Thursday, 28 April 2016

SNAILS PACE!





It seems everything is moving along at a SNAILS PACE my friends, which sure doesn't help my anxiety! I have to do SO MUCH PAPERWORK for this county application for the legal purchase.  Meetings, emails, phone calls. I have been lucky though that everyone I have been in contact with is very supportive and helpful!

In the meantime we have been cleaning up around the house. My husband took away 7 large trailer loads of weeds and vines that were growing around house and property and there is still more! We had a garbage bin brought, filled and taken away and there is still more!


I have been taking some photographs and doing a little staging. This house is the perfect backdrop!

I have basically been stocking up for the last couple years for a shop from home. I have also reached out to some suppliers and as a family we have been throwing ideas around as to what we should do, which direction we should go and we think we have it figured out but it's gonna take a little time to get it up and running. So mum's the word for now.





I have been washing and a little painting, we took out old flooring and carpeting as well. I am pretty lucky and it's quite exciting to know some pretty amazing people to help me along this journey! I had Ken Heaman, the Curator of Dundurn Castle over to the house and he took lots of the flooring that we removed and he was going to check into the dates of those for me along with dates of wallpaper. I am keeping samples of them for a shadow box collage. He is a wealth of knowledge that guy! You can see him here taking Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall on a tour of the castle in 2009. You can read that article HERE
Well, that's a bit of an update and show some pretty photos for all you peeps that have wanted to follow along. Keep your fingers crossed for us please! I want all the paperwork and legal stuff to HURRY UP AND BE OVER WITH ALREADY! It's like we're stuck in limbo right now and it's so frustrating. Please share your story of being stuck in limbo and how you got through it!

Until next time!
~Mel

Monday, 11 April 2016

And so it begins...


And so it begins........the tenant is OUT! and we were FINALLY able to start moving forward with this GORGEOUS rustic farmhouse! There is still a process to go through for the 'legal' purchase. The property owners have been extremely good to us but because the government has placed tight rules on farm dwellings being severed there is a lengthy process and it has to meet certain criteria. That is why many of these old homes just end up falling down because the land owner cannot sell it. Things are looking good so far, the application has begun. FINGERS CROSSED!! In the meantime we are renting and slightly renovating (just a lot of elbow grease for now) so we will call that RENTOVATING. Years ago I started my Rustic Farmhouse blog to share how I styled my home in my own farmhouse style. I took the newer farmhouse we lived in and tried to create a look using antiques and decor.  But, my heart was always missing something.


A few months back I took my Uncle (electrician) and some friends (Curator of Dundurn and his husband Allan) into this brick beauty for their advice on whether we should purchase or not. Cost and amount of work scared me I was hoping for reassurance.  Anyways, after the tour Allan turned to me and said "Melanie, this is YOUR RUSTIC FARMHOUSE. This is what you've been trying to create. This is it." And that's just it! This house has it all even BEFORE I move all my antiques and decor into it. Its the perfect backdrop! She's  my dreamy rustic farmhouse all on her own. She's my soul sister. 

There are some immediate things that need to be addressed. Problem areas and we are just figuring it all out and trying to prioritize the TO-DO LIST. Unfortunately, my husband hasn't been feeling well and has limited strength and endurance at the moment. I wish LIFE would pause for us while we do this but you know that's not how it works so we have to push through the obstacles. Thankfully all our kids are helping out and our 21 year old son has moved into the house in advance to help do a lot of work. And my husband also spends the night sometimes. The kids are bugging to stay over at night as well, but it's too hard to have a bunch of beds at this point. LOL
We literally live 2 minutes away in our other rental house right now so that makes it so much easier for us to go back & forth. Over the next couple months we will be busy busy busy! The chimneys and other bad brick areas will be worked on as soon as we know it is OURS. We have already had the brick mason out to assess the job. The front 2 rooms hardly need work, just a good scrub!

 While my husband ran to town the other day I ripped out the bathroom carpet. YUP! you read that right! carpet was in the bathroom! (it was a nasty job but somebody had to do it!) I like to do a lot of work MYSELF! I'm so happy to do so! We are leaving almost all walls and ceilings in tact it was just this room that needs to be opened for added upper level plumbing. After a lengthy conversation with a local building inspector AND reading hours worth of information on line we have chosen NOT to insulate the walls. We will be adding insulation to the attic, updating windows and eventually adding outer storms. Getting an energy audit done which checks furnace, ductwork, air leaks etc. You can read one article about insulating an old home HERE 

