Sunday, September 25, 2011

Presenting Framboise Manor

ahhh...Framboise Manor...the name itself has such a nice ring to it.

however, after you see the following pics, i am sure that you will agree that we should have named it Framboise Estate.

wait, a little history before the pics. i found Framboise Manor online. it was 1,000 miles away from where we were. and after several emails back and forth with the real estate agent who really did not want to sell this place to us sight unseen - we made an offer. we paid full asking price as the price had kept dropping over almost a year. when you see the pics you will understand why the price kept dropping.

we got this place at a steal. the cottage itself is definitely "manor"-like in that it has a kitchen, living room, two small bedrooms and a bathroom. that's it. we moved from a sprawling, huge, open-concept bungalow with a huge basement AND a sunroom. moving to this cramped little place has been a challenge.

back to buying the place. again, the real estate agent did not seem to want to sell it. we asked her to take honest pictures of the place for us. she did. her pictures follow.

she called this pic "the driveway needs grading". uh huh.

she called this pic "the roof needs fixing". uh huh.

this pic was called "back of house needs to be cleaned up". yep.

this was called "the backyard". yep - that's the backyard. and somewhere almost 1000ft down there is our 200ft of waterfront on the river. sure. i think i can almost see the river from this pic. nope that's just the sky.

here's the fancy kitchen cupboards - in all fairness they actually look pretty nice in the pic. they look much worse in real life. and i had left a huge kitchen with custom-designed bird's eye maple cabinetry that went from floor to ceiling. oh how i miss my cupboards!

THIS beauty is the previous owner's attempt at some kind of weird art. he smashed up a variety of tiles and then poured concrete or something. i can see what he was trying to do but it just doesn't work. the concrete stays wet all day soaking up all kinds of bacteria - thank god it has been replaced - but for several months we couldn't put a glass on the counter or it would tip over. ya - cuz the tiles and concrete weren't even a tiny bit even.

here's the other side of the counter and the stove that didn't work.

this is the hallway between the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. please note the horrible peach walls and god-awful blue in the bedroom. are in for a real treat now. bathroom is coming up soon!

don't jump the gun - we'll get to the bathroom in due time. just wanted to share a pic of the "carpeted" stairs that lead from the kitchen to the living room. yep - we ripped up that carpet toute suite. it had been there for about 20 years and had never been cleaned. yum.

oh and i don't know if i mentioned this already or not - but all of the furniture came with the place! imagine - Framboise Manor came furnished! i kid you not!

the real estate agent called this pic "bad paint job". how about bad building job?

and as promised - here is the "ensuite" bathroom to our master bedroom. wait until you see the master bedroom. there is nothing master about it. nor is there anything ensuite about the bathroom. have a look-see for yourselves.

i must admit that the 20yr old duck shower curtain was a definite selling point!

and here is the "vanity". 'nuff said.

the red siding tape in the shower was a design inspiration that i had never seen before. the previous owner was a real artist. i think the shower looks very "arty". what do you think?

and i like the way that the shower head dangles from the wall - makes it easier to move it this way or that.

and, if i were a real estate agent and wanted to sell an albatross property that had been hanging over my head for a year - i would definitely take a pic of the flooded basement for prospective clients - flooded basements were the "in" thing that year!

oh and all of the junk in the basement came with the property too..what a deal!

this pic she called "bad wiring throughout the house". umm...ya.

this pic is up the carpeted *cough-bleck* stairs and part of the living room. sadly the computer did not come with the rest of the furnishings.

this pic she labelled "more stucco". yep. our whole living room and back bedroom were stucco-ed. very artsy. oh and classy.

this pic she called "living room window needs to be replaced". need i say more?

this is the hallway ceiling between the kitchen and the bathroom. appropriately entitled "no ceiling in the hallway".

this is the little storage closet. unfinished and not quite as artsy as the rest of the place.

