Sunday, December 1, 2013

Riley Lodge: Our Story - The End

The very long and final post in the Saga of Riley Lodge ... hie thee to a scullery for a cup of hot coffee. You'll need it to stay awake for this one.

Over the years, we continued our work on the interior. Once the wood trim had been refinished and put back in its proper room, we'd pick out a carpet, wallpaper would be chosen to match the carpet, furniture upholstered to match both and, when finally satisfied with how it all looked, we'd move on to the next room and repeat the process. In the beginning, almost all our free time was devoted to the house, but as the offspring started arriving in 1989, 1991 and 1993, work slowed down considerably - not only because we were busy with them but also because they, rather than the house, became our priority.

Without further ado, the Before and After pictures ...

Main Stairwell Before ...

Main Stairwell After ...

Before ...

After ...

Second Floor Hallway Before ...

Second Floor Hallway After ...

Parlour Before ...

Parlour After ...

Parlour Pocket Doors Before ...

Parlour Pocket Doors After ...

And more Parlour ...

And even more ...

Fireplace Room Before ...

Fireplace Room After ...

Before ...

After ...

Before ...

After ...

Scullery and Cold Pantry Before ...

Before ...

Scullery After ...

Family Room Before ...

And Before ...

And Before ...

And Before ...

Family Room After ...

And After ...

Bathroom, Asia + Friend Before ...

Bathroom After ...

And lastly, the Attic - the room that holds a special place in one's heart, and the very reasoning behind this blog's name ...

Attic Before ...

Attic After ...

Attic Before ...

Attic After ...

And After ...

Before and after pictures of the Dining Room, Master Bedroom and Former Rooms of the Offspring have been previously posted, and can be found by clicking their respective links ... should you be interested.

Some things were never completed or fixed for purely sentimental reasons: the newel post at the top of the stairs where Kaos, our second Russian Wolfhound, used to sit and gnaw on it; the pocket doors, varnished by the insomniac's  Sainted Father in a satin finish even though the rest of the house was done with high-gloss (he passed shortly afterwards and one never had the heart to redo his work); the swinging door which, judging by the dark mark on the floor, looks to have hung between the kitchen and the pantry was never installed (heavy swinging door + offspring = trips to the hospital with a broken something-or-other). But we've left the door in the basement where we found it, should the new owners care to rectify this omission. 

And when the time came to strip the paint off the dining room windows, the very last set of windows to be done, the insomniac  stopped and put away her putty knives, paint scrapers and dental picks. Because she worried that if the whole house were made to look almost new, we might forget how much work we'd done over the years and how much we had accomplished.

* * * 

And now a message to the new owners, Bob and Leona. Our family extends to you our wish that you'll enjoy as many happy years in Riley Lodge as we've been fortunate to have. One had hoped to include a photo of the four of us standing on the front porch waving our goodbyes to you at this point, but the offspring objected quite vociferously to the idea.

Though you might no longer refer to it as the Gothic Mansion (which was more a reflection on the inhabitant's taste in decorating than the architectural style of the house), perhaps you still shall. After all, Bob did purchase Hylas and the Nymphs, which will remain behind on the parlour wall; even when it was explained that Hylas was likely being lured to his doom by those beautiful red-headed nymphs, Bob didn't even blink and said he still wouldn't mind trading places with him. And having become rather fond of taxidermied black crows, Leona purchased two and asked if it was alright if she named the birds Wayne and Lynne - which brought a big fat lump to the insomniac's  throat, forcing her to turn away to wipe something from her eyes.

As our final days in the Gothic Mansion come rather swiftly to an end, the insomniac  will take one last fond look around the house before locking up with her overly large skeleton key (or maybe just a regular key), will walk down the long driveway into the dark and stormy night (or maybe a sunny day just before the noon possession), and will hopefully manage to keep her dignity intact by NOT turning around for one final glance at the house that has played such a large part in our lives, thereby causing her to break down before she even reaches the end of the drive. Although that seems pretty unlikely.

