My Country Farmhouse – Easy DIY ‘Vacant/Occupied’ Sign

Do you have a bathroom in your house without a lock on it? I do. Do you know what happens when you have company and you don’t have a lock on that door? Peek-a-boo! I’ve been walked in on and so have multiple other guests over the past year. At Christmas it happened again and so I googled “where to buy vacant/occupied signs” and got the usual results. Amazon, Etsy or DIY. Amazon and Etsy had them for $16.99 and up – granted that is NOT expensive. However, DIY would make it free (so long as I have all the materials – which I do).

What you need:

Small piece of wood (Any shape) approximately 6″ wide and 3 ” high

Mitre box and saw (if you plan on cutting it to size)

Paint and brushes

2 tiny eye hooks

10″ wire or string

Wire Cutters

This project took about 1 hour (mainly to allow for dry time)

I cleaned up the piece of wood with a rag to remove any dust and debris. I then added the first of two coats of white paint to the wood. Allowing 20 minutes between coats for it to dry.

Once that was done I was able to use the black paint to write “Vacant” on the first side and add the border. After waiting 30 minutes to let the first side dry completely I turned it over and wrote “Occupied” and added the border. While that was drying I was able to add the two eye hooks and wire which will allow the sign to hang off the washroom door knob.

VOILA! What I am hoping will be the end of unwanted walk-ins for my powder room.

My Country Farmhouse – The Laundry/Mudroom Design


It started out as a former office for the previous owner Dianne who is an accountant. Filled with desks and file cabinets you wouldn’t have actually known how big the space was until it was emptied out. And it is big at 249+ square feet. There are two windows on the west and north wall and a coat closet with upper storage above. (YAY baskets!)

There was carpet on the floors and stairs that needed to come out and some valances over the windows that were removed. Under the carpet there is a sturdy wood foundation and after removing staples and nails is in excellent shape. It should make laying a new floor much easier than I anticipated.

Overall this room is a blank space. It is large and white. It does have two flaws; it is freezing cold in the winter weather and will require installation of a few baseboard heaters and some insulation in the ceiling. And it has 4 massive neon light boxes that will need to be replaced in time.

The laundry area will also be used as pantry storage and recycling.

Here is what I am thinking for the laundry room:

I will be refinishing the pantry/laundry cabinets in the laundry room to enhance the appearance.  What was old maple coloured cabinet will become a lovely high gloss white. Luckily the inside of these solid wood cabinets are already white which will minimize the amount of paint and work needed to complete the job.

Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 5.35.40 PM

On the ceiling on the southwest corner (about 20″ from the wall) of the laundry room there is an attic hatch. Since I need to ensure that I can still access this hatch if something goes wrong I’ve decided that over the washer on the southeast corner I will mount an upper cabinet that is 30″ wide and run a rod from that cabinet to a 12″-18″ cabinet which will be removable if access to the hatch is required. And between the washer and dryer I will reuse the 12″ cabinet with drawer as more storage. All the storage in the laundry room will be repurposed from my current kitchen as they are in excellent shape.  This would be about a $1200 savings.

I’ve contacted my favourite flooring store Van Huizen located in Campbellford Ontario and picked the flooring. I’ve decided to go with Nottingham Oak vinyl plank flooring in a mid tone brown to cover the 249+ square feet of space. The cost of the flooring is $3.98/sq.ft and since I do not have the tools to do it myself I will also have them do the install. And once the flooring is installed I will be installing the baseboards.


Since this is the coldest room in the house I will have to add some baseboard heaters to ensure no pipes freeze during the winter. I will be adding a heater under each window and a smaller wall mount heater by the door. These heaters will only run from December to February (give or take) during the coldest months.

Here are a few options I am researching to ensure that I keep the cost of hydro as low as possible:

I will also be adding a secondary source of heating which will be a small wood burning stove. This will happen at a much later date. Here is my inspiration:

Screen Shot 2020-02-15 at 6.28.50 PM

To keep the space light and bright I will be painting the two areas in either white or a white with grey undertone. And I’ve already installed the roman blinds on the windows.


