halfway backyard makeover

Hi, everyone! Today I’m going to show you the progress so far in our backyard makeover. First, an explanation as to why this was so vital.

Our house is more than a century old, so with it came with old problems! It was also part of an estate sale and had been neglected for many years. When we purchased it last summer, we were well aware that the basement walls were cracked. We also were told that at some point, the basement floor had gotten wet. Fast forward to this past spring, and the entire basement flooded. As the snow slowly melted, water poured in through the many cracks. This went on for weeks.

We eventually cemented and sealed the basement cracks and perimeter, yet the underlying issue was underneath the back deck. Under that rotted deck was a large, two foot deep pit. The power line to the garage was exposed, and mice had eaten away at the plants and other garbage that was down there. It was a huge mess. Our yard sloped towards our house as well, which meant that all of the water from the back alleyway, our neighbour’s yards, and our yard would drain into our basement. Hence, the urgency to rectify it before the next spring melt. Below are the before photos.

Geoffrey began by tearing out the old deck. He buried the power line, fixed the cracked foundation, and added more wood siding to the bottom of the house. Then he filled the pit with yards and yards of dirt, grading it as he went along. At the same time, he cleared away the thorny bushes and plants at the back of the yard, and found some extra paving stones. He used those to continue the path to the back door.

Inevitably, he laid down pea gravel on one side where the old deck used to be, and sod on the other. Then he built a small deck (as I call it), or large step (as he calls it). I bought new lights and hardware, and he replaced our old ones with the new ones, then the old garage lights with our old porch lights. Whew. There’s more, but that’s the gist of it! Here are the after pictures.

We’re going to wait until next year to stain the deck, paint the back door, and add more plants. The house also needs a new shingles, soffit, fascia, and eaves. We’re hoping to get to that in the spring. Additionally, it needs to be painted, and is in need of a new fence! Hence, the halfway point. Or less than, I should say. ;-)))

That’s it for now. Hope you enjoyed my little update!

Emory

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sprig west peg board

I purchased this rectangle peg board from a Canadian website that I use to buy the majority of Remy’s shoes. Although primarily a site for children’s moccasins, it features quality-made products for your home as well. I saw and fell in love with this interesting wall shelf by Sprig West.

Made of Baltic Birch, it can be mounted either horizontally or vertically. It comes with four pegs and a shelf, and can hold up to 80 lbs!

This shelf is unlike anything that I have seen before. Given that it is also made in Canada, I could not pass up purchasing it. I’m so glad that I did.

Emory

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family room to back porch to bedroom makeover

When we purchased our home a year ago, the back addition was labelled as a family room. It was also one of the first rooms that I tried to improve a bit. In this blog post, I explained how we added wallpaper, a new light fixture, barn wood shelf, and began using it as a porch/office. This worked very well for us and our dogs until recently. Above are the before photographs.

Knowing that we desperately needed a third bedroom for guests, I began to brainstorm how we might be able to change the space into just that. I was also thinking about resale. I contacted our realtor and asked him what it would take to legally call a room a bedroom. He replied that it would need a window (or door) and preferably, a closet. The room was already equipped with the former, so we set about obtaining the latter.

The first thing that had to go was the carpet that our dogs so aptly stained over the previous year. I returned to the same flooring store where we purchased the carpet for Remy’s room, and picked out a laminate floor that I thought would work well.

Next we ordered a large wardrobe from IKEA. Prior to its arrival, I gave the room another coat of white and Geoffrey added the quarter round moulding. After we completed that and the closet arrived, he put it together for us. Then I set to decorating- the best part!

Here is our newest bedroom:

I will be the first to admit that I know nothing about staging a room. That and my style so often changes. That said, I do what I can on a limited budget. I’m sure that many will pick out flaws with our work, but we’re both so happy with it. It’s a huge improvement and better yet, has increased the value of our home. We know that it was a smart decision in the end.

Emory

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main hallway: before and after

I’m so excited to show you the before and after pictures of our main floor hallway renovation! The first photo is what it looked like before we got our eager little hands on it, and the second is early into our project.

It all began with the replacement of the light fixture. I also wanted to continue the look of the black and white walls seen in the upstairs hallway.

We had to remove the wallpaper in the stairwell and on the main floor. That was a process in itself. Once it was all gone, we set to tearing out the carpet on the staircase and continuing down into the hallway. I cannot express enough how disgusting that was. There was literally between 1-2 inches of sand and dirt covering every square inch of the floor. The staples were also covered in rust. It was just a smelly, dirty project. Our hands were definitely so sore after removing everything. However, once the carpet was out, we had begun to see an improvement.