And though we appreciate your generous invitation to have us back to see your renovations when complete, for once the insomniac  actually agrees with her spouse and thinks the right thing to do is to leave Riley Lodge with nary a backward glance, and head with excitement towards our next big adventure ... all the while worrying about the budget for this one, as well. And if what the psychic said last month is true, then when the Little Gothic Cottage in the Spooky Forest is finally complete, the insomniac  will be moving into her “true spiritual home”. And how many of us are lucky enough to live in not just one, but two spiritual homes in their lifetime? Probably not that many.

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties.

IA


Oh, what the hell. Neither of them will likely read all the way to the end ... besides, how long can one's offspring stay mad at their Sainted Mother, anyways. Oh, really? That long? Huh.

L-R: The Long-Suffering Spouse, The Youngest,
The Insomniac, The Eldest ...

Oh, and Bob and Leona? That invitation to come back and see the house when you're done isn't totally off the table yet. At least not for the insomniac  ... 

73 comments:

  1. Bravo! Applause! Crowd Cheering!!! What an incredible journey! Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story of perseverance - you can see it's own reward.....And, it is stunning!

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    1. Whew, I haven't written that much and in such a short space of time in ... well, probably never!

      Thank you, Denise. :o)

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  2. Oh my, what a ride this blog-post-in-parts has been. The work, the details, that bathroom - the attic! All so beautiful. It seems fitting that a house like that gets a proper send-off, even though you are the ones going elsewhere.
    Now I'm looking forward to seeing pictures from your new "spiritual" digs :)

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    1. Thanks for sticking through right to the bitter end and reading it all, Ms. Misantropia! ♥

      I'm exhausted - I think I'm going to go sleep for a week now. And to dull the pain of leaving the Gothic Mansion today, we drove out to the LGC in the middle of a blizzard. It's going to be so pretty out there in the winter. :o)

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  3. You did an amazing restoration job. Clearly, everything was accomplished with love and respect for the house's past and history. Best wishes to the new owners! And to you on your new adventure!

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    1. Thank you so much, Debra. And thank you for reading! :o)

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  4. Thank you Insomniac, the Long-Suffering Spouse and the Offsprings for the gifts you have brought to your neighbours. The beautiful Riley Lodge, the gatherings and visits shared within the walls, on the veranda and beside the pond, and the documenting of the tale of this "Old Girl" (the house...not you) will continue to live on in the memories and stories we hold about you and your family in the neighbourhood. Those can never be taken away, only modified slightly as need be ;0) Now it's time to go and raise a bit of hell out in the Spooky Forest! I can't wait to see what you get up to next.

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    1. The insomniac  begs to differ, Sharon - she believes she has been the one blessed with the gift of good neighbours. ♥ Well, most of them. ;o)

      Raise some hell in the Spooky Forest, you say? I think we can manage that. :D

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  5. What the hell was going on with the "before" paint job? Was it a frat house?

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    1. Hah! You nailed it, Tante! It was a frat house for many years and judging by the stickers everywhere, a lot of them were Skater Dudes. :D

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  6. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the work needed on my little house... and it's just 988 square feet and needed only updating, not moving and restoration. I can barely fathom the time, resources and perseverance that went into restoring the Gothic Mansion.

    I have looked at countless home decorating websites and books over the past several years, and in all those thousands of pictures, I've never seen a house decorated more beautifully than yours. I am very excited to see what you do with the Little Gothic Cottage in the Spooky Forest. :D

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    1. I can sympathize, Bane. It seemed pretty overwhelming to us sometimes, too. But you know, it's just like a sewing project - if you work on it when you're not feeling it, you know you're going to end up doing it all over again. So we did cut ourselves some slack, and when we were feeling exhausted we left it alone for a while until we were ready to tackle the next project. And one day you'll wake up, look around at your 988 square foot house and say, “Huh. I think I'm done. Now what'll I do?” And then you'll probably end up selling and start all over again. LOL

      And wow. That is quite a statement. I'm very touched you think that. ♥

      I really don't know what the LGC is going to end up looking like ... I mean, it will look somewhat the same because a lot of the furniture is coming with us. But it will be darker and cozy, that I do know. Especially listening to the wind howl through the trees out there today - cozy with lots of fireplaces! :o)

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  7. Okay, I think I already mentioned how amazing you and the spouse, as you like to call him, have been in moving and converting the old Riley Lodge into the Gothic Mansion. I might have used the word epic and that's how I would describe your entire experience with the old lodge. But what I loved most out of this entire saga were the last few paragraphs, starting with your message to the new owners. You expressed and summed up your feelings with emotionally moving elegance. These paragraphs, as well as the thought behind the final photo, were an expression of your soul. They were beautiful; and if I might say so, classic Insomniac! May you find contentment and renewed opportunities in your spiritual home, the Little Gothic Cottage in the Spooky Forest!

