covid renovation: farmhouse guest bedroom

Geoffrey and I made a renovation list in 2019, detailing which room we would renovate and when. For instance, this guest bedroom was originally slated to be made-over in the spring of 2021. That was pre-COVID.

At the beginning of our self-isolation, it was still too cold to be outside twice a day. Remy’s preschool and activities were all cancelled, so like the rest of the world, we were expected to be home all 24 hours of the day. With all of this extra time, I knew that I would need a project. One that I could do while being in the basement with the kids while they played. This guest room was the solution.

This is what it looked like before. It wasn’t in that rough of shape. The drywall was exposed in some areas where the paint had been ripped off of the wall. Other than a few blemishes, it seemed like a fairly simple room to spruce up. All it required was some paint, better furniture placement, and for my husband to stop using it as his work closet/filing cabinet.

Because we were supposed to limit the amount of times that we went shopping, we made it our mission to reuse paint, furniture, and decor where we could. Not only did it keep in line with our zero waste mission, but it made it an uniquely Coronavirus renovation. Challenge accepted.

We had over half a can of pale green paint leftover from our children’s bedroom, and half a can of of white. I decided to do two walls and the closet in the green and two walls in the white. Even with two coats we would be needing every last drop of paint. I prayed that it would look good, because there was no room for error.

The green looked much better in the guest bedroom than it did in the upstairs bedroom. That was a huge relief. I painted the rest of the bedroom slowly over a matter of weeks, in between playing with the kids and having to wait for when Geoff had time off. After two coats, many touch-ups, and sealing the edges in silicone, I was finally done! 

In keeping with our farmhouse theme, I chose to use the majority of our antiques in the guest bedroom. The bed, armoire, Hudson Bay blanket, and white crate are all vintage items.

We reused the dresser, cowhide rug, braided rug, plant, planter, bedding, and curtains from our other rooms in our home.

I did have to buy a wall sconce and gold curtain rod from Amazon. We also bought a new register and switch plates from Home Depot. Other than that, it was a successful COVID renovation!

Emory

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acreage renovation: closet makeover

A few weeks ago I published a post on the cost of installing a walk-in closet. It was through researching the post where I learned a lot of information as to how to go about making over a closet, or building one from scratch.

When Geoffrey and I revamped our children’s shared bedroom we ignored the closet. For whatever reason this seems to be an ongoing trend with us. I think a large part is due to the fact that they are behind closed doors it is easy to overlook them. Another reason is because by the time we are done renovating a bedroom, the last thing that we want to do is have to think about painting and remodelling a closet. (In fact, we didn’t touch the closets in our master bedroom.) Well, not anymore!

I loved the outcome of Remy and Wilder’s room so much that whenever I opened their closet door I felt embarrassed. Above is the before picture. Yikes! I really wanted their new closet to reflect their modern and earthy bedroom. So the only thing to do was to make it over as well.

At first we didn’t really know where to begin. I decided to look at closet kits at all of the major hardware stores. I spent days looking at their products online. Geoff looked too, and after discussing it we narrowed it down to a white ClosetMaid kit. Only we didn’t like the white bars, the laminate shelves, or the depth. We had intended on using crates to hold all of Remy and Wilder’s blankets, but they would be hanging over the edge if we went ahead and purchased a ClosetMaid.

 

Thus, we were still in need of a closet system, but knew that buying one was now out of the question. I had downloaded a Flash Player and tried designing one from scratch on IKEA’s website. However, even that was not providing any useful results. I felt like I was back at square one. 

I took a few days off my search for a closet kit. I had an idea of what I wanted it to look like, but could not find anything close to the image that was stuck in my head. That picture was wood and metal.

I eventually went onto Pinterest and and searched “child’s closet.” This yielded so many results and yet, I began to see a trend emerge of two closet types in particular. It was then that I came across a diagram of those two exact closets. I suddenly knew the answer, I would just get Geoff to build one of them. That way, we could customize it to have the dimensions and materials that we wanted. The answer was right in front of us all along.

Now to narrow down which closet system to build. While I really liked the one on the left, Geoff thought that the one on the right would be more practical. So to break the tie, I posted the picture on my Instagram stories and asked my followers which one they preferred. Again it was pretty much a tie! I heard pros and cons with both but in the end, my heart was just with the left one.

Finally, not wanting to be a dictator in this decision, I asked Geoff to forget everything that we had seen so far and to just draw what he had in mind. I did the same. We ended up drawing almost an identical picture. We did final measurements on the closet and crates, then went to Home Depot for all of our supplies. Here is how it turned out:

I took the old shelf and bar down we were left with a blank slate.

