The Buckley House Renovation: Planning

It was an overcast day in Dandelion Creek, not the ideal weather to be hanging the washing outside. But then again, the Daily Dandelion had predicted sunshine for the day so Tabitha Hazelnut had decided to do the washing anyway. Three of the Buckley family members were on their way to the Cottontail house. Father Rupert, mother Agatha and little Oscar. Children Maria and Freddie were not part of the group as they were helping Aristotle Treefellow to dust his books.

The door to the cottage opened.

“Let’s go Grandpa! Bilberry and me are going to find the biggest mushrooms ever!” exclaimed Charlie Cottontail excitedly while jumping up and down and clapping his small paws.

“Bilberry and I.” corrected Catherine Cottontail, the grandma to Charlie.

“Aww Grandma! I will have heaps of time to learn that! We need to go now!” Charlie replied.

“Why don’t you come to?” Christopher Cottontail asked his wife.

“Well, I guess I can come. I can arrange to meet Hazel Dappledawn for tea afterwards. I will send Peter to go and deliver the message, he can then walk to football practice with Radish .” she replied.

“Oooh yes! Do come Mrs. Cottontail!” encouraged Bilberry Bramble, he had always liked his friends grandma, especially when she baked those delicious cookies.

“Well, that’s settled then. Off we go!” cheered Christopher.

“Were are you going to?” asked Rupert as they reached the small group.

“We are going to the veggie patch to get some veggies and then we are going to go and gather mushrooms!” Charlie explained, happy to help.

“Do you want to go too Oscar?” Christopher asked kindly.

“Please can I?” Oscar pleaded.

“Please let him go!” chorused Charlie and Bilberry.

“Alright then.” agreed Agatha.

Christopher put his wheelbarrow down and immediately Charlie clambered in.

“Come here Bilberry and Oscar! We can have a ride to the veggie patch!”

Christopher picked up the wheelbarrow as the three had positioned themselves.

“Oooof!” he exclaimed “My back is getting a bit too old for this.”

“C’mon Grandpa! We want to go and pick mushrooms!” Charlie encouraged him and off they went.

“Hello?” asked Agatha as she knocked on the door.

“Coming!” came a voice from inside.

The door opened to reveal Sorrel Cottontail. She looked slightly flustered but happy all the same.

“Hello Agatha!” she exclaimed and embraced the deer warmly. “And hello Rupert! My, I will be expecting a lot of people in my little cottage today!”

Rupert smiled at Sorrel, she was a very welcoming woman. “Can we come inside?” he asked politely.

“Oh yes! Come inside!”

“Welcome to my house!” Sorrel smiled “I don’t believe you have been here before?”

“No, we have not.” Agatha agreed. “You have a lovely house Sorrel.”

And a lovely house it really was. It wasn’t very large but homey. Yellow floral wallpaper decorated the walls and lace curtains framed the windows. A comfy green and white stripped sofa was on one side and a small wooden table beside that. A family table stood in the middle of the room. A small kitchen was a on the other side of the wall and two girls stood there washing dishes.

“Hello Mr. and Mrs. Buckley” greeted Willow Cottontail.

“Hello” greeted Rosie Buttermilk.

“Take a seat Rupert and Agatha” Sorrel encouraged and gestured to the sofa. They both sat down and admired the softness of the sofa, they certainly wanted one of these when their house was done!

Sorrel turned to Willow and Rosie who had just finished washing the dishes and were now looking forward to go and practice their musical instruments.

“Before you go, could you two please get some fresh bread from the Bakery and go and fetch Mr. Slydale, Mr. Beaman, Mr. Fielding and Mr. Moss? That shouldn’t take too long and afterwards could you please help Mrs. Hazlewood with the washing?” she asked.

The girls, of course, weren’t too happy to do this as they had been helping all morning already. But they both saw how tired Sorrel looked at the moment (little Charlie hadn’t been sleeping well lately and Sorrel often got up in the middle of the night to care for him) and decided to do what was asked and not complain.

Only a little while later, everyone had arrived and were seated at the table except for Slick Slydale, who was just taking little Skitter to the Cakebread family so that he could have a play date with Milo Cakebread.

“Don’t worry, we shall stand” voiced Aaron Cottontail as he saw that there were not enough seats to go around.

“I can stand, here Sorrel, take my seat.” offered Darcy Fielding and kindly stood up form his chair but Sorrel was adamant that she was fine standing so he sat down again.

“Can I have a glass of water?” inquired Agatha softly.

“Goodness, what a bad host I am! I completely forgot to offer drinks to everyone!” gasped Sorrel, “What would everyone like? Water? Tea? Coffee?”

“Water will do” chorused everyone present. So, water it was and Sorrel hurriedly busied herself by bringing many glasses and a pitcher of water to the table.

“Hello everyone!” greeted Slick who had just entered the house.