Well, I hope you like where I’m headed with this design.  Over the next couple of weeks I have to clear the room, rip up the last of the carpet, pull out the remaining staples and tacking, and have the floor laid out. Once that is done I will start with base boards, plumbing and electrical. After that I will be moving the washer and dryer over to my house, selling the old machines, painting out the old cupboards and installing them.

I hope you all stay tuned over the next several weeks for updates and progress in this room.










My Country Farmhouse – Week 8 Update: Designing the Kitchen

With all this time on my hands I’ve decided that I would finalize the kitchen design so that when we are back to work there will be no time wasted getting started. My original budget was (for me) on the high end at $20,000 – $25,000 which is a lot of money. Now, with being out of work I’ve come to realize that that is no longer what I want.  It’s not me.  Of all things I am a frugal person. There are a lot of things I can do myself, purchase prefabricated cabinets and install same with prefab countertops, install a new light fixture, paint, tile, flooring the list goes on. What I cannot do is where I will have to spend a few bucks – mostly plumbing and electrical work.

Here is a breakdown for my 11′ X 12′ space:

Cabinets – $3500

Countertops – $1200

Hardware – $200

Sink and faucet – $800

Backsplash – $800

Flooring – $1000

Electrical & Plumbing – $1000

Lighting – $300

Wood/drywall/trim – $1000

Paint – $100

Buffer – $500

Total NEW Budget – $10,400

I will no longer be removing the entire wall between the sitting room and kitchen. Once the stove and fridge is moved the kitchen will have an additional 25″ of space to move around. And maybe a bit of room for a slender island.

Here is my design for the kitchen:

Hampton Bay Edson – Grey/Taupe Cabinets Shaker style (Home Depot Canada) Prices vary per cabinet

Screen Shot 2020-04-29 at 8.26.23 PM

Acacia Wood Countertops – Light Oak (Home Depot – Canada) $485 EA

Screen Shot 2020-05-07 at 2.50.33 PM

Merula Tile Artisan Azul Decor (Home Depot – Canada) $169/box (14 sq.ft.)

Screen Shot 2020-04-29 at 10.04.32 PM

Brass Classic double porcelain handle faucet with Shipping ( $180.00

Screen Shot 2020-05-03 at 6.46.04 PM

White Quartz Classic 33″ x 18″ Undercount Kitchen Sink ( Reg. $982.99 FOR $439.99 / Plumb Pak Keeney Deep thread cast brass sink power ball basket strainer 3.5″ White ( $26.45

Richelieu Regency Brass 3″ Handle (Home Depot Canada) – $7.06 EA (X17)  / Summer Street Home Hardware Small 1.5″ Centre Ring Pull ( $10.40 EA (X6)

Ceiling medallion – free (handmade) found two in a bin headed to the garbage at work. SCORE!!!


Andrews 5 – light candle style classic/traditional chandelier with crystal accents ( $269.99

Pine plank flooring painted blue (complimentary colour to the tile)


Here is the layout of the South Wall


Here is the layout of the North wall


As you can see I’m heading in the direction of French Country – which I absolutely adore. Rich brass tones, natural wood, crisp whites, rustic tiles – sigh!

I’ve decided to increase storage space by putting a double stack set of upper cabinets directly on top of the countertops on either side of the fridge. Here is an example of how that would look:

To save on cupboard space I like the idea of hanging my pots on the wall which is usually wasted space. Even lids can hang on the wall if the design is right. Here are some inspirational photos:

And I will continue to hang my wood cutting/serving boards on the wall which also makes the kitchen feel a little rustic and cozy.


Once the kitchen has been assembled I will pick a fresh paint colour to enhance the final feel of the kitchen.

Since I won’t have the eat-in kitchen I really love I’ve decided to turn the “sitting” room in to a little dining area and library. Just outside the kitchen will be my table and chairs and on the far side by the windows I will build custom book shelves that will look like they’ve always been there and add a chaise to curl up on.

And that concludes the new kitchen design.

Since it is Mothers Day I’d like to take a second to wish all the moms a light and happy Mothers day. Although not everyone can be with their moms with our current situation I hope you get to Face time or Zoom or just call them to make their day a little more special. I’ve decided to paint my mom a picture and bake a loaf of homemade bread which I know she will love (well mostly the bread 😛 )


Stay safe, stay healthy and be kind.






