Friday, June 26, 2009

Golden & The Rockies 2009

We have just returned from a few days away on the edge of the Rockies as Davids mother Sue is over here visiting from the UK. The trip also coincided with Davids birthday.

We decided to stay in the same house we had rented about 18 months ago as we knew the location was convenient and the property the house is situated on was big and flat and private and very safe for Mojo.

The house had been renamed Elkhorn Mountain Ranch since we were last there.

The owners had completed a little redecorating inside and built this large deck on the back of the house

The weather was predominately warm and quite sunny so we didn't need the fireplace this time, however the mantle made a good spot for the birthday cards

Of course we also had to have a birthday cake. This strawberry one was like a strawberry trifle, just without the custard !

Davids birthday dinner choice was steak, baked potatos (with sour cream & chives) and veggies roasted on the BBQ.

We took the opportunity to relax and enjoy the very private 9 acres of grounds that come with the house.

Despite having visited the house before we were still amazed by the beautiful views all around the house. This is the view from the house looking up the Blaeberry Valley. Every window has a picture-perfect view.

Mojo and I in the garden to the front of the house,

Sue loved the big comfy furniture

And we all enjoyed relaxing in the hottub after a day out & about

Like our previous visit there were still lots of deer wandering around the grounds.

There were now decks on three sides of the house, so there was always a sunny spot, including a perfect one for breakfast

Unlike our previous visit which was in October, this time there were lots of flowers and colour in the garden

Including these very healthy peony which opened up while we were there and attracted lots of bees and butterflies

On our last evening we drove out to Thompson Falls which we had visited on our previous stay. Like much of the country driving around here it was several kms of unpaved roads. These views are from the road up the valley and show the Blaeberry River.

A small video clip of the Blaeberry Valley.

We had hoped the falls would be impressive as it's still early summer and there's plenty of snowmelt. However we were a little disappointed to find that there was actually so much water the impression of the falls had almost gone as it just looked like a big flowing river and the definition had been lost. Many of the rocks we had stood on beside the falls before were now part of the river bed !

Sue at the 'falls'

A small clip of the river

Around the falls were these strange looking wild flowers which we hadn't seen anywhere else.

On our way back out and heading for dinner, these views along the country road and mountains beyond

We head out of the Blaeberry Valley and into the Columbia Valley towards Golden

More views towards Kicking Horse Ski Resort and the Columbia Valley

When we returned home from dinner on the last night we had beautiful clear skies and the sun was lovely on the mountains. Because Golden is in 'Mountain Time Zone', yet only about 30 mins drive from the Pacific Time Zone border it is really light in the evening this time of year - still light until about 11pm.

More views of the mountains from the house

Sue enjoying the views from the porch

We also enjoyed days out in Lake Louise and Banff and will post the photos from those days in separate entries.
We had a fantastic time in the mountains, Sue was impressed by the views and we were yet again delighted with the house we had rented - it's perfect for exploring this part of the country.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Vacant Suite

Our home has what's called a 'basement suite' which is a self-contained apartment underneath the main living area which can be rented out to supplement our income, help pay the mortgage etc.

This month our tenants finally decided to move out, into a bigger two bedroom unit nearby as they now have a family. They had been renting our one-bedroom apartment for four years.

The suite is now empty so David and I have finally had the chance to have a really good look around it.

We haven't decided what to do with the suite right now, we might hold onto it for a friend who could use the space, or we might rent long-term again or on a short term basis by the night, weekly etc.

The access to the suite is to the side of our house and they have their own section of garden too.

There is a living / dining room overlooking their garden and a door out to it

The kitchen is a little tired but still quite functional.

The bedroom has a large wall-to-wall closet which is just out of view along the right hand wall

The bathroom is quite a good size for a basement suite, it also has a window which is pretty rare

Together with a large shower stall

And finally a full laundry.

Whatever we decide to do with the suite we will freshen it up with some new paint, new taps and door handles in the kitchen and it will be ready for the next occupants !

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bathroom Reno's

We have been long delayed in this next post due to busy work schedules, visitors and a trip to the Rockies.

In the middle of May we commenced the renovation of the smaller of the two bathrooms in our home. It had been poorly renovated by the previous owners of the house and included some damaged granite counters and awful dark green tile throughout. The work was brought forward by the breaking of the shower which would have resulted in having to retile if were to repair it. We decided to simply rip the whole lot out and start again.

Of course, small jobs always turn into big ones and so we also decided 'while we had the contractor here' to replace the tile in the entry and basement hallways as we didn't like that either !

So this is the ugly old bathroom we had.....

There was no bathtub, only a shower

Which was also dark with the green tile

The ugly old vanity

The next day the contractor arrived and quickly set to work demolishing. Gone was the vanity, and a hole in the wall was discovered behind the old mirror.

The shower is now gone

We had the bulkhead above the shower raised to almost ceiling height to give much more feeling of space both in the bathroom and when standing in the new shower.

Looking up into the attic we see in typical Canadian style - virtually no insulation - which explains the gas bills in the winter !

Our contractor also sets about removing the tile in the entry and basement halls

When trying to remove the entryway tile our contractor managed to shatter the glass in one of the entry doors. These doors were custom made 8' doors with lead and coloured inserts that we had designed ourselves. Thankfully it was only the plain internal section of the sealed unit that had smashed and the personalised external piece remained intact. However, this unit still needed to be removed and a new sealed unit created using the original external piece of glass.

The hole behind the mirror is filled

Now the new bathtub is in

Our front door remained boarded up for a couple of weeks as two initial attempts to replace the sealed unit were unsuccessful as the glazing company failed to meet the original specifications of the door.....imperitive given it is adjacent to another matching glazed door and has to be identical.

Eventually however, the work was done and we are extremely pleased with the result.

We have new potlights in the ceiling, new extractor fan and the old 'heat lamp' has gone.

New height adjustable (rare in Canada) shower over the bathtub

Shower controls

New taps on the lovely large vessel sink

New dual-flush (yes, they've JUST discovered those here although they're 'imported from Europe'!) toilet and storage unit

Close-up of the decorative inserts which are a mix of clear glass, opaque glass and marble

The new tub which looks better, will be easier to keep clean and while we probably won't use it as a tub much will be advantageous to the re-sale of the house when we decide to move on.

We also managed to decorate the entry hall upstairs and the glass was eventually replaced to our satisfaction.

We are delighted with the finished bathroom. The only downside is it makes the en-suite look very rundown.......