Making Space

The last few months have been tough for us, financially. We have been job hunting for Pat, hoping to find something a bit more in line with his interests and schooling. (He just finished the Cisco Network Administration certification at Algonquin College. He would love to have networking be a part of his job). I have gone back to work at Belly Laughs (which is both awesome and dangerous. Being pregnant around all the awesome products? Siiiigh). We’ve been cutting back where we can, and taking a close look at what we have in our home and lives and whether or not it’s actually necessary.

One of things we decided to finally be done with is our portable storage unit. We’ve had it in our driveway for a year now. We got it when we were planning on moving and needed to store some of our stuff for showings. Then we used it to store Pat’s motorcycle(s) over the winter. Well, there’s no reason to be paying for something like that when it really is time for us to tackle the stuff once and for all. There were boxes in there from Mom’s estate. That’s stuff that has been sitting, boxed up, for 5 years. So, we emptied it out and had them come take it away. That means that our house is a bit of a disaster while we slowly make our way through the mountains of STUFF.

Mountains of boxes in our dining roomYeah, that’s our dining room. How are we ever going to fit another kid in this house? No, seriously, how? Do you have any tips or suggestions? I have no idea how to store the mix of preschooler and baby toys, and where are the big baby gear is going to go. Playpen? Swing? The house is feeling very very small right now.

So, here we are, beginning of June, and I am finally facing a ton of estate stuff that has been hidden away for years. We can’t keep it all. We just can’t. Our place just isn’t big enough. Time to get serious and really only keep useful, loved or beautiful items. Wish us luck!

 

Putting the Home in Starter Home.

Over the past couple of years I’ve talked about our plans to move, to find a bigger place with a bigger yard. We have made several attempts at this plan, and yet each time something happens that takes us down a different path. Life has a funny way of changing things even when you aren’t ready to hear it or see it.

We bought this home almost 7 years ago. We weren’t even engaged yet, and had both just finished school. We bought for the “now” instead of the future and as a result the house isn’t exactly what we expected to be in for nearly a decade. So, how does one take a house and make it a home, after they have already decided to leave it behind? Much like you can make any space, big or small, a home. It’s a process, that’s for sure. Today, I’m going to share an overview of what we’ve shared so far here on IAtH, with updates coming in the next few days. Later in the week I will share tips to help make your own space more homey. This is our starter story, as inspired by Urban Compass, a New York City real estate platform who invited us to be a part of their collection of blogs sharing their own starter stories.

Outside:

outside1Our place was built in the early 90s, the time when pink was Queen. This was definitely a challenge when we looked at the exterior of our home. Pink brick is something we had to work around. The windows and doors were all wood and showing their wear, so we knew they had to be replaced too.

outsidenewWe chose a dark bluey grey for all of the wooden trim that we were keeping, as well at the garage door and the front door. The storm door, main door and front window were replaced by one larger door and window, each with a panel of stained glass. We touched up all the white paint, and replaced the mailbox. I hope to replace the light fixtures this coming summer.

Liam’s Room

cr1  The previous owners of our place had used the smallest of the three   bedrooms as a craft room. I did the same for a little while, but once Liam was born we knew he was going to need his own space. I wanted to keep the larger guest room as a multipurpose room, so we decided that the little guy would get the little room. I wanted something bright, fun and with a mix of decor. We ripped up the nasty teal carpet and replaced it with a plush beige carpet. The dark teal blinds had to go too, so we replaced them with black out curtains. The pink walls were painted something much more fun and suitable for a toddler’s room.

lr5  We went with a bright leafy green for the walls. All furniture and frames are a mix of light and medium woods. with accents of white and bright colours. While it may not be super pretty, we have a dark green lazy boy in the room, as I am still nursing my big guy. The room is set up with a montessori approach in mind. This means that everything is designed for Liam’s perspective and appreciation. The art is low, the toys and books are accessible, and everything in the room is safe for him.

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The Man Cave

The Basement, before Oh, the basement. It was important to us to have a space for hanging out. Ours was a huge fixer-upper. The previous owners had cats and smoked, both of which did major damage in the basement. We tore up the gross carpet, and discovered water damage. We left the space unfinished while we saved up and started to do work ourselves. Unfortunately, the pipe that had burst in the past did so again and we had to start over.

The only thing that we kept was the drop ceiling, which was still in good condition.

BasementThe basement, like most, was cold and dark. We added pot lights, and decided on floating laminate floors. We painted the walls a rich taupe to warm up the cool space. We chose a huge comfy couch that was on sale with plans of many movie and video game nights. The basement is large, so we have a few different area. Across from the seating area, we have our entertainment system and our desks. Both my hubby and I like our tech, so we put it all in a place where Liam can’t get to it without supervision.

