• Claire

Before and then After



Our home here on Gabriola is PALATIAL in comparison to what I’ve known throughout my life. (I once lived in an 750 square foot apartment on the Danforth in Toronto and I thought I’d go batty with all the extra space.) We’ve always been on a strict budget and when we were house hunting we couldn’t afford the luxury of taking our time to find the ‘perfect’ home. So, when the time came and we had only one home to choose from: “Pemberley House” - named by Yours Truly - was it! It took four months working for at least 8 hours a day to remove 30 years worth of household garbage. No real treasures were found, other than a couple of plaster ducks and a set of Moose antlers we’ve kept in the garden. We’ve recycled, disposed of, trucked out- bed frames, 30 tins of oil paint from the ‘Canadian Tire Corporation Brand’, 19 Times Colonist plastic newspaper boxes, car parts, rat poisons, various bins of chemicals, broken garden ornaments, buried exercise weights (we do use these to hold down our market tent in windy weather), 1 TV antenna, a rubber dinghy, broken windows (MANY), an entire buried roof structure (with asphalt shingles included)… Oh dear me, the list is exhausting.

Now, four years later, although we are still pulling up miles of carpet buried in the garden, Erikson Roofing has expertly and beautifully replaced our 9 year old roof that had been installed drunkenly (not kidding) and incorrectly, we have painted all the oxblood red ceilings and walls, and we have begun dismantling and correcting some well intentioned “handy man” projects. Our last discovery of a ‘handy man special’ happened when we investigated the structure of our interior staircase. At a superficial level there didn’t appear to be anything unusual, until we removed some carpeting and found that there was no structure other than drywall, cardboard and scabs of plywood attached in strange places. We then adopted Poppy (because bringing a very energetic puppy into your life is what one does when super stressed out) and M removed the stairs entirely. A contractor extraordinaire - our friend and neighbour Lenny and his teammate Dave -came in (ADF Works) and built an actual stair structure (to code!!!!) and M and I have done the rest. It took a long time and lots of head scratching, but we are very pleased (and a little bit proud) of the final result. Here are the before and after pics.


This is the before shot - 2018. We had just moved in and we were cleaning up. The little green guy to the left is my lucky troll. He was given to me by my brother many years ago, and has brought us luck ever since!


This is the after shot 2021/2022! We had just completed the staircase. Since, we have added a little portal for the cats, a secret cabinet door and a few more pieces of artwork. The artwork displayed is by: (clockwise starting at '8 o'clock') unknown, Michael Robinson, Jack Cowin, Nick Morley, Namiyal Bopiri, and Marchlight.



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