July 31, 2012

Green with Envy

The weather was fabulous this past weekend. D and I were outdoors for most of  it, camping in Fort Langley, relaxing at Cultas Lake and walking around our current neighbourhood in the evenings. Since we bought the bungalow we are finding ourselves taking note and becoming more and more envious of other people's yards.  We now seem pay attention to different types of flower beds, fence styles and house colour schemes. Gah, that last sentence makes me feel really old! We can't wait to start getting our hands dirty (pun intended) on the outside of 9808.

In it's current state the outside space at the bungalow is definitely green....but grossly overgrown, neglected, and just plain miserable looking. 

The worst of the mess is luckily hidden behind the house. The junk pile below, we believe used to be some type of carport. I'm assuming the owners tore it down with plans to possibly build something new and just didn't get around to doing any more work. Right now it's kind of a guessing game as to whether all of the garbage and junk will be cleared out before possession day. Our realtor thinks we shouldn't hold our breaths and to plan on renting a dumpster along with our moving truck. We will have to wait and see... 

That random appliance in the photo below is a weird sink/fridge/hotplate unit. Never seen one before and don't plan on keeping it. Maybe it will go on Craigslist if it's still there when we move in.

Saying that though....the current owners did offer to remove the six still standing steel posts for us. We are assuming  they only want to do this supposed kind act so they can sell them for extra cash. The last time we drove by they were still there, so again we will have to wait on see what is left behind and what's not. The less we have to haul away the better.

One of the first things we need to do on arrival to our new abode is build a garage. If you squint your eyes and use your imagination you can picture a fancy new double garage in this spot.

I was debating posting these outdoor before pics because the place is such a mess but having really bad before photos will make ANYTHING we do a ginormous improvement!

We plan to tackle the yard and outside space in phases:
  1. General yard clean up and garbage removal. Basically clean out all of the left behind junk and de-weed around the house.
  2. Remove chain link fence. As I mentioned here, we don't have any animals that need to be contained within our yard so the horrid fence needs to go.
  3. Build garage. In order to do this we need to move the shed over and re-cement the current slab to make it bigger. As we will already be paying for the cement load fee we are also hoping to pour a small patio next to the garage on the left side of the house.
  4. Transplant hydrangea bush.  Thinking of putting it somewhere along the left side of the property. I need to find out when the best time of the year is to disturb it from it's current resting place first.
  5. Spruce up flowers beds along front of  house. 
  6. Freshen up front porch. 
  7. Plant a Japanese Maple. Again hopefully along the left side of the yard.
  8. Fence or hedge along  front. We eventually need to dig out or bury the stumps that are left over from the old hedging, but right now they don't really bother me. 
  9. Repaint house. Planning for summer of 2013.
  10. Redo deck. Definitely in the long term plans.
There is a ton of  more work that needs to be done eventually to the outside, but right now a list of ten projects, some big some not as big, seems plenty enough to get started!

July 27, 2012

Fab Freebies ~ Macrame Owls!

What is better than free?....NOTHING that's what!! Especially when it's something you have been scouring the thrift stores in search of for quite some time. Actually I would have to say gifted items definitely trump free items.

Last weekend D and I stopped in at his parents house to pick up some camping gear for my upcoming mini family reunion. We scored some rad retro camping goodies, but more about those later.

Whilst we were in the garage inspecting the items we had come to pick up, I spotted this super adorable (perfect) macrame owl hanging from the ceiling. I actually think I may have let out a little quiet squeal of delight and then proceeded to say "oooh look at that macrame owl" to anyone that happened to be listening.

This one seems quite curious.

If I wasn't excited enough about the one owl, it turned out there was another almost identical owl behind the first! D's Dad took them down from their perch and said we could take them both home. Two for the price of umm...FREE! It also turns out they were made by D's Grandma which makes them even more special. The best type of vintage are items that have been kept in the family and come with a story.

This one is a little bit nosier ;)

I have already reserved some prime wall real estate at 9808 for these cuties. One in our bedroom and the other in the dining room.

In looking for a generic photo of a macrame owl on the internet, I came across this hilariously AWESOME website created by an organization dedicated to saving, rehabilitating and reviving the Macrame Owl. According to the Varieties page our two are Typicus Macramé Owls. According to the site these guys are down to earth, modest, hard working, altruistic and loyal.

