Why We Rent

A few have asked whether we finally broke down and bought this house, or are we renting. We are still renting. After moving back to Canada in 2008, we moved in such a hurry that we wanted time to figure out where we wanted to live. We liked the high school in this area, but didn't want to commit in buying. In 2009, the market had dropped a bit and we were seriously looking. We found a few, but then we thought, the next house will be the "one".

Then the market shot up, we decided to wait. My husband's work restructured and he was given a generous severance and a nice long paid holiday, which he enjoyed fully. With a possibility of moving towns/provinces for work, purchasing a home wasn't something we were financially comfortable with. Work was found in our area and we started looking again. Again, overwhelmed at the cost of home ownership and comparing what we could of bought back in Virginia, it was a hard pill to swallow. I remember being at the bank and when the banker told us what mortgage she could approve us for, I started having a panic attack. Felt like a noose around my neck was being tightened. So we decided to put it off until kids graduated. 

I am ok with renting because it makes economic sense for our family. It means we can live in an over-valued neighbourhood and live in a house for cheaper than owning it. We did the math and if we bought this house, our savings would be depleted for a down payment and with our mortgage payments/property taxes and repair costs it would be AT least $1200 more a month than renting. Sure everyone says we are paying down someone else's mortgage. We have investments elsewhere but we don't believe it putting ALL your eggs in one basket. If the market falls (which it did when we lived in Virginia and this area is not immune to that, contrary to what the belief is here), we won't lose it all. We have been there once before, purchasing a leaky condo and losing everything and starting from scratch. Hard to do with 3 little kids and one income. So we are wary in putting everything we have into a house in a market where no one bats an eyelash in taking on a $500,000 + mortgage. Combine that with the fact that in 2 years our youngest graduates from high school, which then means we aren't tied down to this school catchment area. It opens the door to moving elsewhere! So we are renting.

(Our old family room)

 I feel like we hit the jackpot with this house. It was only 2 streets over from our last place, and ironically next door to our real estate agent, who I am sure is tired of our indecisiveness! We are in the same neighbourhood and my son has a 2 minute longer walk to high school, going from 10 min to 12 min. Also, this house was given a cosmetic renovation before we moved in, so it feels fresh and "new". We also negotiated a lower rent (cheaper than our other place) to take care of the landscaping, which is overgrown. I love gardening, so it was a win-win for us and them! The kitchen looks pretty but in reality the cabinets need replacing. Which might be something the landlords are interested in doing next year. They had a bad, bad experience with the previous tenant, so they are hesitant as to how much they will renovate. Fair enough. I think I can cure them of that!

So in a nutshell, here we are. I am in a house with good bones and my creative juices are flowing!

XO Barbara

Snippets of our New Home

My intentions to blog more regularly keeps getting sidelined. 

More like I procrastinate. 

But my mother-in-law, who is my most loyal blog reader noted I had no photos up of our new place. I quickly snapped pics with my iPhone to send to her, and I figured I will give you all a peek. They are poor quality and were taken when my house was still in the midst of being unpacked. But I think they will make great "before" photos! Since teachers are still on strike, I have had time on my hand to get a few projects done. 

This house was freshly painted, so the wall colors will stay in the meantime. But I managed to hang up artwork and drapes!

I am also excited to be working with a few brands on some projects around the house as well! Can't wait to share.

Enjoy the snippets...and the mess.

The entry.

The family room.

The kitchen command center.

The kitchen, so nice and big. I think I will get lots of exercise cooking in this kitchen. So much bigger than my last kitchen, farther to go to get to the fridge, stove, over and pantry. I have a large pantry to the right, LOVE it!

The dining room, don't you love the chandy? Reminds me of the interrogation rooms you see on crime TV. I have a crystal chandelier from the other place to replace this lovely one.

The living room. 

Our master.

The games/TV room aka. My son's hangout room.

I fogot to take photos of 3 other bedrooms, nothing too exciting. And I have a doozy of a powder room. But that room is deserving of a post of its own.

Slowly the rooms are coming together, I am re-arranging things and using artwork and accessories from the last place but in different ways. If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen some improvements!

I do hope once I start working again, I can buy a nice area rug for the living room and some new pieces of furniture. Can't wait to share the updates!

XO Barbara


I have had an incredibly busy summer! It was jam packed with hustle and bustle. We moved houses, went away twice in the midst of packing, moving and unpacking. Managed to get two kids off to university within a week in the same city, which was crazy. Hosted a few impromptu dinners for guests that happened to be in town. Now I can sit down and breathe. 

Here are a few pictures taken from my last week and a half!

 Was thankful I could visit my in-law's farm after dropping off the middle at university, it had been 4 years since I last visited.

 Picked some crab apples to take home and made applesauce!

Came home to find this cheerful drawing by my niece who stayed over at our house while we were away. Note the unpacked boxes in the background. 

But I MUST share my latest project.  This past weekend, after I came home from dropping off the middle at university, I drove back with my oldest to help her set up her first apartment. With no furniture, we hit Ikea on Labour Day weekend - which was a ZOO! Her dad and I bought her a bed and dresser. She was lucky enough to move in with a roommate who had living/dining room furniture. Our daughter was gifted relatively new Ikea Expedit bookcases, so she is set up! But I spent 4 hours putting together a dresser and a bed. Now if anyone has ever put together Ikea furniture, they can relate to my agony. You have to read those darn instructions sooooo carefully. It would also help if you were an octopus, as extra arms are needed. My nephew and sister-in-law, who popped by to visit, came at the right time! Putting a bed together requires more that 2 people! My SIL ended up staying and helped me finish the rest, otherwise I would have not made my flight home in time. I look forward to getting some "after" photos to share with you here.

The dresser finished! And yes, that is a cucumber on top. She has two grandmothers with huge gardens who won't let you leave without taking a cucumber or two. That is how we roll.

Today I sit here, my head whirling from my crazy summer and am relieved that despite the teacher's strike (long story - but in BC, we teachers are on strike, not what I signed up for when I began teaching 7 years ago), I have a few days/weeks to breathe, collect my thoughts and spend time with my son, who loves the fact his bossy older sisters are far away!

This week, I hope to get some projects done around here. And I am homeschooling my son, teaching a bit of grade 11 pre-calculus math, a bit of a stretch for someone who teaches kindergarten. Wish me luck!

XO Barbara