Our Home

 

Up Garden 2004 Garden 2006

Our original house on a bright sunny winter day

 

In 2008, we began to renovate our house, a process that will probably last for the rest of our lives.  The basement had never been finished, except for a dingy bedroom at the bottom of the stairs.  We decided to make it into a nice guest room, but it had an awkward jog at one end where the stairwell jutted into the room.  We measured carefully and decided the jog was just big enough to hold a tiny en suite.  Our friend, design consultant and part-time building contractor, Yvon St. Laurent, concurred and proceeded to turn our daydreams into reality.  Some complicated plumbing was necessary, but everything worked out even better than we hoped.  Yvon accomplished his trademark wizardry with ceramic tile and our guest suite is a little gem.

Guest bedroom Tiny en suite bathroom Shower in en suite

 

At the same time as we renovated the guest room, we asked Yvon to tackle a project in the dining room.  Originally, there were three deep closets situated between the dining room and the central hall.  These closets were almost three feet deep, so a lot of the space was poorly used.  We divided the space in half, lengthwise, so on the hallway side, we now have three complete closets of a useful depth.  Susan had a vision for the dining room side.  She described it to Yvon who drew up sketches of her ideas for our approval.  Then he built two beautiful china cabinets with glass doors and recessed lighting.  For the centre section, he built a lower cabinet with a granite top.  The space above features a striking accent lamp.  Working together, Susan and Yvon made our dated 1960's dining room into the centerpiece of our home.

 

New wall unit in dining room

 

In 2010, we launched a long-awaited project to renovate our kitchen.  In classical early-60's fashion, it lent heavily to orange arborite.  My parents could only afford "temporary" home-built plywood cabinets when they built the house, but somehow they never got replaced.  Susan had painted them white and covered the orange arborite with her favourite dark green, but the room was long overdue for a refit.  B&M Delivery Service parked a big dumpster at the back door and the kitchen was gutted to the bare studs. Of course, I still had to feed myself while the work progressed, so I fashioned a temporary kitchen.  It served the purpose, but I had to disconnect it and move it into the dining room every time Yvon showed up.

The old kitchen before demolition Not much left New insulation and my temporary kitchen

 

New insulation and drywall started the renewal and then the beautiful cabinets were installed.  We splurged on granite countertops to set off the cabinets and Susan chose a striking sink and faucet set.  Our friend, Yvon, did a beautiful job of laying the ceramic tile and finishing the trim and the project was finally complete.  Susan has an unerring instinct for choosing the most expensive option for any given project.  The kitchen project cost just slightly less than we paid my mum and dad for the farm!

 

 

During the summer of 2011, we carried out some more long-awaited renovations.  Like most farmhouses, nobody ever used our front door, but the back-door entry is small and cramped.  We bowed to the inevitable and decided to make the back door into our main entrance.  The solution was a small entry-way addition with a nice porch and a coat closet.  We also opened up the stairwell, by removing the solid partitions and replacing them with open railings.  That end of the house is now airy and filled with light and our guests have room to remove their coats and boots.

 

 

 

 

Stairwell looking into the entry New entrance door New stair railing

 

At the same time, since the house was full of drywall dust anyway, we tackled the laundry room.  This part of the basement had never been finished since the house was built in 1963.  All these years later, it was still bare concrete walls, open ceiling joists, dust and cobwebs.  Insulation, drywall, ceramic tiles on the floor and new sink and cabinets transformed the dingy room into a bright shiny workspace.  What a difference!

Shiny new laundry room to replace dingy old basement space

 

For thirty years we daydreamed about building an addition, but never imagined we would ever be able to actually do it.  In 2012, thanks to Susan slaving away in the Alberta Oil Sands, we were finally able to bring our dream to reality.  The original living room was narrow and cramped and we never could arrange the furniture comfortably. 

We added a new living room, 16' X 22' and then used some of the old living room space to enlarge the master bedroom and create a walk-in closet and an en suite bathroom.

Living room addition with a small deck

The new living room is full of light

Lovely fireplace with granite hearth

A large bay window brightens the dining room

 

The new living room is large enough so the furniture doesn't have to be pushed up against the walls.  There are lots of windows, a gas fireplace and garden doors out onto a small deck.  Once all the building was complete, we had maple hardwood flooring installed throughout the entire house.  There are still some small projects left to finish, but the big jobs are done and we can enjoy our new beautiful and spacious home.

We often wonder what my mother would think if she could see her house today.  We think she would approve.

Up Garden 2004 Garden 2006