What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Our Executive Home

We moved into our new to us home in September of 2011.  It is in an 'estate' subdivision.  The house was billed as being an executive home when it was built in 1994 and each time it has been on the market it was billed as such.  The house itself is gorgeous with some nice features (eg. marble/ceramic flooring, laminate flooring, ceramic tile countertop, interlay brick driveway and sidewalks) but in our opinion is lacking a lot of features that we would consider being standard in an executive home.  The rooms are large and spacious, the exterior is lovely but the gardens and interior need updating.  The front garden beds in particular are a real cliche, seriously being ripped completely out and starting from scratch.  Both decks basically need to be rebuilt and the fence needs to be replaced but the pool deck is simply horrid.  All of the lighting fixtures need updating and of course the interior needs painting to suit our tastes.  We have a lot of plans for this house.  Essentially, what we need to do is a lot of upgrades and improvements to bring our house up to what is expected in an executive home.  Here's a few of them with those already completed marked accordingly:

  • garburator - Unless prohibited by the local bylaws, a garburator (kitchen disposal) is an expectation with most moderate to high end houses.  This house does not have one or if it ever did, it was removed.  We have bought a garburator but have not installed it yet.   It should be installed within the next week or so depending on time restraints.
  • central vacuum - This really is an expectation in any moderate to high priced house in our area.  They are inexpensive (under $1,000) and very easy to install during a new home build.   We installed a Hoover central vac about two months ago.  
  • pool/decking - If a pool is installed in higher priced houses in our area, it is usually an in ground model.   The previous owners installed an above ground pool here rather than an in ground.  There are two reasons for this with the first being the cost and the second being a possible buried obstacle.  Line locates did not indicate any buried utility lines.  We are replacing both decks to form one large deck giving a nice finished edge around the pool and covering almost the entire back yard in decking.
  • fencing - The existing fencing may have met the code when the pool was installed but it certainly does not meet the current code for pool fencing.  It provides little in the way of privacy and is in need of repair.  We are replacing the fencing incorporating it into the decking to give privacy while meeting the current code.
  • landscaping - Landscaping really creates the curb appeal of a house so even low priced houses are expected to be neatly landscaped.  Higher priced homes in our area are often professionally landscaped.  On first glance our property has lovely gardens but they are really over grown, weed filled and poorly planned.  The front garden beds were edged with the brick raised walls but poorly done.  I really don't like the look of the raised walls so have already removed it from the small garden between the sidewalk and garage on the west side.  That bed has been revamped with a trellis, clematis and red cedar chips.  I am working at cleaning out the larger front bed that will also have red cedar chips and all new plantings.  The front bed will wrap around the west side of the house.  The small garden bed between the garage and sidewalk on the east side will also have the red cedar chips and two trellises with clematis.  I'm using the less is more philosophy for the plantings in the gardens, a naturalization method for crocuses in the front yard, and container plants combined with climbing flowering vines to soften the fences of the new decking.
  • front porch - Our front porch is a cement slab about 4' x 10' raised about 1' with a small, half-circle step to the sidewalk.  It is plain and non-descript. We are resurfacing it with a concrete decorative finish. 
  • interior - Most of the interior upgrades needed are decorative as in fresh, updated paint colours.  We are replacing the sinks and countertops in the bathrooms as well as adding custom built wood trim and built-ins.
Garden Gnome