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  • Rae

Part 14: The final push and our 'black beauty' is home!

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

In early November, I noticed a handwritten 'to-do' list for the crew taped to one of the doors and we knew we were in the final stage of the project. The beams were installed and we just love them.

On Saturday, we popped up to Halifax to purchase some lights and fans and had time to meet our friend Deirdre for a coffee. We finished off our day with a fantastic dinner at The Wooden Monkey in downtown Halifax. We just love that city – its a really nice manageable size, easy to get around with lots of great restaurants. Have we mentioned how much we love living here?

Next, Adam installed the fans. They are industrial fans and we're not really sure if maybe they are too powerful... but we'll leave them for now and see how things are in the summer months.

And then the lights were installed in the laundry room and bathroom. We wanted something a bit nautical and retro in feel. We really like them.

The view from our studio is really lovely, especially now that the sun is setting right across the bay... and almost every night the sky is orange and red... really pretty! I don't think we'll ever get tired of this view.

Our 'pretty in mauve' bathroom is finished. LOVE.

The hook-up for the washer & dryer is ready... and all the trim is getting finished. Nice wide boards and simple style – just what we like.

And then the floors... I had in my heart a desire for reclaimed wood floors but as I mentioned in a previous post, the cost was sky high... so we settled for engineered hardwood – best for the humidity here and they are tough – even if they get scuffed up, it will just add to the sort of 'barn board' feel.

The Rissers crew is down to Ryan and Kyle most days – these guys have been here since day one. They are both so sweet and take a lot of pride in their work. I think they are getting used to me taking all these photos. Or they're tired of it. I'm not sure which. LOL

Its a beautiful fall day and time for a bit of a break with a walk at Miller Point Peace Park just down the road from us.

Suddenly the breaker for our well kept tripping and we had to call the plumbers in. Turns out we had to replace the submersible pump. The guys from Mason's Plumbing, who are doing all the plumbing on the new build, showed up on a Sunday to get it fixed. Thanks guys!

You just never know what's going to need fixing in an old house. They shocked our well while they were at it and its really nice now not to have a sulphur smell. "Always look on the bright side of life!" (Monty Python reference there...)

Ah, the stairs. They have been plywood for weeks and finally they are getting their treads!

We love our nice 4' wide wooden stairs, they make for a great entrance. Kyle gets the nasty job of sanding them... while Ryan does a great job of supervising.

The lights for the studio... we searched on-line for a nice industrial style and ordered them. We headed to Halifax on Saturday to pick them up. On the way back, we stopped in to Oak Island Resort to catch Rob MacLean playing there in the Fireside Lounge.

He's a great guitarist and singer (did a great version of Molly May) and we chatted with him about playing in our studio next year. He'd love to.

The fall weather has continued into November and we are still getting nice sunny days at @ 10º. The Lunenburg harbour seems to be gorgeous in any season. We are so fortunate to live 15 minutes from this beautiful town.

Out of the blue, we heard from SWOOP – the Westjet discount airline. Our second business is Food Photography and we had done the photos of their onboard menu last year. They were wondering if we'd like to do their cover shot. Yes we would! The fact that we are now living in Nova Scotia didn't bother them – they really liked our work, and all the food is packaged items, so we can shoot in-studio.

It was so nice to get back into shooting; with everything that's been going on, we haven't had much time to promote this part of our business. Alan is the food stylist and a lot neater than I am... here is one of the final shots they chose.

That night, I was back in Halifax at the Maritime Museum for a workshop with my friend Deirdre to make rope wreaths. It was a blast! The wreaths are so cool... using ship rope, you create somewhat of a celtic knot.

It was fun and great to spend some time with my old school friend Dee; we went for a lovely glass of wine at Obladee afterwards. "Obladee, Oblada, life goes on, oh..." come on, everybody sing!

We had really hoped to get our driveway cleared and widened before winter but... since we were delayed in the Spring, it just wasn't possible. So, Lee agreed to get one tree out and create the area for our courtyard as a compromise.

It means that we don't have the parking area for lots of cars, which means that we can't have 40 people or so for events until next summer. We're not disappointed – these guys did such an amazing job in 5 months and there is no panic... it will give us time to finish some custom work over the winter and get gardens and courtyard stones down in the Spring.

Adam was back to install the studio lights and they look great. They are the perfect size and we are going to replace the bulbs with Edson-style for a softer, warmer feel. We have lights in the studio!

On the 25th of November, the final few items were being ticked off the list. Everything was cleaned up, last touchups done and the garage and workshop were totally ready for us to move in.

The final task was to paint the stairs. We chose this pretty blue – a bit of whimsy and well, I just love it!

On November 26th, Ryan put the second coat of paint on the stairs and handed us the keys. We were done. It felt so weird after months of so much activity, suddenly it was quiet.

It was a pretty day and we decided to kick off early and head to the beach to celebrate.

Whenever we feel stressed or worried about things, we walk the beach – Alan had gotten some news that his mom, who has been in long-term care for many years, was in her last days.

Risser's Beach is one of our favourite spots... only 20 minutes away when we catch the ferry.

The next morning we got the news that she had passed away. Mary Ursula Wall (nee. Carr-Harris) was born in India on September 6, 1930.

She lived a full life – growing up in India, she went to school for a time in Italy and then England. Her family immigrated to Canada when she was a teenager and that is where she met Robin Wall. They married and had 3 children while living in Quebec, then moved the whole family to England (where Alan spent 6 years as a child), then back to Canada and Quebec. Then they moved to Williamstown, Ontario (where I met Alan); then Grand Manan, NB, where they built a studio and lived for a number of years; then Vancouver Island, then to Bowen Island and finally to Vancouver. Alan will be going to Vancouver for a 'celebration of her life' on Friday. That will be nice.

The first sound check. Really echo-y! But we'll fix that with rugs, gear and probably acoustic panels.

On the weekend of Nov 30 - Dec 1, we started moving in. What a feeling to dismantle our temporary office in the upstairs of our old house, and set ourselves up in this gorgeous new studio! We also moved some tools and toys into the garage and workshop.

As fortune would have it, we found some hand-knotted wool rugs for sale on Kijiji and drove to Digby to pick them up. They were a great buy and just perfect for the studio! Beautiful quality and already the sound is much improved!

We're still working out the layout, but the big rug seems to work well to define a 'stage' area. Slowly, the instruments are gathering from all the corners of our house where they've been packed away for months.

December 3rd and we've been here 8 months. Hard to believe all of this has happened in that short period of time. Mason's Plumbing returned and the washer and dryer got moved into the new laundry room. Our sweet little wood stove was delivered and will be hooked up this month. It's nestled in the corner of the studio and will be so nice on those snowy winter days.

We've spent the last few days just getting used to working in this great open space with a beautiful view of the cove... and playing our instruments. It's December 4th, the sun is out and the piano has arrived!

It's been in storage since March. Once again, it was really hard to watch as the guys from Dr. Piano moved her up the stairs and into the studio... nail biting.

I sincerely hope we never have to go through this expense and anxiety again.

So nice to see this beauty again. And now in a permanent home. That's right people, we are NEVER moving again! LOL

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