Ignorance is Truly Bliss: Before & After

Ignorance is Bliss: Before & After

“I’ll tell you what really bugs me about your house”, MaryAnne (my Landscape Architect) said to me one day.

What? I held my breath waiting for her reply. . .

“The two stovepipes that stick out of your roof!” (below)

Ignorance is Bliss: Before & After

Before (the day we took possession, that’s my nephew)

I literally ran out of my studio that morning, to the front of the house and said “OMG you’re right. They look terrible. And I have never registered them before in my brain. I have been so busy looking at the truly ugly landscape prior to our renovation, I never noticed them.”

In actual fact, they should have a box built around them clad with bricks so they look like a real chimney instead of just a stovepipe sticking out of the roof.

I laughed and said “Well, they never bothered me before, but they bother me now! Thanks for that gift MaryAnne”.

So here’s the thing. That might have happened to you when you read this blog. You might have had some harmless pink beige carpet in your house, sitting there, minding it’s own business, doing the job it’s intended for and then you read this post and think “Ugh, I think I have this very colour in my home.”

Ignorance is bliss in this case.

And you just need to understand that the professional will always notice something that you will not. That’s a big reason to hire one by the way. Otherwise, you might find yourself going down the wrong dusty trail in your renovation. There is no way my landscape would look like it does without MaryAnne!

I’m sure I would have eventually noticed my stovepipes, however I had bigger, more ugly areas of my house that I cringed at every, single day before the demolition.

I still haven’t bought shutters, so I’m showing you this side of the house today.

Succulents & Cosmos


Cosmos & Succulents

During the flagstone installation

Ignorance is Bliss: Before & After

The Silhouettes I ordered were installed last week and the huge bonus I wasn’t expecting was how much street appeal they added to the front of the house. Now the windows don’t look like black holes anymore.

We planted Thyme and Alyssum in between the flagstone. While the Thyme appears practically dead and looks like it’s just barely hanging on, the Alyssum is so happy. I don’t think I’ll plant Alyssum on the actual pathway next year because when people come over they look like they are tip toeing along the pathway to get to the front door, haha.

Ignorance is Bliss: Before & After

I do love the scent when I walk to the house from the driveway.  Isn’t my new column so much better than what was there before? What a difference.

Remember back in the Spring when I planted the Succulents beside my front door? Well I thought you might like to see what they look like now.

Cosmos & Succulents


You can see I have already replaced the petunias in the smaller pot with Fall Mums.

Cosmos & Succulents


Here’s another before again:

Ignorance is Bliss: Before & After


Ignorance is Bliss: Before & After

After (Try not to look at the stovepipes okay?)

Love the Cosmos daisies but deadheading them certainly is a full-time job! I planted the ones in front of the living room window a little later so that’s why they look more full on the left side in front of the dining room windows.

Here’s this angle again:

Ignorance is Bliss: Before & After


Ignorance is Bliss: Before & AfterAfter

Looks so much better with the new gutters and the downspout moved against the house from where it was before along the post, before it became a column.

By the way, I found a fabulous urn at a local supplier but I am going to wait until the fall to install it in front of the living room window, otherwise the daisies will get trampled by the time it’s in place – concrete is heavy!

Hope you enjoyed the update!

Related posts:

Why Pink Beige should be Banished Forever!

Cloverdale Paint Party on Elizabeth Avenue

How to Choose the Colour of your Flagstone: Before & After

Smart Light Control for my Living Room from Urban Aesthetics

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk up to the front door, become a client. On-line or In-person.

Download my eBook, How to Choose Paint Colours – It’s All in the Undertones to get my complete step-by-step system on how to get colour to do what you want.

To make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

If you would like to learn how to choose colour with confidence, become a True Colour Expert. 





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  1. Love your yellow bench, Maria – it’s the perfect touch and so totally you. The Silhouettes do add a big invitation to come into the house, and I love the succulents. And yes, the alyssum is out of place but MaryAnne already explained why it’s there and you already explained what you’re going to do about it. In the meantime, you have your very own fairy garden – your bench seems to be sitting in the midst of a bunch of fluffly little clouds so deal with it and enjoy it while it’s there. Stovepipes? I have the air conditioning unit (in the back, thank goodness), turbine vents/whirlybirds and a solar tube on my roof. Hadn’t even noticed the stovepipes on your roof; don’t really pay attention to the stuff on mine. So paint them to match or spend some time/money to make them look like chimneys if they really bug you, or raise your eyes skyward only to give thanks for all the wonderful people who have helped you achieve the beauty of your new home! And thanks so much for sharing it all with us.