My Country Farmhouse – Mixing the Old with the New

Century homes offer some of the most spectacular character already built in to them and it was built to last.  It was all done by hand and that is why many people look to buy them to continue to preserve a piece of history.  They usually do require more work but the reward of salvaging them often comes back full turn later on.

The Woodwork

Hand carved staircases, trim, fretwork, and hardwood floors just to name a few. If the wood has been oiled and maintained over the years you shouldn’t have to paint it out – and I suggest you don’t if they look anything like wood in these pictures. The wood adds to the warmth and charm and it is something you don’t see often since everyone has probably already painted it white to brighten their spaces. Just paint the walls a neutral light colour to make the wood the feature of the house.

Here are some beautiful ideas of how to update a house with natural stained wood trim:

The Doors

Someone once asked me what my opinion was about replacing their century old solid wood doors. Here was my response “absolutely not”. Why would you want to? Now you can custom build a solid wood door to look like the original door (for a hefty fee) which is a great option (if your door is in total disrepair) or you can sand and re-stain your already near perfect ORIGINAL door yourself. You can also hire someone to take on the task but again it will cost a bit of money, but in the end it will be so rewarding. People looking at a century home often want all the original charm and character, if you take it away it makes the house feel a little less valuable.

Crown Moulding, Baseboards and Wainscotting

Crown moulding and baseboards add to the height and finish of a room in an old home. Often the ceilings are 8 feet or higher (some can reach 10 feet). You can add it to any house and it isn’t overly expensive as many products have come a long way. You can now get crown moulding that is foam and plaster combination which is a popular choice however, most century homes already have plaster moulding in place and once you take it down you will never get it back the exact same way. Wainscotting is another low cost addition to any room and can easily be done by someone with a level and excellent cutting/measuring skills (I installed it to the dining room and kitchen in my previous house on Alma St). It makes a room feel a bit more luxurious and refined.

The Exterior

Incredible hand carved wood “ginger bread cut-outs” are often found on well maintained century homes. There can be posts, corbels, hand rails, dental work, shutters and wood windows. Since the decorative wood is usually very thin it’s not uncommon for it to get destroyed after years of braving the elements. At my house the porch posts are original wood and are in need of a bit of filler, sanding and a paint job to bring them back to life. A little TLC can help them last many more years.

An easy way to add some character to an old home that has been modernized is by adding an old piece of furniture, mirrors, art work, fabric and even wall paper (if you like it).


Find art that you love and invest in it. Art is super personal you either really love a piece or you don’t.  It has taken me about 20 years to build a collection of pieces I love. I prefer oil and watercolour paintings in gold frames. Remember you are not limited too sticking to one or two types of art. Skies the limit if done right. Sketches, portraits, prints, installations, statues, abstract, large and small frames can all make a space feel finished. Collages, sets, collections and individual pieces can work just about anywhere.


Adding an old piece of furniture to any room makes the space more personal. I have a piece in every room of my house (a couple pieces in some) and they add so much warmth.  In my single guest bedroom there is an old day bed, shelf and dresser. They all work perfectly together as they are in the same wood tone and because I painted the walls a light neutral colour (Incredible white) it helps to keep the room from feeling “old”.

Expose the brick

Here are three beautiful examples of what you can do with brick in the house. It is timeless. If you’ve got it and you think you can make it work – take a chance. If you hate it you can simply add some drywall.

Until next time – enjoy! Do a little decorating. Make some inexpensive changes. And feel good about a space you may have forgotten.











My Country Farmhouse – Bachelor Apartment for One


As you know I’ve been helping to get a little bachelor apartment ready for my dad.  He made the move to Havelock March 28th and has spent all his time getting his little place set up.  I helped him in finding pieces of furniture to furnish the place (on a very tiny budget) as he didn’t have much to bring from his previous apartment. I found him a bed frame $50, mattress and box spring $120, brand new pull out couch $60, table $40, bedding $90, and some every day necessities $100. This apartment is about function and livability – not glamour. This is not my usual project.

Here are the before pictures:





Since the kitchen didn’t have very much shelving my sister and I dissembled my kitchen (which will be fully renovated if we ever go back to work) to give him the old microwave shelf and 2 additional cupboards. Also for a bit more storage the purchase of a small spice cabinet $20.


