Just a post to inform all of you that we have had to pull out of being in doors open. It sad for us as we have been prepping all summer to complete as much as we could, with the knowledge that we were working towards a date when we could share our story with others.
The city sent us forms to fill out one of which was a liability waver, here is part of it….”Each participating site must ensure that they have adequate public liability and property insurance to open their site to the public. The onus is on the site owner to verify whether their existing insurance coverage is adequate, or whether they will require additional coverage. As circumstances may vary from carrier to carrier, it is important that each site works directly with their insurance provider to determine whether adequate coverage is in place.”
So we contacted our insurance company to inquire. To make a long story short, turns out that doing something like this raises a flag to insurance companies which in turn could lead to higher premiums.
That said, we are passionate volunteers but not at the expense of higher premiums!
Sorry all, in anycase if at any time you’d like to stop by for a peek you know our doors always open, just drop us a line.

P.s. I should mention that other houses will still be participating so check those ones out.


It’s September and here’s a reflection on our summer house activities. Our goal this summer was to clear the yard of all the piles and it’s nice to say we have accomplished what we set out to do. A few days of sore backs but it’s looking good!
Backyard with no more piles of stuff
A view from the end of the drive way. We’ve got alot of grass seed to plant!
No more dirt pile
Remember the dirt pile, gone, gone, gone! You can see what it looked like previously from this post.
No more brick pile.
This is the spot where the brick pile used to be!

Aside from clearing the yard we also finished the stone facing around the whole house, let’s just say I will in no way miss doing that job, sooo happy to see it completed.
Additon stone facing
North side stone facing
You can see the previous rock post here.
And a bit of work inside the house. I started sewing curtains for the basement room, it’s almost completed.

curtains on the back of the door

curtains on the back of the door for a bit of privacy.

photo 2
We lost the door on the wardrobe when moving the unit so I covered the frame with fabric.Going for traditional decor in this room.
You can see the previous post on this room here. And for the few who would like to see what this area looked like before the room, click here.
And lastly, we are finally getting around to putting the original trim work back up around the windows, doors and baseboards.
Window with moulding frame
Here is the original post from when we started working on this window.
Lastly before I go, I just wanted to let you all know that we are registered for ‘Doors Open Ontario 2013’ as an unfinished house restoration. It will take place on September 28 from 10am – 4pm, more details are available at http://www.doorsopenontario.on.ca or you can inquire at the City of Markham website. Not sure what the fee is but there will be other houses in our neighbourhood with their doors open as well. It’s probably the first and last time we will do this so if your attending drop by and say hello!

Here is the update on where we are at. We’ve got a few projects on the go at the moment, all making good progress. By the way my body hates me!
First up, we decided in the spring that we would complete a room in the basement to give us some more space. Sam had already framed out the basement see the previous post here, so we ordered insullation and drywall and we were at it again.
Drywall and mudding a room
I gotta say I hate mudding drywall but I’m actually starting to get the hang of it! We painted and as you can see ran out of paint… but that can wait for another day! Thanks E for the wardrobe.
Paiting the room
Installed the door, LD look familiar?
Door to room
Here is a final pic of where the room is at, still lots to do but for now this works, guest room, and soon to be my sewing room!
Completed room with bed
Next up, we are still working on completing the stone facing around the house.
Grouting the stone facing
Back stone facing completed
Stone facing on the base of the addition
Sam closed the side of the deck and finally the south side of the house is finished!
Lastly the big push to clear the backyard, still underway but closer than we’ve ever been. We finally pulled the tarp off the wood pile and spread out the wood to dry. Maybe we can put some moulding up before the winter comes!
Pile of wood moulding
Here’s a close up of the moulding, not looking forward to scraping it all!
Moulding detail

We are back at it again, not quite full steam ahead but, moving forward at a leisurely pace! We had one rain free day this past weekend so we decided to take a break from the basement, and start our long to do list of outside jobs. First up add the final touches to the stone work foundation around the base of the house. To get the restored look of a house built with a stone foundation we were advised to fill in between the rocks with white cement, its supposed to mimic limestone which was used when our house was originally built (1845). We got one wall done, only 3 to go. Here is the before pic.
Field stone foundation before
During the process our son asked to help, turns out he is actually really good at it!
Field stone foundation in progress
And the final completed wall. I’m hopefull that with time the shine on the rocks will come back.
Field stone foundation after

It’s been awhile since I last posted! Sorry, this is nothing more than a brief update as life has been overwhelming. I switched jobs 3 weeks ago and it’s really been my focus for the last month. Here is the house update. Last week Friday we finally got the verbal ok that our building permit will be closed, we are currently awaiting the paper work.

