we sold our acreage

If you read the title I’m sure you can infer what this post will be about. This summer we decided to list and sell our acreage.

This was an incredibly hard decision to come to. We never thought that we would be moving after only 3.5 years of living here. We were so content in this specific home and in this specific part of the province. We truly loved what our acreage inevitably became, and saw the potential for future growth.

When we first moved in, everything was red, dark, marked up, and just forgotten about as a whole. We painted and puttied and renovated like mad. Slowly, room by room, this house opened up; becoming brighter, functional, and more beautiful with every remodel. It became a reflection of us and where we who we were as a family unit.

It all began with a video tour. From there, we added fenced gardens, refreshed our master bedroom, the kid’s closet, guest room, playhouse, culverts, jungle gym, Wilder’s bedroom, exterior doors, basement bathroom, basement family room, dog run, living room, Wilder + Beau’s bedroom, entry + laundry room, and finally two bathrooms. What you didn’t see was our kitchen (see above) and hallway renovations.

So why are we moving?

We spent 4 anniversaries within these walls and welcomed another baby. While we did have setbacks (because that is just life), it was mostly only happy memories. I will never forget our daily walks to the park down the dirt roads, or the beautiful star-filled clear nights, or the quietness, or how we spend all day everyday outside in the summer, or seeing our dogs run in our big yard, or our nice neighbours, or the wheat fields that surround our property, or the easy flow of our house, or the freeing nature that just comes with living away from everyone and being in your own paradise. Everyone who came out here would exit their vehicle, stand in the driveway, and say “you’ve got a little slice of heaven out here, don’t you?”

Yes, we did.

So goodbye, little acreage. We will always miss you.

Emory

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acreage renovation: a garden for brother + sister bear

This spring we decided to make a garden for our children. We were wholly inspired by “The Berenstain Bears Patience, Please” after reading it to them. They begged us to have their own garden just like Brother and Sister Bear. One that they could till, plant, weed, and water and grow whatever they wanted. Of course we had to agree to such eagerness.

We used my small corn garden for their new garden. It was south facing and the best location in our yard for one. Geoff ripped out the old and temporary fence we had around it to keep the animals out. Then the kids and I each took a shovel and spread our composted food into it. We also moved all of the rocks and heavy stones from behind the garage. This was all hard work but they did very well. Next, Geoff rototilled and worked the compost into the garden, expanding it by a lot. Finally, he built a new fence to go around it.

I spent an entire spring morning planting seeds with them. I planned it out and made all of the little holes in the dirt. They wanted corn, carrots, cucumber, sunflowers, tomatoes, snap peas, watermelon, and flowers.

The kids meticulously filled each hole with seeds. Then we watered it all. They continued to water on the days where it didn’t rain. Within a few weeks we had sprouts. From there, and with occasional weeding, we had a full (albeit somewhat messy) garden!


They are so proud of their work. I am, too! Mostly everything came up, and we snack on their snap peas daily. I hope to do this with them every year until they are no longer interested. It’s such a special and rewarding thing.

Emory

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acreage renovation: two bathrooms

We recently renovated the remaining two of our three bathrooms. Normally, we would have done it all ourselves and spent much time on each one. However, due to life events (and something that I will discuss in detail in a couple of weeks), we decided to hire out most of the work and tackle both at once!

This was the kid’s bathroom before:

Whoever owned our house before us realllllly loved the colour red. And black laminate countertops. We lived with the bathrooms this way for 3 years. Below is how we changed them.

Kid’s bath after.

My en-suite before.

En-suite after.

Because we were on a strict timeline, most of what we purchased was whatever was in stock at Home Depot. That said, it did come together nicely and we are pleased with the results!

Emory

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acreage renovation: entry/laundry/mud room

January 2021. That’s when we first began renovations on this well-used room in our home. May 2022. That’s when we finally finished it! Here is the road to how we ended up here.

Although our home obviously has a front door, we never use it. Our front yard is all grass, and no one had ever made a stone path from the driveway to the door. This is on our list of things to do, but we have yet to do it. Thus, the only entry that we and guests use it the one directly off of our driveway and closest to the garage- the side door.

Now our original side entry was a narrow strip of about 3 feet x 8 feet. Anyone who did come in had to enter in single file. With a wall and pocket door to the left and a kitchen to the right, there was nowhere to take off your shoes or hang your jackets. Once you did remove those items, you then had to walk through a pocket door to the small laundry/mud room, with yellow walls and a huge, dated washer and dryer, where you were able to put your gear in an overcrowded and open closet.

I forgot to mention that the side entry was also very red and very dark. We absolutely hated it and were quite embarrassed by the two cramped ketchup and mustard rooms. So we decided to open them both up, and to add a window and new exterior door for more light.

We chose a small black window with grids to keep with our modern style. It was installed in only one morning, and helped immensely with letting in the morning light. It also gave the room the feeling of being more open. Most importantly, we are now able to look over our driveway, side yard, and down the road as it is literally the only window on the east side of our house!

