thanks for listening friends!! Next week I will be back with Part 2 of the DIY Home Additions!!! 


DIY Home Additions - Part 1

Yes, you are reading that correctly. Today I will be talking about our home additions and the process to do it yourself!

If you have been following along here for a while you will know that Branko and I do pretty much most of our building on our own. The only time we ever call for some help is when something might just be too heavy to lift for myself and Branko can't do it himself.

I showed you the layout of our "Forever Home" here and talked about how we wanted to make 2 additions at each end of the house.

This project got started 2 weeks ago when Branko rented a small excavator to dig the trenches for the footings. Thankfully the soil is actually sand, therefore we were able to do the trench & pour process.

Step 1: Dig footings and pour cement. (It took Branko 3 hours to dig all 3 foots for a 540 sq. ft. area)

Step 2: Tamp the area where the cement is going to be poured so the surface area is level. 

Step 3: Lay the re-bar down(this holds the cement together) 

Step 4: Pour the cement and level!!! 

This job was completed by 3 guys. Branko did all of the trenching and preparing himself and had 2 people help with the pouring of the cement. The last picture shows the view of the trees that will be seen from the soaker tub and the 2 top pictures show the views from the area where the bed will be. The above pictures are all where the new master bedroom will sit. The other addition is going to be a new entrance way.

Next week I will share with you how we built the sub-floor and framing over the course of 3 days.

Have you ever attempted building a structure like this yourself?? I would love to hear how it went!


The last year in a snapshot.....

As I sit here and think about the footings being poured I am reminded about much we did in the last year.

On most days I can't even comprehend how much work we've done so with that said let me take you down memory lane.....

Nov. 18th - the additions to the "forever home" start. More to come on this next week....but here is a little preview. 

You can see our lives our not perfect things don't always go the way we want them to but we figure it out.


Before & After Floor Plan - Forever Home

The "Forever Home" has been the hot topic in our house the last week! We are in the process of having all of our permits approved and ready to start some digging this weekend!

Branko and I have been working on our layout and how we would want certain rooms to look. I was lucky enough to find this free online floor planner to help me out!

First here is look at how the upper floor looked prior to us making any changes:

Things that drove me completely crazy about this floor plan was the main entrance that walked straight into the kitchen or down the stairs, no closet space for shoes or coats, the main bathroom that was in the middle of the living room, the closed off partition wall that separated the dining room from the living room, the small kitchen with no dishwasher.

Here is a look at the new plan:

As you can see the house is now much larger since we are adding 2 additions to each end of the house.

The new entrance will allow room to move the powder room and stairs. This leaves more space for the dining room area and a new small pantry in the kitchen. The new entrance will also have closets and coat racks and a space to stack wood for the winter.

We created a very open concept living space by removing the partition wall between the dining and living room space, the kitchen has been made larger by removing the existing bathroom and extending the kitchen into that space which allows us to have a fully open concept area, a hallway was made between the bedroom and 1 bedroom was removed and turned into a bathroom, a closet was added in one of the smaller bedrooms.

The other addition is the master bedroom en-suite. This will have a full 4 piece bathroom with standing shower, free standing tub, double sink vanity and toilet. A spacious walk in closet will be situated beside the bathroom. The area for the bed is quite large, we will have enough room for some extra seating.

We have also changed the deck layout as it will no longer wrap the front of the house and will only sit in front of the French doors.

What do you think?????? Anything suggestions on something we should change? Do you use a floor planner?

PS: I also just wanted to send out a BIG Thank you to everybody who sent such kind thought about the garage and the family passing. It was a rough week but we have managed to move on think about the Forever Home plans!


When disaster strikes....Dream Garage Update

If you have been following along you would know that lately all I have been talking about is the dream garage, I wrote about it here and here.

I had a great weekend planned, spending time with a friend Friday night and then Saturday morning heading to my parents place to spend the day with my mom and a little shopping trip to Buffalo.

We made it to Buffalo but no more than 20 min. into the shopping trip I received this horrible message from Branko: 

"Storm has flattened the garage" 

It couldn't be I thought, maybe the roof or plywood was ripped off. But no the entire garage was completely flattened.

The back wall buckled from the force of the wind once it fell backwards it pulled the front wall down and then the roof come straight down. 

We quickly picked up what we needed and headed home. My drive home from my parents is roughly 1 hour and 30 min. It's safe to say I cried almost the entire way home.

Big fat wet ugly sobbing tears. 

I get it, it's just a garage. Nobody was hurt but I couldn't stop thinking about the long hours of work we put into that garage.

This section is the worse part as it sits dangerously and will be the toughest to get apart.

Standing from further away the front wall is sitting on the ground almost like somebody just pushed it over. 