this pic was called "you need a new front step". her powers of observation are mind-blowing.

here's the "master bedroom". yep. and a sickly shade of blue. oh, if you are curious, that box sticking off the wall is our electric panel. and you really don't want to see the inside of that!

so we bought the place sight-unseen. why you ask? it came with almost 10 acres, 200ft of riverfront (once we found it) and it is in a beautiful and remote area of cape breton. people called us crazy - the real estate agent who tried very hard not to sell this place to us called us crazy.

but we have been at Framboise Manner for 10 months now. it has been a lot of work. thank goodness for our friends Jimmy and Barb, who put some real hard work into the place so that when we landed here for good - everything looked different. they weren't able to get everything done - but they got a lot of this place fixed up for us. and we have been working like dogs since we got here, just trying to put this little crappy cottage - i mean, Manor -together.

and we are loving every minute of it. right now - jambaloney is halfway in one side of the attic and halfway in the other side. i will explain later. this house is nuts. but we love it. and we love being here.

stay tuned for updates on all of the work that Jimmy and Barb did, and the changes that we have made.


  1. If you think that is crappy then I will never show you any pics of the house I built years ago. I would have loved your kind of crappy.

  2. Well as long as you love it and are enjoying working on it that's all that matters!

    We have 13 acres of land, and I have to say that was a real selling point for us. We've been here 8 years now, and there's still loads to do!

    Good luck!

  3. I cannot imagine the surprise of a realtor who, after a year of trying to put lipstick on a pig with no success, goes the 'brutal honesty' route with pictures and -surprise- makes the sale. Realtor must have figured you knew about a gold vein or something under the property. I don't want to be crass, but if you dont mind my asking, what did the final price wind up being? Also, if you were 1000 miles away, how did you come to find the place?

  4. I like the shower curtain, please tell me you kept it!


    I know people who have a custom built house and are constantly working on it. Same for me in my 130+ year old house. Always something to do if you want, and that means it's an adventure of a lifetime (or a few). But you are making it your own and I actually like your manor!

  5. Wow...really not too bad if the price was right. Can't wait to see what you all have done to it.

  6. I think it looks pretty darn good. I mean, who cares what other people think if it suits you. Yes, you need to do some work on it and you have been, but what a wonderful place you live in now. I work like a dog on my place all the time, it just goes with the territory. I'm impressed that you just upstakes and went!

  7. MDR - i read about your place on the tab on your blog called "our MDR family" - i haven't gotten through all of your old posts so maybe you have pics of the place you built - your description of it killed me and i would love to see pics! and honestly - i showed the "nicest" pics of Framboise Manor - the seller's real estate agent was brutally honest in the pics!

    North - it is an adventure for sure! we left a beautiful home in the city with nice acreage and good jobs and now we are living on my tiny military/gov pension and winging it! but we have wanted to do this for years!

    Joey - thanks for always stopping in - i know that bugging out and prepping and stuff is not your thing - but i love your blog and i love that you always commented on my posts at the nova scotia preppers network and i love that you are always positive in your posts and in your comments. it feels like an honour when you stop by. and again - i love your blog!

  8. Commander Zero - i will check your blog for an email address to send you the pricing info - if you don't have an email address listed - please send me an email at and i will let you know what we paid. if anyone else is interested, just send me an email. i am not trying to hide what we paid, i just don't want to broadcast it on the internet. and for anyone interested, there is some great land here and for cheap!

    continuing on, CZ - yep- it looked like the real estate agent knew that we were serious right from the get-go and in order to protect herself, as we were purchasing the property sight-unseen, she made sure that we knew what we were getting into. she was really great!

    and lastly, we were 1,000 miles away in Ontario and this property is on cape breton island, nova scotia. i found the property on the internet as i had spent approximately 8 years checking out places here in cape breton where i was born and raised. i always knew that the reason i woke up everyday and went to work was to eventually get back "home". lots of cape bretoners are like that. there is not a lot of work to be found here, so cape bretoners tend to move to other provinces in order to work to retirement with only one goal in mind - gettin' back home.

    i am home now and i have never felt so safe, happy, protected, grateful, part of a community - oh i could go on and on. and i will - in all of my next posts.