I also added a medicine cabinet (free) for more storage since there was only room under the sink. I hung a new shower curtain and liner $30 and purchased some new towels $30.

Since he had a coffee table, shelf, two side tables and two dressers all I had to do was wait for moving day to get them in their spaces. My sister gave him a little microwave and 4 dining room chairs to help save on cost.

Here is the finished apartment:





Upcycled Coat hooks and shoe stand


For a grand total of $510 this little bachelor is now fully furnished with everything one can need to feel cozy at home.


My Country Farmhouse – Stairway to Heaven

Potential Potential Potential – That is all I saw with the L shaped staircase. Some sanding, paint and a gorgeous traditional runner.  That is all this staircase needs to come back to life and become a show stopper.  The stairs are in front of you as you walk through the front door.  I decided to paint them white to match the trim and to brighten them so the  runner will pop but won’t compete with the dark wood table and mirror.

I knew that I would need to install a runner to make the stairs safe for myself and the dogs. The painted stairs are super slick and although I would one day love wood stairs with dark treads and white risers I also know that would cost several thousands of dollars and for around $800 – $1000 (tax included) I could have a gorgeous staircase. I knew the runner would have to be traditional. With all the neutral colours, white, incredible white, cream, beige and browns, something has to bring in the colour.  At the local flooring store in Campbellford (Van Huizen Flooring) they have rows of gorgeous carpeting. Solid colours, patterned, textured and all at incredible prices. I used them to do the carpet on the stairs and landing at the Alma Street house.

Since I knew exactly what I wanted it didn’t take long before I had a couple runner samples in hand and headed home to see which one I would like best.  Most stores will allow you to take the samples they have in house for 2 – 3 days so you can take your time to make a big decision. I knew after only a few minutes.

Here is the sample runner that will be installed on the stairs:

Since the lower portion of the stairs were painted during the dining room refresh I will be painting the upper portion with the landing reno.  The spindles and rails will need 2 – 3 coats of paint, the treads will need to be swept, scrubbed, sanded and painted two inches down both sides of the tread and risers (27″ wide runner vs 29″ tread/riser). On Monday January 20th Bill came out to take the measurements and book the appointment for installation (which the date changed 3 times).

After many many hours of painting, cleaning and prepping the staircase, as well as painting and caulking the walls around the stairwell (to avoid getting any paint on the new carpet after install) the stairwell is complete. Here are the final pictures:


At a total cost of $1000.00. I couldn’t be happier. This gives a pretty neutral area some life.  It is so comfortable to walk on and helps keep any foot traffic noise down (non-existent really).

I am back to work Tuesday and will only be at the house weekends. The only other project to do is the mudroom conversion in to a laundry and recycling room which might be done by summer time (fingers crossed). I will plug away at more little odd jobs until August / September when the electrical panel is replaced and upgraded from a 100 amp fuse panel to a 200 amp breaker panel. I will also hopefully be scheduling in the garage doors to be replaced with new carriage house style doors.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the progress made over the last 3 months. Stay tuned!

Happy Valentine’s Day




My Country Farmhouse – A Guest Room for Two

I love decorating rooms for other people to stay in. I haven’t the slightest clue what I want to do in the master bedroom for myself but I knew almost immediately what I wanted to do in the guest room with the queen size bed.

This room had what appears to be off white walls with a green accent wall, mostly white trim, a large window and an LED 4 light fixture. The closet also has some super fancy Care Bear wall paper (my childhood).

I removed the words and shelves that were on the walls and did some plaster touch-ups a head of time. The room has been emptied out (excluding the bed) which has a tarp on it.  The next step is to take the light off the ceiling, paint it, and start painting the trim white. After that I will be priming the one green wall and painting the room with the Incredible White that I’ve used throughout the house (since I have a couple cans leftover).

I’ve purchased a new more modern light fixture ($97) that ties in to the one in the landing (it is simply a smaller version), I have a gold curtain rod ($24.99) that is the same as the others installed in the house, soft grey linen sheers ($39.99 at Homesense) and a Roman blind ($87) to hang.

The repurposed sewing machine will be in the room along with the little white dresser with attached round mirror, water colour of my first home, oil painting on canvas of birch trees from the previous living room, black wall sconces and black metal headboard. I will use the little wood bench and build some floating side tables to complete the look. Total cost to complete the room: $249.00

I hope you like my quirky guest bedroom!