At the end of the weekend we also received some devastating news about a family member passing away and it put all of this in perspective, the garage destroyed didn't matter so much anymore. You can take pieces of wood apart and put them back together but when life is taken from you so suddenly you cannot have that back.

Please note none of the quotes are my own and were all selected from my saved quotes pinterest board randomly found on pinterest. (http://www.pinterest.com/danica19/quotes/)


The Log Splitter

It's been slow around here on the renovating side of things. Branko has been extremely busy at work which has left us with little time to tackle some big jobs we need to get done. We are still expecting about 2 more weeks of work on the dream garage until it will be ready for winter. Meaning we can load it with some belongings without any damage.

On some other exciting news though we picked up a log splitter from my dad. Yes, I know what you are thinking "how is a log splitter exciting" well my friends let me grace you with this picture....

Yes, that above picture is a pile of wood that we have been hoarding. That is 4 dump trucks of wood or 10-15 bush cords. Which ever makes it easier for you to understand the unprecedented amount of wood we need to chop. 

We had to cut down a large amount of trees at the old house to really fix up the landscaping. Then at the new house we had to cut down more trees to make room for the dream garage. Don't worry all you tree huggers, cutting the trees down was a little sad for us as well but it had to be done. Don't forget we are on a tax management forest program to save trees!!

Ok, back to the log splitter. We finally managed to pick it up and bring it home. We tried using it last week but some of the fittings had to be changed so last night we were finally set and ready to go.

Now can I just tell how exciting it is when you realize you just saved $200 in an hour! That is the cost of 1/2 bush cord of chopped wood delivered. 

MORE PURSES, WALLETS, CLOTHES, SHOES.........oh wait Branko reads this.... I totally mean more groceries!!!!! 

Here is the final product ready to be brought to the old house(yes we still have that home) so we have fire wood for the winter.

(that is half a bush cord/$200)

Tell me...Do you have a wood burning fireplace that you use? Do you chop your own wood or do you buy it from somewhere? Would love to hear your thoughts....


Thanksgiving Weekend

We have been blessed with beautiful weather here over the Thanksgiving weekend. It amazes me day in and day out the drive we find to tackle our projects but also incorporate important family time.

This weekend was full of  "Forever Home" projects. We took Friday off and spent the day removing some more of the front deck from the house.

Picture taken Aug 5th, 2012. When we took over this home the windows and doors all had to be upgraded. In the above picture the walk-out basement doors were changed. The upper doors were in the process of being changed from sliders to french doors and new windows. 

Picture taken Oct. 11th, 2013. All of the windows have been replaced making the dining room/bedroom windows much larger for better views. Bushes have all been cut down, siding removed and new plywood put up. Most of the deck removed. 

The plan is for 2 additions at each end of the home, therefore that deck no longer works for the front of the house. A new balcony will be built coming off of the French Doors on the upper floor and a new deck in the back of the house for entertaining purposes. New landscaping will be completed where those bushes once were that will be incorporating large stones and plants. Stone will be added from the lower exterior of the entire house going up to the windows and then siding to the roof.

We also spent a considerable amount of time on the Garage this weekend. We hope we can get the steel roof on within 2 weeks. This will allow us to utilize the garage over the winter. Branko and I together put up 68 sheets of plywood on the walls this weekend.

If you are actually reading this and not just looking at the pictures please please don't think that I am writing this to be a big fat show off....I'm writing this to show every person out there that "when there is a will, there is a way". We could not afford to pay people to build this dream garage/forever home. We knew going into these projects that our very own blood, sweat, and tears would have to be poured into these projects to achieve our dreams. Everyday you just remind yourself to push a little harder, walk a little faster, and dream big about the future.

The plywood above the window was the toughest part, those are 12 ft. ceilings so Branko had to use lots of muscle and a few tricks to get those pieces up. This kid does not get on ladders. 

Next time you start a major project remember that your own capabilities are much more then you could ever imagine.

Don't fret!!!! We had Turkey! 

If I wasn't too busy playing with my niece and filling my face with food I would have taken some pictures of all of the food we ate....ahhhhhhhhhh next year! 

On our drive down to my parents place on Sunday we took the scenic route and came across these entry 
way gates. 

They are made out of wood and not metal! Which we both really LOVE! 

Another close up. 

This is what our entrance looks like now....

I want to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and same as last year I am again Thankful for our health and our gratitude towards each other.

With that I will leave you with the sunset at the "Forever Home"


10 years

Today I am officially celebrating 10 years at my current job, while this is exciting it is scary at the same time. Is this my ultimate dream job maybe not. It's not to say that I don't enjoy my job, I really do.


Something happened at work last week that really had me thinking. A co-worker decided to resign from our company after 34 years of service. An email was sent out to the teams advising of her departure and the following day would be her last. She was just 1 year away from retirement and with no reason she decided that she wanted to leave. No fancy retirement party, no penny of the year you started, no letter from the company CEO....nothing. Her closest co-workers scrambled to go out and buy gifts and some food for the next day to ensure she saw how  much she will be missed.

