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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acreage renovation: a basement play and rec room

This was a big renovation that we had no intentions of undertaking until a few years down the road. That is, until our basement flooded in December! Once it did, we were left with no other option but to renovate our entire basement- the majority of which is made up by this playroom and recreational room!

We began by having our old laminate flooring, trim, and bottom portion of the drywall removed. My goodness, was it dirty! The smell alone was that of rotten eggs, and there was just so. much. dust. Fans and heaters were set up to completely dry it out, and it was after a few days. Finally, we were able to start picking out new flooring and baseboards!

Initially I wanted to go with carpet so our basement would feel cozier. However, because of our cistern being located in our basement, there is always a threat of it flooding again. If it did, carpet is one of the hardest types of flooring to dry out- so I was advised against it. Laminate also gets instantly destroyed when wet, as we have discovered. Hardwood was not in our price point, so we ended up settling on a vinyl plank glue down floor. That way, if we do have another flood, we can lift up the flooring, dry it out, and glue it back down. How convenient is that?

We had the vinyl professionally installed as well as much larger baseboards. We also hung shiplap panelling on the one wall. We bought new door handles and switch plates. Then we painted, painted, painted. We painted all of the walls, the doors, shiplap, and stairs! It took a very long time, but eventually, we we were done.

I purchased climbing holds for a rock wall off of Amazon, and we spray painted and hung a makeshift ladder that came with my husband’s vanity on the wall. Now the kids have their own wall that they can just climb on!

We also bought pine shelving, a wood rod, and white brackets from Home Depot. This wall is dedicated for all of their toys, since I didn’t want any of them on the floor. The hangers for their costumes are from HomeSense, the wood crates are from Michaels, and the baskets are from JYSK.

One of the hardest items that I had a tough time settling on was a rug for the rec room. It took me months to find the perfect one. I actually purchased a much larger and greyer rug from Rugs USA, but after putting it under the couch, it just didn’t look how I wanted it to. Then a short time ago I went to HomeSense and was determined to come home with a rug that day. I found two that I liked, and so I FaceTimed my husband and we went over which one we thought would look best. It was between this one and a black and white one. I am soooo glad that we settled on the one that we did! It is just so cute and playful, I feel like it nicely ties in the colourful playroom with the more modern rec room.

I also now have a dedicated spot to get work done, and the kids have a crafting area.

That is our basement renovation in a nutshell!

Emory

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acreage renovation: a new basement bathroom

Have I mentioned yet that we had a flood in our basement? I’ve discussed it quite a bit on Instagram, however I don’t think that I have on my blog.

Just to summarize, I came home one morning with the kids to a basement that was under a few inches of water. The driver of the company that delivers our water had neglected to shut it off when the alarms went off. Inevitably, our rec/playroom, Remy’s room, and Geoff’s bathroom were damaged. Luckily, our insurance company covered the costs.

Above is what the bathroom looked like post-flood. The only blessing in disguise about the entire situation is that we had yet to renovate the basement. That is, except for Remy’s room. We hadn’t planned on renovating it for a few more years. In fact, we were in the middle of tearing out our entryway and laundry room when it all happened! However, because the insurance company wanted to move quickly on getting it restored, we were left with no other option but to abandon our upstairs renos and instead, focus on the basement. Up first, my husband’s bathroom.

Fire & Flood Saskatoon began by ripping most of it out. This included the flooring, baseboards, vanity, and toilet. We were told that they would give us new flooring and baseboards, but because the vanity and toilet weren’t damaged, they would reinstall them. They would also touch up the ugly red paint. It turns out that neither the vanity or toilet worked before the flood, so there was no way we were letting put them back in over brand new flooring. We also wanted to choose a new wall colour if we now had to renovate this bathroom. (Obviously red is dated and makes a small room appear even smaller.) In the end, we told them to go ahead with the flooring and trim, but that we would do the rest ourselves. That is what ended up happening.

For the flooring, we wanted unity in all of the rooms in the basement. So rather than replacing the old laminate with more laminate (which wraps in damp places) or carpet (gross in a bathroom), we ended up choosing a luxury vinyl glue down floor from Flooring Superstores. That case, in the event of another flood rather than throwing out the subfloor and flooring, you simply remove it, let it dry, and lay it down again! What we went with is also anti-bacterial, which is a great option for both a bathroom and Remy’s room given that she has asthma. The cleaner it is, the better it is!

Next, we chose a much larger width of baseboard. We wanted it to be as plain as possible in order to look more modern than what we had. After purchasing them from Windsor Plywood, they painted them white and had them installed!

Finally, they were done! It was now our time to buy everything and begin putting the bathroom back together. My husband bought his vanity when it went on sale at Home Depot. He was initially going to go with light grey, but after I mentioned how it might just blend in with our light grey floor, he went with a darker one.

Geoff bought a toilet from Lowe’s and after bringing it home and unboxing it, realized that it was cracked. So he went back and exchanged it for another. After installing it, I told him that it looked too little for his bathroom. I asked him if he wanted to buy a bigger toilet. I think he was annoyed, but he went ahead and purchased a new one from Home Depot and replaced the previous toilet with it. Afterwards he said that it did look much better. I agreed!

