The Heritage Classic

Back in the heart of Point Grey and loving it! This is our present project – of course I’m a little tardy, so things are nearly finished. I’m not sure if its because our customers really like us (which I certainly don’t understand) or they just can’t get enough of living in dust and having the stress of a renovation encroach on their lives, but here we are again, a project multiplying in size. What started as a kitchen renovation and maybe 10 weeks work has had us on all three levels of the house and to date we’re at five months. Obviously we’re not complaining (our next customer might be, but we never leave a customer stranded). Fair enough, the removal of a chimney put us on all three floors but we stayed on them longer than intended. Previous renovation work had us doing things again – when will they listen to Mike Holmes – “Do it once and do it right.”

Now how do I say this? Fortunately we have a great relationship with our customer, a lovely woman, but we do have to say we told you so. We get no pleasure out of it honestly. The old powder room looked even worse next to the new kitchen so we had to do a little back tracking and demolish the bathroom. Then the same happened with the entry and staircase. I’m not sure what the previous renovators were thinking but they put in a god awful 1980’s style drywall/concrete stairway – in a heritage home. I mean really, come on guys. Pictures are on the way.

Its been alot of fun working on this one. We really love the heritage work – even down to refurbing the door hardware and we’ve had a fun convivial relationship with our customer – did I say she’s a lovely woman?

More stories and pictures to come, I’m sure you’re on the edge of your seat.

Downtown Yaletown meets North Vancouver

….and here it is. A complete clear out and fresh start. The 1950’s house was gutted and replaced with a modern interior.This was one of those jobs that started small and tripled in size (and budget don’t forget). The creation of an open kitchen concept and finding a place for a laundry led to the whole house being renovated. We added an ensuite bathroom to the Master suite (reducing the number of bedrooms by one) and opened up the whole kitchen, living room and stairwell down to the basement. In the basement we sectioned off a bedroom and media room to belong to the upstairs and created a separate one bedroom suite.

The upstairs hall way. We lifted the ceiling as high as we could (right up to the roof line) to make the entry way grander.

The upstairs common bathroom.

The Master suite. You are looking through a pocket door and into the ensuite bathroom.

Here you are looking through the living room towards the kitchen. This previously had walls separating the kitchen. We removed those,  reinforced the structure and fixed the original oak floor where the walls used to be.

This is the hall/entry leading down the stair well to the basement. Plated glass without a handrail gives a clear open look and with the increase in ceiling height we were able to install an array of bocci lights.

The picture really doesn’t do this bathroom justice. The tile is limestone and the counter tops are marble. The quality of this tile actually makes it a pleasure to put in place.

This is the master suites ensuite bathroom. The same tile and countertops as the common bathroom. The shower is finished with plate glass.

Looking through the living room towards the kitchen. Kitchen cabinetry is custom built in bleached oak with white quartz counter tops.

We built a fireplace out of marble with a gas insert. The gleaming floors you can see are the original oak floors that were stained and refinished.

Back into North Vancouver

Is North Vancouver a hot spot for renovations? We seem to be spending an awful lot of time there (damn those bridges). This project – like many – but particularly this project started at a moderate size (for us) and then tripled. If the customers budget can withstand it, then its obviously cost effective to tick off your wish list while we are there. You eliminate a chunk of start up and finish up time, streamline the schedule and of course get it all done at once so we don’t invade your home again and make your life a misery! We have heard many times “I wish we had……….”. Remember,  when you are putting the new next to old, it makes the old look really old. Remember its all about a good plan – and that plan can only be made by a contractor if he really knows what the customers wish list is and what the realistic budget is. There are so many consequences in a renovation its very important to know what the customer really wants. Now to our latest North Vancouver foray.

Our customer had just sold in Yaletown and exchanged their down town life for North Vancouver surburbia and family life (an impending baby always keeps us on schedule). Initially the outline was to open up the kitchen walls, put a new kitchen in and create a laundry – somewhere.

See under ‘major projects’ for the befores, during and after.

Financing your renovation

I’ve always found it quite perplexing how home owners are quite short sighted about not just improving their investment (i.e their home) but protecting it by using the excuse that they can’t afford to. Here’s an article that has some good ideas about financing renovations – and remember money has never been so cheap!

I want to make a really big space part III

In part II, I explained and illustrated in photographs how we had opened up the kitchen to the family room with a clear sight line through to the living room in a structurally sound manner.

Moving on from the construction phase we are now dry walled and installing oak strip flooring which marry’s into the existing oak floors on the ground level. This is a 3/8 solid naildown floor.

You can also see final wall paint on, crown mouldings and most of the casings.