Macramé Owl Welfare Rescue Operations Nurse (MOWRON) Greg teaches Apprentice MOWRON Ciaran the fine art of Macramé Owl handling in the wild.
Sadly, Macramé Owls are still being hunted for their jute.

Greg demonstrates macramé handling techniques for a quarantined Macramé Owl, while Horace looks on.

Fun Facts from the website:
Owl Symbolism in Feng Shui
Buddhists believe the owl to be an independent seeker of truth that is familiar with meditation. Ancient cultures believed the owl offered protection against evil spirits and ill health. Owl figures increase the Yang in the environment – the positive and masculine chi energies.

Why the Macramé Owl is an Ideal Feng Shui Cure 

Not only is owl symbolism incredibly powerful; the materials used to create a Macramé Owl are also feng shui friendly. Natural materials (such as hemp and driftwood) can be incorporated to add more positive and balancing feng shui elements. The hanging structure of the Macramé Owl allows it to sway in the breeze, causing chi energy to flow.

And last but not least I'll leave you with this touching poem......

Plight of the Macramé Owl
by Annie Zalezsak © 30 July 2009
O, macramé owl
sitting on a dowel
do you ever fear
that your time is near?
It must be so hard
when you they discard.
Please don’t throw away
my little owl macramé.

Check it out more fun owly features over at Macrameowl.com!

July 19, 2012

Stairway To Heaven

Well it's more like stairway to dormer window, but once we make it into a cosy reading nook complete with a window seat and comfy cushions, it will be the most heavenly place in the house. For me at least!

Disclaimer: These photos, actually all of the before shots, I know aren't of the greatest quality. I quickly ran around snapping photos with my cell phone during the home inspection whilst trying to stay out of the Inspector's way. I promise once we get ourselves in, all following photos will be taken with a proper camera! At least these give you a (dark and blurry) idea for now.

The staircase is what sold me on the house. It was love at first sight. I love the original wood steps and proof of the wear and tear they have seen over the years. I also like how they are open and directly in the center of the main floor. They act as a grand focal point with the main living space surrounding them.

The previous owners have used the landing at the top of stairs as a storage area, aka another place to pile stuff/junk as well as a place for the cats to sit and look out the window.

The landing even comes with a built in bookcase which makes me think it was destined to become a relaxing reading nook. Note: the construction of this bookcase reflects how everything else has been slapped together after the fact by previous home owners. A perfect example is the bedroom to the right that you can see a glimse of. D and I can't wait to tear out all of the wood paneling, stained styrofoam tiling and general flimsiness around the house.

July 16, 2012

Beware Of The Killer Cats?

One week before we lifted our subjects the current owners received a letter from the City of Chilliwack stating that the privacy hedge on the two corner sides of the property needed to be removed. According to them it was over the property line and impeding visibility to vehicles turning the corner.  We were not happy campers about this at all but at least it happened before we were the ones responsible for the work and footing the bill. We had plans to trim the hedges down to a respectable height to tidy them up and let more light into the house, but we never intended to rip them out completely. As we are on a corner lot, the driveway runs up the length of the back side of the house, making our front and side yards in theory our backyard. After another look by the City inspectors it was decided that only the hedging along the front of the property would need to be removed. The neighbours to the left of us had previously removed the privacy hedging that was once between the two properties, so when all was said and done, we are now left with one lone hedge along the right side of the house. I must say it is better than nothing I suppose. The deck is on that side so it works out well for giving us a small amount of privacy when we are outside.  

Below is the before view of  part of the yard looking out from the deck. Not pretty but mostly enclosed and private. Unclear of the reasoning behind the random fence panel though.....

Now that the hedge is gone from our lives forever, we are left with a “lovely” (please note the sarcasm) chain link fence bordering the entire property. The fence was somehow buried in the middle of the hedging. I’m assuming it was installed at the same time as the hedges many years ago and over time became engulfed by the fifteen foot old growth. This leads us to believe there must have been a dog of some kind living in the house at one point that needed to be contained in the yard.
So because we don’t have a dog, we have two harmless cats (though others may have a different opinion) and the fence is an eyesore in my mind, ripping out the chain link just leapt to the No. 1 spot of our to do list!
Also note again the random fence panel in replacement of a section of the chain link. At least it was dressed up (or camouflaged perhaps) by a gorgeous and also random hydrangea bush. I am hoping I can transplant the bush to another part of the yard when we rip out the fence.

The weather was wet, dark and gloomy this past Sunday, so D and I ended up bypassing our day at the lake and drove out to the house to take another look at where our wonderful privacy hedge once stood. The first time we drove by, right after the hedge had been cut down, I was in complete shock and almost cried. This time around the property didn’t look as terrible. In fact, I was super excited to spot some new fence panels leaning against the neighbour’s house (see right side of the photo above). We are crossing our fingers that they are planning on purchasing a few more panels and putting up a new fence in between our two properties! We were going to do this ourselves but definitely much later on down the line (possibly at No. 354 on our ever growing house reno list). Oh geez……let’s hope the fencing gods shine down on us for this one.

July 9, 2012

I Love The Smell Of Gas In The Morning

When my sister and I were growing up in Britain we would spend the weekend every now and then at our Nan and Grandad's house. Nan would make us morning cups of tea along with breakfast on her gas stove. I remember her shooing us out of the kitchen and making us watch from the doorway when the elements were lit. The smell of a gas stove takes me right back to those childhood times. Nan would also have our clothes ready for the day laid out in front of the living room fireplace. Unfortunately this house doesn't come with a fireplace (which I am a little mopey about) but it does come with its own gas stove....

 In fact, it still has the Tappan range original to the house!!

The current owners have assured us the stove is in good working order. Actually, the first day we went to view the house there were a batch of freshly made muffins sitting on the counter, so we know the oven works at least. Of course as soon as we got home I jumped online to see what I could find out about Tappan ranges. I found quite a few reviews from lucky Tappan owners stating they are the best ovens they had ever used! I'm looking forward to figuring out how this vintage beauty works, getting her cleaned up and doing some baking myself, if and when I get a break from everything else that needs to be done around the house.

Below is a brief history of the Tappan Stove Company taken from here :

In the world of stoves, Tappan is one of the market's oldest manufacturers. Over the years, the company has taken many names; originally known as Valley Foundry Company in 1881, and in 1889 as the Eclipse Stove Company, the company later became the Tappan Stove Company, or more simply, Tappan. Today, Tappan is part of the Electrolux family of appliances and specializes in heating and cooling products rather than home cooking products.

A lot has changed since the early days of the company when founder W.J. (Bill) Tappan sold his stoves door to door in Bellaire, Ohio using horse drawn wagons to call on customers. Despite its move away from stoves and ovens, Tappan is credited with changing the shape of home cooking appliances in the following ways:
  • 1920s: Tappan produced the first all porcelain range
  • 1955: Tappan introduced the first microwave oven for home use
  • 1960s: Tappan invented the first electric ignition for gas ranges
  • 1965: The first single-unit conventional oven and microwave oven combination unit


July 3, 2012

I Now Pronounce You Man, Women and House!

We did it! D and I finally bought our very own fixer upper! And boy is it ever a fixer upper....

Our new to us, little dream pad is a 1945 (or so we have been told....this may change once I have had a chance to visit the local archives) 1 1/2 story bungalow with a full unfinished basement that needs a ton of tender loving care. We are raring to jump feet first into this 2300 sq. /ft. renolicious beauty!

Below are a few photos from the MLS listing. The photographer was able to catch the house in some pretty good light and of course only took photos of the rooms that weren't piled with junk.

We don't get possession for another 2 months, so in the meantime we are using the time to devise our plan of attack and visualize the finished product. First items on the list are building a garage and updating the wiring throughout the house which we hope to complete in the 1 month overlap period whilst we are still in our rental.

In the time between getting the house inspected and lifting our subjects, the current owners completed some of the work that needed to be done. The sill plate along the front of the house was rotting away, so they hired a contractor to replace all of the rotten wood and install new cedar siding to match the original siding around the rest of the house. In doing this work all of the bushes and shrubs were taken out from along the front. To be honest it makes the front of the property look a lot neater and not so overgrown. That being said, the lawn is now screaming to be mowed!

If you look closely at the dormer window in the second photo above, you might be able to tell that the flashing had been installed incorrectly when the current owners had the roof replaced about 7 years ago. The flashing was placed over top of the stucco siding and not underneath, as it is meant to be. To our pleasant surprise the owners had this rectified for us as well, along with re-chalking the basement windows.

So for now, we are playing the waiting game, but once we get the keys we will post a lot more before photos for your viewing pleasure! But be sure to check back as there will be more posts regarding house related topics, the joys of packing and other life goodies to keep you entertained until the big day arrives!