acreage renovation: a basement play and rec room

This was a big renovation that we had no intentions of undertaking until a few years down the road. That is, until our basement flooded in December! Once it did, we were left with no other option but to renovate our entire basement- the majority of which is made up by this playroom and recreational room!

We began by having our old laminate flooring, trim, and bottom portion of the drywall removed. My goodness, was it dirty! The smell alone was that of rotten eggs, and there was just so. much. dust. Fans and heaters were set up to completely dry it out, and it was after a few days. Finally, we were able to start picking out new flooring and baseboards!

Initially I wanted to go with carpet so our basement would feel cozier. However, because of our cistern being located in our basement, there is always a threat of it flooding again. If it did, carpet is one of the hardest types of flooring to dry out- so I was advised against it. Laminate also gets instantly destroyed when wet, as we have discovered. Hardwood was not in our price point, so we ended up settling on a vinyl plank glue down floor. That way, if we do have another flood, we can lift up the flooring, dry it out, and glue it back down. How convenient is that?

We had the vinyl professionally installed as well as much larger baseboards. We also hung shiplap panelling on the one wall. We bought new door handles and switch plates. Then we painted, painted, painted. We painted all of the walls, the doors, shiplap, and stairs! It took a very long time, but eventually, we we were done.

I purchased climbing holds for a rock wall off of Amazon, and we spray painted and hung a makeshift ladder that came with my husband’s vanity on the wall. Now the kids have their own wall that they can just climb on!

We also bought pine shelving, a wood rod, and white brackets from Home Depot. This wall is dedicated for all of their toys, since I didn’t want any of them on the floor. The hangers for their costumes are from HomeSense, the wood crates are from Michaels, and the baskets are from JYSK.

One of the hardest items that I had a tough time settling on was a rug for the rec room. It took me months to find the perfect one. I actually purchased a much larger and greyer rug from Rugs USA, but after putting it under the couch, it just didn’t look how I wanted it to. Then a short time ago I went to HomeSense and was determined to come home with a rug that day. I found two that I liked, and so I FaceTimed my husband and we went over which one we thought would look best. It was between this one and a black and white one. I am soooo glad that we settled on the one that we did! It is just so cute and playful, I feel like it nicely ties in the colourful playroom with the more modern rec room.

I also now have a dedicated spot to get work done, and the kids have a crafting area.

That is our basement renovation in a nutshell!

Emory

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acreage renovation: a new basement bathroom

Have I mentioned yet that we had a flood in our basement? I’ve discussed it quite a bit on Instagram, however I don’t think that I have on my blog.

Just to summarize, I came home one morning with the kids to a basement that was under a few inches of water. The driver of the company that delivers our water had neglected to shut it off when the alarms went off. Inevitably, our rec/playroom, Remy’s room, and Geoff’s bathroom were damaged. Luckily, our insurance company covered the costs.

Above is what the bathroom looked like post-flood. The only blessing in disguise about the entire situation is that we had yet to renovate the basement. That is, except for Remy’s room. We hadn’t planned on renovating it for a few more years. In fact, we were in the middle of tearing out our entryway and laundry room when it all happened! However, because the insurance company wanted to move quickly on getting it restored, we were left with no other option but to abandon our upstairs renos and instead, focus on the basement. Up first, my husband’s bathroom.

Fire & Flood Saskatoon began by ripping most of it out. This included the flooring, baseboards, vanity, and toilet. We were told that they would give us new flooring and baseboards, but because the vanity and toilet weren’t damaged, they would reinstall them. They would also touch up the ugly red paint. It turns out that neither the vanity or toilet worked before the flood, so there was no way we were letting put them back in over brand new flooring. We also wanted to choose a new wall colour if we now had to renovate this bathroom. (Obviously red is dated and makes a small room appear even smaller.) In the end, we told them to go ahead with the flooring and trim, but that we would do the rest ourselves. That is what ended up happening.

For the flooring, we wanted unity in all of the rooms in the basement. So rather than replacing the old laminate with more laminate (which wraps in damp places) or carpet (gross in a bathroom), we ended up choosing a luxury vinyl glue down floor from Flooring Superstores. That case, in the event of another flood rather than throwing out the subfloor and flooring, you simply remove it, let it dry, and lay it down again! What we went with is also anti-bacterial, which is a great option for both a bathroom and Remy’s room given that she has asthma. The cleaner it is, the better it is!

Next, we chose a much larger width of baseboard. We wanted it to be as plain as possible in order to look more modern than what we had. After purchasing them from Windsor Plywood, they painted them white and had them installed!

Finally, they were done! It was now our time to buy everything and begin putting the bathroom back together. My husband bought his vanity when it went on sale at Home Depot. He was initially going to go with light grey, but after I mentioned how it might just blend in with our light grey floor, he went with a darker one.