We painted the biggest wall the same colour as the accent wall in their room, and left the remaining walls in the closet white. I wanted it to mirror their bedroom as much as possible.

We chose our favourite type of pine shelf boards and Geoff cut them all to size. He constructed the frame then screwed the shelves in place.

After purchasing two closest rods, he cut them, researched the standard hanging heights, and mounted them to the wall and shelving unit.

I organized the closet by hanging Remy’s clothes on the left and Wilder’s on the right. They are low enough so that they can both reach their clothes themselves. The outfits that do not yet fit are placed on the higher bars.

I reused the wood and wicker crates that we already owned. I finally had a shelf for Wilder’s diapers. Their socks and undergarments are kept in two smaller crates higher up.

I purchased the cutest sign from the dollar store that reminds me of Remy but has part of Wilder’s name in it. The faux succulent is also from the dollar store.

As with anything that we pour this much time and energy into I end up loving. Of course this is the case with their closet. It turned out better than I had ever hoped for!

Emory

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cost of installing a walk-in wardrobe

As many of you know, Geoffrey and I have done a lot of home renovations over the years. In the past, we have bought, fixed up, and sold our houses every 2-3 years. Because we are continuously renovating, we try to save money wherever we can by doing the simpler jobs. Yet, there are certain things that we are neither experienced nor comfortable in handling ourselves. Some tasks are better left to professionals!

Installing a walk-in closet is one remodel that we know very little about. We have never been lucky enough to have a walk-in closet, but our house at the lake that we had built could have greatly benefitted from such a feature. Only we didn’t realize that we needed a closet in our loft bedroom until after we moved in. Once we did, we didn’t know who to turn to.

Are you thinking about installing a walk-in wardrobe? Where do you even begin? PriceYourJob is an excellent website that provides estimates, job descriptions, timelines and more for a number of interior and exterior jobs around your home. From gutters and chimneys, to windows, painting, wall removals, bathrooms, kitchens, staircases, flooring, and more! And of course, installing a walk-in wardrobe. (It’s one that I wish I would have known about sooner.)

Let’s look further at what is involved. The website states that first you must begin with a stud wall. If you don’t have a pre-existing one then one must be erected. You will also need to consider type of flooring, lighting, shelving, and doors, all of which prices are given. Next is design and useful information on saving space in your closet. There are benefits and tips listed on how to convert various rooms to walk-in closets, as well as alternatives to closets and how much they could cost. This is all finalized by FAQs at the bottom of the page and some sources. It really is your one-stop source for all things closet-related!

The prices are in pounds, but a simple conversion can give you an idea of what it would cost on your end.

Be sure to contact PriceYourJob if you are in need of a closet overhaul!

Emory

This was a sponsored post. I’m thankful for the brands and websites that I can partner with!

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we sold big green

Friends, last week we officially handed over the keys to Big Green. After owning it for (one week shy of) three years, it became the longest that we had owned any home. So much happened during that time. We moved in when Remy was six months old. We said goodbye to a dog. We said goodbye to a baby. We welcomed a baby. We celebrated birthdays, wedding anniversaries, Christmases, Easters, and more. Geoffrey changed careers. I became a stay-at-home parent. We made friends. We vacationed a little. We learned a lot.

Mostly, I would say that we did renovations. Oh my goodness, how we renovated. It began with a new mailbox. That year, we also put wallpaper in the back porch and made over Remy’s room.

In 2017 we attempted Remy’s room again, revamped the bathroom, renovated the upstairs hallway, did Remy’s room for the third and final time, our front porch, the main floor hallway, the back porch again, and backyard.

In 2018 we started by redoing the dining room, living room, kitchen, then a little of everything when I was pregnant and nesting, and finally our master bedroom. We ended up tackling every room in our home, as well as the exterior. The only area we didn’t get to was the unfinished basement. Hopefully the next owners can renovate it, thus completing the total home makeover.

In 2019, when Wilder was only three months old, we listed Big Green and moved into our current home. In the end we realized that we are not city people. We both grew up on acreages and farms, moved back to an acreage after getting married, and then finally bought our own this year. We belong in the country.

I will forever love Big Green for what it taught us- even though we experienced hardships within its walls. However, it was a good home and such an incredibly fun project. I will especially miss playing with Remy in her cozy little room.

These were the final listing photographs of our beloved home. I hope that it’s as treasured by its new owners as it was by us. Goodbye, Big Green!

Emory

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zero waste (part two)

” … [W]hen we say ‘we threw something away,’ what do we really mean? … After all, our discards don’t just evaporate because the garbageman whisked them off. Our waste end up in our landfills, spoiling our precious environment, leaching toxic compounds into our air and soil, wasting the resources used to create the discarded goods, and costing us billions of dollars each year in processing.”