I have grown to like the coloring of the windows that have paint worn OFF and are not bright white. I will be chosing a paint color for the windows and gingerbread trim that will match the color of the brick mortar. More of a greige color. I don't want to be too light or too dark so this will be tricky!  I like the color of the trim in the photo above. (origin unknown found on pinterest)
and I also like the color here. (photo above Shanty 2 Chic)
My husband and I have worked hard (well,okayyy mostly the hubs) at removing vines and weeds that were suffocating the house. Now she can breathe! We are going to attend a 'wood windows workshop' at the end of this month. That would benefit us greatly! It would take a couple years I'm sure to get them all done, but so worth it in the end! You can learn more about the wood window workshop HERE
I LOVE interior shutters. Now this may not have been an original feature of this home, but they will add darkness and privacy when we want it and I think they will add great detail! (above photo origin unknown to me-found on pinterest) This super CUTE! photo below with the fabulous window & shutters is from @blessedmommatobabygirls you can find Patys's instagram HERE 



I CANNOT even explain what is going on inside me at the moment. Each day I take a few minutes to myself, in the quiet somewhere to think positive about this legal process and hope that our application is approved, it's looking good so far and I sure have great support from the county! In fact, the Mayor called me himself!! We have surely invested a lot of our time but we won't invest much money at this point just in case. The hardest part is to invest emotions into something that even though is looking really good, is still unsure.
I was accidentally LOCKED OUT for 2 hours the other day because the wind blew the door shut. Of course my phone and keys were INSIDE! My husband had just left! So I took that time to just sit and enjoy the breeze and the scenery around me and most of all the feeling that it all gave me. When my husband pulled in all he could see was a smile on my face. I really hope to have the opportunity to breathe new life back into this amazing old farmhouse and to share this journey with so many of you kindred spirits who have been though this or dreamed of doing this.  My old soul is overwhelmed.


As I wonder around the property I have been finding little items that I find so simple and beautiful! This kind of stuff just warms my heart.



I had a hard time taking down this wallpaper. In fact, I cried! Not right away, hours later while driving to town when it just HIT ME! My husband wondered wth was going on! I wondered what had I done!? I just took down someones hard work! Who put it there? What is their story? What year was it at the time?  But NO I could not leave it. For one, badly damaged, yellowed from nicotine and for two it's just not my style. BUT HEY what's important is how much I appreciate this house and the work that went into it. I feel it in my heart. 
YUP! those are wood floors under there! and AGAIN it bothers me about taking up the old vinyl flooring too. Someones hard work. BUT.....LOOK AT THAT WOOD! AND.. I have a plan! I am going to get a very large FRAME and add pieces of the wallpaper & flooring in the layers I found them in. That way it's a reminder of days gone by.
This wallpaper???  IT'S GOTTA GOOO!!!!  it was just put on a couple years back.
One fabulous feature of this house is the etched names, initials and dates along the outside wall. Many have worn off but there is a date of 1902 which makes my heart beat faster!
I really hope to learn as much as I can about the history of this house. Who has been in it and what their memories are. There was a wedding here years ago I hope to find out more about that.
The woodwork is beautiful everywhere in the house. Love the details. At first the kids were like WHAAAAAAT!?!? we don't want to move there! It upset me, terribly. They couldn't see the potential that we did. Yes it's pretty 'rustic'. With its mortar cracks and water damage and the list goes on! But the more they are in the house they actually verbally say they LIKE IT!
They enthusiastically raked the yard and helped to clean up some areas outside, of course there is still so much more to clean. We will have to take our time with a lot of that. It's pretty overwhelming.
The staircase is spectacular! The landing at the top can have a little sitting area by the big window. The kids are quite excited! There are 4 rooms up here.
I would NOT paint over any wood surfaces in the house. I figure if they have gone for 150+ years without being painted I would leave them be. There is enough white painted trim to quench my thirst, I actually LOVE that there is a mixture of both. I would have a hard time repainting over these RUSTIC wood floors. My oldest daughter doesnt want the floors in 'her room' repainted. But fresh paint does make for easier cleaning.


I have always loved photos of old homes that had a large room with many rooms going off of it AND I have always loved a raised door. BAM!!! This room has it all!! This will be the dining room. It has 9 doorways leading out and we (MIGHT) change things SLIGHTLY and add a 10th & 11th in the future! (we'll see how it goes-I have some plans in my head-don't scold me yet)


This stairway leads up to old servants quarters. It's pretty neat!  Because of all the water damage from much needed chimney capping & (AHEM!) the previous tenant, we need to work on it as it's the worst area of the house. It's going to be my oldest sons room, for the time being he is staying in the room that would be ours, the master bedroom.
To my surprise the color of this GORGEOUS wainscoting IS WHITE! and here I thought it was yellow! It turned yellow from years of nicotine! I have to get out the elbow grease here that's for sure!!! and NOOO!!! I will NOT paint over this chippy white loveliness! I cannot WAIT to get my dining furniture into this room OMGOSH!