“Finally Slick! We were thinking of starting without you!” Elliot Beaman joked and handed him a piece of paper and a pencil which Sorrel had gotten for everyone.

“Right, hello everyone. Today our aim is to brainstorm some of the materials and skills needed to complete the restoration of the cottage that the Buckley family have inherited. I would like everyone to write down what they can contribute to make this project work.” Elliot announced.

“Let’s start with the structure and the actual building” Slick suggested.

“Right, let’s do that. What do we need to do? I hope that everyone has seen the cottage so know the task at hand.” said Elliot hopefully.

Everyone nodded in agreement.

“First of all we need to give everything a proper clean so that any sanding or something will be easier and we are not painting over dirt.” suggest Agatha, “I have already made a start on the top floor but the bottom floor needs a bit of work.”

“We need to sand down those beams, the paint has yellowed and it looks awful.” Darcy added, “I can also provide some sandpaper.”

“So can I” added Aaron.

“I can too and I think that it would be best to use my sandpaper as it is made especially for buildings and is nice and rough while your furniture sandpaper is finer and it would take longer.” Slick discussed enthusiastically.

Elliot thought about if for a while, “Yes, Slick will provide the sandpaper though you two can provide it for the more detailed things such as the window frames and the carved door.” he decided.

The group then went to discuss many more things that they would need to do.

“To recap, we need to clean, sand the beams, windows, ladder and door, fix the roof, replace windows, modify the door so that it fits properly, redo the flooring, stabilize the side wall, connect the building to running water and paint everything” Elliot listed quickly.

“Don’t forget the landscaping! We need to make the house look pretty!” Sorrel reminded.

“Yes, we will have to sort something out. I believe that w should ask Melissa Cakebread on her opinion on that, she is very good at gardening.” Elliot pondered.

Next they went to discuss all of the furniture and other things that were needed after the whole structure of the building had been dealt with.

Again, Elliot repeated all of the things after they had finished. “We shall need beds for the family, a cot, a table, a kitchen, a sofa or an armchair or something similar, rugs, curtains and other soft furnishing as well as some other small bits and pieces.”

“Cameron, have you written anything?” Elliot asked as he gazed upon Cameron Moss’s blank page.

“Yes, I have.” he replied and scribbled something on his page.

“From this meeting I have concluded that”, he held up his piece of paper, “It will be a lot of work!”

Everyone smiled, yes, it would be a lot of work but it would be worth it in the end.

That concluded the meeting and everyone took away the pieces of paper which they had used to take notes on. All except Cameron who felt that he didn’t need his piece to write a smashing article for tomorrows edition of the Daily Dandelion.

“Goodbye everyone, I need to go and eat lunch. My wife Evangeline has spent the whole morning cooking and would be furious if I was late.” excused Elliot and opened the door before turning back and saying “I will see you all soon for another meeting.”

“Lunch time already!” Darcy gasped, “I must get Jamie from the Macavity family, we were going to help Melissa with her weeding.”

Well, then I’ll be off as well. Velvette is dragging me to go perfume shopping with her later. I can’t say that I am very enthusiastic, all the scents smells the same to me but she insists that they are are all ‘uniquely different’. Oh well, just three hours of my life that I will never get back.”

After everyone except for Agatha and Rupert had left, Rosie and Willow returned with the bread that Sorrel had wanted and they had also helped with the washing like they were told to.

“Yes! I am so excited to practice that piece of music that we learnt in class last week!” Willow laughed excitedly as she set the bread down on the table.

“U huh! I think that piano and your violin music will go well together, maybe Aristotle will let us perform to the class?!” Rosie giggled equally enthusiastically.

“Yes girls, I can understand your excitement but those glasses aren’t going to wash themselves and I have guests.” Sorrel pointed out and gestured at Agatha and Rupert who were sitting on the sofa again. (They were waiting for their son to return)

Willow scowled, annoyed that once again, they weren’t allowed to have some free time.

“Willow” her mother said in a warning tone.

“Yes, we will do it Mrs. Cottontail.” Rosie replied quickly, not wanting her best friend to do something that she would regret later.

The uncomfortable silence that followed as soon broken by the arrival of Catherine, Christopher, Charlie, Bilberry and Oscar.

“Look how many mushrooms we found!” Oscar squealed and pushed a big basket of vegetables over to his parents. “Did you know that mushrooms need a lot of moisture to grow?”

“Your son was a real helper. Maybe he could come again tomorrow and help pick some more radishes, he was very good at that as well.” Christopher suggested with a smile.

“Yes please!” Oscar pleaded.

“We are going to ask Mrs. Hazlewood if we can plant something in Nursery!” Bilberry informed everyone happily.

“Yes, I hope she says yes!”

“Wow, that is so great that you might be able to grow something in Nursery! What do you three think you might grow? Strawberries?” Rupert asked with interest. He was very happy that his son had obviously found something that he was passionate about and had found some friends who shared those interests.

“I don’t know, but hopefully something that we can eat!” Charlie said, “What’s for lunch?”

