we bought an acreage

Almost five years ago to the day (though it feels much longer), we began our search for an acreage home. Having grown up on a few acreages, and my husband on a farm, we have always felt drawn to a more rural lifestyle. We started out by going north of our current city. I published my first post about our hunt here.

Since then, we have pursued homes in every possible direction. We must have looked at between thirty to fifty properties- small acreages with nicer houses, big acreages with smaller houses, nice yards, hideous yards, newer homes, older homes, ones less than ten minutes from the city, ones more than an hour from city limits, and so on. Years went by and we could not find an acreage that ticked most of our boxes. We also went through quite a few realtors during that process. In the meantime, we sold our place in the city, purchased an empty lot at a lake where we built a home, temporarily moved onto my parent’s acreage, sold the house at the lake, and returned to the city. All within the last five years. Now, I can finally say that our quest is over. We bought an acreage!

As life and luck would have it, we ended up settling on a place a few minutes from where we began searching- north of the city. While it does not have as much land as we originally wanted, it is newer and in better condition than most of the properties that we have looked at over the years. It is also completely fenced with a large garage and a finished basement (the latter of which we have never had the pleasure of owning). There are so many other positives about this home, many of which I plan to discuss in the coming months. There are also a few negatives of course, as no home is perfect. However, for right now, it is the best and most wonderful fit for our family.

I am just so thankful and grateful to God for answering my prayers, and to my husband for working hard and being able to afford this place, and putting up with my restless nature. It has been an eventful and long five years, but now I can finally say that we are home.

Emory

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porch makeover: peony wallpaper

peony-wallpaper-diy-2When we bought our home, our back porch was designated as the family room. Yet, the set-up that they had felt off. The large living room was nearly empty, and the back family room felt small and disjointed from the rest of the house. I knew immediately that I would be combining our living room with the family room, and that the back room would become a porch.

peony-wallpaper-diy-1Before photo.

Once we had moved in and I had turned the space into a porch/dog room/office, my next task was to make the room look nicer. With its grey carpets, low ceilings, and dirty white walls, the room felt more like a messy dorm than a nice area to study and a cozy space for the dogs to hang out. Sure, it didn’t need to be gorgeous. It did need to be different, though. I just didn’t know how.

peony-wallpaper-diy-4One thing about still having to get up in the middle of the night to nurse Remy is that I do all of my best internet searches then. After perusing Pinterest one night, I found the prettiest back porch. The layout from the kitchen to the back living space was almost identical to our home, it was actually quite startling. The only difference was that the Pinterest room had wallpaper. I knew that I was going to have to buy some as well.

peony-wallpaper-diy-6I lucked out by stumbling across nearly identical wallpaper at HomeSense. I didn’t even know that they sold it there, so it was quite a happy accident. It was so easy to install! I’m going to be returning to the store to get more (but different looking) wallpaper for our bathroom. However, one room at a time.

peony-wallpaper-diy-7We really only have a few hours each weekend to do renovations and DIYs, but I’m kind of enjoying slowly setting up the rooms. I definitely feel less pressure to have a perfect home, this time around. I’m thankful for that.

<3

Emory

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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. 

<3

Emory

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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!

<3

Emory

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the truth about acreage living

12Both my husband and I thought we were acreage people. I lived on one when I was a child and can remember all the fun that my siblings and I had in the country. My husband spent his teenage years on one as well, up until his second year of post secondary schooling. When I was in university, we moved back to an acreage. My parents have been there ever since, and my husband and I have been living with them off and on over the past few years.

Many of you joined our roller coaster ride in our 5 month search for an acreage of our own. While we didn’t end up settling on one, we did purchase land in the country. Do you know what? I think it’s a blessing in disguise. It’s funny how you may think that you want something so badly, and go after it in full force, only to realize that it’s not what you wanted in the end. Living on an acreage at this stage in my life has made me realize that. All of our jobs are located in the city, on top of which our free time is also spent there. With no desire to spend our days off mowing the lawn, and no children to speak of, the only good thing about living in the country is the peace and quiet, and having space for our animals. I’m hoping that therefore our city-sized lot outside of the city will be the best of both worlds for us and our animals. At least for right now.

14Not everyone will share this opinion, just as I don’t expect them to. Some people are made for country life, like my mum. While she would probably whither up and die in the city, there are days when she, too, needs a break from it all. This was an email that I received from her one Sunday morning.

“So here’s my day so far…. Ben (dog) left a dead mouse in dog room. Two puncture wounds. Then he was sniffing dead grass. Grass went up his nose and he started choking. I pulled it out of his nostrils. A handful. The graham wafer broke while feeding the donkeys and Mama (donkey) bit my finger. Bleeding. Sam (mini horse) ran into page fence. Got his head stuck. Ripped hair and has two nasty holes on his face. Mesa (kitten) has climbed a tree and can’t get down. And it’s only 10:30 (am).”

I think that acreage living is suited best for children or individuals who either do not work away from home, or do not work at all. Those who fall in between can also make it work, but you had better like rising with the sun and going to bed at sundown. If you do, I applaud you.

<3

Emory 

13Above are photos that I have taken over the summer while living on my parent’s acreage.

  • Welcome, friends! My name is Emory. I am a wife and mother to three (two on earth and one in heaven). This is our life on the Canadian prairies.
    email: helloscarlettblog@outlook.com

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