Simple right…. not so, not so. After we got the HRV system installed it was 3 weeks straight of working on the basement at the city’s request. We (mostly Sam) tar papered, studded, insulated and put up vapour barrier throughout the entire basement all 1600sq ft at a height of roughly 8ft, not happy campers at this point. None the less we were finished and ready for the inspector to give us the final ok….. it didn’t happen, he was unable to attend our appointment and instead sent a colleague, well the colleague then came back to us and said he could not sign off because he would like us to do some more! Well !@#$% that I had enough. Sam tried to talk to the supervisor but, there is something about a deranged woman on the other end of the phone listing in chronological order the hell the city has put us through for the last 3 years that might of had something to do with the fact that we are now awaiting the signed off paperwork! Whoot whoooo!!!

It’s like a breath of fresh air. Although we are still at it and will probably be for many years to come at least we can work at our own pace and just take time to breathe.

Here’s my attempt to put this all in perspective. Last I left off we were trying to close our building permit but got asked by the city to install our HRV system, here are 2 posts that link back to the topic, 1 and 2.

Now for the HRV system, we had to install this system in conjunction with our radiant heating system since we have no air flow/ circulation throughout our house. I know very little about explaining the specifics of an HRV so in general here it is on Wikipedia.

So over the course of 2 days we were up and running. Day 1 aluminum vent installation.

aluminum duct work in basement

Yes, the underside of our basement looks like ‘Frankenstein’ but we’ll deal with that another time…. bottom of the list!

Day 2, the system got installed and working, yeah! I was excited until I arrived home from work and realized that the unit itself was huge. Cancel my plans for that corner of the basement! The installers were nice enough to install a heater (the small metal square on the right side of the picture below), apparently this air flow system can make the air really cold, especially in the winter.

HRV unit

The pic before they added 2, 6″ tubes to vent to the outside. They attach to the circles you see at the side of the unit.

To accommodate the exhaust and intake vents leading to the outside, Sam ended up having to knock out some rock facing on the exterior of the house, if you remember the crazy rock cutting post then you will understand our frustration. One step forward 2 steps back, we will have to do cosmetic surgery on the exterior rock facing when the weather gets better!

So, our installation of the HRV is completed 🙂 We then had the city inspector come back to sign off, only to be told that the city now want us to insulate the entire basement before they will close our build permit! F#$%^, I am soooooo pissed off that I am pretty sure you can see flames shooting out from my head! So, were are we now…. well NO VACATION and 1600 sq. ft. of basement to frame and insulate! I can no longer write anymore of this post for fear that the cursing will begin and never end!

Way back when we were drafting house plans to submit to the town for approval we were tasked with things totally unfamiliar to us (there were alot), for the purpose of this post, the heating system. I never really thought about alternatives, I only knew that every home I’d ever lived in or visited had a furnace. We were introduced to alternatives; geothermal, boiler, radiant, etc. I was like, what do you mean we don’t need to put in a furnace?? Turns out it was a huge space and money saver not to. Instead after much research we opted for radiant heating. To that point, our house is heated by radiant heating tubes that are connected to a central boiler that runs off of natural gas. These tubes run in zones throughout the floors in our house, both on the main floor and under the concrete in the basement. The great thing about having zones is we can heat rooms (zones) on a need to basis. It’s been a real cash saver for us.  Not to mention heated floors throughout the Canadian winters has it’s benefits! I dug up some pics from the installation.

Radiant heating installation

This is the installation of the radiant heating loops on the basement floor.

Cement truck pouring the basement floor

The basement floor was poured through our cold cellar.

Cement floor drying

This pic is after the floor was poured and leveled

Boiler installation

Here is the boiler before it was all hooked up. Yes, that little grey rectangle heats our house and our water!

This post although missing the fluff of decor is a lead into my next post!

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted and I have no excuses or tall tales. I’ve come to the conclusion that renovating, raising a family and working full time don’t leave much time for hobbies or interests. I do love blogging and would soooo love to be posting on a regular basis but my reality is sleep before dreams! One day this blog will rock but for now its just gonna have to be whenever I can find the time.

I’ve just survived March break with 2 kids, work, no baby sitters and no Sam! So in celebration here are some pics of Sam’s business trip.

Small plane on runway

Every time I see the size of this plane I get nervous!

Flying over a frozen river

A view from the window shows a frozen river below

Driving on an ice road

Frozen rivers are made into roads


So, where did we leave off with the house? We had the city inspectors come to discuss closing the building permit. Turns out we have to get our HRV (Heat recovery ventilation) system installed to close the permit! We were in the process of getting quotes and finally decided on a contractor today! So when I post next hopefully it will be about the system installation, XXX fingers crossed!

So, while we entertained quotes for the HRV we decided to finish up the ensuite. We mudded, sanded, caulked, sealed around the toilet, installed baseboards, lowered the sink cabinette and moved the sink closer to the centre of the vanity, changed the light fixture and painted.

caulked the toilet base

Clear caulking, goes on white and dries clear, love it!