Geoff bought a toilet from Lowe’s and after bringing it home and unboxing it, realized that it was cracked. So he went back and exchanged it for another. After installing it, I told him that it looked too little for his bathroom. I asked him if he wanted to buy a bigger toilet. I think he was annoyed, but he went ahead and purchased a new one from Home Depot and replaced the previous toilet with it. Afterwards he said that it did look much better. I agreed!

I did give him free range to pick out all of his plumbing fixtures. He bought everything for his sink and shower in matte black and from Amazon.

Geoff also took it upon himself to split the one light above his vanity into two separate fixtures. I personally thought that he was just creating more work for himself. However, he had seen pictures of lights on either side of a large mirror and was set on recreating that for himself. So after a bit of electrical work, he did just that. He bought his two industrial lights off of Amazon again.

Finally, aside from his towel bars, toilet paper holder, and door handle, everything else was purchased around Saskatoon. This included the mirror, towels, shower curtain and rod, bath mat, and accessories. They all came either from JYSK or HomeSense.

Last but certainly not least, we decided to cover all of the walls in shiplap panelling. I had seen it at Lowe’s months prior and was really wanting to purchase it for our home. Rather than buying the more expensive and traditional shiplap, the panelling is much more cost and time efficient. It also only needed one coat, as opposed to four coats where we had to cover the red! We truly love it and have already put it in our basement rec room and kitchen, but more on that later.

Until then, here is our basement bathroom on a budget.

Emory

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let’s talk doors

Before.

The biggest question that I am aiming to answer here is whether or not you can install a 2”x4″ exterior door in a 2”x6″ wall? Also, what is the price difference?

When we purchased our acreage it was bank-owned. As far as we knew, it had sat vacant for many months before we ended up moving into it. To deter people from entering, the property manager had duct taped signs to both exterior doors. Have you ever tried removing duct tape from painted doors? It can’t be nicely done. Either the paint chips away, or the duct tape stays.

Fast-forward nearly two years, and we finally hired a contractor to replace our doors. What a process it was. Because I had never done this before, I thought that I would explain our process, and how we ended up saving a lot of money. If you are interested in replacing your doors but are worried about the price of doing so, it can be done for cheaper than you think (with a bit of research and determination)!

Originally, I had really wanted wood doors. My mother and step-father installed one at their acreage and it was just gorgeous. So about a year ago, I called around to many manufactures in Saskatoon and asked for quotes. What I was getting back was around $10,000 for two exterior wood doors plus install. These were their cheapest prices.

Because we renovating our entire home on essentially one income, I set a budget for $3000. This would have to include the price of doors and installation. So I scoured online for wood doors. After weeks, I came to the conclusion that if we wanted a wood look we were going to have to settle for woodgrain fibreglass doors.

Next, I went to Home Hardware and Home Depot and obtained quotes in person. Home Depot has a beautiful line by Masonite. I ended up with a quote of $2,219 for Craftsmen-style doors that were on sale. That seemed reasonable to me! I went to Home Hardware just to compare. Two of their doors was going to cost just over $3000. So at the time, I settled on Home Depot.

Then we had a small black window installed next to our side door. At the time, we now had mostly white windows, one white door, one red door, and one black window. All of those colours and different styles were putting my OCD into overdrive. I told Geoff that we had to choose one colour and stick with it. 

Because our style is more Scandinavian-farmhouse-modern, I knew that I wanted to keep with a black and white theme. So totally scrapping the wood door idea, we were now aiming for really modern black doors. Ones that would let in light, but also offer privacy. 

To make a long story short, we found exactly what we had in mind at Lowe’s. Made by JELD-WEN, each door was just over $400, totalling about $850. The only problem was they were 2”x4″ jambs rather than the 2”x6″ jambs that we needed. What’s the difference? Thousands of dollars. Because the 2”x4″ black doors were so common and in stock, they were such a good deal. To order the same or a similar door in a 2”x6″ construction, it would have been considered special order. Hence, the price went up to over $1000 per door. Inevitably, 2”x4″ doors are generally much cheaper than 2”x6″ doors.

Having our hearts set on the 2”x4″ doors by JELD-WEN, I sent our contractor a text and asked him if there was any way that we could purchase those doors. To my surprise, he said that we could! We just needed a door extension kit, which ran for about $75 each. Um, SOLD!! 

We ended up buying the doors, brick mould, and extension kits for less than $1000. So far, so good.

It took our contractor a few months to finally have a few days off in his schedule. Then, it took him a day and a half to install them. His final price for install was $1300. 

After.

