The story of our house
Updated: Apr 20
I can’t imagine my life without a long list of DIY projects to be done.
When I remodelled the kitchen of our previous house about 5 years ago, I was near the end of my to-do-list of projects I had planned. As we sat in that beautiful kitchen one day, my husband, Stephen said to me: “You have done everything there is to be done to this house. We need to move”. Who wants to move when your house is finally perfect?! Well, sometimes he knows me better than I know myself!
Little did we know that it won’t be long before we would start planning our move. And might I add, not just any move, but one halfway around the world. After months and months of planning, we finally landed in Canada at the end of 2017. It was very exciting and scary at the same time. Lifting your roots and starting over where a lot of things are very different, is no small feat.
After all the initial admin to set up our life again, it was time to find a (hopefully) forever home. The most exciting part of it all! We viewed quite a few before finding THE ONE. By no means was this house perfect, but it had a great footprint. On the outside, there wasn’t much of a garden and on the inside, everything was builder grade. Being only seven years old meant it wasn’t a money pit but it could use an upgrade, especially if we wanted it more custom. After seven months in a rental, my hands itched for some new DIY projects!
Which projects to tackle first in a new home
We took possession of our first Canadian house in June 2018 and we moved in eight days later. The obvious and easiest thing to get done was painting. I had to make the best of those eight days because painting an empty house is just so much easier. The million-dollar question was, what do I paint first? I decided that it would be great to have the girls’ rooms and the study painted before moving in. Firstly the study because moving the piano to paint is not something I wanted to do and secondly the girls’ bedrooms to get them settled as soon as possible without any further disruptions. We also had the carpets replaced before all the furniture came. To date that was still one of our most expensive projects and not DIY like almost everything else.
I gave the girls total carte blanche choosing the colour schemes for their bedrooms. No, it wasn’t easy for me but it was important to me to give that freedom. Daniella (16) chose a light pink for her walls and Aneska (13) chose a vivid purple. I also had to paint some accent on their furniture. I think it turned out quite cute and also, it won’t be forever. In fact, Aneska who is now 15, is already planning her next update as we speak.
My deadline was met and I finished both bedrooms and the study before we moved in. Important to add that it wasn’t only the walls that were painted, but also all the baseboards, doors and closet doors! I wanted everything crispy white and all those things throughout the house were a dull beige. By now they are all white as I worked my way through the house room by room.
Bookcases for the study were also high on the priority list, in order to unpack the loads and loads of books we trekked halfway around the world. Yes, that’s the kind of nerds we are! With all the electrical outlets and air vents in the study, there were in effect only one wall for bookcases. I really wanted built-ins, but as it had to be budget-friendly and quick. Hello Ikea!
It took a fair amount of planning to get the maximum amount of storage with two small windows thrown into the mix. I’m happy with how it turned out and I think working around those two small windows, gave it more of a custom look than just a standard row of bookcases piled together. I also changed the doorknobs just to “de-Ikea” them a bit.
The colour I had mixed for the study's walls, is Classic Silver from Behr, sold by The Home Depot. I used Classic Silver throughout the rest of the house as well. I find it to be the perfect grey. Not blue, not brown, just blending in well with all my decor. The colours for the girls' rooms are also from Behr. I am not a paint snob. I tried Behr for the first time because it's a budget-friendly option and I was very happy with the quality.
The cubes in the centre are decorated with a memory box for everyone in our household, vintage finds from antique shops and hand-crafted ornaments from South Africa.