Sanding the floors this time was not an easy feat. Unfortunately, Geoffrey’s sander (that we used for the upstairs hallway) died early into the sanding process. After he purchased a new one, it worked very well for the most part. It just took rather a long time. I would say that we sanded for over 15 hours. Next time we will certainly rent a large floor sander!

Geoffrey also had to add 3/4 round moulding along the walls. I was not in the best mood, and so I told him that he had to start and finish it all in one day. Mean, I know, but it worked! He got it all done in about 10 hours.

After cleaning up the sawdust that seemed to hang in the air and around the house over the next while, we spent the following weeks painting. We did the upper walls white and lower section black. I wanted something a little different for the ceiling. After much thought, I decided to go with black. The ceiling is high enough that I felt like it wouldn’t feel too closed-in. It turned out looking really great. What I didn’t take into consideration was the fact that we were also staining the stairs black. I perhaps overused the colour. Next time, I would go with either a black staircase and white ceiling, or white staircase and black ceiling. It is striking, though!

Finally, the stairs nearly drove us mental. As I said, we had to remove the carpet and staples. After doing so, we spent many hours stripping the layers upon layers of paint that were on the stairs. The smell of the chemicals mixed with the old wood was atrocious. It didn’t matter how many times I washed them after that, it would just not go away.

Geoffrey spent an entire day sanding the staircase. I felt really bad for putting him through more sanding, so I promised him that I would finish the project. I ended up applying three coats of black stain. It took me a few weeks, but in the end, I was able to complete it during Remy’s nap time. Phew.

Overall, this renovation took months to get it to the state that it’s in today. While we still need to stain the floors, I think that it looks much better than when we bought it. Do you agree?

P.S. Don’t forget to see how I made the hallway console and clay planter.

<3

Emory

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simple porch makeover

Disclaimer: This really isn’t a total porch makeover so much as it is more of a temporary fix.

The front porch of our century old home slopes. When we bought our house, the room was drafty, dirty, and had a linoleum floor. I think. I can’t tell the difference between lino and vinyl. It was in one big piece, and rather than being glued down, it was merely placed on the sub floor. The entire perimeter of the flooring was curling upwards. It was so unattractive. One day I got fed up with it, so I picked it up and threw it out the back door. What I was left with was a sub floor covered in old glue, pictured below.

The issue with installing any new flooring in our porch was that the space between the floor and the bottom of the front door was approximately 1 cm. That ruled out hardwood or tile. Rather than buying new linoleum, I asked Geoffrey to try to get rid of the glue so that I could stain the sub floor. It was still in pretty good condition, considering its age.

When he used an electric sander on the floor, the glue heated up and began to spread. It became a sticky mess and was quite apparent that sanding and staining the floor was no longer an option. So I went onto Plan B. We ended up removing the remaining carpet and I painted the sub floor white. It really brightened up the small space!

I purchased a hanging light fixture from Home Depot and Geoffrey switched it with the motion sensor spotlight.

I also hung a few things and stacked two crates so that I could display my Kinfolk magazines and a few other items. I finished the room off with my Baba’s rug that I adore.

That’s it! This room only cost $20, which was the price of the new light. It’ll have to do until we can really get in there and make more drastic changes.

<3

Emory

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  • Hello, friends. My name is Emory. I live on the Canadian prairies with my husband, daughter, and animals. Welcome!
    helloscarlettblog@outlook.com

  • Thank you to all those who liked, commented, and sent me messages yesterday. I am overwhelmed by your love. I would like to share one more thing. Since 2013, I have used my blog as a creative outlet and my Instagram account as my diary. I feel it’s a much better platform to reach out to others, and to be more truthful (if we dare). I try to only follow those who don’t always show the ups and highs of their “perfect” lives. While I think that the more popular, beige square, ad-infused, California chic, glam mother accounts are beautiful, I also find them to be depressing and unoriginal. A miscarriage is real. It is nothing to be ashamed of. If you don’t choose to discuss yours, that’s totally fine! I needed to share mine in order to begin my grieving and healing process. I am now a mother to two children. This is something that I did not want to, nor will I ever hide. Yes, our second child came much too early and did not survive, but that does not make his/her life any less worthy. Our baby was alive at one time. Our baby has a soul. Now, our baby has a name and will forever be part of our family. We are a family of four- three on earth and one angel in heaven. So, thanks again all. Sadness. What a difference a year can make. Last holiday season, Remy turned 10 months old. She had just gotten her first two teeth, and on Christmas morning, had learned to crawl. This year, we are mourning the loss of our second child. I suffered a miscarriage this week, and it has left a deep void in our family. This was going to be our Christmas card where we revealed to friends and family our joyous secret. Now, it remains one of our only photos as a family of four. Because of this, I want to share it with the world. Give your children an extra hug and kiss for me tonight. You are so blessed to have them. All my love, Emory.
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