Basement We chose darker colours and accents to create a more cozy and adult space. We wanted a place where people would feel comfortable hanging out for hours on end.

Well, that’s it for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little round up. I look forward to sharing our home with you :)

Still in the middle

What a whirlwind life has been. The house prep has been a all consuming project. I plan on sharing some pictures with you soon as part of my UFYH series. We finally came to an agreement with the bank (who own the house we love) and have conditionally purchased it. The three conditions that we made were: 1. Home inspection 2. Financing 3. Selling our place

Yesterday was the home and septic inspection. I have to be honest and say I am overwhelmed. I still absolutely love the house, but there was more than I hoped. The place is almost 70 years old, so I shouldn’t be surprised….but we have to now sit down and really decide if we can live with what we now know.

Liam is loving the yard, especially the tractors right behind us.

Liam is loving the yard, especially the tractors right behind us.

In the mean time, we are getting all the last bit of information to the bank to get our mortgage application in, as well as finishing up all the prep to get our place listed. On top of that, I am still working in the evening a couple days a week and Pat still has classes two nights a week. I haven’t been this exhausted and stressed in such a long time. I have cut my hours down, and Pat finished his course next week, so hopefully things will mellow out a bit. I was hoping to have our home listed by now, so hopefully this delay won’t screw up our plans.

So far, we have:

-Decluttered. We have a storage unit outside full of large pieces of furniture and items that were clogging up the space

-Made some repairs

-Painted trim.

Doesn’t sound like much, but I swear it is. I have been a hermit for weeks, focusing on this place. Gods, I hope it all pays off.

Overwhelmed

I am having one of those weeks where I am so overwhelmed by the events of the world that I don’t know what to say about any of it. My heart is broken and I am scared for the world, really.

Life continues on here. I am still decluttering and packing. I’m not sure that we, as a family, have for sure decided to move, but I have decided, as an individual, to take the leap and start prepping for it anyway. I have a storage unit that arrived yesterday, and we have a short list of houses left to see. We have two contenders at the moment, so we are close. Once we have decided on the house we want, we will list ours. I am absolutely dreading the showing process, but it’s a necessary evil in this process. For those looking to snag some free stuff, I will be posting a lot of the stuff I am hoping to get rid of on facebook. Add me! :D Local pick up only, please. Ain’t nobody got time for the post office.

In an attempt to get past all the crazy in the world right now, I want to focus on the things that make me smile. Here are some of my current favourite things:

 

For the Home:

One of my fave things in the world right now is the Buy Nothing movement. Inspired by the various Freecycle communities online, the Buy Nothing groups are neighbourhood specific. Ours in Barrhaven is super busy and has some great items and services. This is where I am posting the majority of my stuff. I have also snagged some amazing items here for us. So, if you want to find some great used items for your home, while being frugal, or you need a place to declutter, check to see if there is a Buy Nothing group near you.

For my Kid:

Liam recently received a Tricycle from a neighbour and has been practically attached to the thing. To keep my kiddo safe and to practice safe bicycle riding, I insist on him wearing a helmet. Good habits are awesome when they start young. We especially love this great Nutcase helmet we got him:

For my ears:

I’ve been really digging this Hey Rosetta! song, “Welcome”, about the birth of a child.

And my tune for the summer has for sure been Kongos, Come with me now.

And my latest obsession is July Talk. They are just so cute.

And with that, I am off. I will try to post more “Stuff I love” posts as I have plenty of those things that I adore. Cheers!

 

Fall Back

Oh, Daylight Savings Time. So many people are so well rested, thanks to you. Parents, not so much. Luckily, our little dude didn’t get me up too early (6:30 new time, which is totally tolerable for me. Thanks little man). He’s already up there napping, so I’m taking advantage of the quiet by sharing a few things while I have the chance.

Firstly, here is our Halloween costumes that I mentioned the other day:

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Definitely not my best picture, but we are so awesome that it doesn’t even matter

We went as Mama and Baby Wookies. It was a blast. Liam absolutely loved being able to run with abandon through stores and hallways of the mall. I loved seeing all of the adorable halloween babies. Definitely my favourite day of the year.

We didn’t do much after hanging out at the mall, sadly. Little man was completely exhausted after having such a great time that he passed out from 4-7, and then again at 9 for the night. I ordered in Chinese food and set a plate out for the dead passing through. Before bed, I put out a small bowl of honey and milk and called it a night.

The other thing I wanted to share should probably fall into its own post, but I’m feeling lazy (thanks left over halloween candy!), so you get to enjoy it here. We recently moved Liam over to his own room, and as a result, I have another UFYH chapter!

