Boys’ rooms update and big news!

Last I shared, the boys’ rooms were on the docket for painting… and indeed they were painted. While they had a great time at my parent’s house over March Break (see below) I painted their rooms in what I dubbed “the least dramatic before and after project” since the rooms basically look the same only *slightly* more shiny.

Grandmas Rules

And while they were enjoying Grandma’s house rules, I also did a bit more shopping and indeed the design gods were with me on my trip to HomeSense and I found a pair of panels for Harrison’s room. I’m planning to add some blackout lining so that these summer months are a bit easier on us at bedtime.

We now wait for the paint to cure, in order to put a few things up on the walls – like the decals I have saved for Foster’s room. Once some of the more interesting changes have happened to their rooms, I’ll post photos of the progress.

BUT… I also promised some big news so here it is:

WE ARE PUTTING IN A POOL! (Yes, that required All Caps)

I’m calling it #projectpool so you can follow along on instagram. This week we hit a major milestone because the digging has begun.

After months of planning – seriously we started planning in October – it is finally time to see the plans come together.

Phase two of our yard projects that we planned for last year (catch up on Phase One in New Nest  – Exterior Tour), includes an in-ground pool, the required fence for said pool, the patio/hardscaping around the pool and extending the existing patio, a pool shed, a walkway from the front of the house around the side to the back, and adding some gardens and/or plants. Whew!

Pool

That’s a lot to take in, but that image does show the left side of the house that’ll be part of the plan this summer. We’re going to share part of the path to the back with our neighbours so we can each have a nice wide path until our fences, rather than two skinny ones separated by another skinny patch of grass. It pays to be friendly with your neighbours!

Here’s a closer look at the backyard area.

Pool3

The pool will be right off the patio area, leaving us a patch of grass that we can still use to throw a ball around in.

We decided to ditch the hot tub altogether, since we didn’t think we would use it much. And although we thought this project might take on 3 or more phases, the addition of the pool required a bunch of other “stuff” to be done, like putting in the fence to meet by-law and safety requirements, and the shed (more of a “want” so we can store pool-related items), it made sense to do all the rest of the plan at once. So phase 2 will be the end of the major yardwork we have done. I’m sure the yard will continue to evolve though as our family grows.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to see this starting to come together.

Foster and digger

Someone else is pretty excited too!

New Nest – Exterior Tour

I hope you guys liked the sneak peek at our new nest plans and some of the interior spaces. Before I take you inside for a house tour, I thought I’d start by showing you around the exterior of the house just like you were pulling up to our house for a visit.

Also if you follow along on Instagram you know that in late July and early August we had a patio project on the go, so it seems appropriate to show you this newly completed project that I teased on Instagram and that has made such a difference to the whole look of the house and the function we get from it.

But first, let me show you what the house was looking like when we moved in.

Eaglecrest with driveway

Our house is new craftsman in style and the exterior reflects that. We didn’t go wild with colour choices and tried to stick with browns and greys. Choosing exterior colours was extremely nerve-wracking. The samples to choose from are quite small (especially when you consider the size of the house) and there weren’t any other houses in previous neighbourhoods that we felt got it exactly right (for us), so we had to select “blind” in a way. And once you’ve selected you just have to wait for them to start putting it on the house and hope and pray that you love it because there’s no going back now.

When we moved in last fall we put the patio at the top of our wish list for projects come springtime. We use our bbq year-round and the boys need to run around so we knew we’d want to make use of our backyard (and have access) as soon as possible.

First up, our lawn was installed right before the May long weekend. And boy did that make a difference to how the yard looked. We only had to stay off it for 3 weeks. #kidscantwaitthatlong

new grass

 

yard looking left

 

sprinkler

Don’t let those photos fool you. It looked extremely green in the spring in the few weeks after we got sod… and then we had one of the hottest, driest summers on record.

In terms of planning the yard we knew that building our dream yard would be more than a one year project. Being able to budget and save up year over year was the main reason, but also because it’ll give us a bit more time to live in the house (and the yard) and decide what’s most important to us, and how we use the space.  We asked the designer to show us a plan of our yard that would offer us all of the wants/needs for our yard all at once so that we could see the big picture and not make any hard to undo “mistakes” that we’d be kicking ourselves over later. Once we had the big picture then we’d consider how much we wanted to bite off at a time. For example, we didn’t want to put in a patio this year that the designer would tell us would get in the way of a future pool or fire pit next year or beyond.

Our BIG wish list included:

  • Large kid-friendly stairs leading out from the patio doors,
  • A large patio that could accommodate grilling, dining and lounging,
  • Low-maintenance gardens
  • A pool
  • A hot tub
  • A fire pit
  • A walkway from our driveway around the side of our house to the backyard
  • A fence (especially required if we put in a pool)

I’m guessing that like many home plans the yard will evolve as our family grows and will constantly be a work in progress.

