September 27, 2012


Our dry-stacked stone retaining wall is now complete!  
It was a bit of a long haul since Steve couldn't work with the stucco scaffolding in the way for most of August, but it's now done, and it looks awesome!
This is where we started at the end of July.

It is quite a process to build one of these walls.  Like a giant (and heavy!) 3D puzzle.
He doesn't use any saws or mortar.  Just a hammer that has a chisel-like end and the stones themselves.

The wall in this section is about 4 feet high and carries on up the slope next to the 8 stone slab stairs.

We didn't really have a definite plan for the shape of the wall when we started, although Steve did suggest this jog at the bottom from the beginning.

But the idea for the large landing between the first and second step from the top, sort of evolved as we went along.

We decided to put these flagstones in the landing which is what I had in mind for the backyard patio and the front entrance inside the house.

I totally love it.  
This second jog in the wall kind of happened when we decided on the flat area as well.  So much better than a long narrow walkway and straight set of stairs.
The next step is to face the cinder block foundation wall in a similar stone.  Should look great!

I love natural stone.

Even better, that most of the stone for this wall was reclaimed from the old foundation walls in the back of the house.
You can still see the old white paint from the basement interior on some of the stones.
Love that.

This was the foundation wall when it was coming out earlier this year.

And this was the old back of the house!  
We dug out about 3 feet of earth in the back to make room for the basement walk out.  That small stone wall in the right of the picture wasn't going to be enough.
So hard to believe it used to look like this!  

At the bottom end of the wall, we decided to just let the stone fall off into the ravine.  Almost as if it were an ancient castle ruin.  Perfectionists will probably cringe at this idea, but I think it's pretty cool.  I have always been fascinated by all the castle ruins in Scotland and Ireland and this kind of reminds me of that.  It also relates well to the way we want to finish the backyard space in general.  Landscaped at the top with a wild ravine at the bottom.

September 23, 2012

Selling our beloved house

We are getting closer to moving in to The Bennett house.  
Probably about 2 months away now.  So the time has come to sell the house we have been living in for the past nine and a half years.

It is a bit nerve wracking, selling a house!
  The agents expect the place to be immaculate and to minimize the appearance of children living in it.
I knew we had to "de-clutter" and "de-personalize", but I didn't expect to have to do so much of it.  
But I am loving the pared down space we now have.

Not that we'll ever be able to keep it this clean!
In fact, we've been living with my sister in Oakville for the past week while the showings and open houses were happening, just so that it could remain this clean.
But I honestly don't want all that stuff back that we put away in storage.

It will be really nice to start fresh in the new house and hopefully do one more purge before we move in.
I have tried to design the space with our lifestyle in mind, so that we will hopefully have a place for everything.  
If we don't, then it will have to go!
I think that is the key to getting rid of clutter-- having a place to easily put everything away.  

The kitchen can especially get over-run with stuff that is never used.
This one has been very efficient for us.  
Although, I did put quite a bit of thought into it when we renovated it, and got rid of a lot when we moved out of the old kitchen.
I hope it works out just as well for someone else.

The kids are a bit sad to leave this house.
Two of them were born here (yes, we're mad homebirthers) which they always remind me of.
As if I've forgotten!
It's very hard for them to imagine the Bennett house in a livable state.  
Kids don't have the same vision.

I'll miss this house, too.  
We did a lot of work on it, and have a lot of memories here.  
My husband and his cousin built this back deck on their own--the first big project he'd ever worked on.
It really is a great house, and someone will be very lucky to live here.
Possibly another young family like we were. 
Hopefully we'll know later this week.

September 16, 2012

Light boxes

Sorry for the lack of posts in the last while.  I am out of my mind, crazy busy right now!!  The house we have lived in for the past 9 years is going on the market tomorrow, and I have been full force de-cluttering and de-personalizing-- not to mention, repairing things, caulking, painting, patching etc.  
We really hoped to sell this house privately to a nice family without all the fuss and show and stress of putting it out there for a million people to bid on.  Unfortunately, that didn't work out for us through word of mouth, and we ended up having to hire an agent.  I just didn't have the time to try and make a go of it with Property Guys or some similar sell-it-yourself program.  
So, tomorrow is the big day, and we fully expect a couple of hundred people to go through it and likely multiple offers.  
Our street is in a great location and the house is renovated and ready for someone to just start living!

at The Bennett House, the dry walling is finished for the second and third floors and half done for the first floor.  Things are moving along quickly! 
If you remember, in August we pulled apart our old dock at the cottage and saved the old boards.  

We were always planning on making recessed light boxes on the main level to break up the vast white ceiling a bit, but originally thought we would make them out of plywood.  
After saving the old dock boards, we thought they might make pretty neat light boxes.  
But since I've been so busy with our house sale, I got my ever dependable dad to start making them so that they could be installed before the dry wall.  
He came through beautifully!

They turned out a little shorter than I originally wanted them (since the boards were only 3 feet long) and we had to do the base of them with painted white particle board (since we didn't have enough dock board for all 4 lights), but I still think they look pretty good!

There will be track lights installed inside them that will hang out slightly.

I'm not 100% sure about the white inside them yet, but I could easily paint them a different colour.  I considered black, but could do a bright colour like chartreuse!

The aluminum work is all done on the exterior now.  It looks great and really finishes it off.

I really should get a picture of the front.  The charcoal grey is almost a dead match to the windows. 

Our dry-stacked stone wall and stairs are almost done as well.  I should be able to reveal those later this week!

September 05, 2012

Starting the drywall

We had a major inspection approval given to us yesterday.  This one allows us to close up all the walls.  He double checked many of the structural elements that he already O.K.'d in previous inspections so it really took a long time.  But, everything was great.  Not one thing to fix.  Hooray!  The next inspection will be for occupancy.  
Kind of feels like we're nearing the end.

So, without any delay, we started dry-walling this morning.

They're starting on the third floor and working their way down.

I can't believe how much different the spaces look with walls up!  This nook is where our oldest daughter's bed will be.

The third floor is kind of finicky with all the angles and knee walls.  The other floors should go a little quicker.
Even so, I imagine it will still take a couple of weeks to get the whole house done completely.

This is the back of the house with the scaffolding down.  I still love the stucco colour!
The aluminum guys start the eaves, soffits and fascia tomorrow morning.  We decided on charcoal grey to match the windows.

This is the basement T.V. room.  I decided to add some Roxul Safe and Sound insulation in the ceiling to hopefully dampen some of the future T.V. noise from carrying upstairs.

The same in the utility room-- mostly for the central vacuum which I've heard can be very loud.

I'm ordering all our kitchen appliances tomorrow or the next day.  
This is the fun stuff!