dining room: before and after

Hello, friends! Today is the day that I get to reveal our renovated dining room to you all! First, here are a few before pictures.

These were actually taken after I had already removed the hideous pink wallpaper from the lower portion of the walls. As you can see, we also needed to get rid of the carpet and (flickering) light fixture in addition to painting and patching the walls, and refinishing the floors. Below are the floors in the state that we found them.

I almost don’t know where to begin! When Geoffrey left for training over the summer, Remy and I worked on this room together. After the wallpaper came down, I set out to removing the carpet and underlay. It was soooo gross. Every square inch was covered in mouse poop, and the carpet was incredibly stained. That only took a few days, and then we had to wait a few months for Geoff to come back home and finish what I started.

We rented a floor sander in November, and he had the entire room sanded in about an hour. It was much easier than using a small hand sander! I don’t think that we’ll ever revert back to the latter when it comes to sanding floors. Duh, right?

Next, Geoffrey added quarter round moulding and patched and sealed the vents. Then we painted the walls and ceiling. We used the same bright white that can be found throughout the rest of the house for continuity. Now for some after pictures!

I ended up purchasing a new light fixture from Home Depot. I wanted one that was completely different from what was hanging there previously. Rather than a small, brass, and round chandelier, I chose a large, black, and rectangular one! I also purchased four Edison bulbs for it, as we have them throughout our home and just love them.

Geoffrey stained the floors after that. Then we hung some hooks that I also purchased from Home Depot, changed the switch plates, and I bought a few things to go on the walls. We stained the picnic table a shade darker to match the church pew as well.

I think that’s pretty much all of it! Thanks for joining me on this room tour. It was a long process, and we’re just thankful to be done! Onto the next room!


Hello, Followers:
Blog // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter

a reclaimed journey

TLB 1A Reclaimed Journey – Building Our Home With Recycled Materials

By Emory Ann Kurysh

When the idea to build our home first came to light, the goal was to make it look like a heritage barn conversion, primarily built from reclaimed materials. The benefits in doing so were vast and varied, not the least of which involved embracing our own creativity and challenging ourselves in the implementation of the design ideas.

Part of our motivation was driven by the knowledge that salvaging building materials cuts down on landfill waste and is environmentally impactful. Another factor is that the cost of recycled materials generally runs much lower than their newer counterparts, and reclaimed materials instantly add a sense of character that can’t easily be accomplished in new constructions. 

Ours was not a journey of how a completely recycled home came to be, but rather a lesson learned on the reality of using secondhand building materials.

The Big Picture

In planning our home, the most dominant design feature was to make use of reclaimed barn wood siding. But early into our build this became apparently difficult.

The first issue we ran into was that the lengths of the reclaimed boards were not long enough to run either horizontally or vertically without showing significant breaks. The second issue lay within the condition of the wood itself. It was extremely weathered, which was our initial draw to it, but would require significant work to prevent further deterioration to use it on the exterior of the home. The fear being that over time it would be exposed to issues such as accelerated rot, infestation and warping.

So we had to create a new strategy to get us the look we envisioned, but with a new durable material.

The decision was reached to use untreated rough-cut pine in place of the barn wood. Although it wasn’t originally in the plan and budget, this decision turned out to be the most aesthetically pleasing and soundest option.

Taking it Inside

The theme of recycled wood continued within the interior of the home. The handrail for the staircase was also to be constructed of barn wood. All of the balusters, guardrails, and posts were to be fabricated from pine, running horizontally. When we installed the staircase, we learned that it is against building code standards as the guardrail was deemed to be ‘climbable’. So yet another major design plan was discarded. The solution involved raw materials in the form of large, rough-cut beams and rebar. Again, this major alteration increased the budget. However, it provided a more stable handrail that was wholly unique and justly fitting for the overall look.

The ceiling was the third and final compromise in the use of reclaimed materials. The plan was for recycled metal roofing to be hung instead of drywall to reinforce the heritage barn concept. It would have saved on time, future maintenance and cost.

After conducting an extensive and unsuccessful search for a large quantity of reclaimed metal, the idea was scrapped.

It turned out this was for the best. Research later revealed that a metal ceiling would more than likely have created poor acoustics and could have affected resale value. It was ultimately the contractor’s suggestion to install a tongue and groove ceiling. A pine ceiling would not only be a quicker install than drywall, the wood would add strength and would be visually much more appealing.

Vintage Lighting

To stay true to the original design we were able to source vintage lighting for the exterior of the home. Five large, gooseneck, gas station lights were purchased from an online retail store dedicated to selling refurbished lighting. We found this to be more fitting than using modern fixtures. We liked that they would be unique to the home and that it would cut down on landfill waste.

Repurposing the Reclaimed

Rather than being used for its intended purpose, the barn wood that was gathered was eventually used in numerous projects around the home. The majority of the wood was repurposed for various storage solutions.

The reclaimed fir and other recycled wood was cut down and hung in every closet and pantry, and in the bathroom and bedroom as shelving. Various pieces of furniture were constructed out of the antique pine and fir. Two dog beds were custom-made from old pallets and casters. In some rooms, long pieces of shiplap were used as the trim.

