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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acreage renovation: culverts

This is just one of the outdoor projects that we have worked on this summer.

At the front of our property are two culverts. They were overgrown with grass and had a mess of rocks of all sizes underneath.

They were almost impossible to keep nicely landscaped. We couldn’t mow the culverts because of the rocks, and we couldn’t easily expose the rocks because there was just far too much grass and weeds. Because it was one of the first things that visitors and neighbours would see, I felt like they were a negative introduction into an otherwise tidy yard and house. Something needed to change.

While my husband worked on a fire pit project, I decided that these two culverts would be my project. I began by digging up the grass with a shovel in order to expose the gravel underneath.

Once the grass was gone, I had around 6” of gravel to deal with. I removed nearly all of it, bucket by bucket, and spread it in other much-needed area on our property. Removing the grass and gravel alone took two days for each culvert. It was exhausting work.

Eventually, the ground had only a fine layer of gravel left. This I kept for drainage. I laid down plastic sheets in order to prevent unwanted grass and weeds from regrowing on the culverts. After covering a desired area, it was finally time for dirt.

As Geoff was excavating yards and yards of earth from the fire pit area, I asked him if he could leave it on the trailer until I was ready for it. He gladly agreed as he wasn’t sure as to where he would even put such large quantities. He ended up dumping four trailer loads of dirt onto the culverts. Spreading it evenly took another few hours, but I had help from two willing children who found it so fun to stomp on dirt mounds.

I took our wagon and went to my favourite rock pile just behind our property. There I gathered large rocks and small boulders and dragged them home. It took a few trips, but those, in addition to what I removed while digging up the grass, provided more than enough for the aesthetic aspect.

I did end up purchasing two wagon wheels from one of my favourite liquidation stores in Saskatoon. I had always wanted wagon wheels but had never really had an opportunity to use some. Lining the driveway with them provided me my first chance. I just love them!

I thought I had completed the project until a few weeks had passed and I noticed that weeds had started growing everywhere on the dirt. I spent an entire morning trying to weed the culverts but to no avail. I knew that I now needed to cover the dirt mounds with something- either gravel or mulch. I figured that mulch would be the quickest and least expensive of the two, and would still be really nice. Geoff purchased ten bags of mulch for me, and I set about spreading it. It was very easy, and smelled heavenly.

This project was a lot of fun to undertake. If you don’t like the way your culverts look, I highly suggest landscaping them!

Emory

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acreage renovation: wilder’s own room

This post could also be titled “turning a girl’s bedroom into a shared room and back into a boy’s room.” All within 6 months. Whew.

It all began here, when we made-over Remy’s room. We loved the results and they loved sharing a bedroom for the first time. Then just before the coronavirus hit, they both became extremely ill with pneumonia, bronchitis, ear infections, fevers, the flu, allergic reactions to medicine, and more. From January until March, it was two solid months of them being just so incredibly sick. As a result, Remy slept in our bed with me, and Wilder slept in their room with Geoff. We wanted to separate them at night so that they would stop passing their germs back and forth.

That was during the beginning stage of their room sharing. It was then that I was starting to doubt our decision to join their bedrooms. I thought, will I have to separate them each time they catch a cold or get sick? Then came COVID.

Aside from preschool and gymnastics ending, having to stay home 24/7 was not a big change for us. I already stay and work part-time from home. Having a four- and one-year-old meant that they also pretty much stayed home all of the time. Luckily, the weather was becoming nicer so we were able to spend more time outdoors. When we weren’t, we were playing inside. That’s when their fighting began.

Remy is still getting used to having to share her toys as Wilder is only now becoming interested in them. They are so close, loving, and gentle with one another, until it comes to toy-sharing. She was often playing in their room with her toys, and he would come in and grab them. Then she would get mad, tell him to leave, and close the door so he couldn’t get in. He would stand outside the door and bang on it. Because we couldn’t leave the house, it was driving Geoff and I insane. There were only so many times that we could break up the fights over toys, explaining to her that it is nice to share and that he has to be gentler with objects. Finally, and having a newly renovated guest bedroom, we decided to temporarily move her toys in there. That way, she could play in peace in a room by herself, and he could do the same in his.

It worked. They went back to not fighting at all, and our sanity was once again restored. Then Remy asked if she could sleep in the “big bed” at night. We agreed. One night turned into two, then three. Everything was going so smoothly that we quickly decided to make it a permanent move. The new guest bedroom would become her room, and their shared bedroom would become Wilder’s own room. We have not looked back since.

This is what Wilder’s bedroom now looks like. We did not have to modify much in order to turn it into a little boy’s room. We changed the rug, I purchased different curtains, and switched out the toys.

I also moved the crib from one wall to the other and hung his photos above the crib. I did end up buying a “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” sign, wood picture frames, and a shelf that I saw at the dollar store (of all places). The former is one of his favourite songs.