Dates are confirmed for the Electrical update which will be Tuesday February 11th and the stair runner date has moved to Wednesday February 12th.  That will be a busy week. Stay tuned!




My Country Farmhouse – Creating a Functional Landing

In my previous property the landing was 3 feet by 6 feet.  So you couldn’t do anything to it. A new light fixture, paint and a piece of art pretty much filled up the space. Lady Mathison however, has a massive landing big enough to be a bedroom really.  It has more of my favourite wood paneling (ha-ha), 8″ baseboards a large bright window, a door that leads to the balcony (I have a house with a balcony he he), a light fixture on the ceiling that is falling off and a small vintage sconce light on the wall coming up the stairs.

Screen Shot 2019-10-01 at 8.43.14 AM

Since I am using all three bedrooms as intended I’ve decided to make the landing my office and art studio space.  This area will require quite a bit of paint. The ceiling will need to be painted, the walls need to be primed and painted, all of the baseboards, crown moulding and window trim will need a fresh coat (or two) of white paint and the stair rails will need painting as well. I’ve purchased a curtain rod, curtains and roman blind for the window and a new light fixture for the ceiling. Since the sconce is pretty adorable I will simply refinish it with some gold paint to match the other fixtures.

Since I am still on vacation this month I’ve been plugging away and doing a few hours of work each day.  So far 95% of the landing walls have been primed.  Reason for stopping – ran out of primer. Much like the living and dining room just a simple coat of primer has made a dramatic change upstairs.  It is already so much brighter. I will be painting the landing in the same Incredible White by Sherwin Williams that was used in the Living, dining, sitting and single guest bedroom.

The landing was missing some quarter round (shoe kick) which I installed to complete the look. I used my new Air Strike Brad Nailer by Ryobi and some 1.5″ nails which sped the installation time right up ( I use to do it by hand… What was I thinking?) I’ve set up my mitre box and hand saw in the basement on the work table with a measuring tape and pencil – this is so I do not have to bring the measuring tape and pencil upstairs each time and risk forgetting to bring it back down. I have a notepad, pencil and measuring tape upstairs and as I measure and track the pieces I need I head back downstairs, cut and come back up and install every couple pieces as I go.

Screen Shot 2020-01-27 at 5.23.55 PM

With the ceiling, walls and trim all painted with two coats it was time to decorate. I reused my lovely table purchased from Kijiji I used in the sunroom in my previous house, black Ikea chair, little white cabinet purchased for $60 at the Antique Market in Woodstock Ontario, easel purchased from the Trent Hills Classifieds for $45, stool from Nostalgic Journey for $35, oil painting from Home sense, plants, and art supplies.

Overall the total cost to complete the landing is approximately $660. The larger amount of paint came in around $120, window treatments $170, and light fixture $209 are the more costly items in this room.

Here is the completed office & studio space:


And since completing the space I’ve had some time to enjoy painting (which I haven’t done since childhood)


I’ve also decided to add a slightly contrasting paint colour (Sherwin Williams – Alpaca) to the doors in the house to really make them pop.


Coming up in (hopefully) less than 2 weeks – the completed stair case with new traditional runner and completed paint.

Be creative!




My Country Farmhouse – The Dining Room UPDATE PICS FEB 15, 2020

Probably some of the fancier wood paneling I’ve ever seen but still too dark for my taste. I’ve spent about 40 hours over the past few weekends/weekdays since my winter vacation started priming, doing the first and second coat of trim and painting the walls.  Yet again another room that is transforming from night to day.

Since I had to take down the light to paint the ceiling I replaced the crystal chandelier with an antique brass 6 light chandelier ($209) which hangs 24″ lower than the previous making a statement. I chose this light to complement the age of the house and to balance the massive century old mirror that will hang on the wall.  The mirror is 53″ x 64″ – weighing in around 120lbs. This mirror will make its presence known and I do not want to compete with it.

I spent a good amount of time looking for a dining room table and chairs that will complement the feel of the newly painted room.  I love the table ($300) I purchased from a friend of mine it matches the wood tones in the mirror. The chairs I purchased are clear acrylic (x4 = $417) aka ghost chairs.  They are very comfy, hold up to 250lbs  and make the space feel more airy.  They aren’t trying to compete with anything – they just seem to disappear.


