The best laid plans….

Well when I started this website I had wonderful plans of posting the whole renovation process with lots of juicy DIY photos and before and afters.  But, as sometimes happens, life got in the way.  Paul has been suffering from a bad skin condition that started last October and slowly progressed to an insufferable itch over 90% of his body.  He was very ill and was hospitalised in May and went through many, MANY tests.  They were concerned it was an incurable and deadly lymphoma and my world tilted so quickly that I found it impossible to make decisions about paint colours etc when I could be losing him! After just over a week in the hospital they managed to get his skin a little bit better and released him but he was still suffering.  A long story short, it’s not cancer, they still don’t know what is causing his condition (possible autoimmune disease) but he is on medication that is masking the itch and is feeling worlds better! We are still hoping that they will be able to diagnose him and treat it, but for now we are just happy that he feels better.  We also had some other commitments that took a lot of our time in the spring so we were unable to work as quickly on the house as we would have liked.

BUT NOW!!!! 🙂

It’s ready! Well, half of it is ready and listed on Airbnb!

Fiddler’s Den Cabin Master Bedroom

I’ll post more when I get a chance (I still want to do those before and afters), but check it out! If you scroll back to my previous posts you will get a sense of how far it has come.


The Doors

I was gazing at the beautiful pine ceiling on the new side of the house and suddenly I realised that when you enter the house you should be able to see the whole sweep of the boards, down the hall out into the living room. The satisfaction of this view was blocked by a doorway that had no good reason for being in existence. There was no door in it, why was it there? It was a bit like the Soul-less Kitchen wall, which also had no function, not to mention a matching doorway to this one. Suddenly I was an Unhappy Girl, possessed with a hatred for this superfluous doorway that was blocking the light that could come into the hallway.  Want to see it?

The offending doorway (and obligatory photo of Louis)

Now see, wouldn’t it be nice if you could see a lot more of the pink wall? (That photo was taken before the ceiling was planked)

Our friend Yvon came to visit on the weekend and we were walking through the house. I showed him the doorway and he said, well, lets get rid of it. Luckily for me Yvon is experienced in renovations, works sometimes on a construction crew, and enjoys ripping things down as much as I do.  He’s already been through the renovation of his own house and also opened up some unnecessary walls and doorways, so he was in agreement that it should go. It was time to Break on Through!

So that’s what we did.  By we, I actually mean he, I was very busy pulling out carpet underlay staples from the floor. By the end of the day I’d Been Down So Long on the floor pulling staples that my legs were cramped.  But I did some crucial helping on the project. I think I did pass him over a hammer once. And offered creative direction, and that’s what probably made everything look so good. Yup, Five to One odds!

Ok, enough talking, I’ll let the photos fill in the rest, starting with a photo of The Doors that were.

Much better, right? It really Lights My Fire! I guess not everyone would like it, but then, some People are Strange.

Ps: No load bearing walls were harmed in this deconstruction




Planking on the ceiling!

The ceilings that came with Highland View House when we bought it were not my favourite thing. Like, I HATED them.  This was us looking at the house, Paul was excited and I was too (except for the ceilings):  Look at the old doors! (yeah, and look at those ceilings), oh wow, log walls! (but the CEILINGS!!), an old-fashioned tub in the bathroom (where someone could impale themselves on those icicles of stucco). I know popcorn ceilings were a thing at some point, but as far as I’m concerned they should have been outlawed. And some of these ceilings are more than popcorn…. they are like stalactites. Knockdown ceiling is another term for it I believe. Yep, knockdown, KNOCK IT DOWN I beg you!!! In a few spots the ceilings are a little bit crumbly. Granted, they could be patched, but that’s as good an excuse as any to get rid of them, I’d say.

So, something must be done before someone is harpooned by a drywall deadfall.  In the newer side of the house the ceilings are quickly being covered up by beautiful pine.  I envision an old farmhouse/beachouse/cottage look to the newer side of the house, bright and breezy with some barn board accents and pops of colour here and there. The ceilings will be pickled/white washed which will keep the grain and knots showing, but will stop the wood from yellowing over time. Planking in the dining room, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom. People will plank anywhere, it seems. This is actually more along the lines of panelling than planking as it isn’t really thick enough to be considered a plank.

Have a look at the progress so far

I’m not absolutely sure yet what will be done with the ceilings on the log cabin side of the house. I joke about the spears of stucco, but they are pretty big and there are some messy patch jobs.  I think we will have to cover them up somehow in the living room and dining area. Perhaps put up some drywall or panelling over them.  The ceilings are quite low, so I really don’t want to lose height, but a sheet of drywall won’t bring it down too much, and a clean, smooth surface will look bigger anyway.  Because I am going for a boho look on the log cabin side the ceilings as they are in the bedrooms might actually work to add a bit of vintage texture. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway at this point.

