Hi! My name is Jessica Vanderveen.  My husband and I, along with our four children, live in a small town south of Ottawa, Ontario. In our spare time Tony and I enjoy renovating our home, re-doing furniture, painting and decorating, and learning new skills as we go.

Our goal is to create a home that feels warm and welcoming, and we want to help you do the same with your own own!

Most recently we built our forever home on 30 acres of land in the country and acted as our own general contractors. Since we were married in 2008, we have lived in and renovated three other houses. This DIY blog is a compilation of all the houses we have lived in, and the projects we have completed as a family.

First House

Our first house we bought soon after we were married in 2008. It was a small bungalow that was in rough shape. This was when we both realized we liked doing renovations and liked the satisfaction of doing the work ourselves. We lived there for a little over three years, then felt we had built up enough sweat equity that we could upgrade our house. Some of the major work we did at this house was a new kitchen, new hardwood flooring, and finishing off the basement. We had our first son while living at this house, in the summer of 2010.

Second House

Our second house was a brand new home on a beautiful lot near Winchester, Ontario. We loved that house, but because of job changes we sold it after living there for two and a half years. We also had a child while living at this house; our daughter was born in the summer of 2012. For this house we mostly just painted and decorated, and did a lot of landscaping outside. In hindsight, I think we (or maybe it was just me) were bored living here. I realized that I like working on my home and needed something with a little more to fix up. Which was why we chose our next house…

Third House

Our third home was a 90s split-level that needed plenty of updating and TLC. We did a lot of renovations including taking down a wall, painting the kitchen cabinets, refinishing hardwood floors and stairs, redoing a bathroom (this was the one that I started ripping out on a whim, and Tony came home from work to see the toilet on the front lawn).  And of course there was lots of painting. I felt like I learned a lot about myself in this house, and realized that I am capable of doing many different types of renovations. We had two children while living at this house. Our second daughter was born in the fall of 2014, and our baby boy was born in January 2016. We lived there for two and a half years, then with bittersweet feelings we sold it to start building our new house.

Forever Home

In early spring 2016 we started building a three bedroom raised bungalow on 30 acres of land near Lunenburg, ON. We were our own general contractors in order to save some money, but this meant endless hours of organizing, ordering supplies, hiring sub-contractors, and working at the house any spare time we had.  Yes, we were busy. But now that we are finished the bulk of the work we are looking forward to the future and raising our children in our dream house in the country. Here is the full house tour.

Flip House

And in between our second house and third house, we also flipped a house along with my in-laws.

To follow along with our story, you can start with our first house. From there I will bring you on a tour to each of our houses. If you like what you see here, please subscribe to email to get every post delivered to your inbox.

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3 thoughts on “Start Here”

  1. Hi Jessica. Wow, I’m totally impressed with your reno accomplishments especially with a houseful of little ones. You must have a lot of energy! We live nearer Iroquois, but I am out in the Lunenburg area regularly because I have a horse boarded there. Sheri (Willow House Chronicles)

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