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There hasn’t been a real British Columbia rain day in the 23 days since we’ve moved in, that is, until today. Today is one of those perfect rain days – you wake up to rain, you hang out with the rain, you eat with the rain, you go to sleep with the rain… You can adventure in the wild on this rain day, or you can cuddle up with a cuppa on the sofa and watch cartoon after cartoon with the kidlets, who are still in their pajamas…

We’ve been settling in at our place, even if there are many, many, many things that are still on our list of things to do. It’s comfortable enough to live in, and things are definitely coming together, no matter how slowly they take! I took a few pictures of our upstairs yesterday that I thought I’d share with you.

These pictures aren’t ‘styled’, and are not in any form a perfect state of interior design at all – but it’s how we’re living right now, and you can easily see the checklist of things-to-do!

our-kitchenOur kitchen, my beloved kitchen! It’s almost perfect in how I envisioned it, but there are still a few things to get done: third cabinet needs to be installed, the white box under the end of the island will be wrapped in stainless steel, extra chairs are needed, some task lighting needs to be added…  View Post

Read Parts 1, 2, & 3 here!

This post has been a long time coming! After what seemed like months of nothing happening to the house, I finally get to show you some actual changes! For the last few months a lot of what I like to call the “behind-the-scenes” stuff has been happening – you know, the plumbing, the electrical, drywall mudding/taping and painting, exterior finishes – the stuff that makes a house, however showing pictures of pipes and electrical wire is not too exciting for a blog post…

Britannia Beach House
Britannia Beach House
You can see that brick is now finished, although that nightmare deserves a blog post of its’ own in the future, and the metal cladding is all done except for a couple of fascia pieces and the metal capping (the top part of the roof line). Let’s go inside…  View Post

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Before we had a chance to install the windows at the back of the house, a crazier than usual rain and wind storm knocked down a tree into our backyard…

Thankfully, nothing was damaged, but it definitely gave us a fright! Especially when checking in with the workers that morning and getting a run down of what’s to happen that day, and he slyly drops a “Oh yeah, a tree fell on your house last night.”

Thanks for the heart attack!

Read Part 1 & Part 2 Here!

As the construction on our dream home starts coming to a close, I’m getting more and more excited! I cannot wait to move in – building a house is a lengthy and stressful process. From the financial side to managing the workers and the supplies – it’s a huge headache.

Jay was our own Builder, he was in charge of the project from the very beginning – he designed it, he worked with the architect to create the plans, he hires all the trades, he orders the materials, he oversees every last bit of this project – I think when we’re done we’ll need a LONG vacation!

01I thought I was really excited when the roof was put on the house, however what really excited me was the STAIRS! When the stairs were put in, and we no longer had to access the upper floor from the outside – it really started to feel like a proper building!

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Our son’s bedroom is to the left of the stairs, the Master is to the right.

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Another view of the stairs, here you can see all the spray foam insulation used in the walls

I think I took about 100 photos of the stairs from all different angles. I was that excited about them! View Post

Read Part 1 and Part 3

An exciting moment during building our dream home was when the roof was put on. Suddenly it went from a concrete and steel foundation into a structure, a structure that will become a home – OUR HOME! Now I’ll be the first to admit that construction bores me… I mean, I want it to be finished so I can put all the finishing touches on it!

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It still doesn’t quite look like a home yet.

We went with a material called Q-Deck for the ceilings, which was later painted white on the inside, to give our ceilings a cool industrial feel. Q-Deck is a metal cladding that’s great for insulation and pouring concrete on top of, and also as a waterproof base for our roofing material.

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In the summer of 2009, my husband Jay convinced me to pack up our belongings, our daughter, and our lives, and move from Toronto to Vancouver. It took a lot of convincing on his part to get this to happen – I was totally against moving to the West Coast – I was a ‘City Girl’. Toronto was a happening place – amazing restaurants, shopping, nightlife – and only a short plane ride away from New York City! This was supposed to be our life, not some hippie granola-munching yoga-pants-wearing sloooow lifestyle that I’d heard happened out in Vancouver.  But I digress, he convinced me, and in October of 2009 I found myself in Vancouver. And thereafter fell deeply, madly, in love with it.

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The fresh air, the mountains, the ocean, it was intensely beautiful. Overgrown trees, beautiful flowers, and even palm trees were seen on a daily basis. The weather was so gorgeous (when it wasn’t raining!), and I even welcomed the rain into my life by trading in my Tory Burch pony-hair flats for a bright red pair of Hunter rain boots.

We quickly discovered that the only real draw-back to moving from Toronto to Vancouver would be the real estate market. The cost of living is a little more expensive here, but the real estate can double or triple in price depending on the area. It was a bit shocking to us, considering we had just sold a place in Toronto and were hoping to put a down payment on a home out here. C’est impossible!

What we wanted and what we could afford were quite different realities, and anything we could afford would either need a total renovation or wasn’t in the right location. Jay always had dreams of building his own house, he is not one that’s happy with a builder’s finishings, he likes to make things custom to his own designs, which leads to the problem of ‘settling’ for a home that wasn’t quite what we wanted and was out of our price range anyway.

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Then one day, sometime in 2010, Jay comes home and tells me about a ‘building lot’. I listened to what he had to say, but I hesitated to agree with him. We had purchased a lot back in Ontario and lost our deposit on it after realising that the project was too far out of our reach to complete. Building a home sounds like a wonderful dream come true, but when faced with a steep, tree-filled landscape (that is 40 minutes away from Vancouver, in the middle of nowhere) you really have no idea where to begin! And I need to see things before I can understand them, whereas Jay is a visionary and gets frustrated when others can’t see what he sees (in his head, mind you….). View Post

Living Room

With three weeks left in this house, I keep stealing glances at my surroundings and thinking of the memories that happened there. The cuddles on the sofa, Holland’s first steps in the living room, the playtime in the bathtub, the hours in the sun playing on the deck in the backyard.

Although this place was a rental, I still attempted to make it feel like home as much as possible. I wanted my children to grow up in a “temporary” house that felt like our own. We didn’t paint or spend too much money on the interiors – Jay, the practical one in our relationship, didn’t want to invest in a place that we didn’t own. I agree with him, but I still feel that you can add your own personal taste into a space without compromising budget or making it a permanent change.

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