Last year when I was house hunting, I said it’s either Cow Bay or Boularderie, and here I am snug like a bug in beautiful Cow Bay. I wouldn’t entirely rule out moving to Cape Breton someday, but honestly this is my dream property and perfect for me and my Border Collies so good chance they’ll take me out in a pine box one day. Hopefully many great times here before that though!
My loose theme for the house is Mediterranean as the lady who owned the property before the previous owners was Greek, and we all know I’m Greek in my soul.
Anyway, it’s been 7 months on the new homestead. 2022 is coming to an end, and I am already dreaming of spring when all the flowers I planted will come up.
It’s been a ton of work here, on top of all my landscaping and garden planting, there’s been much harder work to do. Lots of it.
We knew the house would need a lot of repairs and it was a trade off to get the big piece of property in a country like setting so close to the city.
I didn’t pay much attention to the inspection other than to refer to it loosely for budgeting. I can’t think for the life of me why people buy houses sight unseen, but I visited this one in person and took stock myself of what was what with eyes wide open. Luckily I have owned two other houses, one of them about a hundred years old so was up to the task.
Since I bought the house in May I’ve had the septic replaced, rain gutters installed, a ducted heat pump installed, new hot water tank, dishwasher and chimney style fan installed, new kitchen countertops, and deck rebuilt. Lots more little repairs done too, and many more to come. Just so many things that were left in a very poor state of repair. Oh yeah, and not a lick of insulation other than a small amount in the attic.
So, we put some more fiberglass bats in the attic and currently focused on draft sealing and insulating basement headers. There’s no vapor barrier in the exterior walls so not touching that until someday when the siding needs to be replaced. For now, dry and chilly is better than warm and moldy I say. And the heat pump is very efficient so will muddle through for a while.
Of course, none of this is very sexy and it’s made it really difficult to get any interior painting or cosmetic things done but I do have a few before an after pictures for my dear diary blog here.
After I moved in, I found some old plantation bi-fold doors in the basement. When I looked at the house, I was wondering what I would do about the big closets with no doors in the backroom so brought those up and dusted and washed them up and measured them and sure enough!
The deck was a rotten mess to put it bluntly. It was also way too big for the scale of the house. So after pulling out the pieces that were well beyond hope and flipping over the remainder of the joists and staining them it was possible to rebuild with only having to buy 4 additional boards. There were enough top boards to do the entire top over and a few pieces have become other things on the property. I used sale bin stain on the bottom and bought stain in the colour I wanted for the top. The screws were the most expensive part of the project it turns out but don’t talk to me about removing the old ones….ugghh.
It hadn’t actually been my plan to have a wooden deck as I only wanted a stone garden, but it was the obvious choice once demolition began and it turned out fab.
I had installed a dishwasher and chimney style fan in the kitchen at the old house and also replaced the stove, but never had the chance (or money) to change the countertops, so did all of it here and totally changed the layout of the kitchen. Since I spent so much time researching the appliances at the old house I just bought the same ones for this house. It was pretty much a demolition zone in the kitchen here until November because nothing beats good ole fashion elbow grease and a whack of determination. But just in time for Christmas it came together.
Still need some finishing touches and shelving but I’m pretty delighted for now.
Can’t seem to get the layout right for the front room yet, and the house lacks closet space, so that will become more clear in time. Mostly focused on calm soft colours of sea, sand, and sky, and decluttering.
The backroom was the master bedroom and many of my friends think that’s a great idea but it’s my favorite room in the house, with access to the deck, so want to share it when people visit. And I tucked my desk into the corner so I can always feel like I’m working outside. It’s my favourite room in the house because it’s all tucked into the backyard and the dogs can come in and out as they please. When it’s warm out I bring my laptop out on the deck and if the weather changes I don’t have far to move back inside. It’s nice to have a little fire sometimes and hang out on the deck to enjoy too. Even better with a cuppa and a few good friends.
I figure the bedroom is just a place to sleep. Macy and Milo agree completely! More cosmetic touches down the road but at least it’s the colour of the sea now.
There is so much more to do and so many more things to discover, like this old Beacon lantern I found in the crawl space. They stopped making them in the 50’s and I think it’s probably from about 1940 so perhaps it belonged to Nola. I love a great story, so working on piecing together the history of the lane.
Some people think I’m crazy that I gave up my much newer house in good condition for a small fixer upper, but the property is just lovely and I haven’t had a moment’s regret.
I feel like the caretaker of the property and will continue to try to improve, while preserving as much as possible.
2023 is going to be a great year on the homestead and I know it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s exactly the right place for me.
Happy New Year and wishing you all the best.