June 10, 2013

No Dream House, Then Yes Dream House. It's Ours!

Here's the short answer to the question everyone has been asking: yup, we did buy the lovely lakehouse!  It was unplanned, unexpected and a completely nutty whirlwind that we're still swept up in.


Here's the longer answer:

On a Monday (May 20) : Hubby sends me a link to a stunning lakehouse.  We had talked about selling our townhouse next spring and moving to a home on Lake Superior, but our plans were still up in the air.  We both really, really like this house, though, and quickly realize how few lakeside homes come up for sale.  One of us suggests the crazy idea of buying this one while we have the chance.  We ponder.

Tuesday (May 21): We decide to speak to our bank about whether we even have the funds to buy this house.  More importantly, if our townhouse doesn't sell quickly, could we carry both mortgages?

Wednesday (May 22): I call the bank, make an appointment for Thursday.  Meanwhile, I ask my Mom to call the sellers (it's a private sale) to schedule a viewing because the house is in our hometown.  The phone number leads to the seller's daughter, who doesn't have the key.  The seller now lives in another city, but a neighbour has the key.  My Mom calls the seller to schedule an appointment but no offer is made to see the interior.  My Mom is invited to tour the outside.  What?!  The seller says another woman expressed an interest three months ago but after five showings, lots of empty promises and legal fees, no offer has materialized.  He claims he owes her nothing.

Thursday (May 23): The banks gives me an unofficial YAY to giving us a stupid amount of money in addition to our current mortgage.  I brag a little when the banker asks, "any other debt, besides the mortgage?"  "NOPE!" I say and grin like this:

Via

Meanwhile, my Mom and Dad tour the property.  It is beautifully landscaped, they report, including the shore.  It's on a bay of Lake Superior, but it's shallow, perfect for swimming, canoeing and kayaking.  The house is solid as a rock and in pristine condition.  Guest house is larger than thought!  Mom says buy it.  Dad says finish your PhD first.  I start cleaning the townhouse and contacting real estate agents in Ottawa.

Friday (May 24): We call the seller, tell him we want to fly in and see the lakehouse at the beginning of June.  We need to sell our house, but want to put in an offer to buy his.  He says "great," but seems noncommittal.  I decide to loop in a buyer's agent.  Once the agent is on board and tells the seller what our offer will look like, the seller says the price is right but doesn't want our condition of selling our house.  We say fine, we'll waive that condition and ask for a longer closing date instead (90 days).  He says max 60 days.  Eeegads.  We say fine.  Meanwhile, he says the other woman has gotten more serious.  We suspect he used our interest as leverage.  We say we can fly in sooner to view it and will present our offer as promised, no surprises, when we arrive.  He doesn't feel comfortable with us not having seen it.  Our realtor asks if he'll give us the chance to tour the house and present an offer before deciding anything.  At least let us and the other woman present offers before making a decision.  He says yes.  Sweet!  But then the realtor calls back.  He's backed out.  He doesn't even want to entertain the idea of our offer or facilitate our seeing the house and he is going to go with the other buyer, who still has not listed her house and hasn't submitted a formal offer in writing.  We are stumped!  So is our realtor.  Sometimes For Sale by Owner goes weirdly, he tells us, and reminds us of the importance of an agent.

Saturday (May 25): We spend the day saying "I'm sad.  I loved that house."  We convince ourselves that the house was wrong for us (a bit of a longer drive than I wanted, a 5 foot high basement only good for storage, really horrible timing).  The days pass and we're relieved not to have to prepare our house for sale, because we still have the big bad laundry room to contend with, the basement to declutter, the back fence to remove, the garden to tend to, the garage to clean, the bedrooms to swap and a million or so odds and ends we've lived with for four years.  Our realtor says other lake homes might open up in the next months, so we make a list of things to tackle in our house so we can (slowly) get ready for sale, in case another gem appears.  Whew, we think, we've got time and this has lit a small fire under our bums to get things done, without launching us into full blown panic mode.

Thursday (May 30):  Panic mode.  I'm eating my cereal and checking email when our realtor calls!  The deal fell through with the other woman and we're up to bat.  Ohhhhhkay.  Lucky seller, that we're even still interested because his snubbing us would have turned off other people!!  Our realtor pushes us along to move fast.  Too fast, in hindsight.  Hubby's unreachable at a conference in another city, and it's up to me to make decisions.  We put together an offer and with a series of scanners and fax machines (fax machines!) we manage to sign the offer in two different cities and submit it to our realtor in a third city.

