A couple of years ago when we got rid of half of our stuff and moved across the country, I wouldn’t have thought we’d buy a house so soon. Having fewer possessions was so nice.

And a year ago, when we were finally selling our east coast house, that sat on the market empty for an entire year, as we begrudgingly paid all the bills waiting for a buyer, I really would have thought we’d just keep paying our affordable rent on the government provided house that came with Jeff’s job.

But winters are long up here. Jeff built himself a shed so he could store his tools, hunting and fishing stuff, and all our seasonal equipment. But he couldn’t fiddle with things outside for at least 6 months of the year – it is just too cold!

We also needed some future planning. We both love living here in the Yukon and have no where else we’d rather be. When Jeff retires, if we stayed in the rental house, we’d be homeless, since the house was part of the job he holds. Wouldn’t it be nicer to pay down a mortgage while we’re both working?

So last September, when we saw a house for sale in town with a large, modern, 2.5 car garage, I rushed over to tour it during the owner’s garage sale. Then I brought back Jeff a few days later for another tour.

But we weren’t sure. A house is a lot of money. And commitment. And work. So we put the thought out of our minds.

Then in January, another house came on the market. It had a small garage, poor location, and a basement apartment. We immediately found ourselves comparing it to the house in September, and realizing that it really was perfectly suited for us.

I texted the owner to see if it was still for sale, since I knew he had relocated. It was! But was rented out until June.

So we bought it. A private sale. A bit of negotiation, almost entirely by text and email messages. Relatively easy process. We just had to wait until June 1st for possession.

And now it’s June! We spent the first couple of days after getting the keys doing some deep cleaning, Jeff painted my office, and we changed all the locks. Then we spent this past weekend moving.

The House

The house is an older 3 bedroom house that was moved into town from Bear Creek after the Yukon Consolidated Gold Corporation shut down and everyone moved into Dawson. It was once the house of a dredgemaster! Now it has a couple of additions, and a gravel crawl space underneath. The lot is a regular Dawson City 50×100 ft lot, although it has a small sliver of a lot portion into the next lot to make space for the front bedroom addition.

The lot is fenced with a 50 foot long flower garden in front, along the wooden sidewalk. The above pictures are several years old, from Google Street View. The flower garden is pretty bare now, and with our really short summers, it may be relatively bare until next summer.

At the back of the lot, opening onto the back lane, is the modern garage on a concrete pad. This area of town has much less permafrost than the area we moved from, so here concrete works – our neighbour even has a basement!

Although our rental house had 3 bedrooms, two were small and full of stored stuff and weren’t very usable. Here I’ll have a bedroom for my office, and another bedroom for guests! We’re expecting many guests this summer!

The Move

The move was just 3-4 blocks. That makes it a bit easier than packing everything into boxes and sealing them shut like we did for the last few long distance moves we’ve had. But we had movers for those last moves, and this one required our own muscles.

We were able to hire one young man who helped Jeff for 2.5 hours, moving the heaviest things – washer, dryer, couch, book shelves, and bed. I stayed out of the way while they loaded the heavy bigger items on Jeff’s ATV/snowmobile flat bed trailer, and instead moved smaller items in my car at the same time.

We timed the move perfectly because the day after we finished, the street is closed and dug up in front of our old house. Looks like a water main broke!

Here are some photos of the moving days:

The kitchen has the same cupboards that are in half the houses in this town. Functional for now, although a new fridge and stove may be planned this year. The old microwave is in the way of everything too, so a few tweaks planned.
This is the living room, and our bedroom is right behind it. Big bedroom, odd location. I’m not sure how I can stay up watching a movie if Jeff is sleeping on the other side of a set of french doors. Headphones?

Sometimes you just need a moving time out to unpack your fridge magnets 😉

Lots of windows in this house, big wooden ones that unfortunately were all damaged by moisture when covered with winter plastic. Likely will all need replacing at some point, but for now we found screens for them all and the air flow and light in here is extraordinary! Our rental house only had windows on the front of the house and just one usable one on the back, none on on the sides, so this is a real treat!

Great location too – we have the old historical Telegraph office beside us. I can see the cliff across the river, the Midnight Dome, the Moosehide slide, the hospital, the pool, Pierre Berton’s house, Jack London’s cabin, and a bit of the presentation platform beside Robert Service’s cabin. We’re a few blocks further from the bars, hotels, and businesses, but everything is still easily walkable.

Heating this place will be interesting. A previous owner ripped out the forced air furnace and now the house is heated just from this oil monitor in the dining area and a wood stove in the living room. Really excited to burn wood again. Only here we’ll be burning mostly softwood, so we have to relearn our fire processes and burn cycle with a new wood type. The garage also has an oil monitor. Both oil tanks are past their prime though, and the insurance company has requested we replace them asap so we’ll get that done shortly.

Another surprise, is the laundry tap, or possibly the winter water bleeder, was leaking under their laundry machines. Underneath was this awful wet moldy mess. I’ve treated all the mold and we’ve got a fan on it to dry it up. I think the subfloor might be saveable, this top layer in the back addition seems to only be 1/4″ chipboard, so it may need a redo at some point. I’m really excited about this back room. It is a big laundry room/mud room/entry. Lots of shelves and cupboards. In our rental house, our laundry machines had to be stacked in a narrow hallway. This is going to be nice! Well… after we can get this floor fixed so we can install them.

Sally is doing well with the move. She’s explored everywhere and loves the windows. 

We bought a queen sized bed for our little guest room so our guests won’t have to sleep on the couch this summer!

Now we just have to put things away. Or get rid of them. Nothing like moving to make you want less stuff 🙂

I’m saving all these pictures here so what ever becomes of this home, we’ll remember what it looked like in week #1.

Garage is already starting to get sorted!

Oh, and one of these days I need to return to the rental house to clean it out before we give back the keys. Oh, and we’ll need to dismantle Jeff’s shed he built last year.

More pictures after we’ve unpacked and made it our own!

Lisa

Lisa (Verkley) Schuyler is a blogger reporting live from her new home in Canada's Yukon Territory. Often found wearing a hoodie, covered in pet hair, Lisa is a mis-placed forester who now spends her days engineering happiness for WordPress users. Lisa loves nature, animals, and most importantly, her handsome husband Jeff.

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