Ranch front with landscaping.

A similar ranch home frontage.

So, the latest topic up for discussion at our place is our future driveway design. I really like the idea of a circular or teardrop style driveway and my husband has suggested a straight, double wide driveway. He sometimes needs to park a truck or other equipment at our house so that is something we need to consider. I have come up with what I see as the pros and cons for each option and some very basic sketches (please don’t judge my drawings – they were done quickly and are not to scale…and I coloured them with crayons.)

Straight Driveway –  This is obviously the simplest option that would just go straight from the road to the garage. We would make it a double wide driveway that would likely continue beside the garage which would make it easier for my husband to park a large truck when necessary. Also, this would be the easiest option for snow removal and lawn mowing (although there would be more lawn frontage to mow.) For me the cons would be backing up out of the driveway especially if there is a large truck parked and also guest parking might also be an issue if several cars are parked along the driveway. That is where the circular driveway design shines with it’s ease of use. We would have to fill in more of the ditch to create this double wide entrance and the municipality would have to move a drain that is where the driveway’s entrance would be. I’m not sure if there would be a cost involved with that but quite likely.

Straight driveway sketch.

Straight driveway sketch.

Circular or Horseshoe Driveway – The horseshoe or half circle driveway looks like a horseshoe and begins at the street and then loops around with a separate entrance and exit and has a section that leads to the garage. This is also a fairly easy design. I’m not sure exactly where the section leading to the garage would have to start off of the loop but you can get the idea from my drawing. This is a great design for parking, especially if you are having several guests. Also, lawn frontage would be a little less for lawn mowing. This design would also mean more of the front ditch would have to be filled which may involve extra cost.

Sketch of horseshoe driveway.

Sketch of horseshoe driveway.

Teardrop Driveway – The teardrop style driveway also begins at the street, loops around and continues around back to the street and has a section that leads to the garage. I like the look of a circular driveway and the ease of use, especially for easy guest parking. It can also be a great and safe place for kids to ride their bikes and I think it makes for a more interesting landscape design (we could do something interesting within the circle) and less lawn to mow.  The cons would be that this takes up more space and it is a bit more complicated to create as it has to be designed and measured properly for proper turning angles. And this type of driveway would not be ideal for parking large trucks which as I mentioned, my husband would have to do on occasion.

Rough sketch of teardrop driveway.

Rough sketch of teardrop driveway.

So, we will have to give this a little more thought and get some more measurements to get a better idea of exactly where each driveway would be located. Personally, I’m thinking that the horseshoe driveway would work out best as it would still allow for straight parking and also have the ease of a circular driveway and additional parking.





This may be a boring post but it is part of this whole process so I am including a little info on the building permit. We are months away from being able to do the fun stuff like paint the interior and see the kitchen installed. Some rather boring and not so fun tasks need to be done in preparation for this whole house moving/renovating project. Over the last few weeks (maybe closer to months) I have been trying to get all of our information together for the building permit. I picked up the application months ago and thought that the few stapled sheets would be pretty simple to fill out, hand in and then after being accepted with a smile we would be on our merry way digging a foundation and moving a house. Well, the process was a bit more detailed than that and has taken a lot longer than expected.

An important part of the permit is providing  the drawings showing the foundation plan. We found a great local architect who did the foundation drawings (by hand) and helped us figure out how to configure the basement. I thought we had a good basement layout but she brought up some important points to consider. If we didn’t want to move electrical boxes we would need to consider their location when deciding on walls. Also the location of the septic system and ejector would also be important when deciding where the bathroom will be. And the basement window locations would also have to be adjusted depending on where the deck would be. It only took a couple of weeks to have the finished drawings in hand. 

Next came filling out the septic permit. This was also a bit more complicated than we thought. Prior to completing the worksheet to determine the daily sewage flow, septic tank size, percolation rate and distribution pipe length (exciting stuff) I knew absolutely nothing about how septic systems work. I came up with a site drawing as best as I could but it seemed like a good plan to let an expert in the septic field check everything over before handing it in. Luckily the company moving the house is also doing our foundation and overseeing our septic. It’s nice to deal with one company for all these things rather than three different ones.

So, we are keeping our fingers crossed that we can get the permit handed in in the very near future and If all goes well our application will get approved early in the new year. Then we can set a date to dig the basement and move the house…which will make for a much more exciting post.



original house stuff

I was so excited when the previous owner of the house found her parents original box of house ‘stuff’ which I imagine was the equivalent of my renovation binder of information

The box included the original house plan, blueprints, cost quotes and receipts and some great flyers for everything from fridges to lighting to doorbells…oh my! Not everyone would get so excited about this find but for me, it was like being a kid in a candy store.