After we had the window installed, my husband started removing the ketchup wall and pocket door. I think that also only took him a morning to do so.

We were left with beams from the attic space and a lot of electrical in the old closet wall. We hired my cousin’s husband, who is an electrician, to come and remove all of the wires and outlets that were there. He did, and charged us nothing! That was an unexpected treat.

After the electrical was removed, we hired another contractor to install a new door that consisted mostly of glass. Between the new window, new door, and removed wall, our new entry/laundry/mud room already felt like a changed room! We didn’t care that it was half ripped apart, because it felt much brighter and more open. So we lived with it for a long time.

In the meantime, we renovated our basement, got pregnant, moved the dog run, built a clothesline, remodelled our living room, and the kid’s bedroom, and had a baby. Finally, almost 1.5 years after starting the project, we were ready to finish it.

The first thing we did was choose flooring. We wanted to stay away from tile, since that’s what was already there and it was evident that it would crack and lift in such a wet and high-traffic area. Hardwood and laminate were also out for they cannot handle moisture. What we were left with was vinyl, so we chose to go with a click system option.

We wanted the room to look clean and modern. I brought home several samples of white flooring, and from there we chose the one that had the least amount of texture and was bright and somewhat warm (to match our brown wood floor next to it). It’s called Matisse by Beaulieu. Then we measured the room and made sure to also get enough for my bathroom as well as the kid’s bathroom.

We had initially booked flooring installers, but to make a long story short, they ended up cancelling. We decided to tackle the install ourselves instead. My husband had to install all new subfloor consisting of varying dimensions in order to ensure that it met the height of the hardwood floor in the kitchen.

Geoffrey also had to move plumbing. We were given a quote of nearly $1000, but he was able to do it himself for less than $100.

He capped off the two overhead beams as well.

Then shiplap. So much shiplap. It was an extremely time-consuming process for Geoff to put it on all of the walls, the ceiling, and the attic door and have it line up perfectly. He did a really great job, though!

After the shiplap came painting. We chose our favourite ‘Falling Snow’ by BEHR. I helped out with this, since we were rushing to get it done in time for Beau’s baptism.

Once painting was completed, it was now time to install the flooring. We had never done any type of floor ourselves so we didn’t know what to expect. We talked to family members and watched a lot of videos. To our surprise, Geoff did the entire entry way and bathroom in a day and a half. It involved so much cutting and pounding, but it went in securely and beautifully.

The trim work followed the installation of the floor. Geoff did it all, siliconed it, and painted once again. Here is the result!

I purchased both the entry light and laundry room light from Amazon.
 

Our drying racks are also from there, as well as our shoe lockers. We needed something nice, big, and functional for our shoes and I can’t recommend them enough!

The bench is from JYSK and the area rug is from Amazon.

We decided to reuse our kitchen cabinets for the laundry room in order to create a good flow between the two rooms. We did purchase a laminate countertop called ‘Arctic Snow’ from Lowe’s, and new cabinet handles from, you guessed it, Amazon.

Finally, we swapped out our old washer and dryer for a compact combo unit by Haier. Now a lot of people have never used these 2 in 1 appliances before, but we swear by them. This is our third now, and I would say that it’s the brand that has worked the best so far. Because it is a non-venting condensing dryer it does take longer to dry your clothes than a traditional dryer. However, where it lacks on drying time it save you immensely on space. Plus, you can wash and dry a load without ever needing to remove wet clothes in between the cycles! How great is that?

That concludes our entry/laundry/mud room renovation. While we had never intended on it taking nearly two years to finish, I’m glad that it did. I had changed my mind about so many things along the way that if we rushed it, we wouldn’t have made it work for us in the way that it does now. It’s open, bright, and highly functional. It’s a lot of things in a small space, and it delivers in every aspect.

Emory

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our most pinned diys

Hey guys! 

I recently added a widget for my top blog posts. Since then, I’ve been noticing how a few of them change almost daily while others remain constant in those coveted spots. Because Pinterest is the main catalyst behind their numbers, I thought that I would share my most pinned posts, how they held up over time, and provide updated photos if I can!

Here we go:

Spare Bedroom
(8000+ clicks)

I am almost embarrassed of this post now. I published it nearly 8 years and 4 houses ago. I was showing my favourite bedrooms on Pinterest and how they influenced both of our own spare bedrooms in our home, Little Green. The trend was very early 2000s- colourful, eclectic, and home-made. Almost everything was thrifted. Not at all what our style is now.

That said, I must say that the house did sell very quickly and we made more from the sale than we did with any other home. It’s also my most popular DIY. So I guess there’s something to be said about busy bedrooms?

Wood Pallet Playhouse
(3000+ clicks)

Although the spare bedroom post is currently my most popular, this post that I published 2 years ago on how to build a free wood pallet playhouse is quickly going to surpass it. I am very proud of this project. It was a labour of love for our children and is definitely one of the things they use the most when playing outside.