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    1. Oh, Nightwind. And I thought I was finished crying for the day. Thank you for those beautiful words. ♥

      P.S. Classic Insomniac is a thing? Who knew ... ;o)

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  8. Unbelievable... except, of course, I DO believe every word (and picture)! What an incredible story!! Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

    After all the work, sweat, money, tears and love that you poured into that house... If it were me, I'd want to be buried in it!! Hmmm, but that would mean eternity in The Basement, which gave you the creeps, anyway. Never mind... ;-)

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    1. Well, thank you for reading it, Lucretia! It was certainly a long one to get through!! :o)

      You know what, I never felt creeped out in the new basement; only in the old one. I wonder if Bob and Leona would be up to a sarcophagus downstairs?

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    2. Hey, it never hurts to ask!!!

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  9. I got a little teary reading this. You're moving on to something completely wonderful, but I know it has got to be sad saying farewell to the Gothic Mansion. You did such an extraordinary job transforming it, not to mention all the memories. I don't think I've seen pictures of your attic before, but I can see why you loved it so much! Onwards and upwards now to the next adventure! :)

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    1. I'm sorry, Little Gothic Horrors - I certainly didn't mean to make you sad! ♥ Anyway, it's all in the past as of noon today. And you're right - onwards and upwards! :D

      Now we just have to make it through several months of living in a rental until the house is ready. Think that'd make a good post? How to adjust to Living with Beige? LOL

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  10. Do you know what impress me the most? All the woodwork!!! That is amazing what you have achieved with all the trimmings and woodwork in the mansion.
    You turned the house to a real beauty.

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    1. You know, linnea-maria - of all the things that needed doing, the woodwork was what I loved the most. Uncovering that beautiful fir underneath all those coats of paint was so rewarding. And that's probably why we'll get fir in the new house, and why I want to do it all myself again.

      Thank you. ♥

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  11. I am pea green with envy over some of that wood and furniture and that stove in the scullery!! Lyn, your story telling abilities are amazing. You really need to put together a book, a compilation of your stories from The Gothic Mansion, along with the fab photography. Will a lot of the furniture etc.. from the Mansion be going into Dave once complete?

    Ali x

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    1. Pea green with envy! I haven't heard that expression in ages, Ali! LOL

      I know - I love that stove. But it was sold with the house, and it's way too big to fit into the new kitchen. As a matter of fact, I'm wondering how I'm going to fit much into that kitchen period! :P

      I think the only time I'm a half-decent storyteller is when I'm writing about something I'm passionate about, Ali! If you go back and read the blog posts on how to make Gothic Potholders, I'm pretty sure they're not nearly as interesting. And now that the Gothic Mansion no longer belongs to us, I would feel strange writing about it.

      Hah - we went down from over 30,000 lbs. in the first estimate from the moving company to under 12,000 by moving day. So we're bringing about 12,000 pounds of it with us, yes! Oh, plus all that stuff in the sea can, but that's mostly tools. Basically everything got donated that wasn't an antique. Storage costs are out of this world. :o(

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    2. Hey, I forgot to tell you ... when I pulled up the carpeting to clean underneath, guess what? They're Axminster! :D

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  12. As someone who is standing in their very own wreck of a mansion just like you were when you started your restoration, I have a rather personal request... Would you consider doing a post on adding babies to the restoration mix? It's something that you seemed to have handled rather wonderfully.

