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New Home Addition | Swimming 365 days a year

This big box…. (see above) arrived just after New Years. It was a purchase we made in June / July (I’ve lost count) in the height of the Summer, mid lockdown, when life at home was getting terribly claustrophobic.

With the cover  rolled back …. it reveals a …. pool! That can be used every day of the year, in the height of the winter, and the scorching heat of the summer. With our gym memberships cancelled, travelling grounded for the year or more,  and bring stuck to our home, Aubrey and I decided a swim spa would be a really useful, amazing investment for our backyard.

We were desperate for something we could all do together as a family- and swimming is just something we all love. We’re not skiers, or skaters. The three of us are water people – I find the greatest calm by being by, and in water. For years I’ve pinned pools, and dreamt of a plunge pool that we could incorporate into our garden.

I was originally smitten with something called “Shipping Container pools” – which are just that. Pools made out of shipping containers. I obsessed over their  their looks, but after having the hardest time getting a hold of one company (not naming names) and realizing that if I couldn’t get a hold of a company to talk about buying something – how hard would it be to get a hold of someone if something went wrong, I packed that idea away and decided I didn’t have enough patience left during a pandemic, to try to make something work that just didn’t want to work. Perhaps because of the such a bad experience trying to get information out of a company, it made me appreciate and value the experience we got at BonaVista (pictured below) in Toronto that much more.

So I knew BonaVista pools in Toronto for building gorgeous, in ground pools. What I hadn’t realized is that they had a whole division just dedicated to Swim Spas by Hydropools. Aubrey and I went in to talk with Jennifer there mid Summer (without Oscar first), and talked about pricing, what the overall cost looked like, and then booked ourselves a swim test. Oscar and I went into the pool, did a little swimmy swim and I was sold. On. the spot. It was SO MUCH FUN with the jets.

Although I’m still smitten with the design concept of a shipping container pool, I am SO glad we went with the Hydropool as it just has that many more bells and whistles that makes it fun for everyone. And although it wasn’t the look I was originally thinking, it actually is way more beautiful than I could have imagined.

Pros. This is something we can use 365 days a year. In the coldest of days I was in there floating looking at the stars, with it cranked up to 104 degrees. In the Summer I will be lying out there too, but with it waaaay lower.

Cons: Cost. It’s not just the cost of the pool but you need to factor in electrical, setting up your property to handle it, and the crane.

As much as this was thought of for Oscar to have fun in – This is also for Aubrey and I to get laps in. With the jets you can swim against the current and get in an awesome workout. I found it difficult to do the workout when we had it cranked to 104 in the dead of winter, but I see us doing the exercise more when we lower the temperature of the water, as the heat outside starts to go up. Feel free to ask any questions if you’re interested in getting one!

xo Linds

We bought it from: Bona Vista Pools (they are the BEST)
Ask for Jennifer and she’ll know which model we bought!

Pool make: Hydro Pool Swim Spa, 17 feet long

Here is how it was installed:


@lindsay_stephensonHere’s the delivery of our Swim Spa. Best investment ever. ##swimspa ##swimspalife ##hydropool♬ Mission Impossible (Main Theme) – Favorite Movie Songs

In My House

New Front Porch – Details

Our deck was in desperate need of repair for the last bazillion years, but it was always being pushed to last on our to-do list. When the pandemic hit and we were all stuck at home, I think it drove Aubrey over the edge to see the carpet in tatters daily, so he ripped up the carpet in one foul swoop and we were left with a plywood deck – which was actually, an improvement over the carpet.  This isn’t the most design-inspiring post but I wanted to post it none the less, because I found it ridiculously hard to find simple front porch ideas in my search.

We had our handyman help us out with this project because we were juggling my work, Aubrey’ work and Oscar’s home school, so it was way easier to just get the manual labour outsourced. What we did was leave the plywood base, that was already there, and then lay 2×4’s over top, starting with under the door (see above) so that it all evened out as we went left to right.

We lay another 2×4 board at the front of the deck, running parallel to the house so that the boards didn’t just get “cut” at the end and we don’t see exposed end cuts.

The border piece I mentioned above, hung over the top of the deck ever so slightly, so that the front panels (that you see from the street) would be recessed. We installed these new vertical boards in the front and they were the same 2×4 boards as on the top.

Lastly. we added a final detailing piece above the vertical pieces. This was again, a 2×4 board, but we had it ripped so it was slightly less wide, so that it wasn’t as thick as the other pieces.

That’s it! I mean, it’s a super easy design, but gives you some points to consider if you do a porch. Also, I did weed between the stone pathway after the photos were taken. But it wasn’t a huge priority at the time of the photo. 🙂

In Renovations

Basement Updates Part 3

And the wall build (from this side at least) is complete. If you go through the archives you’ll see the progression of this space. But going back to the verrrry beginning of the home reno you can see the left hand archway in the below picture, is the area that we filled in.

We’re already hanging out down here WAY more, as it’s nicely separated from the hustle of the main floor. The countertop was a surprisingly easy decision after we researched quartz, or custom pieces (traditional counters for a kitchen). It wasn’t worth the investment, and I was going for a more “chillaxed” vibe down here anyway, so unfinished wood was in my sights, specifically the whitest wood I could find (that was affordable).

We went to Lowes and I decided Poplar had the right tones I was looking for. A single piece of wood wasn’t big enough for the cabinet top, so we had to find two pieces that I felt seamlessly worked together. This took a bit of time as some pieces were yellower than others or, had big knots in them.

Lowes isn’t the best at cutting wood to size according to Aub, whereas Rona is way more helpful. So Aubrey took the wood to Rona, to get them cut so that they would simply fit ontop of the cabinet perfectly.

Since the space felt more “done” now, we hung my Bad Guy Print. 

To remind you of how the space started originally when we first started …..

I’ll show you the updates on the other side as it gets completed! xo