After enjoying a prolonged and unusually warm fall, winter has finally arrived.

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View from my living room window. Ugh.

I’ve been in full home reno mode since the foster baby left.

I finished installing our new (to us) engineered hardwood floors.  We bought 650 square feet of engineered hardwood maple flooring off Kijiji.  It was only two years old, and the homeowner didn’t like the colour of the stain, so she replaced it with a whole new floor and gave the old floor to her friend’s son to sell because he had just bought a new car.  We paid $2 per square foot, whereas to buy it new would’ve cost us $7 per square foot.  Total score.  (I have to say, I was super proud of myself for installing this floor even if it was designed to be super easy to install).

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Zig likes the new floor, too.

I removed the hall closet that I’ve been wanting to rip out since the day we bought the house.  (It was too shallow to fit a hanger so everything had to hang sideways.  What a pain).  Unfortunately, that was like pulling one loose thread and having the entire sweater unravel.  Ripping out the closet exposed a huge whole in the wall (that was cut out to install the bathtub in the 1940s when plumbing was finally put in the house), as well a bright, shiny section of non-popcorned ceiling.  I patched in some drywall – very badly – and attempted to match new popcorn texture to 40 year old popcorn texture – also very badly – and got so fucking frustrated, I almost called my real estate agent to put the house up for sale rather than deal with solving those two problems (can we say misdirected anger?)

Solution? – this inspiring photo:

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I heart apartmenttherapy.com.

We stained slats of knotty pine to resemble aged barn wood and used it to cover the awful ceiling.  Then we nailed up two panels of faux brick (yes, that crappy stuff people loved to put up in basements in the 1960s).

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Next, I’m going to prime and paint the panels to look like old, painted brick.  I found this technique years ago in a Debbie Travis book, and I’m going to give it a try.  You can check it out online here.  As for the seam, we have a strip of stained pine to go down the middle and hide the seam between the two panels.  Some people caulk the seam, but I think that would just crack and look weird.  I thought of notching out the bricks so you could fit the two panels together like a jigsaw puzzle, but then Will thought of this brilliant solution with the strip of pine to match the pine on the ceiling.

This little area will be my home office area.  We bought a gorgeous, early 1900s Clerk’s Desk from a vintage market a couple of weekends ago, and Will’s going to weld an iron base for it.  I’m also looking for a set of old school lockers for storage.

Taken from a local rural printing shop.

Taken from a local rural printing shop.

I feel like we’re finally starting to design the house to our taste and style (which, but the way, is Warm Industrial – thanks again apartmenttherapy.com).  When we bought the house nine years ago, we had every intention of it being our starter home.  We painted in neutral colours and purposely didn’t decorate in our style because we planned to sell the house in five years.  Then the housing boom happened, and now we can’t afford anything but our little house.  No complaints here – I’m just so happy we bought the house when we did.  It has almost tripled its value in less than ten years.  It just means that even though we could sell it for an enormous profit right now, we really couldn’t afford to buy anything else.  Plus, I would really like to be mortgage free as soon as possible, and we’re on track to have this house paid off in about another ten years, which is freaking awesome.  Besides, small house = no room to store excess stuff.  And stuff really weighs you down.  So who wants more stuff, anyway?

Oh my goodness, this post is getting really long.  I’ll wrap things up.

The girls are adjusting to their first winter quite well.  We let them “clean up” the garden for us after the final harvest.

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Barbra and Judy. So big now!

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My sweet Ginger.

The coop has been fully winterized (check out what I do to get the girls ready for winter here), and I just de-wormed them all a couple days ago.  Both Barbra and Judy are laying now, and laying really well. Barbra laid sixteen days in a row before taking her first break!  Ginger stays in the coop most of the day.  The cold might be aggravating her injuries.  She’s almost four years old now.  It’s possible this might be her last winter.

The days are getting shorter, the weather is getting colder, and I’m now itching to take another foster baby.  We’ve had a couple calls since the Bug left us, but neither one felt like a fit.  I’m ready now.  I distracted myself with home renovations, I nested and cleaned, and now I feel ready to take another child.  So keep your fingers crossed for me that I get a call in the next couple days – I’m going a little batty waiting for the phone to ring.

Have a lovely (and warm) week!

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