2018 Home & Garden Tour Part 2: Our ¼-Acre Rancher
If you’ve been following us along for a while, you probably already know that we recently moved from our original house and homestead to our brand spankin’ new one! It’s super exciting for us because this is the first house we’ve actually bought and owned. And it’s also the first place Ryan and I have ever lived together that was completely empty when we moved in.
In the past we’ve always rented places that were full of furniture and other people’s items. Our last house (which I take you on a tour of here) was a 100-year-old farmhouse that had never been home to anyone outside of the family who originally built it. Built in 1914, it was passed down through the generations and accumulated literal tons of stuff over the decades: heavy old vintage furniture and decor pieces, old books and magazines and tools and Mason jars and all sorts of other things already filled the house when we moved in 3 years ago.
Before that, we lived in our suburban condo on the outskirts of Vancouver: a condo that we rented from my family when my grandmother moved out and into a home. And so that house, too, was already full of dining room sets and buffets, desks and side tables, clocks and dressers and bags and bags of stuff my grandma had seemingly bought, stored away and forgot about. (Plus a massive jewelry box full of Shopping Channel jewelry… I’m sure I’m not the only one with a grandma who had one of those;)
And before that we lived in Australia together, first on our friends’ couch, then in a tent, then in a more permanent tent on a concrete slab, then in a cockroach-infested double wide trailer, and finally in an old Victorian rooming house with about 4 or 5 other people.
Oh, and did I mention that we used to live in Vancouver where a basic single family home on a tiny plot of land costs upwards of a million dollars?
So ya, we were pretty stoked to get this place! Houses are still not cheap where we live, but they’re much cheaper than the city. And we’re making it work by converting our garage into a coach house to rent out.
The Grand Tour
The entire process, from making an offer on the house to actually moving in, took roughly 6 or 7 months. And we still have a lot of work to do on the place (right now the push is on to get the coach house done and get a renter in before Christmas). But we managed to renovate the interior from top to bottom, luckily because Ryan works as a manager for a building supply store and is incredibly handy, so we were able to renovate for about a quarter of the price it would normally cost.
The land itself needs some work. But that’s gonna need to wait until spring. The bones are good though, and although we are moving from a one-acre property to a ¼-acre plot of land, our new, smaller space actually has a lot more garden potential than the last place which was mostly lawn (which we didn’t exactly have the authority to tear up).
The garden space was a huge selling point for us -especially for me- when we were looking at places. There’s a massive fenced garden in the front of the house where we get the most sun (and the most deer, hence the fencing).
There’s also a big established greenhouse with a giant raised bed in the backyard, plus lots of spaces around the house and property where we plan to grow our herbs, rhubarb, berries, flowers and other things of that nature.
We’ve got three huge rhubarb plants already as well as blackberries, red currants and a few different types of herbs. Plus an established hazelnut tree that we just recently discovered!
We also have a tool shed -which is an absolute necessity for Ryan- a lean-to which will act as our garden/potting shed and space outback to build another shed to house our seasonal items like outdoor cushions, summer toys, sleds and wagons.
Beside the tool shed, Ryan built a rabbit pen for our pet rabbit, whom we may or may not breed for meat rabbits in the future, depending on various factors.
This big boy’s our pet though. We adopted him from a shelter that took him in when he was abandoned in a cage outside of the hospital in our old hometown. I have a slight(ly intense) Alice in Wonderland obsession, so when I saw a giant white rabbit up for adoption a few years ago, I just had to.
We also have two lovely indoor kitties. And one day when we have our forever property, we’ll have lots of barn cats and I will eventually become a crazy cat, chicken, goat, rabbit and duck lady. But for now I’m just going to work on our gardens on this little ¼-acre plot:)
Now for the inside of the house…
Come On In!
The house is a 3-bedroom rancher, not much bigger than the condo where we lived in the city. This is ironic since I used to say that I loved our condo so much that if I could have picked it up and put it on a piece of land in the country, I would have happily lived there for years to come.
We also have a two-year-old daughter, Evelyn, and did have another baby on the way. Phoenix was due to be born just a couple weeks from now, but we lost him back in June. It’s been hard to look at the third bedroom knowing it was meant for him. One day it will belong to another little babe that we’ll welcome into our lives when the time is right.
But my point to bringing up our children, is that I absolutely love that it’s a small rancher because I don’t have to put up baby gates or worry about stairs, and it takes way less time to clean up the kid-made mess at the end of the day.
So just like the gardens, the bones of the house itself were just what we were looking for. Basically, we lucked out big time. Oh ya, and the best part is that it’s on a cul-de-sac at the end of a no-thru road that backs onto a forest. Our old place was right on the busiest highway between the two nearest towns, so we are beyond grateful to be enjoying the peace and quiet at our new place.
But not everything was awesome right from the get-go. The interior needed some serious work to get it to where we wanted it to be.
