2018: What We Got Done

We moved to Bowen a short 6ish months ago and holy cow it’s flown by. As there was 60 days between when we purchased our home and our possession date, we had quite a bit of time to figure out what projects we wanted to get done.

I spent a month brainstorming, daydreaming, and proposing ideas to Elliot, and by the time we walked in the door, we had a bit of a plan (8 projects in fact!). The funny thing about plans (ESPECIALLY with a reno) is that things will always come up… 😀

Regardless of what we got done, we knew we wanted to make our home more cohesive. We planned to tackle that through paint, flooring, and a few changes to the floorplan.


Living Room: A

In our last reno, we pretty much tore the whole house apart and then lived in the chaos. Not fun at all haha. This time we wanted to do things differently! We weren’t planning on making major or immediate changes to our main living space (living room, kitchen & loft) and made the decision to hire a painter to refresh the space before we moved in. It was expensive, but — Best. Decision. Ever.

They painted everything white. It brightened everything up and gave us a clean slate!

Demo & Construction: A

We were very lucky to be introduced to a carpenter and a drywaller shortly after we moved to Bowen. We knew with their skills, we could move a few walls and rejig the floor plan. They deleted a closet in the back entryway, built a new closet for the spare room, re-built the utility closet (hot water tank) and hallway closet, cut out a new door for the main bathroom, and re-built our master bedroom closet. Total heroes in our books!

Once they were done moving walls, Elliot set to work taking out the flooring. We have plans to keep the original hardwood floors, but wanted to remove the tile in the bathrooms & back entryway, laminate in the bedrooms, and lino in the laundry room and utility room. Demo is pretty easy, just hard work, and sometimes time consuming. The turquoise blue tile in our back entry was a beast to get up!

Bathroom Renovations: C+

When we bought our house, we knew the biggest thing we would have to tackle is the main bathrooms. Both needed to be gutted and re-done, and as everyone knows bathroom renovations can be costly.

As we had never tackled a project as big as a bathroom reno, and also hadn’t demo’d a room back to the studs, we proceeded optimistically, but cautiously. We decided to tackle the main bathroom first, and then the master ensuite (so we could always leave ourselves with one bathroom to use).

That plan quickly came crashing down on day 1 of our project when Elliot discovered asbestos in our bathroom floor. From there, we hired an asbestos abatement company, and took both bathrooms down to the studs. We then learned our sub-floor was rotten and came to the realization that our bathroom renovation was not going to be a simple or quick project…

We’ve spent the bulk of the last 4 months working on our bathrooms, and we still don’t have mirrors on the wall yet… But a few weeks ago, we installed the vanities (yay!) and we do have running water. That’s all you need right? 😉

Main Bathroom

Master Bathroom

Master Bedroom: B+

We started the year with a baby blue room, a pokey closet and what felt like a dark & dreary room. We had grand plans to brighten up the space, add a few traditional elements, and ultimately, create a restorative space that would support me in recovering from surgery.

We picked out a few new furniture pieces for the room, and Elliot gave it a fresh coat of paint. From there, window treatments was easy. We had plans to expand our closet (using IKEA Pax) and we got started on that, but didn’t quite finish.

For now, we have a peaceful and modern space, and next year, Elliot plans to finish the closet! 🙂

Backyard: A

Our backyard very much felt abandoned when we moved in. There was a large rotten deck and a very old rust coloured hot tub. Shortly after we moved in, Elliot got to work lifting up the deck, and soon after, cutting the hot tub into recyclable pieces. It was a lot of manual labour, and at some point, we hired a local guy to help us out.

The good news is that it’s done though, and in the next year or two, we’ll landscape it!

Garden Beds: A+

When we moved in, we didn’t have any space ready for vegetable gardening. We’re both pretty passionate about growing our own food, so it was the first project we tackled. Elliot built two raised beds in our side yard, and soon after, we loaded them with allll the veggie starters. We had plenty of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, radishes and lettuce throughout the summer.

Flower Garden: B-

We have a very old established (and fenced in!) flower garden, but it hadn’t been taken care of in quite awhile. We joke that we bought a flower garden full of ferns, cedar trees and 6ft tall weeds LOL. My mom is a master gardener and came over a number of times to suggest what we could change. She also brought us a ton of perennials from her garden on Salt Spring that we could transplant.

Although we made great progress with the flower garden this year, it also drove us crazy. We had deer “break-in” after break-in. We planted and replanted. We pulled a ton of weeds only to have them come back.

We ‘rushed’ a lot of getting the garden ready for our wedding, and then it ended up raining the majority of our wedding weekend and no one went out into the yard anyways ha ha.

This year, we’ll need to sit down and reflect on where we’re at and figure out where we want to go from here. We would love for it to be a beautiful perennial flower garden, but also need to figure out if we have the capacity to get there.

Bonus projects

Patio: We brought our patio to life so that we could enjoy it for the summer! It turned into the perfect place to relax at the end of a long day. 😀

Laundry Room: We started our laundry room remodel! We installed new tile, bought new laundry machines, and repurposed cabinets from another room.

Pantry: We turned our under stairs space into a functional little pantry space.


So there you have it – our year in review!

My surgery is in a few weeks and my recovery is a long one! Elliot has been working hard getting as much as possible done in the house so that once I’m home from the hospital, I can just focus on healing.

But before that happens… next week we’ll be posting where we’re at with our master bedroom refresh and our main bathroom renovation! And we’ll also be announcing our 2019 projects too!