UFYH – Liam’s Room

This space has gone through many makeovers since we moved into the house. Originally, it was used as a craft room/catch all/cat’s space by the previous owners.

cr1This is from their house listing. As you can see, it had teal carpeting, and a hand made cat ledge at the window. This room was my space, but I didn’t have much of a budget to work with. First, we replaced the carpet with a plush beige carpet and painted the walls a vibrant leafy green. Pat helped me install floating IKEA shelves on the inner wall to accomodate my large collection of comic books and knitting patterns.

This was my refuge. All of my books, crafts and music went into this room. I loved it!

When we found out we were expecting, despite having a larger guest room as an option, we both knew that the craft room was a better space for a kid. Firstly, it doesn’t share a wall with our loud neighbours. Secondly, while small, it was the perfect size for a wee one. It would force us to keep it tidy and to keep the number of toys in the space limited. I loved the colour for a nursery, so it was great that I didn’t need to repaint!

cr6While Liam slept in our room (either co-sleeping with us in the bed, or in his larger crib), the nursery was the place that I took him to have some wiggle time on the floor, or to read a story in my lap. We brought in an old dresser that had been my sister’s dresser when she was a child. We purchased a cheap small bookshelf to hold on to our small children’s literature collection. Tracy and I put up the few insect decals that she had gifted us from Toys R Us around the room. The cradle was a gift from Jan and Cathy. It’s a family heirloom. All of the Heffernan girls slept in it <3 While the space acted more like storage, Maddie’s Crate was moved back in, making it more of a baby’s playroom and the Dog’s Bedroom.

Last week, Pat and I tackled the space. It was time to get little man out of our room and into his own space. I was waking him with my tossing and turning. It hurt my heart, but I knew it was time.

First we moved Maddie’s crate into the guest room. We then gave the carpet a very deep cleaning. We removed the blinds and hung some black out curtains (darkness is very important to baby nap time!). We hung some art and set up his new and wonderful Montessori bed (a birthday gift from Jan, Cathy and the girls!). We went with sort of an eclectic fairy tale themed space. Natural mixed woods, vintage pieces, woodland animals and bugs, dragons, child-like without being too cartoony. The art is hung low to compliment the Montessori aspect of the space. I want him to be able to see the art and enjoy it.

What we have in the room:

  • Bunting by A Fete Beckons
  • Liam’s Name Letters – Created by our friends S & K. Letters were painted white and decorated with Star Wars characters
  • Strange heirloom embroidery that I found in my mother’s trunk.
  • Decals by Carter’s, at Toys R Us
  • Owl Night Light from Belly Laughs
  • Bedding from Zara Kids.
  • Nursing chair by La-Z-Boy
  • Curtains from Bed, Bath and Beyond
  • Wall Mirrors & Floating Shelves by IKEA
  • Elephant & Animals textile, gift from Pat’s co-worker.
  • Vintage Fox Art – from Pat’s nursery as a kid
  • Word Art, from grassgreendesigns

I’ll try to post some better pictures of these details later. The room is mostly done,  but I still have plans for it. We have a beautiful owl fram that Tracy had given us for the room when Liam was born. I’d like to print a picture of her with him for it. I also have some art from my own nursery as a child that I need to get framed. I’m also thinking about getting something like this for the space:

il_570xN.194462929il_570xN.497839539_cisp

There’s also some art I was considering:

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il_570xN.368105789_79yk

il_570xN.416369710_2vi4il_570xN.239439992il_570xN.429312908_f8g9 il_570xN.334228303

So many things!  Anyway, I hope you liked this little look into Liam’s room. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. <3

UFMH – An update

This is not an update I wanted to make. About two weeks ago, shortly after my last post, Pat and I heard from a mortgage broker that we had contacted concerning a second opinion. She broke the news that we were not in a great position to move and would honestly be better off waiting until we were in a better financial position. Shortly after that phone call, we found out our real estate agent (who we LOVE), left his firm (We were informed by the team lead that they had restructured). This cemented things for us. We weren’t ready to start over with someone new, or to force ourselves into a bad financial situation.

So, here we are. Stuck in a home that we don’t love and don’t trust. At very least, I’m trying to remain positive about the situation. We have done a ton of work and now have a much more livable space.

As you can imagine, though, the work came to a grinding halt. There’s still a lot to do. A lot of clutter to conquer. I’m trying to stay motivated, but it’s hard. We did get some news today that put the fire under my ass to do some house work. We may have a house guest staying with us for a bit. We’ll know more next week. In the mean time, I plug away!

Today I:

-Tidied the main floor, including the kitchen, living room, dining room, bathroom and front hall.

-Vacuumed the main floor

-Washed all the floors on the main floor (Love the shark mop!)

-Clean the main floor bathroom

-Did a load of dishes

-Tidied the basement, including the laundry room.

