It’s a Halloween miracle!

We did it! Again! The day before Halloween, we bought a house in Wyevale. It feels like both a trick and a treat : trick because we’ve got some minor renovating to do (argghhhh will it never end?); treat because we quite like the place.

The new place, in all its glory

Our search for this home was fraught with obstacles. The market dried up when our Elmvale house sold. Interest rates rose. We bid on another house and lost. Most of our viewings coincided with Arthur’s poop or bed times.

Arthur and I on Halloween day – right before he pooped.

As the months wore on, desperation forced us to consider all sorts of stupid options : money pits, overpriced split levels, expensive mcmansions, remote cabins, and other oddities.

When this listing appeared last week, it felt like a patch of sun in a cloudy sky. It was a balm to our weary hearts, battered by months of uncertainty and doubt.

The house is nothing fancy – just a little bungalow on a dead end street in a residential neighbourhood – but it has a layout we like, the space we need, a price we can afford, in the area we want. It ticks almost all our boxes. With a little elbow grease, we think it’ll shine like a new penny.

Before we start calling contractors for quotes, this lightweight is going to have a celebratory bowl of roasted pumpkin seeds (plus a glass of wine or two) and enjoy the prospect of a new adventure.

Happy Halloween!

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The great bathroom caper

Thanks to a much-needed influx of funds from the wedding (thanks guys!) we are finally able to renovate our upstairs bathroom.

That little patch of linoleum hell has been on our list for three long years. Only two of the lightbulbs in the main fixture worked. The tub had a ring of rust, calcium and mysterious red mould even hours of CLR couldn’t beat. The artfully swirled ceiling has an enormous crack running through it. I could go on.

I’m delighted to report that we’ve almost finished the demo. Just like the rest of the house the previous owners left the bones in good shape – an excellent base to build dreams on.

Next step? Putting in a wooden frame for a bigger, better drop-in tub. Sometimes I fall asleep with visions of hexagonal tiles, brass fixtures, beadboard, and antique wall sconces dancing in my head. Far better than sugarplums, if you ask me.

 

The Paint Fairy returns

I hate to say it, but I think I might be a (rather unhappy but) slightly better person when JF is away. I watch less television, sleep more, eat better, and get more done.

While he was in the Yukon, I:

  • put up some floating shelves
  • hired a new handy man
  • cleaned the house top to bottom
  • practiced my piano scales
  • exercised
  • re-organized my filing system
  • volunteered a lot
  • re-mulched the front garden

He’s only been back for four hours and I can already feel my brain descending into happy slothfulness.

In any case, my greatest accomplishment – while JF was slurping on Bonanza Browns by the Klondike – was painting the attic.

JF's man attic - desperately needs a coat of paint

JF’s man attic, pre-paint. And covered in spackle because it was once a studio.

Months ago, my aunt JoAnne (a.k.a. the Paint Fairy) offered to come by and help me finish the sucker. The rest of our home was painted last fall, but somehow the pocked-marked upstairs nook was intimidating. So many unusual angles and corners.

The Paint Fairy’s kind proposal — and my aunt Denise’s paint donation — finally gave me the kicks in the arse I needed.

The job took two coats and a whole day to complete. I couldn’t have asked for better company. We painted, paused for toasted tomato sandwiches, painted more, puttered in my garden, painted again, and then celebrated our success with wine and roasted potatoes.

Here’s the room in stages:

Merci, mes tantes pour vos beaux cadeaux. Our house feels more finished for them.

House update

I’m taking a quick break from Georgian’s Got Talent Benefit Concert shenanigans (show is tomorrow and Friday and tickets can be purchased here!) to update you all on the state of my house.

After stripping acres of wallpaper last summer and painting walls last fall, we took an extended home maintenance break.

Snowy road

This was my drive to work late last week

Probably too long a break, actually. I blame the horrid winter we’re (still!) enduring.

We hired a nice handyman named Scott to clean out our eaves troughs just after Halloween. They froze before he could get to them, so he said he’d come by at the first thaw. Well, the thaw never came.

I just did the math and that’s almost five months – or about 40% of the whole damn year – under ice.

We didn’t spend those five months hammering away as planned, but we did pick up fun new skills like pipe thawing, flood fighting, car boosting, and ice chipping – all vital when powering through cold, cold February in a Victorian home.

In any case, we’re getting back into the swing of things — our energy levels rising as the days grow longer. JF is nailing in our new powder room ceiling as I type.

First priority when things thaw? Stripping the addition’s siding so we can insulate the mudroom. There goes the hardwood floor budget, but at least we’ll avoid more long winter nights holding hairdryers to our pipes.

Here are some photos of our space as it looked last weekend. There are about a zillion things that don’t look right or need to be fixed, but it’s feeling like home.

Heather and Jerry left us this lovely sign for our front porch

Heather and Jerry left us this lovely sign for our front porch

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Settling in?

It’s been 2.5 weeks and our house is starting to feel like home. Sort of. We’ve finished de-wallpapering, painting and unpacking two out of 13 rooms. Two important rooms — the kitchen and living room — but that is still a measly 15% of the spaces in our house.

The good news is, we’re really enjoying that 15%. Tonight we sat on the couch and surfed the internet for several hours. That was great.

Living room before and after.

Living room before and after.

 

The bad news is, the rest of the house is in shambles. Pockmarked walls, smelly grey carpet, and a few sticks of furniture. I generally pretend those parts don’t exist. Or I attack them with spackle in the hope that they can soon be painted and prettied up.

Dining area before and after.

Dining area (in the kitchen) before and after. I need a bigger area rug.

 

I don’t think I’ll ever claim the main bathroom and damp basement as ours. They might be lost causes.

Kitchen before and after.

Kitchen before and after.

Neither JF nor I have fully absorbed the implications of home ownership. I still treat my mom’s like a grocery store. And JF still refers to the Toronto apartment as “home.”

I say THE Toronto apartment because, as of August 31, it is no longer OUR Toronto apartment. Aside from the baby squirrels that currently live on its dining room windowsill, it’s vacant. And soon, someone new will take over the lease.

Generally, we haven’t had any time to ponder the deep, existential, seismic change that empty apartments represents. We haven’t even cut our lawn yet. I’m waiting for that “holy crap this is real” moment.

In the meantime, we will keep trying to enjoy our new life while chipping away at the monstrous project we started when our mortgage went through.