I put the little IKEA chair that was in the basement in his room, hung his “Wanted” poster that we got in BC, and made him a reading nook in the corner. He loves to read. The faux leather pillow I purchased here.

Finally, we bought him a pine shelf to replace the barn wood shelf that was originally in the room. It all suits him so well!

This parenting thing, you learn as you go along. Right?

Emory

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acreage renovation: new countertops

Before.

After.

So begins our kitchen renovation …

which is on hold until summer is over and we are finished tackling the outdoor projects. 😂 However, it’s a start (and a beautiful one at that)!

Emory

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covid renovation: wood pallet playhouse

It started with Pinterest. Somehow in my search for all things outdoor I came across a pallet wood playhouse. As soon as I saw it, I sent the image to my husband. “We can build this!” I wrote. “And we can do it for free.

Now if you were to type ‘pallet wood playhouse’ into any search engine, you will get hundreds of different designs. Many of them are not pretty per se, because the easiest way to construct a playhouse from pallets is to leave them intact and just throw up walls, a roof, and maybe even a deck. (See below.)

The issue with that is the playhouse is not weather-proof. Everything inside therefore is exposed to the elements. So while dismantling each pallet is painstakingly long and laborious, it will ensure a sturdy, sound, and dry playhouse!

So how did we do it for free? During COVID many businesses were closed. However, we were able to find a few that were still open in the industrial parts of the city. They almost all had pallets stacked behind the buildings. We went inside and asked if we could take them off of their hands. They were more than happy to give them to us! So after a handful of trips into the city with the trailer, we now had all of the wood needed for the playhouse. All for the low cost of $0.

Before we began construction, we searched online for blueprints. We found a website that provided thirty-one free playhouse plans. It took an entire evening but we finally settled on a design that we thought would look best and would be easy to build. You can download those plans here!

Having now possessed the plans and the wood, we got started on dismantling the pallets, taking off one thin board at a time. This will honestly be the most difficult part of building your playhouse. Pallet wood is either thin and somewhat brittle or very thick and hard to remove. Once it is removed, it has the advantage of looking rustic, and costing you nothing, of course.

Be sure to keep the nails from the pallets. I suggest using a crowbar or hammer to pry the boards from its base. Each board will have one or a few nails that you may reuse when attaching them to its new base. This will keep your costs down and save you from having to buy nails or screws for the playhouse!

Once we removed the boards, we started framing. Luckily, we had wood laying around from other projects and so we were able to construct most of the frame that way. We changed the door and windows. We also had to modify it to fit the different lengths of the pallet wood. You can add wood accordingly. If you don’t have extra wood on hand, then be sure to use the wood frame from the pallets. You might have to get creative, but you shouldn’t have to buy any.

After the framing was done, we attached the pallet wood. I asked Geoff to use the nicer pieces since I wasn’t sure if I was going to paint it or not. (Originally I was planning on painting the playhouse white.) This went quicker than dismantling. Each wall was complete within a few hours.

Now for the flooring. I’ve seen playhouses where they are without any type of floor. Because we were placing it directly on grass, we didn’t want to have to move the playhouse every time we needed to cut the lawn. Initially we were going to use some of the pallet wood to make a floor. However, by chance Geoff found half a dozen pallets with particle board. It was the perfect platform to place a playhouse on, having enough space leftover for a small deck. So we went with that.

Finally, the roof is also up to you. I’ve seen plans with any roof, roofs made of particle board, pallet wood, shingles, tarps, and more. This is where we decided to spend some money, but you don’t have to! One of the houses that we remodelled had a white metal roof. Since then, white has always been my colour of choice when it comes to roofing. Because the playhouse itself was more on the rustic side, I wanted the roof to be a feature and to look clean and crisp. White would obviously do the trick! We searched online for a few days, and finally found a local supplier that sold what we were looking for. We only ended up spending about $50 on the metal. It’s one of my favourite parts about the playhouse. (Again, you can use whatever you have to make the roof.)

Finally it was time to put it all together. Geoffrey took out each wall, and screwed it all in place within a matter of minutes.

Now the fun part- furnishing it! Because of COVID, I didn’t want to go shopping for things to fill the playhouse with. Besides, we had a playroom in our basement that was overrun with toys for the kids. I took out the IKEA kitchen set and put it in the playhouse. It fit perfectly.

We added a shelf to the back window (which wasn’t in the original plans) because the kids kept wanting us to order food. Now when they are playing inside, we sit on the exterior deck and they can easily pass us food. It’s so cute. I really recommend this addition!

I also removed two rugs from our house and an over-the-door hanger. I filled the rest with random items from around our house that we really weren’t using. I went with kind of a minimalist-rustic-neutral theme, much like what is seen in our home. Because of that, I feel like it just all came together.

I did end up purchasing a few small items from the dollar store. Yet, if I can reiterate once more, this entire playhouse can be made for free, or for almost no cost. During a time of a pandemic, financial uncertainty, more free time, and nicer weather, it really is the most fitting project!

Emory

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