A new chimney

First off, with Instagram making it so easy to post my picture updates I have become a horrible blogger. I write here so that every step we take in building the Forever Home is documented. Hopefully you have a chance to popover to my Instagram and follow along as well!


You may be wondering why in the world would we want to rebuild the entire chimney, well we had many good reasons....

  1. The old chimney was now lower then the roof, it had to be built up to reach the new roof.
  2. The old chimney we discovered was actually seeping, no beuno...very unsafe.
  3. The old chimney was double the size it had to be, therefore taking up extra room.
  4. The old chimney was not centered

The last reason was the most annoying one, when we initially thought we were keeping the old chimney we had a very difficult time trying to center the fireplace and getting the attachments in place. We also had to make the fireplace much wider then we would have preferred.

Your next question might be...did you pay somebody to rebuild it. Nope, nada, no way, not on Branko's time. He knew it wouldn't be easy but he also knew he could save over $3000 by doing this work himself. Thankfully my dad who has all the patience in the world offered to come for two days and help.

The first step was to completely dismantle the old chimney. The very top part and the very bottom were the most difficult. Branko used a special tool to help chip away the concrete that seals the cinder blocks together. It took us 4 nights with around 3 hours of work each night.

The second step we had to prepare the basement to ensure the area was clean. An old furnace and the old chimney were partly in the way. He also had to cut out some holes in the floor and roof.

The third step...rebuild!! They were able to finish half of the work in one day. The upper part of the chimney was much more difficult as they had to carry the cinder blocks up the ladder.

I hope one day our new fire place looks like this.....

We plan on using a similar stone like in this picture and bringing the stone all the way to the ceiling which is around 15ft. Picture was sourced here.

Currently we will be using this fireplace more then likely for the winter until we finish the interior of the house.

We found this fireplace on Kijiji last year for $200. It was really worn down and faded, so we bought fire safe spray paint and gave it a fresh coat.

For now, the house will stay in the crazy condition. The shingles on the roof should be done in 10 days. Next up we do the wiring in the ceiling and then finish the insulation. It's pretty cold in this area since it's not properly insulated so we are thankful that we are close to that stage.



Forever Home - The Exterior Plan

The forever home is under going some major changes this weekend. We are installing a new roof that will allow taller walls on the inside of the house and a higher middle peak point.

The type of trusses we are using are called scissor trusses. They are constructed in a certain way that when you are designing the interior of your home interior walls are never load bearing. All of the weight sits on the outside walls. The other benefit is that the new trusses can be installed on top of the old roof and then the old roof is removed on the inside. This is mostly helpful when you are living in the house while work is being done. You are always covered from the outside elements.

Now the fun stuff!!! The new roof is providing new dimensions to the roof line. Before it was one very long house which was not all that pretty.

Let me remind you of what the Forever Home looked like when we first purchased it...

Forever Home Winter 2012

Then we added 2 additions to each end of the house (which we realized thru off the dimensions and the roof appeared too short on the long house)

Forever Home Winter 2013

Here are the new drawings of how the house will appear once completed.

The front of the house although not the main entrance.

This is the technically the front of the house where our main entrance will be, even though from the street it looks to be the side of the house.

That back door is a walk out from our kitchen onto a 20ft covered deck area, we plan on creating a two step deck. One part that is covered and the second will step down into the forest and have no cover.

The exterior will be clad in a combination of grey board and batten on the walls, stone features on the corners & pillars, and cedar shakes on any of the gables.

Thoughts??? Is there something you would do differently?


Forever Home Floor Plan Update

If you follow me on Instagram you would have noticed some new pictures popping up in regards to the Forever Home. Initially we really had no plans on expanding the house anymore but when it came time to move in Branko realized that the third room was more like an office and not a bedroom.

We had to make a big decision before we continued working on the house and that we did. The forever home will be undergoing another expansion plus raising the roof.

Currently our wall height is only 7'6, very short even for a standard home. The 3rd bedroom is only 8x8. There was no covered porch. The house was also one long house and we needed to add some dimension to the roof line.

This will be a two part series on all of the changes we are making. In this post I will talk about the new floor plan and in my second post I will talk about the changes on the exterior.

First we will take a look at one of our very first lay out plans. These were created very simply using the free floor planer website.

1200 sq ft bungalow 70's home. The layout was very awkward especially with the main bathroom outside the kitchen and living room.

