We've Come A Long Way, Baby: Before and After Extravaganza!

We've come a long way, baby!  As we prepare to say goodbye to our little new/old house, I've been feeling nostalgic and a little sad.  This home has meant so much to us and it holds some of our happiest memories.  It really has been our dream home for the past few years and we've poured our love and ideas into it to make it our own.

Before we get too caught up in our plans and ideas for our new house, let's take a brief look back at some before and after shots of our new/old house.  Join me for a trip down memory/renovation lane!  Special thanks to the talented Thea Menagh for all the "after" photos!

... And if you're curious, here are some "Before and After" shots from the condo!

Here's the exterior of the house when we moved in.  There was a lift for a wheelchair in front of the ugly porch and the steps were pretty hazardous.

Here's the house today.  That porch was enclosed to give us a functional mud room and we love our pretty black door and extra wide steps.

Here's what the porch looked like...

And here's our mudroom!

Here's the living room on the day we moved in.  The house didn't have central air yet so there was a window AC unit.  Those laminate floors were also pretty ugly in person...

Here's our living room today.  It's amazing what some hardwood floors and built-in shelves will do to a space!

The dining room was pretty bland when we moved in.

It needed some colour and personality!

The kitchen was pretty bad before we renovated it.  We actually moved the door to the basement so that we could add more cabinets and counter space.  

This is the same angle!

I had almost forgotten about the shower that stood in the corner of our family room.

No more random shower and lots of room to play!

Here it is from another angle.

Ugh!  That bathroom was so awful when we moved in.  I can't believe we lived with it like this for as long as we did!

It was lovely when we updated it though.

Those shelves were so wobbly.  I really hated them!

Rudy's room actually wasn't SO bad when we moved in.

It still needed some love though!

My office and the master bedroom were both covered in green carpet.  Here's my office "before" we updated it.

The "after" was a much more inspiring place to work!

Here's the master bedroom, back when it had green carpet and only a tiny closet...

And here it is now.  Much more serene.  

We're almost ready to say goodbye to our first family home but seeing our progress motivates us to get to work on our new house!  Soon, it will also feel like home!


Moving... With Kids

I have a question for those of you who have moved with toddlers: How did you explain the transition so that they still felt safe and secure?  Rudy's at an age where she'll notice the move but I'm not sure if she understands enough that we can prepare her for it beforehand.  I'm worried her little world will be shattered... even if it's only for a little while. 

I've helped many families with children Rudy's age to find new homes and I'm always so interested in how they transition their children:

I've seen families keep their child's room exactly the same in the new house- right down to the paint colour and layout.  

I've seen other families make their child's new room extra special so they'll be really excited about it.

Many parents make a special effort to make sure their child's room is complete before moving in.

Some parents let their child choose paint colours or a new bedspread and one family I know posted an adorable photo of their toddler helping to paint their new room!  How cool is that?  I loved that idea!

Here's what we've been doing so far: 

We've been talking about the new house for weeks and we often pull up the photos of the listing and look at them together while naming the different rooms... Special emphasis on Rudy's room!

Rudy's favourite show, 'Bubble Guppies', has an episode about moving to a new house.  We've been watching it and talking about it.  

We have possession now but we don't officially move yet so we've been visiting the house after school and having snack there.  Each time, Rudy is excited to climb the stairs to look at her room.  We also bring a toy from home each time to leave at the new house.

We decided to make her new room a little more suited to a "big girl" and a little less like a nursery.  The first time we brought her to the house after taking possession was to look at paint swatches and she immediately fell in love with her closet and loved running back and forth inside it and collecting paint chips to hide on her closet shelf.  It was so sweet and it made us feel more confident that she will be comfortable in her new room.

We've ordered a big girl bed because we're longing to cuddle with Rudy at night -She's never been able to snuggle in our bed and prefers to jump and climb... not so relaxing! :-/  Her actual bed won't be ready for a few weeks still but we're debating not moving her toddler bed into her new room at all and just letting her sleep on her new twin mattress on the floor until her bed arrives.  Are we crazy?

I'd love to hear your tips and ideas!  Toddlers are tough little buggers.  What worked for you?

First Photos of Our New House!

It's been a whirlwind but we've taken possession of our new home!  We haven't moved yet but our packing is well underway and we've been visiting ouvr new house daily to take measurements and make some early design decisions.

We've already encountered a few hiccups with our renovation plans (which should always be expected) and we're rolling with the punches so far.  I'll outline some of these hiccups in separate posts but I always remind my clients to budget more than they think they'll need for updates and we're seeing the truth behind that advice firsthand.  Even so, the buzz of excitement is still very much alive and I'm excited to share some of the first photos of our new home.  These will serve as the "before" shots as we begin to update the house.  For now, I'm leaving out the bathrooms and basement, although I'll get to those.

I'll start with the floor plans for those of you who like something to reference when I mention our plans.

The main floor has two entrances: One off our driveway that leads to the hallway beside the kitchen and a second entrance (which is a more traditional entrance), which allows you to turn left into the living room or right into the 4th bedroom, which will serve as my home office.  This is the second entrance.

You'll have to excuse the photos, not only am I not a professional photographer but I snapped these on the day we took possession.  The former owner was still in the process of moving out and his dog was running around.  :)

Here's the living room.  We love all the light in this room, as well as the ceiling beams and the wood-burning fireplace.