  2. I agree that the landscaping looks fabulous, and is a huge improvement. I also agree with AK about how annoying the pop-up is every time I read your posts. I’ve been reading your blog for several years, and signed up long ago. I’m already on board, and don’t like being asked again to sign up every time.

    • Thanks for being on board Diane 🙂 My web guy has changed it so it only comes up once every 7 days now. Thanks for your feedback. Maria

  3. Lovely bench area, makes me want to sit there with a book. Understand about not seeing the stovepipes at first, then once pointed out, it’s all you see. Had a pink-beige carpet that was “hidden” from me due to the paint color in the room (it had the same undertone). Once the paint changed, it suddenly said, “Look at me”, like your stovepipes do now that you’ve noticed them. Paint is being changed to go with the pink beige undertone and calm the carpet. Perhaps paint is enough to make your stovepipes look like they belong as well. What suggestions did Mary Anne have for them?

  4. Amazing transformation! The bench and seat look so charming and inviting WITH the alyssum. Enough with that already folks! Maryanne already explained the reasoning behind it as a temporary fill-in, although it will probably self-seed with little prompting and would look lovely as a transition in the border. That’s the beauty of a garden: there’s always next year! CTD

  5. Thank you so much for your blog. I LOVE it!!!! It is amazing to see the transformation of your house from ordinary to superlative. It shows me what can be done take blah to wow, LOVELY!!!!!

  6. Your improvements are impressive. The blinds look great and I love the bench and cushion. Flagstones look fabulous and now I will consider them for a walkway from our driveway to front door–checking the color via samples first to see if they complement the house. Thanks for the inspiring advice you consistently come up with, I look forward to each post for its good info.

  7. Stovepipe chimneys seem to be very common here in BC. All the houses around me have them, and honestly, you never notice them.

    Our last home in Ontario had a nice brick chimney, big enough to hold the stacks of two fireplaces, and had decorative touches. We had our fireplace cleaned before putting the house up for sale and the guy said the chimney was a problem and it needed VERY expensive brickwork done on it. And to boot, it would not meet building code after the repairs….

    Be happy with the simple stack!

  8. I think the alyssum looks fun! The great thing about a garden is that if you don’t like something, just wait a week and it will change. They grow and evolve.

    If the allysum is in the way of the walk, just pluck a few of them out in the middle to create a “allysum-less path”. Just don’t walk in bare feet through there…might get stung by a bee!

    It looks beautiful and don’t spend the money on the stove pipe. Take the money that it will cost and buy something frivolous that you love…every time you think about the stove pipe, go look at that crazy-decadent purchase and smile.

  9. Rather than a brick disguise for the stovepipes, maybe a painted box, same material and paint as house body, could be made to order by a carpenter. Done all the time in milder climates. Trim it like the house too. Looks more contempo. Other than that, looking good, Maria!

  10. I suggest spraying the stovepipes the same color as the roof and ignoring them! Your yard is the focal point and it’s beautiful!

  11. The alyssum with the lamb’s ears- gorgeous!!! And I don’t care if it is impractical – I still love it between the flagstones!! Your landscaping is just looking awesome!


  12. Your walk way looks like you could be walking through clouds! Love it.
    The cosmos are very nice. When you have perennials next year you will not have all those flowers for the whole summer.
    The succulents under cover may be the best thing because if they get too much rain they will suffer. Yours are very happy, just rotate the planter once in awhile.

  13. It’s a gorgeous transformation Maria! So inviting, I can’t say it enough. Love the look, Maryanne’s vision was spectacular. It is true that we see things so often we don’t see it anymore. For me, I appreciate the honesty of something that is out of sorts, ie: on your rooftop. Just because something has to be there why can’t it look beautiful as it can also. I think Mary is right, Maryanne is wonderful and I appreciate her opinion. II also love her ideas. As for planting the Alyssum, is that not what gardening is all about? Giving it a try to see how it does or how we like it. If it needs to be moved or corrected we do just that. How most of us all learn. Trial and error. What some may love others may not. In the end, it is your garden after all.