Our initial plan included 2 major additions, adding a master suite, a proper entrance, larger kitchen, and moving the main bathroom further from the kitchen & more centralized to the bedrooms.

Our final plan. Another small addition to the back which allows us to move the master suite to the back for more privacy from the street, 3 very nice sized bedrooms, a main bathroom centralized in between the 3 bedrooms, a new roof to raise the wall height, a pantry added beside the kitchen. a walk out door from the kitchen onto a fully covered porch.

Our square footage has gone up to 2600 on the main floor which is far more then what we ever wanted. With the house being so long & narrow it was hard to configure the rooms. With the addition on the back it provides the house more dimension and room to work with normal size bedrooms.

What do you think??? Have you ever renovated your home by adding on??

Stay tuned next week for the exterior plans! This will really show you the changes on the roof line.

How to get your best deal on appliances

We have been living in the Forever Home for just over a month now, and just after we moved in our laptop took a turn for the worse and blogging on an iPad is zero fun so I haven't had a chance to update you on some fun things that have been going on around here!

Appliance shopping can be one of the most stressful, decision-making situations when being a home owner. The costs of appliances are usually very high and with all of the different options they have with newer technology it can become very confusing.

After living in the new home for two days I started shopping for a washer and dryer. We desperately needed it before the end of the week since our clean clothes options were becoming slim.

I spotted this Samsung duo in Lowe's and knew immediately this is what I wanted. They were the largest washer and dryer on the market. The washer was a top loader which was high on my must have list. The dryer had options for steaming clothes and a special rack for drying shoes. In my mind they were the Cadillac of washer and dryers out there. 

Sounds fantastic, right??? Well the price of this duo was not so fantastic. The washer original price was $1498 and dryer $1498 as well (Lowe's pricing). At Home Depot they were $1498 each. I knew that Branko had no interest in spending that much money on appliances but I also knew that I needed these in my home!

NOW I will tell you how I bought this set and saved myself $1000!!!!!

First stop was Lowe's. The washer was on sale for $1299 and the dryer on sale for $1199. No wheeling and dealing here because nobody was around to help me. 

Next stop, Home Depot. Did you know that Home Depot will match the price and give an additional 10% off. Home Depot had this washer and dryer by chance on the floor (another customer purchased it but didn't measure that they were not standard size and it wouldn't fit in her house.) When I was told this I asked what her best offer was, considering it was technically "used". It had minor scratches on it. Nope. That was the answer no budging on the price. She even tried to convince me to just buy a new set at the same price. I wasn't happy with that so I left.

Third stop, Future Shop. I was pretty firm on my last stop. I walked in, told the guy what I wanted, and that I only wanted to pay $2000 for the pair (originally they cost $3000). I told him what Home Depot was offering me. He hummed and hawed. Then he said, "You are going to buy them today?" I responded, "Yes, and if you give these to me for $2000, I will be back to buy a fridge, stove, and dishwasher"

Yes, this is the state of our Laundry Room. Yes. this is an iPhone picture.


SOLD!!! He even threw in the shipping cost of $50!

Some final thoughts:

1. Don't waiver on your price and stay firm.

2. Know your prices and product, when you are knowledgeable the sales person takes you more seriously. 

3. Try to find a location that has at least 3 different stores in close proximity. (In Brampton @ Bovaird Future Shop and Home Depot are in the same parking lot. Lowe's just down the street).

4. Last but not least be patient. Sales people can be pushy and sometimes really push your last nerve. If you become rude it's a sure thing they won't want to work with you.

Update: the washer/dryer duo are still on sale but for even cheaper now! I am sure you could nab these for $1800!!!


Well Water Maintenance.....Forever Home Update

This is a long overdue post that I've really been wanting to talk about, if you live in the country you more then likely have a well to supply your water. 

There are two different types of wells that we've had experience with, a dug well and a drilled well. The old house had a dug well and the pump mechanism was different then the one at the new house.  

Sooooo back to the beginning, because of all of the renovations at the Forever Home and the fact that we were not living there we had the water turned off. All of the plumbing was going to be changed and moved. Over the horrendous winter we had last year the existing pump cracked (there must have been water left in the system). We didn't think much of it, figured a couple of days before we move in we would buy a new pump and re-connect the system and have water.  

The old pump (as in ancient from the 70's)


Not so fast skipper!!! We quickly found out it wasn't going to be that easy. Because our well was drilled 155ft we needed an extra large pump that wasn't carried at most stores. One day before move in we were frantically calling around when we finally found someone who could order the pump for us. On Friday, the move in day we finished moving all of stuff and then went into action to connect the water pump. 