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    1. When I read your last post on everything you've accomplished in three years, I was astounded. I think your project is so much larger than ours ever was. And what I know about adding babies to the mix wouldn't make for a very long post, I'm afraid! All I know for sure was we went ahead and had them, you'll have to slow down somewhat until they're a little older, and probably the most important advice - don't start hammering when you finally get them down for a nap! ;o)

      I always found a baby's imminent arrival helped speed up the process of getting another room done, mostly because I didn't want to risk having lead-based paint anywhere near them.

      And even though our offspring did without all the expensive toys their friends had because most of our money went towards the renovation and upkeep of the house, I don't believe it did them any harm. As a matter of fact, I think they've turned out to be the wonderful adults they are because of it. Don't overthink it, Mistress Mayfair - you'll do just fine. ♥

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  13. Fantastic, all of it just fantastic what a journey both literally and as in life. You must have such strength to do all that. I will read it all again and again. Oh and I love the house.

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    1. Thank you, Alastair. ♥

      You know, as I was bawling all the way down the driveway today, I wondered if that was what I was really crying about - not the loss of the house so much as the loss of my youth? And speaking of the loss of one's youth, did I ever thank you for recommending those knee-pads? I honestly don't know how I would have gotten through this recent batch of staining and varnishing if you hadn't clued me in. I'm forever in your debt! :D

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  14. What a lovely post! :) Once again I am amazed how great your eye in detail and decor is. But I am puzzled about those blue and black stripes on the wall in the 'before'-pics. What on earth was somebody thinking?? :D

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    1. Thank you, Jade - that's sweet of you to say. ♥

      Back in the 70's when I was in art school, we used to have to do projects that involved geometric crap like that. My guess is somebody decided to take their project and put it on a wall. Hideous, wasn't it? Gah. ;o)

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  15. What an amazing home, you did such a wonderful job and the decor is just perfect!

    I live in a little cottage which is probably less than half the size of that, so needless
    to say, I'm quite envious.

    The William Morris wallpaper, the furniture, the sheer vastness of each room.

    I want to move house now.

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    1. Thank you, Winter Moon - you're too kind. ♥

      Maybe you can give me some hints on what more I'm going to need to get rid of once we move to the Little Gothic Cottage. Because I'm pretty sure that despite my downsizing attempts, we're still going to have way too much stuff. :P

      I'll always be a sucker for Wm. Morris. Some day I'd like to go visit the Red House. That would be a dream come true. :o)

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  16. I am speechless as to the beauty of this restoration and the decor. There are people that dream their entire lives of such an undertaking but whether through no opportunity, insufficient finances, or just the unwillingness to risk it all and dive in, never will have such a dream turn to reality. You and your family have done this and now look to do it again? Simply astounding! I will be looking at these after shots for a long time to come!

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    1. Thank you, Mark! I think a lot of people are just never presented with this type of opportunity but we're both very glad we dived right in, as you say. Occasionally we questioned our judgement in doing so, but for the most part it really was a dream come true for us. :o)

      Jeez, if you're going to be reading this for a long time to come, I better go back and correct all my grammatical errors. I slammed these posts out in a pretty big hurry! ;o)

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  17. What an amazing journey. I'm amazed by the whole process of turning a run-down house into a beautifully restored home. You did a remarkable job with the Gothic Manor, and I'm thankful you shared the story with us.

    I'm going to show this to husband next time he sighs about my plans to paint walls and re-do floors. What's decorating compared to moving an entire house! :D

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Heather - and I'm very glad you read it! ♥

      Oh yes, you should tell your spouse he shouldn't be moaning about decorating projects - after all, it could be so much worse! LOL

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  18. What an incredible journey down memory lane you've taken us down, Mrs. Insomniac.
    I feel quite privileged to have read through each and every one of these entries-- I fantastic peek on your foundations and a home worth thousands of memories.
    How bittersweet...
    One legacy ends, but a new one begins with the cottage!

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    1. Oh no, you can always tell you're getting old when you start taking trips down Memory Lane, Madame MM!

      Bittersweet is the perfect word for it.