That’s all for now. Any thoughts on ways to cover the ceilings in the log cabin side are welcomed!


Wall, you are going DOWN!

Begone Wall!


On the newer side of the house there was an ugly pink wall (but really, any pink wall is going to be ugly…) dividing the kitchen from the living room.  It made both rooms feel small and dark.  In the kitchen if someone was cooking it would be almost impossible for another person to get by. Our very first thought was that wall has GOT to go!! Our crew of two started today and in their first 3 hours they had ripped out the wall and wow what a difference!! The light coming in from the kitchen window makes the room so much brighter.

I’m going to let photos tell the story.

In case you were worrying, this is a non-load bearing wall.  Safe as houses to tear it down!
Tomorrow the planking starts, covering up the dated popcorn ceiling.

Ripping it up!

I was trying to get a photo of the carpet….

In the past week we have ripped up almost all the carpets in both sides of the house.  The last owners were from the US and used the house as a vacation home so when we bought the house it came with the furnishings. Some are nice and some are…um…not quite. I’m sure they probably got some of the furnishings from yard sales and just made-do with what they could pick up easily.  So, we had to take a lot of things down into the basement in order to make room to do work and so that they don’t get all dirty when the WALLS COME DOWN!!! (Can you tell I’m looking forward to that?) We had to pack up clothing and all sorts of things like that but the past owners were very tidy and it made the packing pretty straight forward. They were so organised, I salute them!

So, on to the carpets.  The carpets in the log cabin side of the house were probably the original carpets from the 70s, they weren’t stapled down and they came up really easy, except for the cushion-ey backing on them that is old and disintegrat-ey and stuck to the floor and is a big dust-ey mess. Some of that floor might come out anyway, so we’ll see about that before scraping off the plywood.  The idea is to put vinyl plank flooring in most rooms of the house, so we need the floor to be smooth in order to install that.  Here are some before and after shots of one of the bedrooms, plus I took out that closet yesterday. It doesn’t look too bad from the photo, but it was pretty rickety and now the room is opened up. I like ripping things apart. I am less skilled at the “putting things back in order” side of DIY.  But really, I am soooo good at bashing.

And on the newer side:

The carpets were old and the house wasn’t used in the winter, so they just had a bit of an old musty smell to them.  It makes a huge difference having them out!  The carpets on the newer side had underlay that was stapled down. I enjoyed ripping up the carpets and the underlay. Even taking up the tack strips around the edges was good fun….Just have to deal with the staples now (that is not so fun).

All this bending and crouching and pulling is seriously good for the butt muscles! I have butt muscles, it’s kind of a new thing for me.

Next post, the wall is DOWN!!


WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!!! (Another one!)

This past year has been monumental for us. We had some renos done on our house which turned it into a spa-like retreat.  We lost our beloved Lola dog of 12 years.  We brought home a new and now also beloved Louis dog (see the about page for a photo).  I lost 50 lbs. Going to say that again, 50 lbs!!! So I have started a new business helping people get healthier with the system I used and NOW!! NOW, we are starting one more business! (That’s it for this year, I swear!)

For the last 5 years or so I have been dreaming of owning a vacation rental.  I run a pottery shop, Wildfire Pottery, in Cape Breton and my husband and I enjoy chatting with the people that come into the shop, giving them tips on where to go, places to stay  and eat etc, so we are finally going to turn those visits into longer term hosting with a rental property!  The house is about 12 minutes south of us in Tarbot, on the Cabot Trail.  I will be posting photos of the renovation as we go through getting the house ready for June of this year, (we hope) so that is really only 2 months!!! The house itself is in pretty good shape, but it needs some updating inside. It is actually a duplex, so we will have two units to rent out! We have so much to get done and learn, but we are excited to get going.

This is the house.

One half of the house is a log cabin that was built in the 70’s on a slab. The other half was added in the 90’s as a “grandma suite” and has a full basement. There is a nice storage space that runs between the two units which has the added benefit of soundproofing them from each other. The sunroom on the front connects the two and they also have separate outside entrances.

Because there is so much to get done I won’t be going into great details about every step of the process (Oh who am I kidding, I always go into details!!). Well I will TRY to just put up photos of the progress as we go along.

Here are a few photos of the inside as it looked when we got it. (We took possession mid-March but then I went away for a week, so we have really only been working in the house since about the 25th of March.

Here are some photos of the log cabin side:

And of the newer side:

Lots to do, but it is also really fun!!

More as we go along….