That was my hashtag for 5 days. 

The water would just not pump out. So we researched A LOT. With the research we discovered we might have a couple of issues. There is a small valve at the bottom of your hoses at the bottom of your 155 ft well.  


ask me how heavy 2 - 155 ft hoses are???!!!!! So heavy that we had to hook them up to the bobcat to pull them out. 

That black stuff on the bottom is Iron build up

Once we pulled out the hoses we discovered they were fully encased in this black stuff (iron build up).  

Hurray!!!!!!! We thought we solved the problem. Cleaned everything, bought new parts and dropped the hoses back into the hole.  

A not so happy husband, with Iron build up on his head. That's a new valve at the bottom with no more Iron


Yup, you read the correctly. What could be the issue now, no water in the well?? a kink in the hose letting air in?? Shit, Shit, shit we have to pull the hose out again. 

Ummmmmmm not a chance you would catch me down there especially at night


By the time Tuesday came around we called 3 well maintenance companies none of which called us back. We spoke with our parents and co-workers hoping somebody could tell us where we might be going wrong plus a ton more research on the internet. Tuesday morning Branko read somewhere that your pump needs a valve that should be only half way open. Ummmmmmm he knew we did not have this valve on the pump so he called the company immediately and asked about it. 

The response: "ohhhhhhhhh ya, you def. need that valve or else you will NEVER get water"  

Isn't this a fitting quote

Hope you learned something here! If you have any well issues feel free to leave a comment below, I am certainly no expert but sure did learn a lot. 



Forever Home Update - 3 Days to Move In

I've been absent around here for good reason. We have a million different things happening and on most days I don't know which way my head is spinning. 

We move in 3 days to the Forever Home...THREE FREAKIN DAYS. The small problem is we still don't have water. I believe magic will happen and by Friday water will be running. If not I feel sorry for my co-workers on Monday morning.  


Current state of the house. 

More exciting news is we bought a new car!!! Yes, in all of our madness we had to buy a new car because sadly my veggie running car died. We had enough. This is where you guys come in to help me out!! All of you gas paying drivers which credit card do you prefer for collecting points? I am thinking about signing up for a PC Financial card since I shop for most of my groceries at Zehrs (country version of Loblaws/Superstore) 


2014 Passat 

Dream Garage Re-build is in full effect!! The roof has been restructured and put back up. If you are new here and wondering why it was put BACK up read this post


Can you spot me???? 

Can you spot me???? 

Check back next week as lots of things will be going on around here!!! 

Dream Garage Re-build

Last year we started on one of the biggest projects over at the Forever Home. I named it the "The Dream Garage". Branko has worked all of his life really hard to save his money in hopes that one day he would have the garage of his dreams to ensure his classic cars were safely stored.

Picture from last year. Dream Garage 

When that day came last year I was over joyed for him. You see Branko is a child of war. His family ran from war torn former Yugoslavia when he was 11 years old. I can not even imagine what those days were like but I truly believe those moments in his life and the upbringing by his parents shaped him into the hard working man he is known to be. 

The Dream Garage was in full swing starting in late August planned to be finished by early November. We worked hard, we paid a couple of guys to help and in a little over a months time the garage was up. We were only missing the plywood on the roof when this happened. You can read the story in that link and imagine how I felt, like my heart was ripped out of me. Not for my pain but his. It was something he had worked so damn hard to have and then it was destroyed in minutes. 

Picture from last year. Dream Garage

The time is now that we re-build this beautiful structure!! It was mangled and I really believed it was going to be much more difficult. But with some help of amazing friends we started on the re-build over the weekend. The plan was to work Sat and Sun but because of the rain forecast we only worked on Saturday. 

Here is a small progress picture that I will share. Make sure you keep checking back in the coming weeks as more updates will be happening! 

Next weekend we continue on the garage all weekend then we have two weeks of working on the Forever Home. Long weekend will be dedicated to the Dream Garage again then 15 days to move in date! 

OH HEY - One last little look......(Branko worked all day Sunday on Forever Home Electrical)

The panel has been officially moved and 2 circuits have been set up, we will set up an appointment for safety on Monday and hopefully have power next Wed!!! 

As of tomorrow we are 30 days from move in date to the Forever Home!!!! Stay tuned as the blog will be busy in the next couple of weeks with many updates!