Unfinished bathroom ceiling

We’ve lived with it like this for 3 year

before and after bathroom wall

left – sanded and painted, right – after

We chose a silver blue colour from Behr, 740E-3 Prelude. I gotta tell you this colour took a whole 2 minutes to choose (and we don’t ever agree on colour), it’s one of those ‘never in a million years’, moments so we ran with it. The squares/rectangles in the images are where I will eventually hang pictures. We chose a decal to add to the tops since our ceilings are so tall, it just helped to bring the space together.

bathroom sink

Main wall

bathroom wall

Wall to the left of the sink

wall over the toilet

I am looking for a cabinet/ shelf for storage

And of course one of my thrift store finds. Milk glass canisters with an art deco feel, now if I could just find matching toothbrush and soap dish holders!

Milk glass bathroom canisters


As cherry as the title of this post sounds, it’s anything but…. I’m in the “February funk” as I like to call it! It’s the middle of February and I feel like I haven’t seen the sun in ages. It’s rather cold and snowy here so I’m holed up in the office and at home, its pretty gloomy.

Check out the pics from last weekend’s snow storm, the news reported it’s been 5 years since we’ve seen this volume of snow in our area.

Start of the snow storm

Here is the start of the snow storm

A snowy backyard

End of snow storm with car burried

End of the snow storm

Here’s what the front of the house looked like the next morning.

Front of house with lots of snow

But the kids had a blast!

Kid playing in the snow

As for the house, we took the plunge and called the city inspectors to come take a look at our progress and check off our list of deficiencies. I had forgotten what a pain in the #$%^& it is working with them. He took no time at all to remind us that our permit to build the house is still open. So after 1hr and 20mins of inspection, he has requested that we install our air flow system before we can close our permit. Just more money at our expense and a new job not on our to do list has just been bumped to the front of the line 😦 Lets see how fast we can get this done, I’m now on a mission to get this permit CLOSED!

Building permit

And so back to the post title, it is Valentines Day so to all HAPPY ‘LOVE’ DAY! Spread it, share it, love it!

Kids valentines card and cookie

My little one baked heart cookies in class!

The February Funk combined with a rough day at the office = retail therapy on this day of love – brought on by my coworkers no less! So, I LOVE these shoes!

High heeles in Ruby Red

The colour is a bit off in the pic, its more red and for a whole $32, I couldn’t resist!

The living room

As per my prior post, up next the living room! Before I proceed, I gotta warn you the pics are full of the day to day mess of living and renovating… I thought about cleaning up but then figured I would never post a pic or write a post if I took the time to clean and sort first, so please excuse the mess!

Since the living room and kitchen are side by side and flow into one another and Sam had completed the banister it just made sense to paint the walls and complete the room.

Kitchen and Living room wall

Kitchen on the right and living room on the left, they sort of flow into one another.

I chose a neutral colour to help tie it together. I used the curtains in the kitchen as my starting point and pulled a brown from them.

I then went to home depot and found a Behr pre done colour combo card that matched the brown, makes life easy!

Behr paint swatch

Behr paint swatch

After painting the first wall with Brown Teepee 700D I realized that the space started to feel smaller so I changed the second colour from the darker colour on the card to lighter Oyster W-B-720, for the remaining two walls.

Living room wall

We finally got to put up family pics, they have been in boxes for 3 years! Lots more to go but this is a good start.

We also completed a project that has been half finished for years. We started with 3 of these inexpensive Ikea wood dressers, painted them white, attached them together, placed a piece of our old sofit across the top, sanded and stained and bought new knobs, voila! The chest of drawers is only 11″ deep so it fit perfect on the ledge beside the stairs.

rast--drawer-chest__25877_PE057109_S4Top railing of stairs

In our living room we have a nook which we designate the office, it’s to the left of the TV in the pic above. I finished scraping the window frame and Sam put it up, what a difference the moulding detail makes. The window treatment is still being debated!

Window with trim

We can’t fix the back part until the summer when we can pull the window out completely! We also have to fix a broken pane of glass, hooray for tuck tape. It’s quite drafty!

Small office

I know you love the mess!

We painted the back hall as well since it’s all connected. I caved 😦 I was looking for the perfect antique piece but couldn’t deal with the mess so we bought an Ikea wardrobe, they had the bedroom event so we got 15% back in gift cards, I couldn’t resist! There wasn’t much choice at Ikea for what we needed; shallow depth, tall and sliding doors, so I went modern and clean, white, white and white!

Back hall 2013a

This is just to give you a location perspective

Back hall 2013b

We took a walk to Home Sense (love this store) and look what I found! What are the chances that it was the same colour as our walls?? One of those things that I felt was just meant to be, and inspirational too! One piece of wall art down, only 4 more to go!

Wall art with text

Inspirational wall art!

Up next, we are painting the front hall.