My first week off was very busy. Besides renovating I’d been baking for Christmas, wrapping gifts and doing a lot of cooking.  In between all of that I finished painting the dining room, hung the roman blind, curtain rod and curtains and placed the new chairs around the table.

Originally the curtain rod and curtains were going to be for the landing upstairs however,  I decided that I wanted to add them to the main floor instead. The curtains were way to long for upstairs and so I put them up. And it looks great! Although they need a bit of a steam to loosen the wrinkles for now they are providing the added privacy that was missing. And since I love the rods so much I’ve ordered more to use throughout the house.

A smaller project was painting out the intake grate on the wall that is super ugly and bulky. Now it seems to disappear a bit in to the wall.. just a bit.

One of the weirdest things in this house is that there are outlets in the floors (rather than in the walls). Obviously this is not to code and soon enough they will have to change. The dining room has an outlet box in the floor that has been disconnected but was never covered up.  I ordered a plain gold device cover to hide the hole and it will match the gold vent covers through-out the house.

The final project in the dining room was to hang the massive mirror. I’ve installed a support rail for it to rest on and will install plugs for the screws to hold the extra weight. What a statement this incredible mirror makes. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.


Here are the numbers for the dining room renovation:

Chandelier/bulbs $215

Table $300

Chairs $417

Paint/spray paint $120

Curtain rod/Roman Blind/Curtains $150

Mirror FREE

Bamboo Plant FREE

Quarter Round $116

Grand Total: $1318

Although this is a bit more than I had planned on spending I couldn’t be happier with the final look of the dining room. It is simple and elegant but makes a big statement of how the rest of the house will end up.






I hope you’ve enjoyed following the dining room renovation.  On to the next project… Adding quarter round (shoe kick) to the living, dining room and the landing.







My Country Farmhouse – Guest Room For One UPDATED February 9th, 2020

This was the only room besides the main bathroom that needed the least amount of work. The walls are in excellent shape, the trim is already white and the floors are beautiful. The old dresser was left by the previous owner Dianne along with curtains. The walls were a very soft almost blush pink however they were marked and scuffed and needed a fresh coat of paint.

I knew I wanted to keep pink as a colour influence for this room. I love the rooms curves as they are very feminine.  There is a window on the north and south walls making this room really light and bright.  I had paint leftover from the living and dining rooms so I opted to used that as a nice neutral base and add the colour in with bedding and art.

In November I was on Pinterest and this beautiful vintage wood daybed popped up and I thought it was the neatest thing.  A week later on the Trent Hills Classifieds (Facebook Group) there it was — a vintage wood daybed for sale, asking price $100 after negotiating  the purchase price I got it for $70. I forgot to grab the boards she used under the mattresses so I ended up spending about $5 on lumber to make some slats. Ordered a boxspring for $60 and the bed was set.

I had originally intended on painting the bed like the inspirational photo but I like the look of the dark wood against the light walls. It also matches the dresser that was left behind. It feels more to the period of the house.

It only took 2 days (a couple hours each day) to make over this room. While I was on the classifieds a little brown shelf was listed for $15 and it looked like it would match the bed perfectly. Because this bed is very high and close to the window a bedside table just did not look right.  I messaged the lady selling it, asked if she could do $10 and set out to pick it up only 4 minutes down the street. Once I returned to the house I was so excited to see if it would work as a bedside table. AND IT DID!!! I mounted it right away.

With the paint done and the shelf mounted it was time to hang the Roman blinds and curtains.  The blinds were $85 each (x2), the curtain rods were $29.99 each (x2) and the curtains were $69.99 (Linen, x2). I reused the little wood shelf, art and decorations from my first Country Farmhouse. The sheets and comforter set were $66 from and the accent pillows and throw were from Pier One for $40.

With the cost of paint $40 (really only used half a can) – The grand total for this rooms make over was $601. $100 more than I wanted to spend but I really wanted the Roman blinds – they are definitely an investment.

Here is the final product:


I hope you like the final look – I know I do. I cannot wait to have someone stay in and enjoy this room.

UPDATE February 9th, 2020