DIY Reno

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From time to time discerning buyers find the perfect location, at the perfect price, in the perfect space with the perfect updates but this is a rare event today. More often, if they are lucky, buyers find 2 or 3 of these requirements and then must decide what they will compromise on.
There was no exception in this case when these buyers found a good location, a decent price and a wonderful space! What was missing? The updates were missing. This home was built in the 90’s and possessed so many wonderful characteristics it could not be ignored. The square footage is generous, the vaulted ceilings are stunning and the open concept layout is just what they were looking for. Now let’s talk about the drawbacks.
This property, though, well kept, was in its original décor, a Southwestern theme is evident throughout the original photos below. What was, no doubt, fantastic in the 90’s was definitely not what the buyers were looking for in 2015. It was a big decision, keep looking or dive into a renovation. They had already sold their house and looked at many other properties, so they chose the reno.
Are they happy with it? Absolutely! But they also have advice for others who may find themselves in this situation. “What you will not see” says the owners, “are the hours of decision making, budgeting, waiting for orders and trade people to come and complete their tasks and the disruption to daily living that comes about when living in a construction zone.” They urged, “Do not underestimate the time it will take to have a job done and done well by reputable trade people.” A good job takes time and a reputable trade person will not rush to complete their work if it means it will not be done correctly.”


An interesting feature of the South |Western style were the stuccoed shelves that were in the foyer. The new owners modernized the shelving by removing the stucco accents. The foyer was also tiled with terra cotta, which was removed and replaced. The hardwood was used throughout the main floor for a seamless transition from room to room in this open concept home.


The kitchen was taken right down to bare walls and given a completely modern look. Although it might have been tempting to remove the wall that separated the kitchen from the living /dining space the final decision was to widen the opening to the living space but keep enough wall space for effective kitchen storage.


The living/dining space is a stunning open concept area that had a built in china hutch and a very large stuccoed gas fireplace. A decision had to be made here. What should be kept and what should go? The decision was to remove both the fireplace and the china cabinet to open up the space even further.


Just a simple update here. Fresh wallpaper, painted cabinets and new appliances, but what a difference!


The South Western themed wallpaper proved to be a problem in this room. It was very difficult to remove so the work was slow and painstaking. The result, however, was worth it!


The main bath was updated and actually altered from a 3 piece to a 2 piece with a large linen closet taking the place of the shower. With 2 other full bathrooms in the house the extra storage space of a linen closet was more important than a 3rd shower.


The lovely master bedroom with its corner windows and vaulted ceiling was a diamond in the rough. What a difference, though, with the wallpaper border removed and modern colour and window treatments added.


A great feature of this house was the fact that the basement was totally finished. What a great place to live while the upper floor was being renovated. Once the wallpaper was dealt with, fresh paint applied and the hearth of the fireplace removed this space became a great space to relax.

To conclude, there will be bumps along the way, it certainly doesn’t all go smoothly no matter how much planning is involved. The key is to be willing to make compromises if necessary, especially if the budget is a consideration. Take notes, keep records, stay organized! Living through a renovation is a huge learning experience.

Many thanks to my wonderful clients who allowed me to come back and photograph the transformation of their new home!

Karen Shaver.

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