The Journey

As first-time homebuilders, we understood going into this project that many of the design plans would either be modified in some way or altogether scrapped. Rather than using mostly reclaimed materials on the exterior and within the house, the end result was an amalgamation of new and raw materials.

We found the best impact in using recycled materials came from using these materials within the interior decoration of the home. Having these details within every room unquestionably added the character we were looking for in our new construction.

We achieved our one-of-a-kind heritage barn-inspired home by blending new with wonderful reclaimed and recycled materials which allowed for a quicker build, and a more solid house. While we learned a number of lessons along the way, the challenge we presented ourselves with at the onset of the project pushed us to look at every aspect of the building process to see how we could make an environmental impact.

TLB 2To read the article in its entirety, or to see more from the summer issue of Saskatoon HOME Magazine, please click here.



Hello, Followers:
Blog // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter

tlb: our tongue and groove tale

Tongue And Groove Ceiling 4Eight months ago, when we were planning the design for The Little Barn, we apparently made the decision to have a tongue and groove pine ceiling installed. For some reason, this important detail somehow slipped my mind.

Tongue And Groove CeilingThe foundation went in, the walls went up, the installation and drywall were next, and finally it was time for the ceiling. Around the same time, I was at the house with our contractors trying to pick out flooring. I mentioned that I wanted dark flooring since the walls and the ceiling colour were going to be white. Our contractor proceeded to ask me if I was planning on staining the ceiling white? I asked him if he meant paint instead of stain? He replied that he meant stain, since we’re getting a pine ceiling. I was now very confused. I asked him since when were we putting wood instead of drywall up there? He reminded that it was always the plan, and that I had said that I wanted a ceiling similar to the one in my mum’s barn. At that point I knew that he was telling the truth, since it completely sounded like something that I would say. I just didn’t understand how I wouldn’t remember such a momentous detail. Is that not weird?

Tongue And Groove Ceiling 1This was not the only time that I had forgotten our house building plans while building our home. Some days I was just so tired from working, trying to cope with Holly’s health problems, and starting up my store, that I had no energy left for making decisions about our home. I would either just blurt out the first idea that came to my mind, or tell our contractor to surprise us. When I later asked how they were able to get the ceiling stained that particular colour, they said, “you don’t want to know.”

Tongue And Groove Ceiling 2I probably went about this home construction thing a lot more relaxed than most people would, but hey, to each their own.  

Tongue And Groove Ceiling 5In the end, everything turned out beautifully. Especially our ceiling.



P.S. Only one more week until the final house tour of The Little Barn!

Hello, Followers:
Blog // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter



buy this: vintage barn lighting

rustic-exteriorOur biggest inspiration behind The Little Barn was this Cruz Cabin (see above). After coming across it nearly eight months ago, we have tried to model almost every detail on The Little Barn’s exterior after this cabin.

TheLittleBarn6The remainder of the photos are of The Little Barn. See if you can you spot the resemblance!

So, why is this post on vintage barn lighting then, you ask? Prior to selling our last home and finding the lot for our new one, I purchased a barn light for the exterior of Little Green. It was very expensive, but it changed the exterior of our little 1920s bungalow from cute to sophisticated. I bookmarked the seller on eBay, and knew that I was going to purchase more barn lights from their store, Vintage Barn Lighting, in the future.

TheLittleBarn1Fast forward a little bit. One of the first things that I noticed about the Cruz Cabin were its lights. That, the barn doors, and the fact that it reminded me of Little Green’s exterior. Those three elements were what drove me to build something similar looking. It also went without saying that I already knew that I was going to hang several barn lights on its exterior.

TheLittleBarn3Working the lights into the plans was a different story. I told our contractor to draw in five lights (four is bad Chi). I wanted two in the front, two on the side, and one in the back. When we received the blueprints, there were only four. Not wanting to cause a fuss, I went ahead and bought four vintage barn lights. A few weeks later we went out to check on TLB, and Geoffrey noticed that the exterior was now wired for five lights. Confused, I sent my contractor a text asking why there was now an extra light, and he said something to the effect of, “Is there?” Knowing that the lights were vintage and one-of-a-kind, I panicked and immediately assumed that I would never be able to find another similar one to match any that I had just purchased. After a few days went by, I finally got a text back confirming that I would have to buy a second and a replica light for the front of the house.

TheLittleBarn2Taking a stab in the dark, I contacted the store seller and told them my predicament. They were already so kind in reducing the shipping fees on my previous purchases since I had essentially bought so many lights from them. I was told me to wait another few days, and that they would try to track down a duplicate light. So I waited again, and to my surprise, I received a message saying that they found one that would work, and I could have it at a discounted price. I counted my lucky stars and thanked them, and was once again reaffirmed as to why I prefer to shop with small businesses rather than big corporations. Sometimes, you can’t put a price on quality customer service.

TheLittleBarn4Six months later, we’re finally in our new home! The exterior lights were the last thing that needed to be installed. When they finally did go up, The Little Barn went from beautiful to jaw-dropping. The whole wait, confusion, cost, and stress over these lights were worth it. Don’t you agree?