Saturday (May 31): The day after Hubby returns from his conference, I leave for Victoria for a three day conference of my own.  Four layovers and 13 hours.  I deliver my paper the next day, then turn around and fly home 6:45a.m. the next day.

Monday (June 3): Exhausted, I return from Victoria after a 12 hour flight.  I touch down around suppertime.  We can't sleep.

Tuesday (June 4): We head to the bank when it opens, to start the official mortgage approval process.  After our appointment, we drive straight to the airport and we fly to our hometown, eat a bagel melt, then drive straight to the property for a viewing and home inspection.  Home inspection reveals a truly well built home with amazing bones and quality building materials.  Viewing reveals more updates than I planned!  But the lake is amazing and the home has a great layout with spacious rooms and open concept that I can work with.

Wednesday (June 5): I fly back to Ottawa bright and early, so I can get to work on time that night.  Hubby flies later in the day and I pick him up at 9p.m. when I'm done work.  We can't sleep.

Thursday (June 6): Well water tests come back good, the bank says YES (officially, this time).  Our conditions are waved.  We've bought a house.  We start tearing around the townhouse, finishing up projects, cleaning, organizing.   We log long days prepping. 

Saturday (June 8): We marvel at how little time it took to finish the laundry room that we spent 18 months ignoring.  Stupid us, it looks amazing.  Details soon. 

So, that's it.  We bought a house when we weren't even really looking for one.  But it's gorgeous, with so much potential.  I'm meeting with realtors this week to list the townhouse (sniff).  I'm worried it's too late in the season and we won't sell.  Right now, we're in overdrive trying to finish projects to list before June is over, because April, May and June are supposedly the busiest months for real estate in Ottawa.  We haven't stopped to tell many of our family members yet, but we will once things calm down a little.  Did I mention chapter three of my dissertation was due a week ago?  It's 30% written but I'm too covered in paint, dust and marble cleaner to focus.

Stay tuned for plans for the new house, and photos from projects we're wrapping up here - in addition to photos of the townhouse staged for sale!  For now, here are some photos of the new place, some you've seen but some you haven't.  A few I snapped super quickly during the viewing, while others are from the listing.  Maybe I'll do a video tour when we move in?



There's a lot of work to do, but I already have a vision . . . and a Pinterest board.

75 comments:

  1. oh i am so so excited for you and to see the changes you make!!!!! YAY!

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    1. I'm so excited to tackle this space. We're redoing everything eventually (except the hardwood floors and fireplace), so it's a blank slate!

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  2. It looks incredible. Those windows are to die for. Can't wait to see what you plan for it! Congratulations :)

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    1. Thanks!! The windows sold me!! Everything else I can work with :)

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  3. Whoop whoop! Congratulations!

    Can we talk about the amazing portal into the shower/bath?!

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    1. Haha, you mean our space ship? It seals airtight so it turns into a steam bath. That is definitely coming out, but we'll have to make do while we save. The bathroom, kitchen and half baths are all getting full renos (as is the guest bathroom in the guest house). But we will be exceptionally poor when we move into this house (it's twice the price of our current home). So we plan to do a spit & polish to all the offending spaces, then gut them down the road (maybe two years?). The space ship is getting axed first!!

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  4. AAAAAHHHH!!! YAYAY! CONGRATULATIONS!

    I am SO glad you guys went with your gut and bought that house! It's gorgeous! Beautiful! I am so thoroughly envious of your VIEW!

    Good luck with the sale of your townhouse! Fingers crossed for an incredibly smooth, quick sale! And then, you'll be finding a rental to live in until you're done your ph.d, right?

    Again, many many congratulations on your dream home!

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    1. THANKS!! Your enthusiasm is helping me keep from freaking out totally. It's a done deal and hard to wrap my brain around.

      We hope to sell the townhouse ASAP, with a closing date a month or so after ours so we have time to paint, etc., before moving in. I'll be finishing my work in the next few months and if I am behind, I'll do it there and skype with my supervisor. I'll fly back to Ottawa for my defense. It will be a bit nutty, but because I'm just writing, it won't matter if I'm writing here or there. Hopefully . . .

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  5. YAY!!! It looks so amazing. Lots of projects, but so much potential. I look forward to reading about all of your adventures in it. And I totally feel your pain about selling your townhouse. We had plans to list or house early in the spring but crazy things have pushed it back and it will be July before we can list....a little scary that it might not sell, but fingers crossed that there will still be people looking.