So how did it hold up after being outside for the last 700 days? The wood pallet platform that it initially rested on only lasted until the end of the first summer. By then, the wood had buckled and split so badly that we ended up getting rid of it. That makes sense though, right? If you were to leave wood laying flat outside for months on end, of course it’s going to warp from all of the precipitation.

What we did instead was create a base of river rocks for the playhouse instead (pictured above). This is something that I recommend highly. We removed the grass, laid down plastic, and then filled it with bags and bags of rocks, as well as larger ones that we collected from neighbouring fields. The river rocks were somewhat pricey, but it ensures that we don’t have to move the playhouse to cut the grass growing inside and around it.

Other than that, the playhouse itself has stood the test of time! It has survived several wind, rain, and snow storms. It hasn’t moved an inch, and hasn’t fallen apart. It is my favourite free DIY to date!

Rocky Mountain Decals Wallpaper
(2000+ clicks)

This wallpaper.

The back story was that I had contacted Rocky Mountain Decals through their website when we were about to renovate our living room. I wanted a wall of wallpaper, but because it would have been several hundred dollars to purchase it all, I thought that there would be no harm in reaching out to companies asking for a collaboration.

They were the first and only company that I ended up contacting with. As luck would have it, they accepted my application and told me to send my top 3 wallpaper preferences along with the wall dimensions. I did, they narrowed it down to one, and a few weeks later I received about $800 worth of wallpaper!

Now applying it wasn’t the issue. I was able to do it easily enough, alone, while five months pregnant. It only took one morning and it looked fantastic. Where the trouble came was afterwards. You know how flooring expands and contracts after installation? Apparently the same goes for wallpaper. What you get as a result in your perfectly smooth application is air bubbles. Bubbles on bubbles on bubbles.

When I first noticed this I thought ‘no big deal, I’ll just smooth it out and they’ll go away.’ I did, but they didn’t. What I came to realize is that air bubbles never just go away on their own. Once they form, you basically need to cut them out. Thus, I spent the next few weeks making slits in the wallpaper wherever I saw a bubble, then very carefully lifting and gluing the backside of the paper down, and finally smoothing it out once again.

The entire process almost drove me to tears. At a few different points, I told Geoff that I wanted to just take it all down. However, he convinced me to leave it up. You really can’t notice the lines that I cut, but I know that they are there.

So what is the verdict? Wallpaper is beautiful. It is a quicker albeit more expensive alternative to paint. Would I wallpaper another wall? Probably not. I am too much of a perfectionist and the bubbles drove me crazy. But if I did, I would have no problems with using Rocky Mountain Decals again. It really is thick and durable wallpaper. Just expect bubbles (with it and with any other brand)!

Tongue and Groove Ceiling
(600+ clicks)

Although this post doesn’t have my highest views, it is the one that I receive the most emails about. Unfortunately, I am unable to answer the questions that I receive about it. Let me explain why.

When it came to this ceiling, it was our contractor’s idea for the wood and for the stain. I had assumed that we were putting up drywall, but he had insisted on tongue and groove. Because he had already budgeted for it, we went ahead with his vision.

He asked us to pick out stain for the ceiling. So we did. We went to Home Depot and picked out a grey Minwax stain. I cannot remember the name. We assumed that he would cover the ceiling in it and that would be the end. However, when we went to the house and saw it, we noticed that it wasn’t stained in the grey that we chose. It was a mix of the grey and a brown. We loved the finished look so we didn’t care that he had made the change without consulting us. When I asked him how or why he did it his reply was, “don’t ask.”

I didn’t press him on the matter. That said, I still get several emails per year from people telling me that they absolutely love the colour of the ceiling and they’d like to know the name of the stain that we used. Unfortunately, aside from the brand, I can’t help them!

Nevertheless it remains my most popular post on The Little Barn on Pinterest.

Reclaimed Pallet Dog Bed
(500+ clicks)

We made a bed for our pets and subsequently published this post over 7 years ago. It was a fairly straightforward DIY that served us very well!

While we went on to make more (and even sell a few on Kijiji), we ended up removing the casters from the bottom of the bed given that our dogs at the time were so small. However, I still suggest using them, especially if you are wanting a more elevated bed for your pets!

Gender Neutral Nursery
(200+ monthly views)

I think that this is probably the room that we have renovated most in our home. And renovated, and renovated, and when Wilder goes downstairs in less than a year, will be renovating one more time. Oye.

But it is also one of the rooms that I love most. While I did mention in the post that we have already changed a few things, it has mostly stayed the same.

It is a super cute and functional space and for that, it is one of our more popular DIY remodels.

Additionally, here a few other posts that turned out really well and have remained really popular on Pinterest. Our Pop-Up Camper, Culverts, Dog Run, Exterior Doors, Jungle Gym, and Hallway Staircase.

I hope you enjoyed this update! Let me know if you would like another popular pins post.

Emory

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