We really want our backyard to be a place we can spend our summers entertaining, enjoying the natural surroundings of our yard, play with the kids and eat as many meals as possible al fresco.

So this summer we tackled  “phase one” which included front gardens, gardens on the right side of the house, and stairs from the patio doors and a stone patio spanning the width of the house and some some additional planting. We also included some lighting in the gardens and on the stairs.

Before work started the yard was already starting to look pretty crispy, despite our best efforts to water it on our watering day.

DSC_0972

 

 

 

 

 

Back Before

Pathetic Stairs 2

Those are some seriously sad-looking stairs.

It only took about two and a half weeks to complete the project (12 working days in all).

Front After

The birch tree in the front makes such a huge difference inside and outside the house. From inside you can see the green leaves through the transom above the front door and it makes our house feel so much more finished. #crazybutitstrue

Side Front After

Side garden

We’re told our side yard is almost no maintenance. This is the side of the house we decided we wouldn’t use at all as a means to get to the back of the yard. The other side of the house makes the most sense, so we decided to simply use up the whole space with garden so that we don’t have to mow it or maintain it much, but it still looks nice.

Back After

Back After 2

The day I took these After photos was extremely bright and a lot of the photos of the patio itself and the patio stones got really washed out. I’ll try to take some new photos on a dimmer day so you can get a sense of the colour. The in-progress photo below does a so-so job but in reality it is much darker grey than these photos suggest.

patio

Already, less than one month later, we have enjoyed so many meals on the patio, and more than a few glasses of wine on the patio after the kids have been tucked in.

Next up patio furniture to fill up the space. The dining set we have fits in the space better than we expected but we’re putting an 8-seater on our patio wish list and keeping an eye out for some end of season deals.

 

 

Christmas decorating – Front Porch

A few weeks ago, before the weather was -29!, we got our lights up and got it looking festive for welcoming our guests to our open house and over the holidays.

I was lucky enough to get a dusting of snow before I took my pictures. Here’s how it turned out this year.

snowy front porch

snowy steps

I grabbed a great deal at Costco on the arrangements. Only $17.99!

I also managed to get these brand new urns when one of our local garden stores had their Christmas Open House. I scored these for only $34.99 each (regular $89.99) Score!

spruced up bench

The pine cones and balls I picked up on sale at Walmart (after knocking over a display of oversized Christmas balls. Oops!)

mitten door hanger

I opted for something different than a wreath on the door this year. I’ll be posting about this soon.

And I attempted to get a few pictures of the house with the lights on, but don’t get too many chances to get out at dusk/dark because I’m usually picking up Harrison at preschool or its dinner/bedtime. These are the best I could get.

snowy lights

steps lights on

Under pressure

Doo doo doo do-do-do-do. (Queen anyone?)

Spring came late this year. Well, in fact I’m not sure it came at all. We seem to have skipped a season and jumped right into early summer weather-wise.  And that has meant that it was winter, winter, winter, BAM! We want to sit out on our deck and enjoy time outside. Since the transition wasn’t really a transition we didn’t have much of an urge to get outside and do any work outside our house before the weather turned warm. Oh yeah… and this happened too, leaving us with not a ton of free time.

Our deck had been neglected. It needed a good scrubbin’.

And we have actually been talking about giving the deck a good, deep cleaning since last fall. We have two walnut trees on/near our property and they are messy little buggers. They drop their nuts, and squirrels love ’em and love to hang out and eat on our deck as much as we do. Besides keeping the deck clear of debris and the mess a walnut makes after a squirrel is done with it, our deck has been mostly neglected since we moved in.

At first we were just going to borrow a friend’s pressure washer to do the job, but we decided to invest in one since it does so much more than just clean your deck. It’s a great tool to have around the house.

So when Canadian Tire had a sale on a few weeks ago we bit the bullet and bought ourselves a brand spankin’ new pressure washer. (Cue the Queen music).

And boy did it make a difference!
Overview

It’s a shadow-y view of our deck before, with the furniture moved all around and the pressure washer ready to work it’s magic. The shadowed area gives you the best view of how dirty the deck was.

Here’s a photo of how really bad the deck was looking.

Hope the grill is cleaner than the deck

And here’s a half-way shot of the difference a little water and some power can make.

half way

I know, right? I bet you didn’t think it was that bad until you saw this shot. Even I didn’t know it was that bad!

Well I’m happy to report that the deck has been fully cleaned and is literally looking like a different deck all together. The deck is getting old though, and the scrubbing has revealed a few flaws like splinters and some uneven patches. I want our deck to be a place that we, especially the kiddos, can go barefoot in the summer so I think we have more work to do on the deck this year. I’m currently researching some deck sealing and repair products to find one that might help keep tiny feet from catching splinters.

As usual, I’ll keep you posted on what we choose and why. I can’t wait for warm (really warm) summer nights and dinners on the deck with no shoes on!

What about you? Any deck projects going on? Any new power tool purchases that you’re swooning over? Any outdoor spaces being neglected?