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    1. Good luck selling your place!! Hopefully there are people looking in the summer. With the yucky spring we had, maybe it delayed people's house hunts???

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  6. So exciting and HUGE congratulations! Real Estate can really make your head spin sometimes but if it's right it's right; I don't think you'll regret pulling the trigger on this one. It may have been sooner than you had planned, but life rarely goes according to plan. Again, huge huge congratulations, the house is gorgeous and I really can't wait to see what you do with it.

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    1. Thanks!! I'm learning that planning only gets us so far, sometimes we need to jump. Almost every plan I've made, for big life stuff, has fallen by the wayside. But I'm happy where I landed!

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  7. OMGOSH Tanya you had my stomach up and down with your story.
    I can only imagine how you were feeling.
    So glad and excited that it all worked out for you.
    I am sure your townhome will sell in no time.
    Congrats
    AMy

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    1. Thanks Amy!! I have had so much adrenaline pumping through my veins! I lost two lbs. because I was too nervous to eat for much of this. I hope you're right and we sell soon!!

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  8. Congratulations! So amazing. What a Gorgeous house. Nearly spat out my water when I scrolled down to see the space-age shower. Awesome! :)

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    1. Isn't it hilarious?? What a gem. On well, it's still better than the original in the townhouse! I'm moving up in the world, lol.

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  9. CONGRATS!! Oh my gosh. I'm so happy for you two!! I was going to comment on the spaceship portal, too! Lol.
    It will look so much better with a coat of white paint, townhouse style!
    I know you'll make it look fantastic in no time. CONGRATS AGAIN!!

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    1. Thanks so much Amy! But I'm sad to leave beautiful Ottawa!!

      I am picking out a nice white right now, lol!! Paint that trim, paint the walls, paint that wood paneling beside the fireplace. Paint the kitchen cupboards, the bathroom cupboards. Luckily, moving back home means relatives we can rope in to painting!!

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  10. Congratulations! It's already a gorgeous home, but it's going to be AMAZING once you're finished with it. :)

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    1. Thanks Heather!! I'm so excited to tackle something with such good bones.

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  11. What a great house! The floors and windows...ahhhhh-mazing. You will be living a vacation all year. Take some time to enjoy the house before you dig in. I know you, you'll be a crazy woman with the paint brush attached to your arm. I love the view, yard, guest cabin etc.etc. Who knows, you may even enjoy the steam capsule. It's kind of cool actually. I wonder if they will leave the china hutch in the dining area. I like it. Congratulations Tanya. I look forward to seeing it become yours. You'll make it even more beautiful...if that's possible.

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    1. Thanks!! I will definitely have to remind myself to enjoy the house and lake and not spend all my time with my nose in a paint can! I wonder if the steam capsule helps get paint out of hair better??

      They have already taken the only mid-century furniture, but have threatened to leave the bedroom furniture! I'm planning a custom piece in that nook (my Pyrex needs a home). There are piles of abandoned things in the garage and I started to root around looking for treasures (like some abandoned teak) but Hubby pulled me away from the heap. It didn't look promising.

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  12. Wow!!!! Tanya! How exciting. It's gorgeous. So dreamy.

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    1. Thanks Julia! It will be even dreamier when I'm done with it!

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  13. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I'm so very excited for you! It'll be rushed and crazy for a bit, but at the end YOU GET A FREAKING LAKE HOUSE. totally worth the sawdust and exhausting :)
    best of luck selling dans le townhouse and moving into dans le lake house! :)

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    1. Yup, we figure the house is worth the total nuttiness. Thanks for the good vibes! Hope the townhouse sells quick!

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  14. What a great house!!! I'm looking forward to see how you make this new house your home! And a video tour would be fun! :-)

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    1. It's on my 30 before 30, so I have to do one soon! Everyone will know I sound like a 12 year old . . .

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  15. It's weird how people still seem to think how the Internet is somehow an actual threat to human relationships. There are so many people I don't "actually" know, like you and your hubby, and yet from across a whole ocean I was rooting for you to get that house, because IT WAS CLEARLY MEANT TO BE YOURS. I was so upset when it looked like it wouldn't be yours!
    You get the house you wanted, and the house gets people who love it and will care for it and make it shine. That's what I call a happy ending!
    I wish you all the best, and I am sure that house will bring you lots of joy and happiness :-)

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    1. Awww, thanks so much for rooting for us!! I love how we can feel we know each other, without being on the same continent! Thanks so much for your well wishes. I hope the house likes us ;)

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  16. So happy for you, glad the seller smartened up...some people are too weird!!

