The ‘Calm’ Before the Renovation


The calm before the storm of the Wesszer house renovation

If you’ve been following me on Instagram you will know that we are smack dab in the middle of a major home renovation! I’ve been asked a million questions about the project so am thrilled to be writing a series on our home renovation to share our story and process!

Allow me to rewind a bit. I remember the day I drove up to Charles’ house for the first time like it was yesterday.  It was the spring of 2008.  I had just met the man of my dreams and we had an INSTANT connection; it was such an incredible time of our lives.  After the first date he asked if he could come over and make my parents dinner at their house.  I quietly picked my jaw up off of the floor and nodded my head.  Like, since when does a guy ask to do that??  What planet was he from?

Needless to say he awed my parents with his charisma and cooking skills, made instant BFF status with my dad (I think the scotch and killer chicken parmesan helped) and the rest is history.  But back to his house. On our next date he asked to make me dinner at HIS house, and since the first was such a success I thought, HECK YES!  I had butterflies in my stomach driving up wondering what his house looked like and of course trying to picture what our lives would look like once we moved in together (enter the eye rolls, it was only the third date after all talk about putting the cart before the horse!).

The place was a complete dump.  I mean, brutally ugly.  If I was marrying this guy it was ABSOLUTELY for the right reasons.  Good thing he was nice, hot and could cook!

I’m embarrassed to say that I cried like a baby when we moved in to that house before renovating it.  And they weren’t tears of joy my friends. I was SO overwhelmed, I simply couldn’t wrap my head around how we were going to make the house livable let alone nice.  But we did, and we did it on a teeny tiny budget and a boat load of elbow grease.  There were empty beer cans covering every square inch of the dirty green shag carpet, garbage sprawled across the orange countertops, weeds growing in the yard that were taller than Charles and the wallpaper was peeling off the wall in big panels. We pulled it off and it gave me faith that we could survive another renovation. Five years later we sold it to move closer to our family (which is only on the other side of town haha!) and were on the hunt again.

We shopped around for a home for a couple of months thinking that we would just lipstick something and move on.  The first time I drove past the house that we ended up purchasing I told my mom to keep going (I think my exact words were “this one is hopeless”).  She nodded her head in solid agreement and continued driving.  A couple of months later we ended up driving by it again and stuck our heads in; the moment we opened the door we knew that we had to buy it.  We liked the bones and the potential, but most important we loved the flat half-acre property bordering our favourite wineries with the stunning lake views.  We purchased it two hours later.

The Wesszer house before the renovation


The Wesszer house before the renovation

Life got busy and I got pregnant with Max, so we decided to live in the space for a bit before digging into the renovation, and I’m so happy we did.  We painted the inside of the house Benjamin Moore Intense White (it was originally a dirty orange colour) and also painted the fireplace (a complete pain) and the kitchen backsplash and cabinets white (a bigger pain… I would do neither again for the record knowing that everything was getting torn out eventually).  The longer we lived there the more attached we got to the property, and our flip home soon turned into our future dream home.  Plans were drawn, and drawn again, and then again (we took months to plan which I HIGHLY recommend – this is not a phase you want to rush!), and finally we arrived at a set of drawings that we both loved!

Oak cabinets before they were painted white with white painted backsplash and a white painted hood fan.

Ikea Kivik couch with Benjamin Moore Intense White walls

Selfie with Max as a baby

Benjamin Moore Intense White Walls with white painted brick fireplace and a gold palm Pottery Barn pendant light.

White painted brick fireplace to update a 70's style house.

Oak cabinet vanity with white sink in bathroom

We ended up going with a Cape Cod style house with light grey shakes (check out the next post on our exterior) with a giant covered balcony off the back of the house to enjoy the gorgeous lake view all-year round.

We are about a month away from moving in and I CAN’T WAIT!  I am so excited to share our journey with you here on the blog, and will be giving you all of my tips, tricks, favourite products and disaster stories in the coming months, stay tuned!

Celebrating mid-construction



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44 Comments on “The ‘Calm’ Before the Renovation”

  1. Kristy

    Hi Tori, from what i’ve seen on your insta-stories it’s going to be beautiful! I’m curious what your timeline has been like?. How long has this process taken to get to this stage?

  2. Candace Martyn

    The dumpy house was the one where you had his big birthday party?? That was beautiful when you finished if that’s the case! Can’t wait to see the new beauty!!! Congratulations on being so close to moving in <3

  3. Tracy Thompson

    I loved your house even before renovations! Can’t wait to come and see the after!❤️Miss your little family like crazy!

