In any home renovation, demolition is both super exciting and totally nerve wracking. All renovation projects, but especially ones involving older homes, are somewhat unpredictable and you never really know what surprises you’ll find behind the walls, or in our case, in the ceilings! Mike and I got the keys to our new home on August 4th, and we decided to set up a temporary bedroom to spend our first weekend there. Since we were leaving for Portugal the following weekend, I didn’t think we would crack down, and do a full demo of the house, but I was wrong. I should have known that the man I married will never get rid of the ants in his pants…so needless to say, Saturday morning, bright and early, we started to hack away at our beautiful new home. With the help of some good friends and family we managed to accomplish a ton. Our renovation had officially begun, and it was super exciting!
I had never really thought about buying a house or what end of town I wanted settle down in. When I met Mike that all changed, and where to build a future together was the hot topic we discussed most often. City versus country, east versus west, bungalow versus two storey, buy land and build versus buying a home, buying a turn key ready home or a fixer upper to make our own…we talked about all of it, and we talked about it ALL the time. Mike had it in his head that he wanted to buy a country lot, or home in the east end of town. He liked the commute to his downtown job, and he wanted a big wooded lot to fully engulf himself in country living. I, on the other hand, hadn’t thought much about what it was that I wanted, and was open to all possibilities. In this particular instance, not being decisive or having a strong opinion left my poor husband flopping around like a fish out of water.
A shorter commute to work, close to nearby trails, privacy in the backyard, and a big enough house to grow a family/host as many of our loved ones as we can I soon decided were my primary criteria. Mike, on the other hand, had a different laundry list of must haves for his future nesting grounds, and his top priority was acreage. He wanted a place where he could utilize our yard to its fullest potential, have a bit of privacy and that feeling of country living. As the hunt began, our opinions began to change, and our broad spectrum of what we wanted narrowed pretty quickly. We looked at numerous lots from 70 acres to 3/4 of an acre. They were all so different, and each brought very strong positives and negatives to the table, but in the end none of them were hitting the nail on the head.
As Mike often did, one morning he sent me a link to a house for sale on a 2.5 acre lot just outside the village of Manotick. Manotick is an adorable, quaint area south of the city that runs along the Rideau River. I have always loved Manotick, but since Mike had always been so keen on moving more east, I never thought to propose the idea to him. Although he was very unfamiliar with the area itself, he loved what he saw in the home listing. It was a split-level home that appeared to be in great shape, but was fairly dated. Originally, we both had agreed to not take on another renovation (we had both done a few to date!), but of course we ignored our inner judgement, and decided to attend the first open house. We were in trouble, we both loved the house, and although I was apprehensive because of the amount of work we would have to put in we went ahead and called our realtor, Natalie, to schedule a second showing. Before we knew it we were signing on the dotted line….WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!
The next few months will be busy to say the least, but we are both thrilled to be starting our next big adventure in our very own home! We will be sure to post updates of our renovation, and progress at the house along the way! Stay tuned… 🙂
Also, if anyone reading lives in the Ottawa area (or is hoping to ;)) and needs a realtor, check out Natalie McGuire! She is the most fantastic, hard working gal, who will truly make owning your dream home a reality.
A good Canadian summer is not complete without a visit (or many visits) to the cottage. After a long Ontario winter, there is nothing like enjoying your morning coffee by the river. Watching the water sparkle in the warm sunshine is the best way to start off your day. Mike and I are very lucky to have access to my parents place in the Thousand Islands all year long, but in the summer we like to try and get up there as often as possible. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts (or as you may have seen on my instagram) their place is on one of the Thousand Islands with an unreal view of the majestic St. Lawrence River. It is a tiny slice of paradise, and I am busting to get there tonight for our 3rd Annual Cottage Weekend with a huge group of our friends!!! On top of that, it is my 30th birthday on Sunday, so the timing couldn’t have worked out better! We will be boating, wake boarding, canoeing, and stand-up paddle boarding all weekend long! Mike surprised me with a paddle board of my very own last night, and I am thrilled to give it a go on the St. Lawrence this weekend.
Here are a few pictures from our Annual Cottage Weekend last year!
We’ve been so lucky this summer to have already spent a few weekends at the cottage, as well as a weekend at a rental cottage in Quebec where we were graciously hosted by our good friends (and matchmakers!), Maddy & Paul! It was a beautiful new home with an adorable beach house feel close to Notre-Dame-du-Laus, Quebec. The property was stunning, and it was situated on a very peaceful waterway with a killer view of the hilly Quebec countryside. We had an incredible weekend, and it was nice to be at a different cottage exploring a new area! Although having your own cottage is wonderful, being able to venture into unknown territory makes for a fun adventure 🙂
Here are a few snaps from our weekend at the Quebec rental!
Hope you`re all making the most out of your summer holidays!
Mike, being from Northern Ontario, is a huge winter fan. He dreams of blizzards all year long, and squeals with excitement when the weather starts to cool. Even the slightest sign of snow fall sets him off, and gets him obsessing about taking his once hibernating skidoo out for the first rip of the season. A typical night in the Sousa household is one where I nod off to the powerful sound of a sled’s braap in a youtube video.