-Did 4 loads of laundry

-Vacuumed and washed the floors in the basement

-Tidied upstairs, including all three bedrooms and the main bathroom

-Vacuumed upstairs

-Washed the floors, sinks, counter and toilet in the main bathroom

-Put away newly cleaned clothing

-Got all garbage and recycling out on the curb

 

I also:

-Made smoothie popcicles (first time this summer! Such a shame I waited so long! Can’t wait to try them)

-Signed us up for a CSA, Bryson Farms. Our first basket arrives Wednesday!

-Put a bag together for donation (pick up next week)

 

It’s been a productive day! It’s going to be a busy week, so I’m glad to get as much done as possible. We’re going to be making a trip to the Experimental Farm/Agriculture Museum sometime with Jan, Beth, Cassidy and Brenda. Cassidy’s birthday party is Saturday and we’re having a family bbq at my SIL’s on Monday. Good times ahead!

 

UFYH – Master Bedroom

I wish I had some before pictures for you. Maybe it was the shame I felt about the room that made made me “forget”. Our room hadn’t been touched since we moved in, unless you count the addition of the crib to the space (and even then, it didn’t really change the layout)

How it used to look (pre-baby)

Since then, we have done:

  • Brought in crib
  • Replaced bed linens
  • Removed white dresser
  • Moved small dresser to closet
  • Got rid of snakes
  • New chair
  • Added another bookcase
  • Added another light
  • Organized walk in closet (7 bags of clothes donated, 3 bags thrown away)
  • Changed curtains (twice. They were an awful teal, then brown black out, now a light leafy pattern)

Left to do:

  • Cleaning (dusting, washing walls)
  • Touching up trim
  • Replace night stands
  • Remove bookcases
  • Clean up bedding for crib
  • Hang artwork
  • Hide the last bit of clutter on dresser and crib before showing
  • Steam clean carpet

UFYH – Basement Update

It’s been a busy and difficult couple of weeks. Liam seems to have developed a mystery rash which has been diagnosed as anything from hives, to chicken pox to some random viral reaction. I had a hard time with Melissa’s disappearance, death and her husband being charged with the crime. To deal, I’ve been trying to refocus on getting our house done and ready for market.

Here’s the basement update. Done since my last post:

  • Major dent in laundry
  • Installed bookshelves and moved DVD collection there
  • Put together coffee table
  • Put in area rug
  • Hung painting
  • Printed and Framed artwork for laundry room

Left to do:

  • Finish laundry
  • Clean laundry room top to bottom
  • Hang Laundry Room Art
  • Store remaining clutter
  • Post items on freecycle
  • Clear desks for showing

Unfucking My Habitat

The past few years have been tough. Anyone who has read my blog will know that. I won’t rehash everything again, but I will say that we hit another bump in the road a couple months ago.

Before Liam was born, we started a massive re-haul of the basement. We wanted more livable space. It ended up being quite the fiasco (water damage, mold, our contractors going out of business, the work being delayed by months, the work that was done failing).

basement3

Part-way through the renovations in 2012

After the renos in 2012, pre-flood

After the renos in 2012, pre-flood

A couple months ago, we had our windows and doors replaced. I then hired a contractor to paint our garage door to match out new doors. When they were cleaning up, I offered them the use of our back hose. 6 hours later, Pat came home and we discovered the pipe to that hose burst. The basement had been filling with water for 6 hours. Our new couch, our floors, the walls, soaked. Luckily the floor wasn’t level so our media center and computers were fine, but there was still massive damage.

The damage, after we tore out the floor and walls

The damage, after we tore out the floor and walls

We went through insurance and finally got it cleaned up and redone. While this process was starting, Pat and I had a sit down and decided that we were done with this crap. We were done with always wondering what was going to happen next. We were done feeling betrayed by this house and needed a fresh start. We’ve decided to list and move on.

What this means is that we have to, in a very short time, declutter, clean and decorate this place to make it sellable. All while house hunting and living with a very active toddler. It hasn’t been going well. So, I’ve been doing some reading.

I came across Unfuck Your Habitat and this great post on Decluttering. We are going to tackle this one room at a time, and to keep me motivated, I’m going to post our progress here. First up, we’ll be finishing the basement, seeing as how it’s been the project that doesn’t seem to want to end.

Done:

  • Couch replaced
  • Rug purchased
  • Floors replaced
  • Walls repaired and painted
  • Media Center reorganized
  • Storage built
  • Gone through all files and paperwork, shredded and tossed old stuff.

To Do:

  • Clean Laundry Room
  • Finish massive mounds of laundry
  • Frame free laundry art and hang
  • Hang painting
  • Clear out garbage
  • Final Repairs

Meanwhile, while I’m off doing all that, check out my friend Phil’s youtube series called “Out of the Doghouse“. He hasn’t updated in a while (3 years), but it’s a series that’s essentially about unfucking your life, starting with your habitat. That, and Phil is awesome. Go give him some love.