Thursday, April 12, 2018

Welcome Home

It's taken me far too long to get back into the swing of blogging. I have an idea, but instead of sitting down to write it, I procrastinate. I'm pretty good at that. I've decided no more though! Blogging was a passion of mine for so long and I look forward to once again making the time to sit down and write, and share the things that I love with you. 
Yesterday I shared the back story to us arriving in Cape Breton and finding our dream home. The bones of this house are fantastic. We don't see ourselves having to make any huge changes to the layout inside. Most of the house will stay as it is, with just some cosmetic upgrades. Structurally, we need a new foundation poured under the house, so last week we ripped the small bathroom off the back of the house, as well as the mudroom which we plan to make bigger. We've already started demolition in a number of rooms, but today I want to share some photos of the house as it was when we purchased it. 

The Mudroom

The Mudroom is currently the main entrance into the home. You enter on the side of the house near the driveway and two car garage and from this room you enter into the kitchen. It's a decent size with ample storage, but not quite what we need. A couple of the windows are broken from stray golf balls and of course it was full of stuff from the previous two owners. The plan is to enlarge this room, give it more functional storage for our family of five and more than likely put in new stairs to the basement that will be poured in thecoming weeks (if the weather cooperates). I'm feeling pretty excited about what this room will become!

Mudroom - Nov2017

Mudroom Door - Nov2017

The Kitchen

The kitchen is a decent size for what we need, the biggest problem we found when trying to plan a new layout was the five doorways on three walls and two long windows on other walls. It really breaks up the space and makes it impossible to have an entire wall of cupboards. We are discussing some options to close off at least one door and will be losing those two long awkward windows for one big window over our new sink. Again, there is a lot of potential here and I'm extra excited as this will be our first full kitchen renovation. 


Kitchen2- Nov2017

Kitchen1- Nov2017

The Living Room

You can enter the living room from the kitchen... and the dining room (which you also enter from the kitchen). It's a cozy place with a wood burning stove, and yes, it did come with the Moose and Deer head. We're probably relocating both to Brett's three bay workshop since they are far too large for this small space. Lighting definitely needs to be addressed in this space (as it does in every other room), and we also plan on turning one of the windows into French doors that will eventually exit onto a deck. I can't wait to make this a really cozy and functional family space!



The Dining Room

The dining room is a great size, and one room I was very excited about. It has a beautiful view to the lake, an original built-in (the white one to the left in the picture) and it's a great size. After discussing our kitchen renovation, this will be the primary dining spot. Weekend breakfasts and family dinner's will be eaten here, around a new table Brett will construct. we're both looking forward to building more furniture for this place.


The Guest Room

Having a guest room in this house, and on the main floor is a huge bonus! It's the door directly off the dining room that you can see in the photo above. It's a decent size but we may play with the layout a bit to make it more visitor friendly. Again, it has a nice view out the front of the property and our visitors will have their own powder room downstairs as well. I look forward to painting and cozying this space up for our friends and family!

So that is our ground floor (with the exception of the pantry, laundry room and bathroom that we had ripped off. I wish I had remembered to take photos of those spaces before demolition began, but they seemed so unimportant. Looking back now we have some big plans to close off the door into the laundry room in the kitchen and enter that space from the pantry. The laundry room will also double as our downstairs powder room. We need to figure out our layout plans, but I'm anxious to get to the point of putting everything back together.

Next post I'll be sharing the upstairs - the three kids bedrooms, our main family bathroom and our master. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

"The Best Journey Takes You Home"

If you have followed our family for any time, you know of our nomadic ways. In the ten years that Brett and I have been together, we have lived in six homes together. Needless to say, we learned a long time ago that home is not a place, but rather a feeling. Home is made up by the people we share a space with and the moments and memories that we create.

Two years ago, Brett's company (who had sent us to the west coast in the spring of 2012) let him go and we were faced with a big decision. We had a home we were happy in, in a beautiful part of the country, surrounded by great friends. If Brett chose to seek out a new position in his field we could have quite happily stayed the course. Instead, after much conversation and consideration, we decided to venture down the road less travelled. 

For years we had shared the dream of buying some acreage where we could raise our family, and be self sufficient. The only problem is that when you are happy and comfortable, it's not always easy to give that up to chase the unknown. Once our new reality sunk in, we viewed it as more of an opportunity than a bump in the road.

Oregon 2016
(an evening walk along the beach in Oregon - our favourite stop on the west coast)

We did some research and found that if we sold our home we should be able to purchase our dream, mortgage free on the opposite coast of Canada. That decision sent us on the greatest adventure of our lives. We spent about six months seeing as much as we could across North America. We visited family and old friends and met so many incredible people along the way. Though everyday of that trip was not easy, it is a time I hold dear. It was those memories that got me through some of the toughest days as we settled into our new community on Cape Breton Island. 

West Mabou Beach - September 2016
(the kids at West Mabou Beach on Cape Breton Island)

We arrived in the village of Whycocomagh in September of 2016 after coming across a viral land for work offer online. We were one of three chosen families to take on the offer. We settled into a little three bedroom rental and went about creating a new routine. Some days brought me to tears and there were moments that we questioned our decision to leave British Columbia. What kept us going at the end of the day was always that shared dream. 
Only a month or two after we arrived, I began looking at real estate listings online. One day I came across a beautiful property overlooking a lake, with more land than we had thought about, a farmhouse and two garages. At the time the price point of the property made it nothing more than a dream, so we kept looking.

Near the end of our first winter out east, there was a lot of action in the Toronto real estate market and it seemed like the right time to sell our income property that we had owned there for the past eight years. Once the house was repaired and listed on the market, we finally went to look at the dream property. The views and the land were even better than we had imagined, and we both saw so much potential in the house and garages. It was the type of property we had only dreamed of finding when we headed east. 

We spent the new few months waiting for our house to sell. Just when we had started to consider taking it off the market and putting new tenants in, an offer finally came in that we were able to negotiate on. This opened a window that would allow us to finally purchase the home that we had always wanted. 

The home and land became ours on November 10th, 2017. Even before everything was signed, Brett and I had started to discuss the perfect name for our new property. We started a list, but nothing we were coming up seemed to be the perfect fit. Finally in early December Brett found the perfect name, Misneach Ridge. Misneach is a Gaelic term which means courage, bravery, determination or hopefulness. What made this name stick out to me was when we read that the word was often used in the saying "Fortune favours the brave". We both felt that this was an accurate description of how our relationship has always gone. From when Brett and I first met, right up to our choice to sell our life on the west coast to head east, we have always taken chances and it has always paid off for us in ways that we never imagined.  

We have found our forever, and now comes the fun part of transforming it into a comfortable home for our family of five. I can't wait to share all of the details and the journey with all of you.
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