Massaging Some Love and Personality Into This Old House

When you are selling a home, real estate agents will advise that you should bake cookies prior to an open house. The sensual and sinful lure of just-baked cookies makes people want to buy houses. In a pinch, you can add a sachet of yeast to warm water. The smell of just-baked bread also makes people want to buy houses. Despite the lack of just-baked bread or cookies permeating this house when we first looked at it, we fell in love–even though it smelled like ten wet dogs instead.

For our friends and family abroad, who don’t have the geographical ability to pop in for a cocktail, come on a virtual tour. Here’s the transformation from November 1st, 2012 when we had our first house inspection to just yesterday when I snapped every room of the house for this post.


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Notice urgent change in lighting–now there’s clearance for people over 5’5 in the kitchen!
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The picture below–we studied the thumbnail that was posted on and were still completely baffled by the “thing” that appeared to be a beer fridge. Was it an over-sized bread box? A repurposed console TV? Oh, a craft centre…of course.


This is actually the carriage house–now decluttered. We wanted to place attention back to the exposed stone wall and reclaimed wood shelving. This room and it’s potential and breathing history alone was the clincher for us.

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When you are looking at a house, you really have to don your xray vision glasses to see the bones and avoid all eye-contact with such things as heffalump couches, too-highly-hung art and, ugh, curtains that belonged to the pioneer era.


The curtains came down within minutes of our possession of the house. We cracked beers and made a beeline for the rods, then dismantled the makeshift desk in the carriage house with a sledge.

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If you’re feeling brave, ask Kim about the wall repair invovled after the previous owner removed his fine art collection.

If you’re feeling even braver, ask me about putting together this %$@# Ikea bookshelf for the third time. It has seen two rebuilds in Toronto apartments and now, this sucker is staying with the house, never to be disassembled and reassembled again.

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Originally, we thought we’d only have to paint the guest bedroom due to the non-jiving super mauve and My Pretty Pony pink. This turned into a landslide–the only room we didn’t re-paint was the kitchen. The “sombrero” and “straw hat” yellow were agreeable with our palette. And, once Kim was able to remove the chair rail from the bedroom (affixed to the wall with 578 nails AND Gorilla glue), we went painting ballistic.


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The master bedroom–previously Grandma Blue and feng-shui-unstable.

That didn’t last long.
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Nor did the flatscreen TV mount. Absolutely no TVs allowed in the bedrooms in this house.

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Before…the elephant Mennonite chest in the room:

After–and, the Grandma blue that carried into the ensuite was carried away in favour of what we’ve deemed “wet clay.”
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Gone are the out-dated, dog-fur-lined curtains that blocked the view of visiting birds and resident chipmunks and cottontails.


Doing dishes is a genuine pleasure after years of being below ground level in Toronto.
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The laundry is main floor, in the master bathroom and not shared. There’s no digging for quarters or hauling baskets up and down the stairs. For anyone who has ever rented, you will sigh in relief with me.
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Of course, we are always refining. But, we’ve moved outside to do battle with the perennial gardens and deck construction. However, there is immense joy in coming back inside. Coming home from work to this sanctuary makes me toe the line of becoming a recluse.


Thanks for visiting. And, if you really do visit, we’ll be sure to bake bread or cookies, but, the house isn’t for sale.

Categories: Home Sweet Home | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Massaging Some Love and Personality Into This Old House

  1. Mary Phillips

    Jules, you have a beautiful home. I love everything you’ve done to it.

  2. Linda Brown

    Wow, Jules – what a gorgeous home you’ve created! Love it!

  3. very impressed by these pictures! the color scheme you chose is wonderful. did the wooden floors need to be redone at all?


    • Thanks, Rosalie. The original pine floors in the livingroom will eventually need some attention. However, the kitchen and carriage house are hickory, which is like the equivalent of cement. As for the colour scheme–we overestimated on the gallons we’d need to repaint the master bedroom. And then we did our own mixing with the leftovers, adding rations of white to our remaining original gallon to repaint the guest bedroom and main bath and ensuite. Colours never to be successfully recreated again!

  4. melinda

    ok – here we go. LOVE the farmhouse sink, the fireplace in master, tall ceilings, blonde floors, killer exposed stone, deep deep deep cased openings and window casings, color scheme, light fixtures, all the natural touches (i.e. antlers, leather, exposed interior walls, iron, wood), the crank-open windows, built-in, glass-front cabinets, all new hardware choices, but most especially the immense love within those walls!!!
    oh and I agree – only 2 things need to happen in a bedroom. watching tv is not one of them.

    your coveting deep south realtor friend.

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