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Well, there is one last step to be done (sealing the stone) but then it’s officially done. 🙂 I thought I would take you through the process since it took several months from start to finish. We got a design done – a process that started back in March 2014. After a few months of back and forth and changes, tweaks, etc., we had our design. We were put in touch with a contractor and work actually began in August 2014. This is what our yard looked like before any work was done (these are actually the pics from the real estate listing right before we moved in) – it really was a blank slate:

Old yard 2

Old yard 3

Old Yard

Next came the design – and we still made a few changes to it (removed some planters, added a path to connect the patio to the gate) – I have lots of 3D design images but this one shows all the different areas quite well:

Design - Top View

Then came the demo of the existing backyard the hole digging:

backyard

deck holes

Then the decking:

deck layout

pre grouns 2

pre ground

pre ground 3

Started to lay the composite – love the herringbone pattern and colors we chose for the decking, stone and decorative walls:

pre-bbq wall

pre pergola

pre lounge

Choosing our wall (rundle ridge)

Then came the structural bits for the BBQ area, pergola, pathway:

Path and behind bbq

Path

Pre-bbq

The lighting…  We have two zones – post lighting and stair lighting – all around the deck and it comes with a remote control:

Lighting in prog

And finally, they installed the BBQ, did the landscaping, we ordered our furniture, they stained the parts that were wood and did all the little odds and ends (except sealing the stone – to come in about 1-2 weeks after a power wash, and I have to put on our BBQ cover that I picked up yesterday) and we have our dream backyard:

Bistro2

Lounge

Dining and Firepit

Lounge2

Dining

Deck

Bistro

It took a while but the workmanship was really great throughout. There are so many little details – I really love it. So excited to spend the summer out there!  We will be replacing the firepit that came with the house for something a bit larger and more functional – like a firepit table that we can put our wine glasses on 🙂 and landscaping the rear of the yard is planned for next year.

I crossed off a Life List item too – Have my dream backyard. 🙂

 

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Well, not really so big…we moved just 15 minutes west of where we were. But, with all moves come lots and lots of details and, you know me: LISTS to get it all done!

We are now happily settled in our new home with a very short list of things left to do.

For a couple of weeks, we debated on whether it would make more sense to reno our existing house to meet the needs not currently being met (more like nice-to-haves) or should we look at moving to a house that already has those desired items. We decided we didn’t have the space to renovate and achieve what we wanted, so a move was in our future.

As soon as a decision is made, I typically shift into an organizational tyrant dictator diva extraordinaire to get things done as quickly and painlessly as possible. Hence all the lists and tendency towards military precision and flawless execution. I take no prisoners. 🙂

But, honestly, I thrive on projects like this and truly enjoy coordinating all the details and timing things perfectly.

And here we are! 🙂 Everything went fine with the packing, the pre-move renos, the actual move, the unpacking, all the move-related tasks, everything. We’re looking forward to making new memories in our new home, enjoying our new space, exploring our new neighborhood and learning about the differences between our old town (Mississauga, ON) and our new one (Oakville, ON). Crossed off a couple of life list items with this move too:

  • Have my dream bedroom
  • Have a walk-in shower

We’re planning on redoing the backyard in the spring to create our very own oasis with multi-level deck and outdoor living space – looking forward to that as well. 🙂

Good times!

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Move update!

I’ve been neglecting my blog lately and I apologize. 🙂 We’ve been busy getting ready for our move in early October. We’re almost packed, the only things left are the things we use on a regular basis. There are a few things we’re having done before moving into the new house which include removing the carpet from the upstairs floor and putting in hardwoods. We chose our wood last Monday evening and we’re going with the wide, dark wood – can’t recall the tree (we looked at so many :)). We’re also putting in crown molding in the living room and dining room and painting 2 bedrooms upstairs.

We’ve selected our movers and our contractor.

The list of vendors we have to notify of our change of address is done – we’ll contact them in September.

The list of things to prepare for the move is done – we’re working our way through. Not much left to do.

We’re looking forward to exploring our new house and neighborhood. 🙂

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We’re Moving!

Yep, we’re moving! We’ve bought a house and will soon be listing ours. Super excited! 🙂  About 1-2 months ago, we started talking about possibly moving or possibly doing renos. When it came down to it, there’s no way we could reno our existing home to include the things we’d like to have. The two deal breakers were 1) a nice master ensuite – right now we have a small ensuite with toilet, one sink and combo shower/tub. And 2) a yard large enough to have a good size outdoor living space. Right now, the pool takes up pretty much the whole yard.

