A lot has happened around this new/old house of ours since our last whole house update (hard to believe that was just one month ago!). We’ve been SO busy knocking things off of our to-do list around here and I couldn’t be more excited to finally see some of our ideas finally taking shape. While we still have so much to figure out and so many more changes to make, it’s finally starting to feel like we’re making some progress around here. Let me tell you all about what we’ve managed to accomplish this past month.
Let’s start outside. You wouldn’t believe what our garden beds used to look like. I wish I had taken some better “before” photos of them all – they were basically just a whole lot of weeds with a about 1000 ferns mixed throughout it all. I did manage to snap this picture of our “circle garden”. It’s the most lovely little oasis with a circular patio in the centre and a garden that almost totally surrounds it. I knew that of all the garden areas on our property, this one by far had the most potential to be something really special. Like the rest of our garden beds, this poor garden had been so severely neglected, what few plants remained back here after all these years were nearly impossible to spot through all the weeds. I dug out nearly every plant in this flower bed, laid out some landscaping cloth to help block the myriad of weeds, covered it all with load after load of dirt and finally filled it all back up with every type of shrub and bush I could get my hands on. Brady also cut out that old dead tree stump in the back corner (the one that’s currently sitting on the patio next to the bench) and we replaced that with an evergreen tree that will fill that big corner out nicely someday. I added in all sorts of flowering bushes including several varieties of hydrangeas and roses, lilac bushes, spirea, dogwood, willow bushes and several smaller flowering plants. They’re all just little babies right now, but I’m SO excited to watch this garden grow!
The gardens out front were just as bad, filled to the brim with unkept bushes and weeds galore, so I dug out every last one, filled it all up with load after load of dirt and planted them all out with shrubs as well. I kept these ones to a more tailored mix of various white flowering bushes and a whole lot of greenery thrown in for good measure. We added five more trees out front here – three different evergreens, an oak and a hawthorne tree with the prettiest little white flowers.
Fixing up and replanting all of those gardens was a ton of work and took so much longer than I’d ever expected, but I’m so happy with the results. So far, we’ve planted 6 new trees and 34 shrubs and while this big yard seems to just swallow up all of those little plants, I know in time, it’ll all start to feel a lot more lush and full of life.
As you can see in the photos above, our grass is just starting to green up after it’s spring clean up and some much needed rain, the lilacs are just starting to bloom and I’ve added flower baskets and planters to every corner I could – it’s finally starting to feel like summer around here and I couldn’t be happier.
The outdoor projects didn’t stop there of course! Brady’s been working hard on getting our underground sprinkler system back up and running, not an easy task after sitting dormant for at least ten years (but likely much more than that even). After taking it all apart to replace the main manifold and all of the valves, he’s got everything all hooked up now and just needs to draft up a sprinkler plan to figure out which heads should go where so he can get the last of it ordered up and installed. Here’s hoping everything will be up and running in just a few more weeks!
Last month I mentioned that I’d ordered up some new outdoor furniture and I’m happy to report that we’ve already been enjoying it all a ton. I’ve been sipping my morning coffee out on the back deck, curled up in this beautiful rocking Adirondack and the matching stationary version has been the perfect spot to cozy up next to the outdoor fireplace. I’m SO impressed with the quality of these chairs and, with a 20 year warranty, I’m feeling confident that they’ll weather through our cold winters really well too. There are a million other projects that we need to tackle out here (that deck being at the top of our list), but setting up these lovely little areas really helps us to enjoy our time out here so much more. With such short summers here in northern Alberta, we really do have to make the most of them!
While we’ve been super busy with all of these outside projects, we’ve somehow managed to tackle a few indoor projects as well this month – mainly some new window treatments and a few lighting swaps. I can’t wait to show you!
I was SO torn on which window shades we should go with throughout our kitchen and living room. Because this side of our house faces south, it gets loads of sun shining in all afternoon long, which not surprisingly, can really heat up the rooms on this side of the house. We knew we wanted to add some blinds that had smart features so that they could easily be opened and closed, even when we weren’t home, to help keep the heat out through the summer months. In then end, after a ton of research, we landed on these smart shades from Lutron (they’re the roller shades in the monomer fabric in white). They’re a big investment and I was definitely a bit nervous about whether we’d like them as much as I’d hoped, but thankfully we love them even more than I’d expected. They were an absolute breeze to install (Brady had all 6 of ours up in less than an hour), they integrated seamlessly with our the Lutron system we’re already using for most of the lights around our home and I have to say, I was most pleasantly surprised that I actually liked the look of them and the way they sort of just blend right in with our window frames. I really didn’t want to loose our beautiful views of the forest when the shades were closed and so, I went with a more translucent fabric choice – I was a bit worried that the fabric would be too translucent and wouldn’t block out enough of the heat (which was the whole point in getting these), but I’m happy to report that they’ve done a fabulous job at keeping the heat out for us while still allowing us to enjoy our forest veiws! I think our favourite feature though is how we can set up schedules for them to go down and back up automatically with the sun – they can follow it all across the back of our house, blocking the heat out when needed and then rolling right back up when the sun has moved on. Honestly, we’d give these smart shades a 10/10. They’re absolutely brilliant!
In addition to the smart shades on all of our back windows, I added some custom linen curtains to the patio doors in our dining area. I love the way they break up that big wall of windows and bring a bit of softness to our dining space. While I priced out several different options, in the end I went with this budget friendly custom linen curtain in the “ivory white” colour. Again, super happy with the quality and price point on these!
Finally, we changed out a few more light fixtures around here and I am head-over-heels in love with them all! We’ve got a few more to go yet on our main floor, but I love the way these fixtures bring a perfect balance of traditional with a modern touch.
Whew! I think that’s everything for this month. It’s surprising to me how much of a difference all of these little changes can make. It’s truly starting to feel like a different house for us – one that reflects our style just a bit more and is definitely feeling more like home for us. I have a few more ideas I’d love to tackle through the month ahead, so here’s hoping we’ve got another big update to share again next month.
Wishing you SUCH a lovely day my friends!