We took out a bathroom, removed part of a wall, re-floored and re-painted the entire place, redid the kitchen from top to bottom, shiplapped the master bedroom, built a custom built-in theatre system in our living room and took out the massive fireplace that took up what felt like ¼ of the living room (we’ll soon be putting in a wood stove I scored for FREE off of a local buy and sell page!)
Here are some before and after photos of the inside…
In the end we decided to overhaul the kitchen and dining room anyway. We went with all white cabinets and countertops, white subway tile backsplash, stainless steel appliances and a new stainless steel farm sink, replaced the light fixtures and painted the walls a subtle sage green colour.
As I write this, Ryan is installing the hardware on our cabinets: black rod iron handles to match our black rod iron look faucet (which looks amazing with our farm sink if I do say so myself;)
I’m so excited to finally have a window over the kitchen sink! I spend enough time here doing dishes that a window is a major bonus, and one I’ve never had before. It’s the simple things in life:)
The fireplace that was here was large and intrusive. It took up a good portion of the already small living room. This was one of the first things to go when we bought the place. We have yet to put in our new wood stove, but I can’t wait to heat our house with wood this winter!
Ryan built this floor-to-ceiling built-in home entertainment unit for us. The corner beside it is where that old fireplace was. The tile and wood stove is going in soon!
This space apparently used to be a garage that the previous owners had closed in. It was total bonus space, but it was pretty segregated from the rest of the house and would have just ended up being a magnet for storage and clutter. So we opened up the wall between this room and the living room and turned it into an office for me. Now I have an awesome space to work on my blog without interruption!
Lol. Just kidding. It’s just one more space for my child to drive me crazy while I’m trying to get work done:)
You can see the doorway we cut to connect the living room to the new office space in the background. There’s much more of a flow in the house now that the rooms aren’t so cut off from each other.
After doing laundry in a spidery basement for the past 3 years (and sharing a laundry room before that) I was over-the-moon about having an actual laundry room in this house. I figured I might even enjoy doing laundry now!
So far that has not proven to be true. But I do enjoy it a heck of a lot more than I used to.
That extra bathroom in the corner though? That had to go. We only need one bathroom, but we have definitely learned we need more storage space. So we pulled out that bathroom and put in storage shelves and a laundry sink.
It’s a bit of a mess at the moment. But it’s a great place to store all of my canning jars as well as our canners and dehydrator.
The bedrooms are pretty basic. This first pic is of the master bedroom, and trust me, there was nothing special about it! But we made it more inviting by redoing the floors, painting the walls dark grey, installing white shiplap on the back wall and putting in soft mood lighting. Ryan says it’s like a cozy cave now. I agree:)
Yes, that’s my child watching Peppa Pig in our bed while I take photos. Otherwise said photos would have just been picture of toys spread all over the house. All the mamas out there, you know what I’m talkin’ about.
This bedroom (which is now Evelyn’s room) had perhaps the ugliest carpet I have ever seen. But we took care of that too:)
There is literally always a tea party happening in here.
There were no closet doors on any of the bedroom closets either, so we added mirrored doors to make the rooms look bigger. This last bedroom was intended for our son. It will one day fulfill its purpose as a nursery.
For now it’s just a spare room for storage and such.
Y’all Come Back Now!
So that’s pretty much the tour of the whole house (save for the bathroom, which is pretty standard too and which we never bothered renovating because we were using it to shower while living in the old house without a shower. Read more about that in Part 1 of this post).
Next year we plan to go hard on the gardens and outdoor area, but for now we’re busy with finishing touches, with getting the coach house up and running and with finishing renovations on the old place. As well as getting rid of about half of everything we own so we can fit comfortably in this house without all of the unnecessary clutter!
I’m so honoured to have had the opportunity to open my doors to you at last, and to share in the next leg of our journey with you.
While this isn’t intended to be our forever home, it suits us just fine right now and I’m very excited to turn it into a small but mighty functioning homestead over the coming years. And I’m even more excited to share the transformation with you every step of the way.
Thanks so much for stopping by!
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I have been blessed watching the changes you have experienced while living in our “back yard”.Although I am very happy for you and your family to have your first home , watching your excitement , and disappointments along the way as well, it selfishly saddens me that we won’t be on the frontlines anymore.. I hope we will be able to stay connected and I think we will.. but it just won’t be the same..Enjoy this “season’ OF YOUR LIVES..as you already have stated firsts only happen once!
Anna, I am happy for your new home! Wishing you all the wonderful blessings of a home of your own.
I am in the last weeks of a three+ year renovation/restoration of a 1910 2700 sq. ft. farmhouse. The house was originally built w/no indoor bathroom… but it did come with a three-seater outhouse ?
Oh wow! Congratulations on being almost finished! The old place we lived in also was built without indoor plumbing and they added a bathroom on later on. The brick chimney in the kitchen was the original chimney but they built an addition to accommodate the bathroom, hence why it’s now indoors. It really was a funky house, but we’re super excited to own our own place now and have total control over what we do with it:)