  4. Ashley Severson

    Ahhhh! This is soo amazing! Doug and I just recently bought our “dream” home! We didn’t love the inside but like you said “the bones” were perfect and we knew we could completely turn it around! And I’m so happy we did! I can’t wait to see the final stages of your new Home! Xx Ashley

  5. Julie

    Its great seeing the progress on Instagram, with all your hard work, you both have still have such big smiles on your face!!! Your are building a beautiful “Home”!!

  6. Chantelle

    I’ve also been following your Instagram stories and I cannot wait to see it finished! The boys will be so excited too! I am especially excited to see your office off your pantry/kitchen! Such a great idea! 😍

  7. Barb

    I’ve been following you and your beautiful family. Just love seeing all your progress. Is your husband in the construction business? My husband is not handy at all, unfortunately.

  8. Elena

    Hi Tori
    I don’t know how you guys survived 2 home Reno’s!!?? We just began our 2nd year in our home and only have 1 bathroom done, and still have to do some painting and hardware still to do.😣
    Your a champ!

  9. Carly Petrone

    I’ve been following your reno on IG stories and can’t wait to see it all finished! Thanks for sharing this adorable story with us 🙂 You guys are the cutest!

  10. Alyssa Higginson

    A beautiful love story and what is going to be an absolutely stunning house! Love it. Thank you for letting us follow along 🙂

  11. Jacqueline

    Hi Tori,
    I can’t wait to hear all your tips and tricks for renovating a home. We just bought our dream home. It has great bones but needs a lot of love and a complete reno. Can’t wait to see the finished pictures of your dream home 🏠💜

  12. ReaganB

    What a great journey, thanks for sharing. I’m curious if you have recommendations on what to do in our dream home. We’re here but stuck. We love your style. Any suggestions?

  13. Ali

    Wait so this is a renovation! This whole time I thought you were building a brand new house it looked like just studs! Exciting!!

  14. Tree

    Hey Tori, did you paint all of your interior walls, fireplace, ceiling intense white? I’m having a tough time choosing my whites… Can’t wait to see your new home!

    1. Tori Wesszer

      Hi! I painted them all Simply White…I think that the Intense White looked too blue on our walls, but we have agreed that we can give the walls another coat of paint if needed once we are in if we want to change up the colour! Good luck it’s tough! Thanks for following along! Tori

  15. Charlie Kay

    Hi Tori! Absolutely LOVE watching your home renovation. I immediately stop all things I am doing to watch your stories. We are throwing a get together for our new home and looking for a banner just like the one you have pictured (#HOME). Do you know where I can find one like it or where you might have gotten yours? Keep up the renovation stories – love, love seeing them! xo

    1. Tori Wesszer

      Hi Charlie! Thank you so much!! Oh that’s a great question, I had it sent from a company directly and there is no brand on it… not sure? Maybe google letter banner? Congrats on the home! xo

  16. Diana

    Hi Tori

    Any chance you can share what brand(s) of appliances you are putting into your new kitchen?


  17. Amanda

    Tori, your reno has been amazing to watch. So exciting to see you are finally into the house. My husband and I are in the beginning stages of building a house ourselves. Your kitchen is amazing. What colour did you paint your cabinets? What colour is your countertop?
    If you have an all white kitchen, what do you recommend for the walls?
    Looking forward to watching your transform this house into a home.

    1. Tori Wesszer

      Hi Amanda, thank you so much! The cabinets are Simply White and the countertop is Statuario by Silestone. I am still working through the wall colours but we did Simply White on the walls too at this point! Something light and off white would be nice like Intense White or something similar! Good luck with the renovation!

  18. Leah

    Hi Tori! Your story is just too cute! My bf and have dreams of owning a home and have expect our first home to be a fixer upper.(when we can afford it of course) I’m a design major and reading stories like yours really inspire me. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  19. Christine

    Hi Tori, Loved watching your home Reno on your Insta stories!! Would you mind letting me know the name of your bathroom tile? You mentioned it one time on Instagram and I didn’t write it down 🙁 Thanks!

  20. Helene

    Hi Tori
    Love seeing everything you and Jullian do in your homes. I’m in love with whites (my husband’s says white is not a color lol) and pink (he’s thrilled with that too) I see that you painted the walls Simply White but what color is the trim? And are the cabinets Simply White also? I thought I saw some grey??

    Thank you so much!
    PS you’re boys are absolutely adorable! 🖤


    1. Tori Wesszer

      Hi Helene! Thank you! Haha I feel your pain my husband has the same reaction. It is ALL Simply White – trim, cabinets and wall colour! It just comes out different based on the type of paint and application which creates the illusion of layers and different colours. I hope this helps! Thanks for following along! xo Tori

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