Unfortunately for my sweet snow obsessed husband, this winter, even in the Great White North, was unlike any other. We drove up with little to no signs of fresh powder, leaving poor Mike with a sad realization that his beloved sled wouldn’t even get a chance to leave the trailer we towed 1000 kms from Ottawa. To make matters worse, Ottawa got hit with a whopping 30 cms of snow a few days after we left, and Hearst was still sporting icy trails with grass poking through. My parents, god love them, took this as an opportunity to torment their son-in-law by calling him Wrong Direction… Although my dad has no clue who One Direction is he couldn’t help but chuckle over his son-in-law’s misfortune and my mom’s goofy sense of humour.
Although the sledding conditions were subpar, the trails were just packed enough to enjoy a nice brisk snowshoe! I’ve been able to set out twice so far, and it has been fantastic. Both days were chilly, but not not too cold, and the trails were just snow covered enough to set the perfect, scenic walk in the woods.
Looking forward to another snowy adventure back home soon!
Bye for now!
Usually December in Ottawa is freezing, and buried by about 5ft of snow already. This year, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the area, we are experiencing the strangest winter weather yet! Every day has been mild (about 2-15 degrees Celsius) with a mix of sunshine, cloud and rain. I certainly can’t complain since it’s been easier commuting back and forth to the hospital without piles of snow and ice, BUT I really do love a white Christmas … and that is definitely not happening this year. Needless to say, rain or shine, snow or sleet, Mike and I are big outdoors fans, and we always try to spend the majority of our time off enjoying the fresh air. This past weekend was no exception.
Lucky for us, my boss gives us a free day off every year before the holidays (#bestbossever), and both Mike and I decided Friday would be the day, giving ourselves a nice long weekend. Since the weather has been so mild, and we desperately needed a day of relaxation, we decided to enjoy our awesome wedding gift from Mike’s sister, Kayla. She bought us a gift certificate to a beautiful Nordic spa in Chelsea, Quebec, which you can check it out here! Le Nordik is an incredible oasis nestled in the Gatineau Hills. It boasts gorgeous hot and cold pools, waterfalls, saunas, steam baths, fire pits, and incredible food and wine. With all of that to look forward to, Mike and I took to the road after breakfast, and made our way to the spa which is a short 30 minute drive from home. We spent most of the day there, and it was worth every minute. Between the warm pools and outdoor fireplaces we were in heaven.
Although I was hoping to snap a few photos of the spa in the day light, we ended up getting carried away with our full on relaxing day off and sadly let our photo op fall to the wayside. Fortunately, I was able to grab my phone and grab a few shots on our way out!
After our incredibly chill Friday, and a hospital visit planned for Saturday evening, Mike and I wanted to get a few things done around the house Saturday morning. After tacking some chores, we decided to take the pups (Emma and my parents dog, Bailey) for a long walk before heading downtown to see my grandpa. We were lucky enough to stumble upon some absolutely gorgeous trails about 10 minutes walking distance from our place. A few photos are posted below!
By Sunday, Mike and I were in full on outdoorsy mode after taking advantage of the weather both Friday and Saturday, so we had to close out with a weekend hat trick of outdoor activities. On our very first date, Mike took me to a property he owned in the country to enjoy a bonfire and pizza outside the rustic log cabin he built on his own…you heard correct… he built an entire log cabin with his bare hands! Totally impressive, right?! Although he eventually sold the property along with the log cabin, the new owner allows us to visit the land from time to time, and that is exactly what we did on Sunday afternoon. Along with two of our good friends, we enjoyed some four wheeler rides, and a toasty campfire until the sun was setting and the rain started up.
All in all, we had a fantastic weekend with a lot of fresh air! Hopefully that will tide us over until next weekend!
The countdown to Christmas is officially on! Mike and I are spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day here in Ottawa with my family, and then heading north to Hearst, Ontario to be with his side of the family. There we will have a slightly belated Christmas celebration, and we’ll be ringing in the New Year “Hearst Style”, which means heading to the local bar, and dancing our way into 2016… along with the entire population of Hearst.
The great thing about being from a small town is that everyone knows you, which makes things much easier day-to-day. People trust each other, there is a wonderful sense of family within the community, and it takes less than 5 minutes to get anywhere. That being said, being the “new girl” in a small town is not always so fun, as I have previously experienced with the strange and uncomfortable stares. Kind of makes you feel like you’re the misunderstood exhibit at a really intense art show, BUT lucky for me this isn’t my first rodeo, and I am officially stepping down from the “new girl” exhibit and joining the crowds! Woot!
I always look forward to our Christmas trip up north. It’s so relaxing, and is the most picturesque place during the holiday season. Towering trees, snowy trails, cottages, fishing huts and fires. There is truly nothing like it! (Photos to follow upon our return!)
In the meantime, decorating the house, and over indulging in “made for TV” Christmas movies (my biggest guilty pleasure) is on my top priorities list. This weekend I was able to finish decorating our tree, and fireplace mantle. Here are a few photos to hopefully get you in the spirit as well!
Happy decorating friends!
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I'm Jessie, and welcome to Cool, Calm & Cozy!
This space is an outlet for me to connect with my creative side and keep long lasting memories with my family. Writing and making videos of our adventures together is a passion of mine, which I hope brings joy to my whole family presently and in the future!
Hope you enjoy Cool, Calm & Cozy, and thanks for following along!