    Cannot wait to see what you do with the place, it looks like a truly amazing place to live!

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    1. He's turned out to be a great guy, super friendly, but has been burned by the real estate game before. It makes a little more sense now, but he sure put us through the ringer!

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  17. Love this house so much! So glad you went for it. I'm sure you would have regretted it if you didn't! Good luck for a quick sale!

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    1. Thanks!! Yes, hope this house sells quick. As sad as that will be . . .

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  18. Congratulations!!! I'm so happy for you. It's perfect that you'll be back in your home town and on the lake where you've wanted to be for so long. I'm sure your parents are happy too! Now are you going to be Dans le Lakehouse?

    Believe me, Pinterest will be your best friend in this. I had a board for each room where I pinned everything I liked and then deleted them as I started narrowing down. Once I had made a decision, I marked the item BOUGHT as soon as I ordered it. For a while, I was buying so many things so fast that I couldn't possibly remember what I'd bought and what I still needed to buy without my Pinterest system.

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    1. Thanks Dana!! I think Dans le Lakehouse sounds good!

      I am definitely getting a good sense of what I like when I see all my lakehouse inspiration in one place. Love Pinterest!

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  19. A LAKE! How amazing. Congrats!!

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    1. Thanks!! Apparently the fishing is good too, lol. I have no idea how to fish.

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  20. OH MY GOODNESS!!! I am SOOO excited for you! I think gazing out at the lake will be the perfect setting to wrap up your PhD, right?? This place looks incredible.
    Reading through the comments, sounds like you'll live with the place (mostly) as-is while saving up time and funds to do updates. I love this method. Time and living in the space always helps decide what you -really- want to do! Of course, you and hubby have always been prudent with your updates.
    What if you fall in love with the space portal shower? Honestly, a friend of ours was house-sitting a home with a steam shower and he got addicted!

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    1. Hopefully the lake doesn't hinder my work, lol.

      We are going to live with it for awhile, just buying a few gallons of paint and new kitchen counters and backsplash (laminate - nothing fancy). It will be a first for me, to slowly renovate things. We ripped out the bathroom and then the carpet before we even moved into the townhouse. But this new place has much more going on as-is.

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  21. Congratulations Tanya - your new home looks lovely! With all the work you've done to the townhouse, I don't think you'll have any problems sell it - best of luck!

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    1. Thanks! I hope so!! I hope a young couple falls in love and takes over keeping the townhouse out of the 1970s!

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  22. OMG!!! SOO happy for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am very excited to read alongside your journey! Congratulations from your Manitoban friend!

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    1. Thanks!! I'll be a little closer to you now, lol. And making border runs all the time now that I'll be back in Thunder Bay!!

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    2. That's really cool! I think my family knows people in Thunder Bay! Woo for border runs!

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  23. So exciting! What a great house you've found. My sister lives up there and Lake Superior is breathtaking. All you need is a Sauna to go with that lake and all is perfect (or maybe there is one already?). :)

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    1. What a small world!!

      Yes, there is a sauna (in the guest house). Although I hate them! When I went to Finland as a teen, all of my extended family tried to convince me to like the sauna. My grandma also made me try her sauna. But no dice. But yes, there is one. But let's keep it a secret, lest everyone flock to our house, lol!

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  24. Hi Tanya, glad to read of the happy ending here (or happy beginning...) - it has certainly been a crazy time but I'm sure it will all be worth it in the end. I look forward to following along with this renovation from the beginning, since I'm new to your townhouse blog. Good luck too with selling - you have done such a wonderful job with it, I'm sure there will be lots of interest.

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    1. I am happy to start fresh with renos because I started the blog late in the renovation game. I'm excited to share from the very beginning. I have so many fun ideas I can't wait to implement.

      Thanks for your positive words on the sale of our house. In a few weeks, I should have an update on that!

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  25. just gorgeous. so gorgeous. you two are very brave and a little crazy :) but in a good way. CONGRATS can not wait to see and yes toa video tour!!

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    1. Haha, a LOT crazy, for sure. But we think it will be worth it.

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  26. HURRAY! And wow, the property is gorgeous. The writer in me is coveting that guest house!

    Like everyone else, I wish you a speedy townhouse sale and look forward to your lakehouse transformation. Congratulations!

