Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! 
It's been an incredibly busy 4 months and last year at this time I would have never figured my life to have changed so much. We started the year like everyone other year, in the same house, same job, same friends (glad you're all here), and same routine. Half way through we decided to sell our home and move to a house that needed several renovations and updating. It's been challenging to say the least and often times I've wondered why we decided to take on such a project with our busy lives but we're here and I'm finally beginning to see why we've ventured into this. I'll show you pictures when it's complete. 
Everyday I wake up and find the strength to get out of bed and go to work knowing that my life isn't structured or quiet. I come home and enter into chaos which, if you know me isn't the way I like to live my life. There have been really hard days where we don't see any progress and others where I see the changes we've made coming together. I think this house has taught me to be patient and not always have everything done when I want it done. It's okay to wait for some stuff or wait for jobs to be complete. It's also taught me that I can operate power tools. I'm still not very good at hammering in nails but I do know how to paint a room with ease and I'm quite good at it. I am capable of learning how to do things and that I am quite handy when I need to be.
I believe this last 4 months, had taught me how to go with the flow and deal with stress and the uncontrollable. I can't control every situation and I've had a lot of disappointments while doing this house. As a couple we've dealt with them together. I've also learned that Darcy has been the best thing for me. He's been my rock, support system, helper, carpenter, handyman and assistant. He's made numerous phone calls, made arrangements for flooring/appliances/furnace repair guys, taken our dog for surgery, taken time off work, and he's been there when I needed meals at school or when things needed to be done at the house. We work as a great team. Sometimes it feels like World War 3 is going to break out but in the end, we work it out and learn that we need to listen to each other.  We've got the same work ethic and standards. He's done an amazing job on a huge project (I can't tell you now but will soon). I'm happy to know that when I ask for a job to be done it gets done. 
So in all, even though my life is chaotic now, I know that 2013 will come and go just like 2012. I'll have more adventures and unpredictable moments that cause me to rethink my decisions but I know it will all be okay because I've got a partner who's there for me and will be with me through thick and thin. 
Hopefully, 2012 has taught you some lessons. In reflecting about the year that's past, remember that you can handle things when you've got great friends, supportive family and a spouse who supports you. Enjoy the very last hour or more of 2012. Looking forward to sharing more of our home renovations and adventures in 2013 with all of you. 
Bring on 2013....

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Master Closet

This was a much bigger job than I thought it would end up being. My husband has a lot of clothes, more than me in fact which is strange because I love to shop. I guess I do a much better job at de-cluttering. Although he did just bring to my attention that I have a whole other closet with pants and clothes inside of it (they are all going to the second hand store to be sold when I head to Edmonton next). So really I don't think they should count. 
I think it makes for a much more peaceful sleep and morning when you know where your clothes are and where they should go at the end of the day. 
We've always had a large bedroom with a fair amount of wall space where the dressers could go but in this new bedroom the walls are broken up which means we had a difficult time fitting our dressers into our room without it feeling over crowded. I like getting out of bed and feeling like I have room to move. I don't like a lot of stuff in my way that I may bump into. 
I wanted as many clothes to go in the closet as possible in this new space and I only wanted side dressers. 
Here's what the bedroom looks liked and you'll see why we have too much furniture in the room. My apologies for the terrible and dark photos. I usually do much better but I wanted to get this post done. 
My apologies for the messiness on the dressers. I was working on cleaning out the insides today. We still haven't moved into the house. Some of these things are Christmas gifts that need wrapping and sent away. I know Christmas has past but I've been busy. The other stuff is that left over stuff you're not sure where it should go. 

The dog kennels do not usually stay in our room. They will go someplace else once our hardwood flooring is complete. It's just easier to keep them in one space rather than move them all the time.
Because we found some side dressers each with three drawers, it's was important to fit as much in the closet as well. Plus I am trying to get Darcy to use the hamper and not the floor for storing his clothes, case in point. 
He says it's to save the environment. Yes, I know they are folded but he has a whole closet to use and laundry hampers to use. 
Here is where we started with a closet. 

Yup, a big mess.  Couldn't take it any longer so I went to work. I added shelves down the middle for sweaters and t-shirts. I would have liked drawers going down the middle but I didn't want to spend a whole bunch of money. We had initially went with the Rubber Maid Fast Track system and it was much easier to keep with the same system. Some of the shelves on the right were not staying because my jewelry will hand there on hooks. 
I also wanted the laundry baskets to be in the closet. My old wicker ones would need to go because they took up too much real estate. I double layered the hanging racks, put t-shirts and shirts on top and pants hanging on the bottom. 
I also colour coded all clothes items. I've never done this before but it sure makes for a much nicer looking closet and I also think easier to find items. I'm visual and remembering what color an item of clothing is is much easier. Having the clothes on the shelves will also help to remember what I have to wear. 
The process began raising the first free slide rack, adding the shelves and then adding the second free slide rack. The hardest part was deciding where clothing would go and how it would be organized. 
I still have to put Darcy's clothes on white hangers but before I do this, he needs to get rid of some pieces of clothing. The seasonal items will ge stored in IKEA Garnityr boxes which we'll pick up next time we're in Edmonton. 

This will help to keep a clean look throughout the space. So are you ready for the reveil? Here it is. 

I think this shelf will come down and my jewelry hooks will go here. 

The space above will be used for shoes not worn in the winter. 
The pink jewelry bag will be used for traveling, right now it's the home for the jewelry. I'm happy with it so far but it's only 75% finished. I'll show you more when it's complete. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Before Pictures

Here are some photos of what the house looked like when we got the keys on the first day. It's come a long way in three months. When looking back on these, I can't believe it looked like this.
Living room

Living room looking into the kitchen (left) and hallway (right)

Looking into the old dining area

Looking down the hallway to the front door. 