I'll mention again:  The cute white dog in the photos is NOT OURS... In case any of your were thinking we'd adopted another pet and worried about our sanity.

The living room leads into the dining room, which is quite large and has a sliding door to the back yard.  It also has the same lovely wood ceiling beams, which we loved right from the start.

The "view" from the dining room, looking into the living room.

Back in the living room.  This one was taken last night when we brought Rudy for a visit.

The kitchen is small and I can't wait to renovate it but it's not going to happen in the near future so we're going to live with it for now and get creative with storage.

Across the hall from the kitchen is (what will be) our family room.  On the floor plans, it's labelled as a sitting room and servery.  In the past, it was a part of a home denture clinic that the previous owner ran for years.  I think a lot of buyers had trouble making sense of the choppy floor plan and figuring out what to do with these rooms but we immediately loved the idea of getting another main floor family room, which we had expected to need to sacrifice when we moved.   Once the wall and sinks are removed, we'll have a great space for play and TV!

The 4th bedroom in the floor plans will serve as a main floor office for me.  There's already an outlet in the closet for my printer!

Upstairs, we'll be taking the 3rd room and giving Rudy the 2nd bedroom.  Our new bedroom is large enough for a kind size bed!  I may be more excited for more sleeping space than anything else in the house.

Rudy's room (the second bedroom) is a mirror image of our bedroom.  It's going to look lovely when it's finished.

The room currently labelled as the "master" will serve as our 3rd bedroom for now.  Eventually, we'd like to extend the top floor to make the room larger so that we could actually use it as our own room but currently, the sloped ceilings would make this room less functional for two adults.

Well, there it is.  There's a lot to do but we'll start working on the house little by little.  Before long, it will feel like home!


Our Home: Full Tour

Well guys, we did it!  We sold our new/old house!  After weeks of renovations, preparations and staging, we finally listed our home for sale the last week of October.  As we already know from selling our condo, I am a terrible seller. It didn't help that I sold our home myself and therefore did not have my own agent to insulate me from the roller coaster of showing feedback, mixed emotions and criticism, which only drove me more crazy.  Poor Corey also wasn't sheltered from any of this... all the while, we stayed in a cramped hotel room with Rudy who wasn't sleeping... or letting us sleep.

It was an exhausting and stressful week but, in the end, our biggest fear that nobody would like our house (I actually voiced this paranoia to Corey several times throughout the week) was silly.  In fact, SEVERAL people loved our house but many felt it would sell for over their budget.  There was even a family with a son Rudy's age who fell in love with our family room but they couldn't afford to compete in multiple offers.  We still ended up with two strong offers and we were thrilled to sell our home to a young couple who happen to remind us a lot of ourselves a few years ago.

It was appropriate that our sale occurred on Halloween, which was one day earlier than we had initially called for offers.  Halloween is one of our favourite "holidays" but it also seems to often mark good career news for both of us so it has become a lucky night in our family.  We reviewed offers, excusing ourselves occasionally to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters.  What a night!

We're thrilled to get back to our normal routine (the pets are finally home tonight!) and we are excited to take possession of our new house.  Still, I must confess that our sale feels bittersweet because we've made so many happy memories in this home.  We have put so much of ourselves into this space that it feels strange to leave it behind.  I actually cried a little right after we sold just thinking about all the happy memories we've made in this house.  Our consolation is that a new family will get a chance to make their own happy memories within these walls.

Before we leave this house behind, I'd love to share some photos with you.  These were all taken by my talented real estate photographer and friend, Thea Menagh.  When listing a home, it's really important for the rooms to look amazing but not stretched or unrealistic.  You want to wow people with the photos but you don't want them to feel disappointed in person.  Thea walks this fine line beautifully and her photos show the best (true) version of a home.  I call her my ninja and my secret weapon because her photos are SO good!

So here I invite you to take a look at our home.

We love the new steps and door but if we had stayed, we would have eventually had the parking pad re-done and replaced the siding on the second floor.

We love that the mudroom gives us so much extra storage... and even space for Rudy to hang her own bag and coat!

Oooh, I'm going to miss that pretty glass door!  If we had stayed, we might have knocked out the wall between the living room and hallway to create a little more open space on the main floor.

Remember when we made those built-in shelves?  I still love them!

We were going to include that dining room chandelier with the house.  We've had it since the condo though and have a weird attachment to it so we changed our minds at the last minute and excluded it from the sale.  It may not work with the style of the new house but we're bringing it anyway!

I love those shelves with the lights that Corey built to cover our duct!  I want display shelves like that in the new house!

Ahhh, the kitchen.  I'm going to miss our beautiful kitchen.  Sigh...

Aside from the kitchen, which obviously drew the most compliments, people seemed to like the family room almost as much.  We'll try to replicate it in our next house but I think we're leaving the climbing wall for our buyers...

We were worried about not painting the nursery a lighter colour (we didn't want to change Rudy's world too much) but people actually really liked the dark navy walls.  Our buyers said it was serene.

The bathroom at the new house needs work but Corey has promised me another soaker tub!

Our master bedroom was staged to sell.  It never looks like this... but we sort of like the look and have decided to draw inspiration from it in the new house.

The office was also totally staged but it has given me some ideas for my office at the new house... I'm actually really excited to get it set up!

I'm not showing you the basement because it's filled with boxes and generally ugly.  I did post a photo on MLS though because I wanted people to see that it had potential.

So that's our home... finally finished and sold within days.  Onward and upward!

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