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    1. Thanks!! :)

      It's much smaller than I thought inside because the sauna and three piece bathroom take up almost half. There's enough room for a queen bed (no side tables or room to get around it) and maybe a bench or something. My plan was to rip the sauna out, but around there that's a no-no, especially for resale. Thunder Bay peeps are sauna crazy!

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  27. Oh my goodness... I'm so excited for you guys!! I'm exhausted just reading about the roller coaster that you've been on, but thrilled none the less. Even more excited that I get to follow along on your journey from the beginning. You guys are going to make this home amazing and I can't wait to see how it all unfolds. Congrats!!!

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    1. Thanks!! It was a pretty nutty couple of weeks! Lots of highs and lows - made it so difficult to concentrate on anything else!

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  28. WoW - that is fantastic news! Congratulations!! What a beautiful home and what amazing scenery ~ I'm so happy it all worked out for you. : )

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    1. Thanks!! I'm nervous about maintaining such a large yard, given my black thumb!

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  29. Wow, I'm so glad you guys did it! Yay! It looks gorgeous!

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    1. Thanks! Encouragement from readers definitely help me to go for it!

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  30. WAHOOOOO!!!! Congratulations, Tanya! Now let the packing and moving craziness begin. What a fabulous new adventure! :)

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    1. Haha, yup! Once we sell, we'll start packing but I'm looking forward to a chance to declutter and start fresh with the organization. I definitely want to live a little simpler and am looking forward to that. Selling this place is what has me a little stressed. Apparently the Ottawa market is not so hot right now . . .

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  31. oh my goodness! I'm so excited for you and glad that it worked out in the end. It's always such a shame to really love a place but the timing doesn't work or someone else beats you to the punch. You ultimatley forever compare any other offering to the one that got away. It's so amazing! Lakefront.... I'm so envious!

    And look at all the comments! Your readership is clearly excited for you.

    Wishing you a quick townhouse sale. My sister is in real estate in Barrie and our spring market is still going strong. She is working long hours and while grateful for the business while she can get it, she's lamenting all the hours she's working. I hope it's the same for your area.

    Best of luck and congratulations!

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    1. Does a long driveway to clear and bears that are hooked on the apple trees on the property dampen the jealousy? I'm so not prepared for a less-than-urban life!! Lol.

      Thanks for your well wishes! I hope we have the same real estate energy as Barrie!

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    2. haha! yikes, bears! But good points, I never thought about more than just a change of scenery. We have property in Haliburton- bears have been sighted but are not known to frequent. I love the wilderness but have a healthy respect for bears and keeping my distance.

      maybe you need to put a plow on Charlie to keep your drive cleared! hahaha!

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    3. The old owners planted apple trees that they know draw bears!! We are chopping those down ASAP and hope the furries get the message. A plow on Charlie??? YES! I am telling Hubby right now.

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  32. So it looks like I'll be coming to Thundr Bay this fall? :) And we're totally going in that sauna.

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    1. Yup! I'm excited! Pack your bathing suit.
      But we're so not going in that sauna. Even if I was a sauna girl, it needs a little TLC. ICK. I can't help but think of all the former naked bums to grace those benches. But I'll join you for a drink outside after, lol.

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  33. Congratulations from Downunder Tanya, I am really happy for you, and it looks like a beautiful home, and tranquil setting. I guess we get to start all over again with you on Dans le Lake House!!!!! again, congrats and I am looking forward to the journey. Rgds, lynnie, Australia

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    1. Thanks so much Lynnie!! I'm excited to start sharing plans an ideas soon and hopefully some projects in August, after we take possession!

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  34. Ahh! I love the lake house! I'm so glad you guys got it! I cannot wait to see what you do with it! :)

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    1. Thanks!! I'm pretty excited (if a little overwhelmed) too!!

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  35. Congratulations!! I can't wait to see how all of your amazing pieces fit into this new space. Good luck moving, I'm excited to follow along as you make this house your home :)

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    1. It's tricky, figuring our what will work and what won't. My Mom made a to-scale floor plan which helps. Some things will be moved there temporarily while we save for perfect pieces. There will be some growing pains, I think!

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  36. So glad for you, and excited to see what changes you make and how you settle in to lake life. But please don't rip out that amazingly funny diving-bell-bath just yet. At the very least, I would expect someone else to want it, so see if you can sell it if you don't like it yourselves. It's got to be one of a kind or soon to be, and it has that sort of undersea retro look that tickles the fancy of some of us quirky types.

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  37. That was an incredibly wonderful lake house! Congratulations for the new home. Excited to see some changes that you will make in that house.

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