Can you imagine after 34 years coming to one work place day in and day out. All I can hope is that she did not feel alone, that she had nobody to confide her feelings.

This really got me thinking about my dreams and goals. Could I picture myself working for one corporation for that long. What is life like after such a big decision. I have only been here for 10 years and even though that doesn't measure up to anywhere near 34 years I wonder what would it be like not to come to this work place anymore. To see the same faces that you have coffee & lunch breaks, sit in lengthy meetings, go through numerous technology changes, cut backs, weddings, babies, vacations.....you share so much of your life with these people. 

Branko and I have some big dreams that include our forever home renovations, kids, vacations and maybe one day owning our own business. We both love the idea of working for ourselves, that kind of independence is freeing. 

After Blogpodium it was clear that most bloggers walked away with that feeling of I can do better, I can succeed at whatever I set my goals towards. Feelings become more vulnerable. Once you become vulnerable you allow yourself to take that leap that you need. You can read about some really great "I can do better for myself" posts over at Alex Becky, and Natasha`s posts. Each of these write ups let me know how myself and so many others are not alone in this race...not just in the blogging world but in real life too. 

For now my blog is a hobby, I wrote about it here the dreams I have for this little space but what I really want to focus on is our life dreams. As crazy as it sounds the blog has really made me realize how much more I can do...from renovating to meeting total strangers.

Where do I want to be in the next 10 years.......I am not 100% sure but what I do know is that this blogging atmosphere and the people that I have met have helped me realize your dreams are attainable and I really do feel like if I needed an honest opinion or even a good old laugh I have community of writers to fall back on.

In 10 years I hope I can look back at this and say I took that leap and let myself be vulnerable.

I would love to hear where you hope to be in 10 years.....


Raise the Roof - Dream Garage Update

I won't bore you with details again of the garage. You can read about this here and here where I previously talked about "Dream Garage" plans.

A little reminder of what it will look like once it's all done. 

It's pretty amazing to think that this all came together in under 2 months. We had about 3 weeks of waiting for the trusses to arrive and they were finally delivered last week.

So without further wait here are some updated pictures of the dream garage!

 I had a hard time fitting the entire garage in the picture **hint to family members I would really really like a wide lens for my camera for Christmas/Birthday - the only time I will ever allow you to combine my gift ;) **

 This picture was taken from about 150 ft away and because of the trees I couldn't get a snapshot of the entire garage **wide lens camera hint insert here again**

You are probably wondering..."Hey, how did she get that shot of the ceiling" Well there is a very high hill that needs to be pushed away right beside the garage. This still needs work but allows us to take some cool close ups of the trusses. Take note how you can barely see the end. 

The next phase for "Dream Garage" is to put the plywood up on the walls and order the steel roof which takes 4 days for delivery. We are hoping to have the roof completed by the end of October. 

Keep your eye out for "Dream Garage" updates!! 


Princess Margaret Lottery Home with Brian Gluckstein

When you work on your own home, figuring out every last detail you hope that when somebody walks in they can see your passion for what you've built/ designed. I hope that I evoke that kind of passion Brian Gluckstein has when he gives a description of a home he's designed.

I had the opportunity to attend a small blogger social for a private viewing of the Princess Margaret Lottery Home with Brian Gluckstein

“The ultimate entertaining home with traditional and modern elements for glamorous living.” Brian Gluckstein

I haven't had many opportunities to be around people with such high importance in the design world so going to meet Brian himself I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew I would be viewing a stunning home but what I wanted was to hear the details of the build down the to nitty gritty and he provided nothing short of that.

Brian was kind; he talked to us about the small details like how the walls were tiled in the main entrance and the work behind it. "Anybody can do this, so simple!" He says.

He discussed the library room and how he had hoped that whoever took over this home would keep it that way but If not how simple it would be to turn it into a bedroom.

He praised Kohler and Miele for there kind donations.

The décor was stunning and mixed with affordable pieces from the Gluckstein line and some antiques.

He was genuinely happy that all of his hard work combined with so many different contractors would go to a great cause.

I had a quick opportunity to Thank him for the tour of the home and after a small chat he gave me some names of shops to visit in West Palm Beach when we visit. (just goes to show how down to earth he was we ended up talking about Classic Cars!)

Thank you Gluckstein Homes and Princess Margaret Home Lotto for giving me this opportunity. 

You can purchase your ticket here to have a chance at many great prizes this year!

Also, my pictures do not do this home justice....check out the amazing pictures on the website under the Oakville Home Gallery.

*Please take important note all of my picture and thoughts were my own I was in no way asked to write about my experience*