  9. Max - we kept it. all i need is an address and it's yers buddy! and thanks...we like our manor too. or will - when it's all fixed!

    Tango - the price was definitely right! as we regularly exchange email - i will let you know how much we paid in my next email to you. and again - if anyone is interested in the price, send me an email. as well, if anyone is interested in properties for sale in cape breton, send me an email and i can send you some good links.

    Arsenius - thanks buddy. we really did just pull up and leave. we purchased the manor in August 2009, met some really cool friends who took care of it for us over the year, and actually planned to move here in 2013-2014. we thought that we would spend a few more years in the city trying to tuck away some more money, but circumstances beyond our control forced our hand and we up and jumped. i will explain those circumstances in a detailed post. we were very fortunate to have found our dreamspot prior to those circumstances. we could have stayed a few extra years, but chose not to. money is just money and freedom, peace and quiet and happiness works wonders on the soul.

    and as you know - working like a dog on a place you love makes for a ton of sarcastic posts - but deep in our hearts we all know that we would rather be doing absolutely nothing else!

    thank you all for stopping by. it is so nice to have internet friends who truly understand and relate!

  10. Its adorable, thanks for sharing photos

  11. Anonymous - it really is adorable! we love it here and our friends, Jimmy and Barb, really did some great work before we got here. i will share pics of befores and afters. thanks for stopping by!

  12. Hi Kymber & Jambaloney,

    I've been following your great adventure and thought it was time to say hello. You guys are amazing! You've done what I've always thought about doing, but never did. Family, career, and all the rest of the daily crap has kept me back. Now that I'm almost officially retired, I'm looking at real estate online in Nova Scotia as the possible place for us to kick back and enjoy life before we are in scooters wearing diapers. LOL ! I'm 55 and want to get away and start our adventure in a land we've never seen too. We live in B.C. and I'm originally from Germany. I've been told that N.S. resembles Europe and I love that. Kymber,your sense of humor and strong spirit inspires me.

    Take Care and best wishes to you both ... Helga

  13. Helga - thank you so much for stopping by! Helga - this area, this whole island in fact, is just beautiful and a wonderful place to retire! the people here are very community-minded but also respect privacy. there is much beautiful land here and for cheap! let me know if you want me to send you some real estate links - just contact me at - i would be happy to send you some!

    anyway - i like your sense of humour too - you would probably thrive here in your scooters and diapers - bahahahah!

    best wishes to you as well! and don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

    thank you for stopping by!

  14. I love it - what an adventure!!!! And I really, really love your blue toilet and tub!! I have a *thing* for vintage bathroom Please, tell me you kept them? The kitchen counter tops are a hoot - you just have to love crazy crap the old owners have done.

    We are like you, in that we left a very nice house, our dream house, and it was over 3000 sq ft - into this little tiny 600 sq ft tin can, talk about a shock!! We don't even have a bathroom door - there isn't even room for one. But it's an exciting life, and we can both say we lived a life of adventure:)

  15. OMG! This is cracking me up! I love your commentary on the pictures! But I have to tell you - you would faint if you saw the pictures of our house! haha Also, my dad was a union plasterer...and I can tell you that is NOT stucco! LOL
    The Anonymous Homesteader

  16. It does look like it needed a lot of work, especially that flooded basement. You’re right about doubting her disposition about selling this house, what with her posting its photos in a somewhat unsellable condition. But on the bright side, at least you got to see the bad side of it before you committed yourself into buying this property. Anyway, it’s been years, so I assume all the necessary repairs and renovation in your manor have already been sorted out. Have a good day!

    Gail Wallace @ Emergency Flood Masters