I did give him free range to pick out all of his plumbing fixtures. He bought everything for his sink and shower in matte black and from Amazon.

Geoff also took it upon himself to split the one light above his vanity into two separate fixtures. I personally thought that he was just creating more work for himself. However, he had seen pictures of lights on either side of a large mirror and was set on recreating that for himself. So after a bit of electrical work, he did just that. He bought his two industrial lights off of Amazon again.

Finally, aside from his towel bars, toilet paper holder, and door handle, everything else was purchased around Saskatoon. This included the mirror, towels, shower curtain and rod, bath mat, and accessories. They all came either from JYSK or HomeSense.

Last but certainly not least, we decided to cover all of the walls in shiplap panelling. I had seen it at Lowe’s months prior and was really wanting to purchase it for our home. Rather than buying the more expensive and traditional shiplap, the panelling is much more cost and time efficient. It also only needed one coat, as opposed to four coats where we had to cover the red! We truly love it and have already put it in our basement rec room and kitchen, but more on that later.

Until then, here is our basement bathroom on a budget.

Emory

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acreage renovation: white modern jungle gym

Oh, this jungle gym.

When we moved to the country, there was nothing in our yard except an old, neglected sandbox in the front. We needed something that the children could play on and with. During that first summer, I spoke often of how I wanted a play structure for them. However, because we had just bought a trampoline, I said that we could wait another year until we got one. In the meantime, they could play at the park that was within walking distance.

It was my brother-in-law that told me he often saw free jungle gyms on Kijiji. I asked him if he ever came across one to then send it to me. Over the next few months, he had sent me a few listings. I would message the owners within a few minutes of them posting the ad, but someone always seemed to beat me to it! Finally, one day in early fall, he sent me a listing that I was able to secure. On Geoff’s first day off, they went to the Kijiji-er’s house, dismantled it, brought it home, and set it back up.

Fast-forward to nearly one year later and after putting it off for this long, we decided to fix its problems. The jungle gym was missing structural pieces to make it sturdy. The sandbox was nearly empty. The rope ladder wasn’t getting used and was tripping us every time we went to turn the corner. Most of all, it desperately needed a roof to provide shade on our hot, shadeless property. Above is what it pretty much looked like before.

I happened to stumble an outdoor playset on Instagram one day that was stained white with black accents. I immediately sent Geoff a picture and told him that I was going to try replicating that. The next day I got to work on building a roof.

Admittedly, I had no idea what I was doing! I had never built a roof before, and so I Googled how to do it. Insert eye roll here. I followed the directions from one blog where they basically did what I was trying to do. I used the proper tools (including a saw and rafter square) and it turned out to be not nearly wide enough. Because I was home alone with the children and didn’t want to take them shopping, I was using scrap wood. That meant that I didn’t have enough to fix any mistakes.

Luckily, Geoff came home from work later that day, and was able to fix the roof as best as he could! It ended up being incredibly sturdy, it just didn’t look very professional, thanks to me. Haha.

I bought two cans of white Beauti-Tone acrylic stain which covered the entire structure nicely.

We took down the inconvenient rope ladder and in the process some of the rungs broke and the rope became tangled. We discussed the many ways that we could try to fix it and rehang it somewhere else, but because the kids never even used it, we eventually gave up on the idea.

I ended up painting Wilder’s baby swing white, in order to match the rest of the jungle gym.

Geoff had to secure the slide better to the playset in order to ensure its safety.

I bought a black hammock swing that we could all enjoy and hung it where the rings used to be. Finally, we moved the rings to the end in order to utilize that empty space.

Really, all this makeover cost was two cans of stain, metal roofing, and a new swing. What was once a neglected, hot structure on our property, is now a well-loved, well-played on, shaded spot for all of us.

Emory

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a new mailbox for a new home

century-old-homeHi everyone! It’s been two and a half weeks since my last blog post. How are you? I truly do miss you all.

Life has been very hectic here on the prairies. We have since moved into our new home, and I have begun my master’s program. My schooling is pretty intense right now, and I find that I have to turn my phone off during the day just so I don’t have any distractions. It’s the only way that I can get my schoolwork done and take good care of Remy. I’ve certainly been running on fumes over these last few weeks. However, it’s for a good cause, and so I really shouldn’t complain. :-)))

Processed with VSCO with a4 presetWe’ve had our share of ups and downs at our new home. Perhaps I should call it our old home though, given that it’s over one hundred years old. I love its size, its character, the fact that every room needs to be renovated (some of which we’ve already started), the neighbourhood, and so many other features. I mostly love how we can grow into it over the years. Moreover, Remy finally has a bedroom!

Processed with VSCO with se3 preset Processed with VSCO with a4 presetI thought that I would introduce our new home with something so simple like the purchase of a new mailbox. Boring, I know. However, it focuses on the front of the house, which is fitting for an initial post.

Processed with VSCO with se3 preset Processed with VSCO with a4 presetReally, I just wanted to check in with all of you, and to show to Big Green as well. Maybe next year we’ll be calling it Big White With The Metal Roof And Red Door. Who knows?

See you soon!

<3

Emory

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