OK! So I have been trying to plan for months now! You know how all us women like to PLAN! The above photo is the mainfloor  bathroom plans. Our old pine dry sink as a vanity, a lovely old style tub!  Of course most of the plans I made up in my head were based on when we visited the house on a couple occasions while the tenant was still living there. So I really  didn't get a chance to feel out the rooms and I forgot a lot of details like wall space etc. So now that we are IN we get a chance to see and figure out space wise what would work and what wouldn't. Once again, BAM!! but this time it's a bad bam because a bunch of the plans in my head will NOT WORK! LOL but the bathroom plans will definitely work! 
French soaps for my kitchen and bath!? YES PLEASE! Can we all just say AAAHHHHHH.
These photos are my inspiration for my kitchen sink area. (photos found on pinterest couldn't find origin) I have priced out a custom soapstone sink and I just have to decide on measurements and go back to pick out my slab and choose where I want the natural veining. I CANNOT find raw brass faucets but I can always buy them if I find them later so I will get another farmhouse style faucet for now.
To help offset the cost of the sink I am choosing painted pine boards for open shelving. Now to figure out how to hang them on a plaster wall!?!? Open to suggestions! We will also cheap out and purchase base cupboards from IKEA and the plan right now is to add white painted pine fronts ourselves. Also for now we will keep our old fridge and add a rustic door and hopefully make it look like an old cupboard. And as for countertop I will have white painted or washed pine boards.  Keeping it all simple, fresh, inexpensive and GORGEOUS!

And ummmm HELLO STAINLESS BEAUTY!!! This AGA pro-style gas range is on the list! I had originally liked a different style stainless range but thought I would look into the 'old cook stove style' white one for my husband. This is a perfect mix of what we both want AND it's a modern look to an old classic.......but nothing is set in stone! I will continue to explore my options of course!!
Right now there is already a lovely GREEN gas stove for us to use. Well peeps let me know what you think! I ALWAYS love hearing from you! Hope to update you again soon! Hang in there, I am hoping to sort a lot of this out and then I can get on a schedule of regularly posting during the process. Be well! ~Mel



Friday, 25 March 2016

First Signs of Spring

For me, the first 2 tell-tale signs of spring are oh so pretty colorful spring flowers and of course, rubber boots!
All those vibrant colors are sure a sight for sore eyes!
Oooh a lovely dose of purple YES PLEASE!
After those dreary winter months it is so refreshing to bring some LIFE & COLOR it into our homes.

I most recently found 4 white slipcovered HENRIKSDAL chairs from IKEA on kijiji for $15. ea ($60 total)
I knew it was a deal but when I checked the website and saw that they are 89.99 plus 13% tax ($101.68 ea or $406.75 total)
I WAS ELATED!!!!!
A savings of $346.75 because I chose to buy used.
They were very gently used in fact the girl told me they came with the house she just purchased and they were used for staging while the house was for sale. basically brand new! YIPPEEEEE!!!
So I will attempt some linen slipcovers in the future.
Even though it looks clean and crisp to just have the original white covers,
I threw a couple german grain sacks overtop for WOW factor. (and it will help keep the kids from mucking them up!)
LOVE IT!


I also recently purchased another gorgeous antique french linen sheet from etsy.
I LOVE the ecru natural coloring!
again....LOVE IT!
Who doesn't love antique textiles?? YUMMY!
 Yesterday my husband and I stopped in at an amazing antique shop in Hamilton, Ontario called Tattered &Torn owned by my friend Kim Davies. (who was the stylist for my Prairie Style magazine feature!) I purchased 2 wonderfully aged ironstone platters, 2 fabulous blue striped grainsacks, 2 french soaps and this SPRING copy of Jeanne d'Arc Living magazine. Kim hosts the A Day In The Country Show & Sale at her place in Caledonia in May & November. GOOD JUNQUE!!  check out her site HERE
and YES....I know I came late to the game but I FINALLY got myself a pair of HUNTER rubber boots!
I originally bought the new soft top version but I just didn't 'test drive' them enough in the store and once I wore them around the house for a while before leaving for town the next morning I realized they buckled and hurt the back of my leg so I went back and exchanged for a smaller size and had to go with this style which is certainly fine with me! THEY ARE SO COMFORTABLE!

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