Saying Goodbye to Union Street
Since paying off my car in November (or realizing I could go ahead and pay it off at any time without penalty!) I realized that with the help of my budgeting system I am able to save decent money and live off a smaller amount of income. I am working very hard at a few jobs and doing my best to live comfortably. I decided recently that I was close enough to start the process of looking for my first home.
The first step in making this decision come to life is giving notice on my rental house, cancelling services and beginning the process of finding out about the legalities of buying a home including mortgage, insurance and fees required. What I am looking for in a home is that of my current rental, a cute older home that has had some renovations done but still holds its original unique character. As I will be living there alone I do not need a ton of space but I do hope to have a decent yard that I will be able to actively use and garden.
The Living Room
I have rented many apartments in my day, but this was the first real house, a semi-detached 100+ year old home in an old suburb of Kingston. When I toured the space I knew it needed considerable work but that’s never an issue as I enjoy the renovation process. At first glance it needed a solid cleaning, holes filled in and fresh paint.
The living room I’ll admit, is rather busy looking at the moment. I change it around every 4 months which is also when I do a deep clean of every room. I love my thrift treasures, artwork and trinkets so naturally it can look packed very quickly, but I assure you it is nice and cozy when you are physically in the room.
The “selling feature” of this house is by far the kitchen. I fell in love with the cupboards instantly, although we had to scrape off 7 layers of paint in a rainbow of colours in order to prep them for a clean coat of white! The kitchen was originally a very vibrant yellow, not a soft butter yellow as the photos would suggest. It was actually hard on the eyes from the vibration. Based on the paint we scraped off the window frame one would assume they didn’t like the dark tones of the maroon (then blue) so they painted it a neon green. After that it looks like they tried to go for a calm yellow but it ended up vibrating as a neon yellow against the green. Sigh.
The landlord actually recommended a really nice neutral colour he had used recently. I would compare it close to Ground Fog by Behr. Somewhere between a light tan to a grey tone. Absolutely beautiful shade that we used in the kitchen and the upstairs bathroom. It just adds that something extra and did wonders on the look and feel of the kitchen.
The Curious Bathroom
What fascinated and baffled any guest that entered my house would have to be the downstairs bathroom. The landlord had built an extension onto the back of the house so that there could be a standing shower (upstairs bathroom only has enough space for a tub) and felt this would be a absolute necessity. As it stands I used that shower maybe twice in the three years I have lived there! Definitely just a guest bathroom in my opinion as a bathtub lover!
The bathroom is basically an elevated toilet platform, hallway, shower and sink standing next to the back door of the house. The door leads onto a small porch that my dad was kind enough to fix with his own scrap wood. A very peculiar use of space but it works.
I use the master bedroom in any apartment for basically anything other than a bedroom. I do not like the wasted space dedicated to essentially just your bed for sleeping… I would much prefer to see it used for daily activities or interests. For me I took it as an opportunity to create a huge walk in closet and wardrobe room. This room is at the front of the house which is perched atop a very high traffic (both vehicle, bus and foot) and used as a through-way for drivers to go excessively fast even though the posted speed is 40. However, when a bus goes flying by at 60km/h the house shakes. There is no way I could have slept in this room anyway!
My father renovated the useless closet into a fully functioning wardrobe with two rows of clothing and a full shelved wall on one side. This room needed a serious cleaning, holes to be filled in and pointless shelving removed. Other than that a fresh coat of paint was all we did to update it.
Cozy Back Bedroom
The only room in the house that didn’t need to be touched, save for a serious cleaning! I was glad that the wall paint looked good without needing a fresh coat. We did need to remove the large dog that had been swept behind the bedroom door – not going to lie I wanted to be sick. However everyone cleans differently and my mother is the queen of a serious scrub!
The closet in this bedroom was not exactly functional either so my father adjusted the bar so I could hang extra clothing and added a few shelves below for storage.
As cute and tiny as this bathroom is… I adore it. There is something so unique about the shape, the size, the way I have decorated it. It feels so calm and inviting. We did a considerable amount of work to this room in the end. We had a water leakage issue due to the previous cracked toilet that destroyed the floor. The landlord and my father replaced it with a nice neutral grey sticky tile.
I felt motivated one day to repaint this bathroom to give it more character so I used the remains of the paint from the kitchen. The bathtub required several coats of deck paint to make it white, it was painfully stained from years of usage and I’m guessing lack of deep cleans. There were no cupboards or storage areas for towels and bathing products so my father installed these basic shelves to fit the space. What a world of difference a few shelves can make!
My first garden…
As I said earlier, this is the first time I have rented a house with yard space. Not much of a yard mind you, a bit of a path that meets the sidewalk and along the side of the house beside the driveway. The side of the house naturally grows mint like mad, so after the first year my mother and I sculpted all these areas into a really cute mini garden! The space filled in nicely with ground cover especially in and around the walkway stones. The first thing I thought about when I gave notice on my lease was “oh no! I don’t want to leave my plants!” but like-minded ladies, my mother’s first remark the following day was “We are digging up your hostas before you leave.”
To add to the character of the front garden I carried all these loose bricks up from the basement! What a lot of work I must say but I collected the exact amount to line and frame the plant areas.