Zero Waste Home, Bea Johnson

Above is how the second chapter of Zero Waste Home begins, detailing why eliminating our waste output is imperative. As gathered by the title, this is my second post in my newest zero waste series. In the first post, I discussed composting for the first time, utilizing a clothesline, our septic field, and collecting rainwater. Looking back, I focused on reducing our waste outdoors. This time, I will examine bringing it indoors- from recycling, to phasing out paper towels, and cleaning products.

Let’s begin with recycling. I am fortunate enough to have access to bins in the city where we can take everything there to recycle without having to sort it out beforehand. This has made going from recycling nothing only a few months ago, to now recycling practically everything! Geoffrey and I always have cardboard boxes or reusable bags in our home that are dedicated to these items. A couple of times every month we drop them off at the depot on one of our trips into town.

These depots accept all paper, plastics, aluminum foil, tin cans, milk jugs, cartons, glass bottles, jars, and bagged plastic bags. The only items that they don’t accept are hazardous materials, electronics, clothes, food, and tires. Having a depot located on the side of town that are closest to makes this an incredibly easy and rewarding experience.

We also have a collection of recyclable bottles in the bottom of our pantry that we drop off at SARCAN.

Let’s move on to cleaning supplies- or more specifically, vinegar. Growing up, my mum had always used vinegar and water as a cleaner, so by default when I moved out on my own, I did as well. Yet, I didn’t realize the power of vinegar or how all-purpose it is until only recently! In Zero Waste Home, it lists what vinegar can be used for and how to use it. For example, vinegar can be used as: an adhesive remover, bathroom cleaner, colour set, drain cleaner, eraser sponge, flower food, glass cleaner, herbicide, insect repellent, jewelry cleaner, kitchen cleaner, laundry booster, mildew remover, nicotine stain remover, odor neutralizer, pet repellent, quick mop, rust remover, stain remover, toilet cleaner, upholstery freshener, vinyl cleaner, and wood renewer. Simply dilute 1/4 cup white vinegar with 1 cup water (for added scent, you can also add citrus peels to vinegar several weeks before diluting it).

Of those, I was using it as a bathroom and kitchen cleaner, pouring it down my drains with baking soda, pouring it over weeds to kill them, in my laundry to boost colour, in bowls to eliminate odors, on my floors when I washed them, and to clean my windows- all without a second thought. It really is just an incredibly simple and versatile cleaner to have on hand! (I will return to window cleaning in a moment.)

Now if I am writing about cleaning products, at some point I need to address the elephant in the room. That is the notion of paper towels. Paper towels are a huge zero waste problem. In my research I found that paper products account for roughly 25% of landfill waste. Additionally, the US produces over 3000 tonnes of paper towel waste each day, which significantly increases methane gas. Cutting out paper towel would save trees, water, the atmosphere, and us money!

Until very recently, I was horrible when it came to buying and using paper towels. Being somewhat of a germophobe, I proudly used an entire roll every two days. I used to think more paper towel equaled a cleaner home. I loved the idea of spraying something down, wiping it with those fresh white sheets, and then throwing them out and thus getting rid of the dirt. Now, I shudder at the idea.

When I began this journey a few months ago, I knew that I would have to eventually stop buying paper towel. I was anxious and a little grossed out at the thought of using rags to clean up my dirtiest messes, and then having to touch and wash said rags with our clothes that we wore. I know what you’re thinking, ‘princess, get over yourself’. So one morning I purchased one more six-pack of paper towel with our groceries, and announced to Geoff that it would be our last. I also told him to start collecting every piece of old clothing in order to cut it up into rags. We went through one roll, then two rolls, then slowly went through the third and fourth. Then somewhere along the lines, I completely stopped using them. In all honesty, I can’t even tell you when I did this. Opening our kitchen drawer and grabbing a rag to clean quickly and seamlessly became second nature. I thought that it would be such a hard transition having to break a thirty-year habit, but it really was one of the most natural things that I have done in a long time. We still have those last two rolls laying around our home, but I have no intention on ever using them.

So how do we keep our windows clean? Guys, have you ever used newspaper for this job? If you haven’t, please switch now! I didn’t believe people when I heard and read that it kept your windows streak-free. I thought that it would certainly leave ink or bits of paper behind. I was so wrong. It’s thickness and durability make for a wonderful texture to clean your windows (using vinegar and water for the cleaning agent, of course). I have never had clearer windows. Afterwards, you have the added bonus of throwing the newspaper in the recycling bin. I hope to never, ever return to paper towel and Windex.

If anyone was needing tips for ditching paper towel, you can find a cute and helpful website here.

Please join me on my next zero waste post in just a few weeks!

Emory

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