      Say, do you have your flight booked to Calgary yet? It's awfully pretty out in the Spooky Forest right now! :o)

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  19. Mmmm, LOVE the Attic - my favourite room :)

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    1. Mine too, Michelle - I'm going to try and recreate all those slanty ceilings in the new not-quite-an-attic studio! ;o)

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  20. Amazing, phenomenal, moving, rich, beautiful series of posts. I got very teary. Yours and long-suffering spouse's spirit to take on ANYTHING is truly inspirational. The transformation of the gothic mansion has been so cool to see. You two really have guts and vision! I'm so looking forward to your adventures in the spooky forest in the (not) gothic cottage!

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    1. Awwww thanks, lightning x! ♥

      I got teary writing them, too. And although it was sort of sad writing the posts, it did feel good to finally tell our story - which nobody except our close friends and family really knew much about, until now. :o)

      Haha, I'm looking forward to our new adventures in the Spooky Forest, too. In the meantime, what am I going to write about? Life in the Very Beige Rental? ;o)

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  21. I loooove before and after picture and this was amazing! You have such an eye for perfect decor <3
    maybe you should decorate our whole apartment instead of me ;D

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    1. The Before and After pictures really help put it all into perspective, don't they? As for perfect decor, I'm not so sure about that - a person would be hard-pressed to define the style, I'm afraid. It's all a big mish-mash of things we love, thrown together in a heap!

      Give me free room and board for a few months and I'm so there, Lesthi! ♥

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  22. YAAAAAAAAY!!! The end of an era and the beginning of something new. Very exciting!

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    1. It is exciting, Natalie! And as long as I don't drive by the Gothic Mansion “for old time's sakes”, I'll be just fine!

      Speaking of exciting, when are you going to start posting about your European vacation? I'm dying to hear all about it! Or maybe you're still over there? Was the food wonderful? Was the beer wonderful? I'm salivating just thinking about it. ;o)

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  23. I have sat here utterly mesmerised by the incredible pictures of the Gothic Mansion! beautiful pics, and an incredible transformation indeed! I look forward to the pics of your new home, the Gothic Cottage sounds wonderful x x x

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    1. Thank you, Sandra! And thank you so much for reading and commenting! :o)

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    1. Thank you, Sylwia VamppiV Blach - and thanks for commenting! :o)

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  25. Amazing! If I had that attic, I don't think I'd ever come down. I'm glad the new owners seem to appreciate the house as much as you.

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    1. Right? :D

      I'm waiting patiently for the “pretend” attic above the new garage to be finished, Mme. Polaire. Because I'm pretty sure once I get moved in there, someone's going to have to send out a search party to get me back inside the house ... a sewing area, a painting area, a crafting area ... all I'll need is a coffee pot and you probably won't see me for days at a time! Oh wait, there's no bathroom. Maybe just hours at a time. ;o)

      Me too.

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  26. OMG, your Transformation was nothing short of Magical! The Gothic Mansion was indeed fortunate to lure you in and have you reclaim it and return it to it's rightful Grandeur! I know it was a Labor of Love... when we purchased Bohemian Valhalla it had stood Vacant and neglected for years and was actually Condemned and slated to be razed by the City until I ran my Intervention and came daily to take care of it two years before it actually came up for Sale and became ours! Yes, I was the Crazy Lady that took ownership of a Historic Home before it was even ever going to be Sold and Restored... I just couldn't bear to think it would be gone forever. The New Owners or your Beloved Home are indeed fortunate that you did all the hard work and made all of the sacrifices... but then, for those of us who are indeed adventurous, the Journey in taking a Ruin and making it our Dream Home is part of the Mysterious Appeal isn't it? I do Hope you Share your next Project? And you Retire? Never... Like me you shall probably pop in and out of Retirement like a Jack-In-The-Box! Retirement is so over-rated. *winks* Blessings and Merry Christmas from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

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    1. Thank you, Dawn! That's a nice way to look at it ... that the Gothic Mansion lured us in. I love that idea! :o)

      Okay, you ARE a crazier lady than me, because I probably wouldn't have taken such good care of an historic home unless I was 100% sure it was going to be mine. But I'm guessing that maybe you knew all along you were destined for one another? And you're totally right - it was the journey that was the best part. Once it was over and it felt complete, then it became obvious it was time to move on to the next project. A person needs to keep busy, after all. It's nice to know you think retirement is overrated, too. :o)

      Merry Christmas to you and yours, Dawn. :o)

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  27. Stunning. I am so happy to have found your blog! Next, I will find the shop!!