Hallway with boobie lights

Blue room

Blue room looking into main basement area

Main basement area

Freezer that was left. Aren't we lucky.

Stairs going up and down


Basement bathroom

Spare room in basement

Down hallway


Master bedroom

Master bedroom looking into door (left), bathroom (middle) & master closet (right)

Master Bathroom
Spare bedroom

Spare bedroom, my new office

 This is the where we started. The after pictures will be coming as time passes.

Where did we start?

When we got the keys on September Long Weekend we instantly started cutting down weeds with the chain saw. Yes, you read that correctly. We had to cut them with a chain saw. They were so thick and tall, as tall as a yield sign to be honest, we couldn't use the whipper snipper because the thickness of the trunk was breaking the plastic snipping part. We cut the lawn and started to tear down the railing on the porch. It was in really bad shape.
The first painting project I embarked on was to remove the hideous rust colour on the front door and garden doors at the back. We installed new door handles and locks so the old tenant couldn't get in.

For now, we had to match the door colour to the siding colour. We'll replace the siding in a couple of years so for now this will have to do. After painting, I noticed that I hadn't done a very good job. If you look closely you can see my roller stroke at the bottom of the window. I'll redo it in the Spring time. I've since become a much better painter. You get that way after painting a whole house.

 I'm still not sure about painting the white trim around the window frame. For now it's staying the way it is. Our door handle comes from Home Depot. Here they are:
Vendani door handles

Tavaris Handle and lock
When I go to repaint the door in the spring. I'll follow these instructions. Or these, Blissfully Ever After has a great post about how to paint doors like a pro. Check it out to find out more. 

The front porch was also painted but I'll save that post for another day. 

Merry Christmas and enjoy the day with your families and friends.  

Saturday, December 22, 2012


I have been getting a lot of questions lately about why we decided to move from our house which was a lovely house into this place which needed so much work. I am not sure myself but I can't really turn back now.
New house

Old house

I guess one of the main reasons was to move to a neighbourhood where everyone took care of their homes. The village is a great neighbourhood, in fact, many people in Grande Prairie comment, "Oh the Village is so nice!" Please don't get me wrong, I loved the old neighbourhood. My friends were there, we had terrific neighbours who watched out for our house and even watched out for us. Since building our house in 2005 the neighbourhood changed quite a bit and families that were once there moved away. It was only in the last year or so where more kids were moving back in. I love seeing kids riding their bikes, jumping over home made ramps, playing street hockey or just walking or riding their bikes. I loved walking Maxx and Phoenix and stopping to say hello to those mowing their lawn or cleaning the outside of their house. It was a place where I knew many of the neighbours. The neighbourhood has changed and maybe it was us who changed. We had become less tolerante of the big trucks and the young kids who decide a Wednesday night party is a good idea.
The house we initially build was a by-level (walk in the front door and you either go up or down stairs). I LOVED THIS HOUSE because we built it together. It was our very first place together. There were a lot of sweat and tears shed here. We have wonderful memories of building and making it our own. It was the first house that was ours. The one problem with it was that it wasn't a bungalow. We had wanted to build a bungalow from the start and we were talked about of it. :( We've often commented about how the only thing wrong with the house was that it wasn't a bungalow. Other than that it was fine. We'd made special changes to what is called a 'spec house'. The house eventually became too small or perhaps my husband just needed to be better about throwing stuff away or getting rid of it. I think this move helped to sulidify that because there was  a lot to move and I keep hearing how he is going to weed through the tools and junk in the garage. I'll be doing the same in this house but not until we can actually move into it.
The other reason we moved was to pay less taxes. Our yearly taxes in Royal Oaks were $3800.00 for a corner, yes, you read that correctly. Here in the village, our taxes will be about $2400.00 for a corner lot with WAY MORE real estate. It's a much quieter neighbourhood and I don't have my husband complaining about the noise the neighbours make with their big jacked up trucks with heavy mufflers.
We also moved because a bungalow was better for our dogs. There is only one set of stairs and we are not stepping over cut boxes made into gates to go up and down the stairs to bedrooms or the front door. Everything is on one level or the basement. This is a feature we love.
We both saw potential in the house and that's what we're working on now. Well I hope this helps to clarify our reasons for the move. I know there are way more reasons and some days I'm wondering why we did it but today, we've worked hard finishing laying our sub floor so the hardwood can go down and I'm feeling like we're getting some place. Tomorrow I may feel differently but we'll see.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Welcome to Brown in the Village


I have been wanting to start this blog since we first got possession of our new house September Long Weekend but we've been SOOOO busy with renovating and more renovating, oh ya and working full time jobs. Well it's now December and I'm getting started. Perhaps it's because I finally have some time. I can't do anything tonight because we are installing the sub floor (pictures will come later, please be patient). I'm in a crowded basement with furniture everywhere. 

Well enough about what's happening now how about we go back about 3 and a half months so you can see where we started. 
Front of the house. As you can see it's really overgrown and needs a lot of TLC, just wait till you see what the inside looks like. 

It has had renters for the past 5 years and the last one did nothing to take care of the house.

It looks like we're trying to get through a forest. 

Hard to see the house from the side.

Backyard. Please don't think this is my outside furniture because it's not. Left from the previous owners. We took 5 loads to the dump and we're still not done. 

This bush shouldn't be any taller than my waist but it's as high as the roof. I remember all I could say was "Oh my God!"

How are we going to get rid of this? Underneath the tall grass are sharp rocks. Yes, the grass has grown over the rocks. This should be fun in the spring. 

This is where we now live and work to make it our new home. It's a work in progress that has been a labour of love and something to hate all at the same time. I hope you come back soon to see the progress we make. 
See you soon!