Oh, Little Barn. You are by far the nicest looking house that we have ever owned. 



Hello, Followers:
Blog // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter

moving day: the little barn

MovingDay6I’ve received comment after comment asking (sometimes begging) for me to post photos of The Little Barn. I must apologize, lovely readers. For various reasons, I have been sorely dragging my feet. Let me explain why.

To begin, the move-in date for our new home was pushed back from October, to November, to mid-December, to the end of December, to the beginning of January. While technically we have moved in, our contractors are still putting the finishing touches on the exterior of our house. I didn’t want to show you The Little Barn while it was still under construction, during a time that it was supposed to be finished, all while not knowing when it would be completed. Too much was still up in the air for my liking, thus no photos.

Secondly, and to elaborate on that last point, I am a perfectionist. There, I said it. Our home is still not unpacked, given that neither Geoffrey nor I took any time off to move in. Thus, I have been left to unpack and arrange the entire house for a few hours a day between shifts, while my husband takes over at night for an hour or so, or on weekends. We’ve actually started taking boxes back to our storage unit just to get them out of the way in hopes of not feeling so overcome with stress. To summarize, there’s no way in hell that I will blog a messy house. Capish?

That being said, I am very appreciative for all of those who have been curious to see the final product of a project that’s been seven months in the making! You guys are what’s lighting a fire under my butt to get the house set up. While I may come across as annoyed, I am not in the slightest. I am just extremely overwhelmed. I also feel so emotionally drained, which I think is the opposite of what I should probably be feeling given that TLB is no longer in the construction phase.

MovingDay8Inevitably, I’ve so enjoyed sharing our house-building journey with all of you wonderful and encouraging souls! I promise that in February, the wait will be over. I will be posting at least once a week on TLB, with a final house tour at the end of the month. In the words of Gloria Walker, “Please don’t desert me baby!”

In the meantime, here is a look at the little bit of hell what we went through leading up to, and including, our moving day.

MovingDay2Two weeks prior to move-in, one week overdue on completion date.

We arrive to the house with my dad who is visiting us from out of province. After being told by our contractor that even though he was a week late, it would still be completed within the next day or two. This is what we saw. My dad said that they were weeks behind. We couldn’t even tell what was left to be done because of the mess. Christmas was days away, and we felt hopeless. I almost cried.

MovingDay4MovingDay3MovingDay5MovingDay7MovingDay9One week prior to move-in, two weeks overdue on completion date.

We returned to the home to drop off an armoire for our kitchen storage after not visiting it for a week. It was much cleaner, but was still missing soffit and fascia on one side of the house, stairs off of the back deck, a bathroom, plumbing, a hand railing for the interior staircase, exterior lights, and some trim and electrical. We were nearing January, and over two weeks late with our move-in date. Again, the feeling of hopelessness set in.

MovingDay11MovingDay10MovingDay13MovingDay14MovingDay12MovingDay21Move-in day, three weeks overdue on completion date.

By the grace of God, our contractors were somehow able to pull it together. On a Saturday morning, Geoffrey, Holly, Truman, and I finally move into TLB, being more than three weeks late. We still don’t have back stairs, exterior lights, soffit and fascia, a working bathroom, a kitchen sink that’s hooked up to plumbing, or a hand railing for our front, side, or back deck. The plumbers and our contractors meet us at our house around 11 am, after Geoffrey and I have already went to our storage unit and loaded up the U-Haul. It was -30°C that day, and we still froze our hands and feet even though I was wearing three pairs of socks and two pairs of mitts. However, the weather was not going to deter us. The plumbers stayed until 5 pm and finally got our bathroom in working order. Our kitchen sink would have to wait another week. We were finally in.

MovingDay15Second storey view.

MovingDay16 MovingDay17Shopping for still-needed supplies.

MovingDay19 MovingDay23Morning and afternoon walks on the lake.

MovingDay20As you can see, the last two months have been anything but smooth sailing. I felt like I needed to post this in order to be clear with you patient folks as to why you haven’t seen much of TLB yet. Whoever said that building a home would be easy?

Have a great weekend! See you on Monday!



Hello, Followers:
Blog // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter

  • Welcome, friends! My name is Emory. I am a wife, mother of two (one earthside and one with the angels), and an animal rescuer. This is our life on the Canadian prairies.
    email: helloscarlettblog@outlook.com

  • Man, did Remy and I have a standoff this morning. All because she didn’t want to wear socks with her boots. She threw a massive tantrum, and I yelled at her. Afterwards, we went for our walk and everything was back to normal. That is, aside from her puffy eyes and tear-stained face. My poor girl. Parenting can be so hard sometimes. Thank goodness for children being so resilient. 
That disaster behind me is nearly gone. We’re currently installing the last of our kitchen shelves, and our new sink arrived this morning. I’m excited to have a less cluttered spare room!
Have a wonderful week, everyone. This room has not yet been touched by us. It is our master bedroom. Everything about it (aside from our furniture) is exactly the same as when we purchased our home. I think that if we do list in the near future, it will be the only room in our house that we did not renovate. Part of me wants to stay just to finish it. A small part.
  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,544 other subscribers

%d bloggers like this: