Thursday, 13 July 2017

A Work in Progress


Hello again friends! I can't believe how long it's been since my last post! A LOT has gone on since but not necessarily regarding the restoration of the farmhouse. A couple major things have gone on in our lives. Mostly mine. One of them being that I had surgery in May after many years of illness and I am working towards regaining my health. I am happy to say that I don't feel like I am dying anymore! There has been many improvements but I could take a couple years to get better. I completely stopped doing things around here. I had to! The whole sale & move from our previous farmhouse, living in a cramped temporary rental while working on severance & purchase of this property and working on it to get it ready to move in just about did me in!! Being a large family is work enough! And doing all the legal aspects of it mostly by myself was beyond draining! NOW MOVING FORWARD!!
My husband works continental shifts, overtime and is Captain for our local Fire & Rescue. Unfortunately he doesn't have much time off so between the two of us not much has been done here in the last several months. So between the 2 of us it's hard to get stuff done!!!
One major thing that happened was MY KITCHEN SINK IS FINALLY HOOKED UP!
 Yes it's a big deal considering dishes were being done in a big tub on the dining room table! I was telling a friend of mine about this she couldn't believe it because they did the exact same thing during their renovations. It was not a fond memory of hers and I can understand why! Another couple I know that had been living in their historic home while under restoration, had to connect wires together to turn their furnace on and then disconnect them to shut it off or it would run non stop and get really hot. They also said they used extension cords everywhere for the longest time. We ARE running extension cords around because of the lack of outlets. The electrical had been upgraded at one time but they didn't add the amount of outlets THIS family needs! I'm also glad to say we don't have to connect wires anywhere. Early on I heard about a Union Gas rebate program so I made sure to sign up. Any changes we made had to fit into certain guidelines and we had to have energy audits done. One before & one after changes. We added a new KEEPRITE high efficiency furnace and natural fill blown in attic insulation. We spent a total of $4000.* and received a $1500. rebate! It really does pay to check into any programs being offered.  (*we got quotes for new furnace & install that were double the price of what we ended up paying. Always check around for best pricing AND look for someone who works for bigger companies and can install on the side like we did. we saved on labor)

Anyways! BACK TO MY SINK! I mentioned in a previous post about where I got my inspiration for my sink and faucet. I must say that the results have been pretty much what I had hoped for and envisioned.

Back in 2006 when designing my kitchen for our previous farmhouse I chose the FRANKE white fire clay apron front sink from Villeroy & Boch.  For this farmhouse I chose classic Barroca soapstone! I also chose to keep it unoiled. When soapstone isn't oiled it ages and darkens unevenly because of oils and greasy water. It gets nicks and scratches. I believe this aging process adds character. Patina. Which I wanted for my rustic farmhouse. Now if I see an area that has gotten too dark from some oil or greasy dish water I can sand it lightly and it's gone! So I can control it! I love my soapstone sink!!
My husband had to build a boxed area in front of the window to house the plumbing. It was a slight change from what was there before. The faucet style really changes the look. The top ledge is just a temporary board for now until my hubs can cut a new one. It has to fit tightly against the design of the trim so it requires multiple cuts. Hopefully he can get that done soon but for now it's certainly not stopping me from enjoying my sink!






I had originally planned on purchasing a different style brushed nickle drain plug that cost $200. UNTIL I FOUND THIS ONE! I just love this brushed stainless with it's 2" drain basket. It's unique & pretty. Considering the fact that this was ONLY $13. at our local Home Hardware I think I made a wise choice!  




I also purchased 2 different style sets of handles for the faucet. Call me crazy! but I loved them both and enjoy changing things up a bit around the house. Maybe it will make doing dishes more fun? Maybe?

I love the ledge for fresh potted herbs and my ironstone pitchers.
Here is what it looks like right now opposite the sink. The fridge is to the left of the stove. (notice extension cords hanging?!) I am working hard to figure out storage options for every area of the house because back in the day when this house was built they were just a heck of a lot smarter than we were! They didn't have a lot of STUFF so they didn't need a lot of storage space. They had what they needed and not much more. Their dressers and hutches usually housed all that they had. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My 'rustic farmhouse wares' studio/office. This room now looks like a tornado ripped through it! I have sewing supplies EVERYWHERE! it's terrible actually! I am slowly getting back into smaller jobs around here and back at the sewing machines creating my 'wares'.

 As a family we are working towards opening up a shop from our home where the kids are very much involved. We are in a high traffic zone for tourists & cottagers so a weekend here & there would be great! Just put out a sign! I am working on a design for a sign now. We just need to get a few more things done before I can open my doors, but our farmhouse is the perfect backdrop! More on that later! I most recently closed my etsy shop, but I will continue with direct paypal sales which isn't much different and customers have always been happy. As long as you have a paypal account I can send you an invoice. I am also now set up for etransfers. I really appreciate your business and of course your patience! 
 They say never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it, the time will pass anyway. So that is what I've been doing! Many road blocks and detours but I'm not giving up!



and YES I also stock the beautiful Savon de Marseille french block soaps!


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OK Back to the house!! I have been lightening up more & more over the last several years and for this house I am focusing on a more pale neutral-grey palette. I have a couple tables with green bases that stick out like a sore thumb! I also painted over my really pinterest-popular green cupboard. (photo below) I continue to love pops of color around my home like bringing warmer colors in for fall but I still have a real hard time with red at Christmas time. bahumbug! I quickly get tired of color so I can only have it in small doses. All of these smaller items can be whisked away.

Back in 1999 I got my first off-white one piece tuck in couch cover. Then in 2001 I purchased Ektorp sofa and loveseat from IKEA with white fitted slipcovers and I have continued to have white since! I have also made a white linen slip for an arm chair. Some people are so scared of white but if you really want it you can have it! Just throw it in your washing machine with a little oxi clean & there you go!
  I love antique grainsacks & textiles and the many things you can make with them. If it's warn out, cracked, chipped, patched and overall looks like its been around for a while then that's a good thing! A pale backdrop really helps to show off these smaller items too.

  Living in my 1863 farmhouse is like a therapeutic walk in the woods. Just like the magic whispers of old trees, my home also whispers to me. I love surrounding myself with antiques. There is something so comforting about things that have been around for a long time. They have many wise things to whisper. You just have to listen closely.









I feel very content in my new farmhouse. I finally feel HOME. We lived for almost 10 years at our previous house and it never really felt like HOME for me. I tried so hard to infuse a certain look, a certain vibe into it but it wasn't working. I used to tell my husband that I couldn't "FEEL IT". I didn't connect to it. It's a house! Are you supposed to feel connected to a house? Seems strange but I really feel I was meant to live in a really old home.  Everywhere I look here it's OLD! the doors, the trim, the floors, windows with wavy glass, cracked plaster walls, I could go on. It shows it's age. Now my furniture and belongings also look right at home. And most importantly, I can FEEL it.






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 This back section of the house is the old attached carriage house/drive shed and the summer kitchen where the door is. The brick is in very poor condition so we will be putting wood siding on.  There is a area to the left where we will be putting our patio with pergola. This is an older photo, but our garden will be right back here. I will be able to walk straight through from my kitchen into the old summer kitchen then straight out to my garden. We plan to have an extra stove in the summer kitchen and use it for canned goods and pantry storage as well. It will be nice to have another little extension of the kitchen to decorate!

 This area right here is where we will have the patio. There is a natural gas line right in this corner for a bbq. Once we have the patio area outlined I can work on flowerbeds.






So this is the side view. The dining room and kitchen windows are shown here. The dining window (left) will be replaced with a french style door with transom window leading out to the patio in this section. I want to keep the brickwork as is except for removing the bricks that are underneath the window. I don't want to widen it. Removing the window will be a fairly big job because we're dealing with brick. We're looking into old or wooden door options in keeping with original style. We will more than likely have flagstone type patio floor to tie in with the stone foundation.

So the hubs rototilled the garden for me BUT our new pup loves the dirt way too much! She runs like a maniac through the garden! We figured that if we didn't have a fence around it yet there was no point planting anything it would get destroyed!
Just like at our previous farmhouse we want a garden, fire pit & cute shed. And quite possibly some more chickens.

We really enjoyed our backyard and we would love to create the same feeling here but it will be even better!

This photo was taken by ROBIN STUBBERT for Country Sampler's PRAIRIE STYLE magazine for late summer 2016. We had a great time doing this shoot. It was featured in DOWN ON THE FARM story and I was named as contributing stylist so that was awesome! I've been in contact with an editor and she would love to feature our new home when ready! Lots of fun!

The very back wall is wood for some reason. Either brick was taken off, fell off or there may have been another extension? Either way we are going to use this wood to build our little shed. Speaking of sheds!! Now I must say I see many inspiring photos every day but when I saw these photos, my heart skipped a beat! The next 3 photos belong to a sweetheart of a gal who loves to surround herself with the beauty of simple things. She truly has a primitive heart and inspires me so much!  Her name is Tammy and you can follow her here on instagram
This is just dreamy. The shed, the window, the hanging linens. Be still my heart.You're amazing Tammy!

I knew that this style shed was going to look great behind our 1863 farmhouse. Whether we use it for chickens or just a garden shed. I want it to be very close or attached to the fencing of the garden. I can hang all my galvanized buckets up and maybe lean my big zinc tub sink along one side. And if I'm feeling particularly energetic I may even hang some things on a clothes line! ;)

This is PERFECTION! Reminiscent of days gone by. In this fast paced techno world that sometimes seems to be so out of control, filling the land with plastic garbage ....how could you not yearn for the good old days when life was simpler? I mean we all have to keep up with technology and we know we could be less wasteful. but any chance I get I will be trying to create my own little world over here. A Simple Life. 

This is a photo I took of my daughter in a garden of someone we know. I just love how they used picket fencing and the corn stalks! Simple and beautiful! So this is my garden inspiration!
We are quite fortunate in that we are allowed access to all the farmland & bush area in which are house was severed from. It's great for tranquil therapeutic nature walks & even fun quad rides! There is a beautiful turquoise pond back there surrounded by bush. It's a chilly spring fed pond but the kids can still swim!


We have great views on all sides.

This is the very back view. Here you can see deer crossing the field. In the evenings when the sun is setting there is always such a lovely glow. Love it!
Ok. So. I had mentioned a couple major things had gone on since my last post. My surgery being one, and this is the other. MY beloved Jerz girl was hit by a car March 26 and had to be put down. I was there. I heard her get hit. Luckily didn't see it because it's enough that the sound replays in my head. But Jerz was MY companion. We were home together most of the time. She loved me fiercely! And I miss that the most. I had never in my life been attached to a pet until her. In my head I knew that I would be ok to be left home alone after surgery because she would be there with me. She was to be my therapy dog. What was I going to do now? Life suddenly changed just before I was having surgery?! It just wasn't fair. The older you get the more you realize how unfair life can be! For the first time in my life I had true grief. I was fine one minute and fell apart the next. I walked around aimlessly sobbing and with strange howling noises coming out of me.  
Not ONLY did we lose our Jerz but 2 other pets 6 months previous. If you have pets you may know that sometimes they will imprint onto one particular family member. Mickey was really my eldest daughters dog and Hello Kitty was our youngest daughters white persian. Each loss was hard but Jerz had a huge impact on all of us.
Our home became SILENT when she passed. A deafening silence. We hardly spoke to eachother the first few days, we couldn't we were ALL heart broken. To see my eldest sons face go WHITE when he found out she got hit, to see my husband cry his eyes out later that night. To see the whole family get turned upside down was heart wrenching. I think a Mom can really feel the pain of her family Plus my own pain was immeasurable. Our routines were broken. The kids weren't attacked with kisses when they came home from school. UGH We were a family with much more love to give so I decided we should get a new pup asap.

So meet Everleigh Raine. We call her Ever for short. We brought her home April 18 when she was almost 7 weeks old.
She is already getting so big!


She already has her favorite spot. THE COUCH! Just like Jerz!

I almost forgot how much work fun it was to have a puppy!!

She shredded more toilet paper rolls than I could count! Just like when you have a toddler and you have to child proof everything we have to Ever-proof everything!


And just like children are their most precious when they're sleeping...so is she! ;)

It's a nice feeling to know that you have a pet at home that loves you and is so excited to greet you when you get home. So for the next while we will be developing our relationships with our little Ever while mending physically and emotionally. And of course trying to get more things done around the farmhouse. I hope that my next post will include some full room photos!!  Until then, take care! ~mel
 In loving memory of my Jerz
Add caption
Pawprints Left By You

You no longer greet me
as i walk through the door
You're not there to make me smile
to make me laugh anymore 
Life seems quiet without you
You were far more than a pet
You were a family member a friend
a loving soul I'll never forget
It will take time to heal
For the silence to go away
I still listen for you
and miss you every day
You were such a great companion 
Constant, loyal, true
My heart will always wear
the pawprints left by you. 

7 comments:

  1. So sorry for the loss of your fur baby. I totally understand. My dog, Dale Boy, is an old soul and gets me. He has cancer and I will soon lose him. They sure tug on our hearts, don't they?

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  2. Love your new home, and I am crying like a baby.

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  3. Oh my gosh I love your farmhouse and I love your style! Our tastes are aligned totally and I've enjoyed reading about your journey. Best wishes and good thoughts for good health and happiness. I would so appreciate it if you could link up this incredible post to our Vintage Charm Party #91 here: http://bit.ly/2upczMW
    xo Kathleen|Our Hopeful Home

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  4. Melanie, how on earth is it possible to manage ALL this??? I guess, it is because you love, what you do, family alone would keep me so busy... And not only, that you manage, most of the time no husband around, no, your dedication works out so ... wow! I mean... style an perfection, authentic (does this word exist? Here we call it that way if something works with historic old buildings) AND you must have a wand, because you turned everything in a treasure box.
    It is down to earth AND luxury (PURE luxury in oner), it lookes like millions of dollars, ah, proceless and then to see the lucky living in this surrounding.
    So many impressions, I will visit this post again and again (SO LOOOONG, oi), not to miss a detail.
    Thank you for sharing this to the world, this will give sparks to the right direction :)) of living.
    Hugs from Méa out of Germany, be blessed :) and take care

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  5. Thanks for all the charming photos! Your style is my favorite farmhouse style. SO sorry for your heartbreaking loss; but so thrilled you have a new baby to love. I think the best way to honor Jerz is by providing another dog a loving home. I relate to the pain you & your family feels from Jerz's loss. One of my 1st cats died from kidney disease on his 21st birthday. I had him since he was a homeless kitten. He was my best friend, my baby, my confidant, everything. I thought I would die from my broken heart, I missed him 24/7. Get well soon too! Keep us posted.

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  6. I lost my beautiful girl Mango to nasal cancer almost a year ago. I still feel as though it were yesterday. Iv e never felt grief so totally overwhelming. Your post struck a chord. And we're in the process of buying an old home & renovating. Good luck with your recovery & your new puppy.

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  7. Wow Mel, you have had an awful lot going on in your life. I hope you heal quickly and your heart also, I can't imagine losing a pet in that way. Your new puppy is adorable. Your house looks wonderful so far, I can't wait to see photo as things are accomplished. What a great idea to have the store right in your house. If I loved nearby I would definitely be dropping in. I hope it all goes well when everything is set up.

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