A Blank Slate

Our house was a former rental that had just been refreshed to sell. A fresh coat of paint throughout made things seem nice and new — a pretty good clean slate to start from.

The exterior was decent. Super long driveway that would be great to accommodate guests’ cars and keep them off the street. Nice big maple tree out front for some privacy and shade and in the summer.

Inside, the space felt open and spacious. I appreciated that there was a wall separating the entry from the living space (we’d seen several places where you just walked right in to the living room). But everything was very beige. Neutral is usually a safe bet when looking to sell a house, but boy was I itching to inject some personality into the house.

Entry and Living Room
Dining Room

The kitchen was sort of a departure from the beige, but not exactly in the best way. Green laminate countertops were hardly our cup of tea.

Kitchen from Dining Room

Kitchen from Living Room

Upstairs, the bedrooms were decent, but again lots of beige and in dire need of some life. 

Master Bedroom

Bedroom #2 (future office)

Bedroom #3 (future guest room)

The main bathroom in the house shared the same lovely green counters as the kitchen, and some of the fixtures needed to be updated. We were excited to tackle a few projects in this room!

Main Bathroom

Finally, we were lucky enough to have a finished basement (and a half bathroom) in this house. The extra space was really nice, but it created a mountain of work for us…

Rec Room
Half Bath in Basement

Overall, the inside of the house was good. Again, a great blank slate to start from. But what really sold us on the house was the yard:

Deck Area


It’s HUGE. The house backs onto a relatively busy street (hence the large distance between the house and the road). For some, this might have been a deal-breaker, but growing up, my family’s house backed onto an even busier street. The added outdoor space definitely outweighed any concern about traffic noise (of which there is hardly any).

My biggest issues with the yard also stems from the house’s history. First, the neighbourhood was built in an area that was formerly used as a gravel pit. Needless to say that has created some challenges with planting out there (dig down just a little bit and there’s lots of rock, and the ground is very dry).

The house’s former life as a rental also presented challenges: no one had really maintained the grass or gardens, so there were weeds all over. Also, this massive backyard had no shade or privacy. Definitely lots to do outside too!