Some of the most interesting things were:

The original home plan ripped out of a home plan book which shows a few changes that were made including losing the master bedrooms en suite and walk in closet in order to expand the dining room and downsizing to a one car garage to create a larger mudroom and indoor stairs to the basement which were originally accessed in the basement.

Original home plan.

Original home plan.



And the original blueprints…

original blueprints

Here is the original blueprint for the front elevation of the house

This 1965 Beaver Lumber building materials catalogue is full of great product photos and illustrations.

retro home building catalogue

I love this set up for the back yard


retro building flyer

Notice the vinyl ASBESTOS tile…

Some lovely retro paint colours

Some lovely retro paint colours

I love all of these doors. My favorite would have to be the teardrop style.

I love all of these doors. My favorite would have to be the teardrop style.

Some fabulous doorbells and chimes


I’d like the starburst design.

Some fashionable chimes.

Some fashionable chimes.

These photos show just a few of the fun advertisements in the stack of papers. There are some kitchen design flyers and pamphlets for lovely mid century lighting which I will share in another day.





organized binder

I am the type of person who likes to feel organized. So with a project this large I have a lot of information to keep track of. I want to keep it all easily accessible so I have created our renovation binder…an information central on every aspect of this project. It covers the following topics so far…

Plans & Permits – This covers all of the boring stuff that has to be done before the foundation can be poured and the house can be moved. It includes things like the permit applications and the names and numbers of any important people we’ve needed so far – architect, building officials, movers, builders, septic people, etc.

Budget – We’ve created a rough estimate of what each part of the renovation will be so we know what we will be dealing with in the long run. We know that there are always surprises in any renovation and extra costs that come up but with an estimate and a budget we’ll be able to adjust it accordingly.

Interior Plan – In this section I’ve got the interior floor plans with any planned changes. I also have photos of the house printed so if I am meeting with someone about the house I can easily show them photos…and at times, to refresh my own memory.


Exterior Plan – This section is fairly large so far with drawings of how we’d like the exterior, some information on siding options, faux stone panels, paint colours, and some landscaping ideas.

Paint – I seem to gather a few new paint swatches every time I enter a store that sells paint. I have a pretty good idea of the paint colours I’d like to use and the brighter colours I like have been an easy choice but the neutrals, not so much. It is truly amazing how many different shades of white and grey there are and how the colours change completely in different lighting. Luckily, we’ve got a long way to go before the paint brushes come out.

Rooms – I have sections for the rooms of the house – basement, kitchen & dining, living room, bedrooms and laundry. This section is growing with my recent kitchen planning.

My binder may not be the perfect organizational system but it works for us.




The house exterior 'before'.

The house exterior ‘before’.

For the last several years I’ve wanted to move out of our two storey brick century home…and preferably to a one level mid century rancher. I just love the look and simplicity of a 1950s or 60s rancher. There are parts of our current home that I do love like the high ceilings, the large wooden trim that accent the doors and windows and the beautiful original wooden doors themselves.

Large wooden trim on windows and doors and original banister.

Large wooden trim on windows and doors and original banister.

I love that it has a long history and likely housed several families throughout the years including our own. However the things I don’t love about living in a one hundred year old home are plenty. It is difficult to create an open layout in an older home like ours, the dining area is very small, storage is non-existent, heating and cooling can be inefficient, and the basement is not a place one would want to hang out in…unless you’re a spider. On the exterior, the bricks need re-facing and the foundation is in need of some work.

So when my husband heard that this vacant 1960s house might be available we called the owner who gave us a tour of the home. She had grown up in the home and you could see it was full of great memories. It had been vacant for a couple of years and it was likely going to be demolished. The home had some water and plaster damage inside from a leaky roof and a few other issues. It is surprising how quickly things inside a house deteriorate once they are empty – homes need people.

I loved the ranch style home’s layout with a great mudroom and laundry area, a large spacious kitchen and dining room with beautiful big patio doors that let lots of light in and lead to the backyard. The living room was a good size with an inviting bay window and comfy window seat. There were hardwood floors through the front entry, hallway and the three modest bedrooms. And the mid-century front door with three oval windows definitely sealed the deal.

So, a deal was made and the house will have a new home, an interior and exterior makeover and a new family to call it home.

Here are some of the before photos. As you can see, we have some work to do but I am sure the after photos will be fabulous!

before house front

‘before’ of house front corner

'before' exterior front entrance

‘before’ exterior front entrance

'before' of the knotty pine kitchen

‘before’ of the knotty pine kitchen


‘before’ of the dining room from the kitchen

'before' of the front entryway...and the door I love

‘before’ of the front entryway…and the door I love

'before' of the living room

‘before’ of the living room