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    1. I'm happy you found it too, Feather Storm! How did you manage to run across it, if you don't mind me asking? Always curious as to how people actually wind up here. ;o)

      Thanks for commenting! :D

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  28. You crack me up, thanks for coming by for a Blog Visit and making me laugh out loud at my computer... you, a Stepford Wife, never I say! *winks* Your Taxidermy Collection and Gothic Taste should ensure you'll never go Stepford! *smiles* But as for that Cookie Cutter Subdivision Rental, I can only ask one thing... how do you EVER find your way Home? *LOL* I'd be constantly walking into someone else's Home or driving aimlessly around the subdivisions not being absolutely certain which one I actually lived in???!!! *LOL* Hope your Gothic Dream Home is not going to take long to be ready so that you can escape Stepfordville?! Dawn... The Bohemian

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    1. Thank goodness you don't think I'm in danger of becoming a Stepford Wife, Dawn! ;o)

      It's funny you should say that, because the first week here I did drive past the house numerous times and missed it. Once the spouse pulled up in front of somebody else's garage and got out before realizing it was the wrong house! But now we have an identity marker - there's a green park bench at the side of our rental that nobody else has, so that's how we know we're at the right one! It's so weird. :P

      We're really hoping it will be ready by April, Dawn - and if not, I'd be perfectly happy back inside the Crappy Little Trailer! ;o)

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  29. I had to pop by for another peek.

    You really have worked magic here.

    I'm sure your little Gothic Cottage will be just as magical.

    Have a wonderful Christmas :)

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    1. Thanks for popping by again! :D

      We were just out there again today ... now that the stairs are up and I can wander around on the second floor, I'm in seventh heaven. I love slopey (not a word) ceilings - it's going to be so cozy up there! And as we were walking around trying to figure out where everything is going to go, we concluded we're probably still going to have to get rid of some more furniture! Although the basement is huge - we could just hoard it. Or maybe we could sell it and pay for some nice tile. LOL

      You have a lovely Christmas too, Winter Moon! :o)

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  30. Aaaw, I cant describe how beautiful I think your mansion was. :) Lovely story!
    That was such a pretty thing to do with the black crows! Good thing I has this huge, cosy sweater on - perfect to wipe tears off with! Lol ;'D

    Hope all things are working out with your new home. *Waiting patiently for an update*

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    1. Awwww, thanks Sandra! Weren't the crows sweet? And you cried? Oh no - me too! :o)

      Things are progressing very slowly at the moment - between the -37C weather and all the snow, there hasn't been much progress in the past few weeks. Hopefully an update in the New Year!

      Have a lovely Jul, Sandra! :o)

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  31. Again, what a journey! What an amazing story and with all the before and after photographs!! I dont like to repeat myself but OH DEAR!! Those after photos, the house is like a gorgeous museum!

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    1. Thank you, Magda! That's pretty sweet compliment, that you think it looks like a museum! :o)

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  32. What a beautiful touching story! And stripping woodwork is no joke, kudos to you for all the love you poured in into your home. Can't wait to see your new place. Nice smiles on everyone;-)

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    1. Awww, thanks Tess! You're right, stripping wood is no joke - especially when it's old fir. I could tell you about some pretty record-breaking slivers over the years, let me tell you. Sounds like you may have had some experience in that department yourself! ;o)

      That picture was the last good one before I totally lost it - everything after that shows me with a quivering chin or just getting ready to start wailing. Thank goodness we got at least one decent shot! LOL

      Merry Christmas to you and yours, tess. :o)

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  33. Just popping by to wish you and your family a lovely Christmas! The Christmas shenanigans are almost over here and I'm now looking forward to a nice, quiet Boxing Day to recover. ;D

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    1. LOL, I'm just getting started on the Christmas turkey ...in another twelve hours I'll be able to put my feet up and finally finish those mukluks I didn't quite get done in time to put under The Large Ugly Urn that we're using as a Christmas tree substitute this year!

      Hope your Christmas was wonderful Emma, and nothing but good things ahead for you and yours in 2014! :D

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