“Grandma is going to make some lovely soup using the vegetables that we picked” Catherine said, “I am guessing that you will help me, the girls look like they could do with some free time.”

“Well then, we’d better go. Aristotle is probably wondering where we are.”

“Do we have to go yet?” Oscar whined.

“Yes dear, Maria and Freddie are waiting for us and you are coming back tomorrow anyway.” Agatha soothed.

“Okay Mummy, but only if I can go over right after breakfast.”

“After breakfast! That is a bit early! But if the Cottontails are fine with it, then sure.” Rupert exclaimed in surprise.

“All right, see you tomorrow morning Oscar, goodbye!” Sorrel called as the family exited the comfortable home of the Cottontails.

“Right dears! Charlie, pick up a vegetable and wash it using the scrubbing brush. Bilberry, I will help you with cutting them.” Catherine called to the two youngsters who ere eagerly prancing around the room. Sorrel had left to catch up on some well needed sleep while Rosie and Willow could practice on their instruments. Finally.

Oh god! What a huge story I have created! I am so happy that I got this story completed, it took ages but I have the time as it is the holidays! YAY! I am just taking time to relax at the moment but I am going to pick out the wallpaper for the Buckley’s house soon. I already have a few ideas but I am not sure which wallpaper to pick. Also, did anyone notice that I have redone the wallpaper in the Cottontail’s house? It is the same wallpaper except it now has a white paper backing which means looks a lot better than before. The old wallpaper had oily stains form the blutack I was using so now I am using double sided tape. Maybe I will do like a comparison post some day. As well as this, I have made a new dress using another method so I hope to publish a tutorial on that.

Have an amazing day,



  1. Miss Holiday says:

    Dear Emily!

    What an enormous project the Buckley’s home is! They are lucky to have neighbours who all want to give a share of their time and talents to make it a cosy place. I’m looking forward to seeing the work in progress.

    You did an amazing job on re-wallpapering your Cosy Cottontail’s Cottage – it looks phantastic. Must keep in mind your hint of using white backing paper and double-sided tape when customizing Fadila’s and Sherezade’s home.

    Thank you very much!

    Cordially yours
    Miss Holiday

    • nzemily says:

      Hi Miss Holiday,
      It will certainly be quite a large project and I think I will be doing a lot of stories around that topic!
      I can’t wait to see Fadila’s and Sherezade’s home, I am sure it will look amazing once it is fully customized.
      Thank you for your comment, they always make me smile!

  2. cutata says:

    Hi Emily,
    I love how helpful are Dandelion villagers. I´m sure Agatha and Rupert will get everything they need to renovate their cottage with the help of their neighbours. Cameron made me laugh! A lot of work! That was funny but he is right!There´s a lot to be done but finally The Buckleys will be able to to settle in their new home. I´m looking forward to seeing furnished and decorated.
    Hopefully their cottage will look as cosy and homey as the Cottontails´. The white paper you put at the back of the floral wallpaper makes a difference.It looks much better this way. Thay have a lovely home.
    Enjoy your holidays, Emily. You deserve a break after all the hard work you had this year.

    A big hug!


    • nzemily says:

      Hello Cutata!
      I am sure that the villagers of Sweet Berry Valley would be equally as supportive and helpful as the ones of Dandelion Creek. Cameron is writing a newspaper article about the meeting and I hope to publish that soon and a lot of stories should hopefully be coming soon. I think that the Buckley’s house will look as homey as the Cottontail’s, that is what I am trying to do so I am going to spend quite a bit of time picking the furnishings and finer details. I agree about the white backing, photos are also much easier to take now as I don’t have to fiddle around to try and not make the oily spots show.
      Sadly I only have the weekend until school starts again on Monday. I think I wrote this description a while ago when it still was about the middle of the holidays (the holiday was only two weeks long). I now have to do some schoolwork before the start of term so that is disappointing.

      A big hug to you too!

  3. Nina says:

    Hello Emily,

    I hope your holidays are going GREAT.

    Everybody in Dandelion Creek is so busy!! I can’t believe how hard they work all day! But then again, the Riversiders aren’t exactly known for being lazy either. They cannot do a lot lately though, because it is simply too hot here.

    I am sorry to hear that Sorrel hasn’t been able to sleep well, because she has to take care of little Charlie during the night. Hope both of them can get some well deserved sleep soon.

    Cameron Moss’s comment was hilarious and right to the point. My best wishes to everybody involved in the project. It sounds like the Buckley house is going to be spectacular.

    Have a very pleasant week,

    • nzemily says:

      Ni Nina!

      Charlie has been feeling a lot better lately and Sorrel has been getting a lot more sleep than a week ago.

      Have a nice week, Emily

  4. Sarah says:

    I love the dedication and helpfulness of Sylvanians- it certainly does sound like they have a long list of thing to keep them busy. The house is looking lovely 🙂

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