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After a few of the last minute hiccups we experienced last week, our Vancouver townhouse renovation is finally complete and on the market! It was a ton of fun and we are really happy with the way it turned out. It got listed for sale today for $638,000 and first showings will be at the open house on the weekend, Saturday and Sunday from 2-4pm. If you want to check it out, the address is 960 W 13th Ave. Now, as you have so patiently followed along for the past month watching this renovation unfold, there is no way I'd make you wait until then to see it.... So, without further ado, here are the photos… let me know what you think!

Main Living Area

Living Room

Living Room

Living and Dining Area

Dining Area

Breakfast Bar





Dining Room

Main Floor

Master Bedroom

Second Bedroom


Master Bathroom

Master Bathroom  




I hope you enjoyed the show! Looking forward to doing another one in the very near future…

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Well… I wouldn't say things went particularly smoothly this week. We were hoping to be on the market by tomorrow and it's just not going to happen. We actually made the call on Monday when we hit a few unexpected snags. Tuesday is looking like the new goal and the extra 5 days should give us plenty of time to perfect that last few details.

Before I get into what went wrong this week, let's start with the good:

Landscaping the outdoor space was finished yesterday. We are a bit limited with the cold weather right now as to what plants will actually live through the Spring, but overall we are happy with the look. Definitely adds some cheeriness when looking outside.

Outdoor space - landscaping

Another big step this week was getting the kitchen counters in. We went with a white flecked Quartz and it looks great against the contrasting dark grey bottom cabinets while tying in with the glossy white upper cabinets. (and no… the fridge doesn't actually stick out that far. Was just hurriedly taking photos while running out the door)

Kitchen counters

The upstairs bathtub/shower is all done as well. I'm loving the white marble mosaic tile that we used for the surround and still think the double wide tub is awesome. The frosted glass bathroom door adds an open and airy feeling. In actuality, the bathroom was supposed to be entirely done… but we had one little snag that I'll get back to shortly...

Upstairs bathroom

Downstairs, the laminate floors and fireplace finished up this week. The floors are more grey and less red than what the photo below shows… I'll take a better photo in the next day or two. With the fireplace, you can see we went with a very modern and simple look. The wall is fully wired to accommodate an entertainment system and wall mounted flat screen tv.

Laminate floors

So, what went wrong this week? It's a long list. From toilets cracking and faucets leaking, running out of tile and faulty light fixtures. But there were two big ones that are the reason we are pushing things back a week. The first, is this:

bathroom sink

Our bathroom sink for the upstairs vanity was exactly 1/8" too wide. Unfortunately I think I have to take the blame for the shoddy measuring here too. It's not really a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it does mean that we had to cut the drywall to get the sink in and now have to repair the drywall. This is the primary reason for our delay.

The second big challenge this week is in the kitchen. Our fridge dimensions that we were given when designing the kitchen plan did NOT include an extra 2" in height at the front of the fridge door. What this means is that, while the fridge fits under the cabinet, the cabinet doors will not open. Obviously not good. And not easy to fix. As we are using IKEA cabinets, we are somewhat limited with cabinet sizes, and their is no smaller over the fridge cabinet we can use. Still haven't decided on a final solution, but are looking at getting a custom cabinet made using IKEA materials, as well as removing the cabinet and doing some custom built-shelving. Will likely make a final call tomorrow.

So that's where we stand now… 3 more days to tidy up the loose ends, the weekend to clean, staging Monday and on the market Tuesday. I suspect at this stage, the next photos you see will be the finished product. Looking forward to sharing it with you…

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Well, if all things go as planned (as unlikely as that may be), the project will be on the market a week today. The final week of the renovation is affectionately known in our house as 'sheer and utter chaos'. It's that time when all the little details, those lovely time consuming details, come to a front and need immediate solutions. That said, it is also a fun and exciting time as things really begin to take shape.

Here are some photos from today - and don't laugh… I still believe having it finished in a week is doable :-)

Starting with the upstairs bathroom, here is a look at the shower surround tile. I love it. It's a marble mosaic that really shines in the natural light that comes in through the skylight. The variation of colour and tone adds some nice depth to the extra wide tub. What do you think? The floor tiles are done as well, but they were busy grouting today so I will take a photo tomorrow…

Bathroom Tile Job

The carpet is also in. This is kind of a lame photo, but it gives you a sense of colour at least…

Stairway carpet

More exciting that the carpets, to me at least, is the laminate on the main floor. They were half way through installation today and it should be done tomorrow. We are using a high-grade laminate imported from Germany that has a lot of grey tones in it. We have used this product once before and loved it. Extremely durable. Looks great.