So, house hunting began. We currently live in Mississauga and we were looking anywhere between Mississauga to Burlington. Since I take the train to work, I needed to be close enough to a station. Our wish list going into it was:

  • Large, modern master ensuite with separate glass shower
  • Large yard with enough space to create a nice outdoor living space
  • Large master with enough closet space
  • Modern kitchen with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances
  • Garage
  • Finished basement
  • 4 bedrooms (master, office, 2 guest rooms)
  • Wood floors
  • Close to train

The house we bought is in Oakville and has all of the above (yay!) except it has carpet upstairs but we’ll be redoing the floors prior to moving in. We’re also already planning on building an awesome deck and outdoor space next spring (think pergola, gazebo, the works). 🙂

We’ve started with the cleaning/purging/packing and it feels good to get rid of so much stuff.

Stay tuned for our progress!

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Might be Moving

We’ve been toying with the idea of moving. Not that we don’t like our house – we do – but it’s still missing a few things that we’d really like to have in a home. Some things we’d be unable to do with renos (i.e. enough room for a good-sized outdoor living space). Some we would be able to do (walk-in shower in the master ensuite).

We’ve contacted our real estate agent and he’ll be coming to see our house today to set a list price, etc.

So over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be visiting homes in and around our area to see if we could find a house that has everything we’d like. If not, we’re probably looking at some renos.

Either way, this will be a fun project over the next few months. 🙂

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For the past couple of weeks I’ve been in spring cleaning mode. I have a list of spring cleaning chores to tackle and do a few every weekend so it’s spread out – because who wants to clean all weekend? Not me. 🙂

Last weekend I finally built up the courage to clean Chris’ bathroom. He uses our ensuite and I use the main upstairs bathroom. I don’t venture into “his” bathroom very often but knew that it was a bachelor-esque disaster zone. And that’s putting it mildly. 🙂 I armed myself with CLR, Windex, Scrubbing Bubbles and rubber gloves and it sparkled when I was done. Chris was amazed. Then I asked him to not let it get as bad this time. Hehehe Ya, I don’t think it’ll happen either but what can you do. So last weekend was all the bathrooms, laundry, mirrors.

This weekend was new furniture plus the kitchen and recycling. We decided to spend some of our tax return on furniture so we got new tables for the den (it was time to upgrade from Ikea!) and a new bed (don’t ask).

We really liked these tables – the have metal corners and had a medieval feel. Or maybe we’re just so happy season 3 of Game of Thrones has started we were inspired. I can already imagine putting our goblets of Dornish wine on these babies. 🙂

Tables

And this bed as well – poplar wood.

Bed-Queen

We were expecting the delivery Saturday between 9 and noon so after we got up, we dismantled our existing bed. I’m not usually a clumsy person but man, having a heavy wood headboard land on you when removing a side board really hurts!!! I’ve got the makings of a nice bruise on my left upper arm and it’s really sore… But I’ll live. 🙂

I’ve been looking for natural home cleaning ideas and decided to give baking soda a whirl in the kitchen. I used on the stainless steel kitchen sink and WOW – super easy and effective! I’ll never use anything else again. It’s gleaming! I’ll use it on the stove top next weekend.

So along with the furniture upgrades, we ended up with a bunch of boxes/foam so packed those, as well as other recycling we’ve been accumulating and got it ready for this week’s garbage day. It ws a good weekend. 🙂

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Spiders are the enemy

I’m such a cliché. A girl who’s afraid of spiders. On my life list, I have this as a fear I must conquer in my lifetime. To date, I’ve been taking the bull by the horns (or the spider by the leg, really, one out of 8 – that’s good odds) and forcing myself to face my fear. I’ve only been doing what I can, which is killing the ones I see inside my house, and that sounds very morbid. I don’t see myself letting one crawl around on my hand to try to instill a special bond. So I’m at a standstill on conquering this fear. Your ideas are welcome.

I went into the garage on the weekend and saw something scurry down the wall and out of sight, yes, it freaked me out. It wasn’t the usual spider found in the house (which are a golden colour and non-threatening-looking). The garage spider was very dark, almost black, and bigger. I asked my husband “Did you see that?” He said yes, and with his usual calm-Val-down logic, explained that he wants it to be in the garage. “It’ll kill other bugs. He won’t get into the house since he has lots of food out here. Think of him as the Gatekeeper. It’s a good thing.”

The Gatekeeper.

I like that.

And yet…A spider is protecting me from other bugs.

In the back of my mind, the Gatekeeper is killing off the competition so his family and friends can live a cosy life inside the house.

Next time I see the Gatekeeper, there’s gonna be a showdown.

 

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