I ended up selling our old doors for $300. In total, we spent around $2000 on our front and side door renovation. After all of the unknowing and change of minds, it ended up being way under budget. I am so happy about that, and so happy with the results! If you are wanting to save money, I highly suggest exploring all options, such as a smaller framed door. Also, don’t quit until you are happy with the price. It may take forever and a day, but you don’t need to spend a lot of money on exterior doors if you don’t want to.

We still need a new exterior light, doorbell, to paint the white brick mould black, and are planning a wraparound deck this summer. But for now, our acreage is slowly but surely coming together.

Emory

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acreage renovation: white modern jungle gym

Oh, this jungle gym.

When we moved to the country, there was nothing in our yard except an old, neglected sandbox in the front. We needed something that the children could play on and with. During that first summer, I spoke often of how I wanted a play structure for them. However, because we had just bought a trampoline, I said that we could wait another year until we got one. In the meantime, they could play at the park that was within walking distance.

It was my brother-in-law that told me he often saw free jungle gyms on Kijiji. I asked him if he ever came across one to then send it to me. Over the next few months, he had sent me a few listings. I would message the owners within a few minutes of them posting the ad, but someone always seemed to beat me to it! Finally, one day in early fall, he sent me a listing that I was able to secure. On Geoff’s first day off, they went to the Kijiji-er’s house, dismantled it, brought it home, and set it back up.

Fast-forward to nearly one year later and after putting it off for this long, we decided to fix its problems. The jungle gym was missing structural pieces to make it sturdy. The sandbox was nearly empty. The rope ladder wasn’t getting used and was tripping us every time we went to turn the corner. Most of all, it desperately needed a roof to provide shade on our hot, shadeless property. Above is what it pretty much looked like before.

I happened to stumble an outdoor playset on Instagram one day that was stained white with black accents. I immediately sent Geoff a picture and told him that I was going to try replicating that. The next day I got to work on building a roof.

Admittedly, I had no idea what I was doing! I had never built a roof before, and so I Googled how to do it. Insert eye roll here. I followed the directions from one blog where they basically did what I was trying to do. I used the proper tools (including a saw and rafter square) and it turned out to be not nearly wide enough. Because I was home alone with the children and didn’t want to take them shopping, I was using scrap wood. That meant that I didn’t have enough to fix any mistakes.

Luckily, Geoff came home from work later that day, and was able to fix the roof as best as he could! It ended up being incredibly sturdy, it just didn’t look very professional, thanks to me. Haha.

I bought two cans of white Beauti-Tone acrylic stain which covered the entire structure nicely.

We took down the inconvenient rope ladder and in the process some of the rungs broke and the rope became tangled. We discussed the many ways that we could try to fix it and rehang it somewhere else, but because the kids never even used it, we eventually gave up on the idea.

I ended up painting Wilder’s baby swing white, in order to match the rest of the jungle gym.

Geoff had to secure the slide better to the playset in order to ensure its safety.

I bought a black hammock swing that we could all enjoy and hung it where the rings used to be. Finally, we moved the rings to the end in order to utilize that empty space.

Really, all this makeover cost was two cans of stain, metal roofing, and a new swing. What was once a neglected, hot structure on our property, is now a well-loved, well-played on, shaded spot for all of us.

Emory

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acreage renovation: remy’s own room


A few weeks ago, I had mentioned that Remy and Wilder now have their own rooms.

Since January 2020, we have made the unfinished guest room into a finished guest room and now into Remy’s own room. These are the changes that we made in order to do so.

We removed the armoire, rugs, plant, and pictures from the wall. In the armoire’s place we put her tent and twinkle lights from Grandma. The throw pillows are from Amazon. (I still need to buy her an alphabet rug for the tent.)

In the previous plant’s corner now sits her desk which has a daily rotation of toys- from barns to Barbies.

I wanted the wall hangings to match and to be a lighter oak colour, so where did I go? To the dollar store, of course! I do need to broaden my search one of these days, but I just love a good deal! ;-)))

Remy has always had a high shelf near the door in her bedrooms. I am not sure why, but it has sort of become her “thing.” I have always put meaningful items on this shelf. This room was no different. The pictures are from last year’s trip to British Columbia, the dolls she had since she was a baby, and the “be you” sign was one that I bought a few ago. As always, we bought a pine shelf and brackets from Home Depot.

I also hung her little collection of shells from BC. She put her few Calico Critters inside and Ty Beanie Babies on top.

Honestly, that was pretty much it! We kept the antique bed and dresser in the room because she liked how big they were. We also switched out the rugs, bringing back the one that was originally in her bedroom. I don’t think that it really cost us anything to change it from a guest room to a little girl’s room. Remy is so much happier having a place of her own, and we are happy for her.

Emory

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