Living room floor installation

Ok, I lied… I do have a photo of the bathroom floor tile… This is downstairs. There is no real lighting in here yet, so tough to deal, but trust me… It's nice. Toilets and sinks go in on Saturday. I'm sure our trades will appreciate not having to run to the Starbucks around the corner!

Downstairs bathroom tile

We also had our landscaper in today to figure out what to do with this:

Outdoor space

We definitely need to liven up the space and turn it into a little outdoor oasis. Will be importing some plant life and some flowers to add colour.

And what's next? To make sure we are ready to hit the busy real estate market next week, we still have to:

(1) Paint and install interior doors (Friday)

(2) Finish electrical and install new light fixtures (Friday)

(3) Install toilets and vanities (Saturday)

(4) Landscape (Saturday/Sunday)

(5) Install baseboard (Saturday/Sunday)

(5) Install kitchen countertops (Monday)

(5) Install kitchen backsplash (Tuesday)

(6) Clean (Tuesday)

(7) Stage (Wednesday morning)

Think we can do it?

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Things are finally getting put back together:

Kitchen cabinets

Here is the basic kitchen cabinet plan with everything installed. And not, the top cabinets are not blue. They are a high gloss white when we take off the protective film. The base cabinets on the right side were not a part of the original kitchen, but we wanted to add some additional counter space and storage. We come awfully close to blocking out a portion of the window, but it just fits.

Kitchen Cabinets

Here is another look. We really like to two-tone cabinet look… Will get another photo up as soon as the protective film is off so you can get a better look. Countertops are getting measured tomorrow and will hopefully be installed towards the end of next week. That's when things start looking like a real kitchen.


We also started the framing in of the fireplace. No drywall yet, but have run the electrical and cable into the wall to make it easy to wall mount a television.

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Things have been a little slow this week in terms of tangible progress, as we have mostly concentrated on getting the bulk of the drywall repair and painting sorted out. Starting today is when things really get rolling again. The kitchen cabinets are getting installed today, as is the heated bathroom floors and the new custom fireplace framing. Pot lights should be finished shortly and floor should be going in early next week. Will have some better photos soon, but here is what we have now…

Kitchen Wall

Here is the semi-finished kitchen wall opening. Makes a HUGE difference with the extra light coming into the kitchen. The added pot lights will only add to the impact. By tomorrow I should have a new photo with cabinets in place.


Here is the back side of the kitchen. Nothing exciting as of yet, but the pot lighting and cabinetry should be in tomorrow.

Ceiling & Pot Lights

Here is the newly scraped and finished living room ceiling. So nice to have the 'popcorn' gone. The added pot lights here will really brighten things up as well, as there were only floor lamps for lighting previously.

Bathroom tub

Here is the re-finished bathtub - which we didn't want to replace because having a double wide bathtub is awesome! - and it looks great. We have also replaced the old plumbing to allow for a more modern dual fixture shower head and replaced all the concrete board and insulation around the tub enclosure. Next up… installing the heated floors.

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Ok, we are into week 2 of the renovation now. A time I like to call problem-solving time. We've run into a few surprises and mix-ups that have slowed us down and cost us more money. We always account for a little of both, so the key is getting things back on track. So what are we working through this week?

(1) Electrical: Due to some blown wires with the baseboard heaters that required new wiring to be run from the panel and some scheduling issues, the electrical work took 4 days instead of 2. The extra work also resulted in a significant amount of additional drywall cutting that now needs to be repaired. Total delay = 2 extra days. Total additional costs = $2200.

(2) Fireplace: Rather than chipping off all the stone from the original fireplace, we planned on 'boxing out' the wall and effectively drywalling over it. While this is still happening, we had a few issues with the framing pertaining to the depth of the fireplace and ensuring that the wall was properly fire-proofed. Tack on another day and another $1400 here.

(3) Tile: All our tile had been picked out mid-December and was in stock at the time. When I went to pick it up, I was told that the floor tile was in Toronto and wouldn't be out for 2 weeks. An extra $160 for rush delivery was needed as tile work starts this weekend. Worse, the backsplash we had picked for the kitchen (almost always one of the most difficult decisions for some reason) has been discontinued due to quality defects and frequent cracking. Ultimately it is better for us to know about the quality issues in advance, but now we are back to the drawing board finding new backsplash tiles that match the other materials.

(4) Interior doors: This one was more of an oversight on my part. We are replacing all the interior doors with new solid-core woods doors. This was always in the budget. Problem is that all the doors in the home are custom sizes. And I didn't bother to measure that in advance. No time delays here, but an extra $700 in custom cuts. Silly budgeting mistake.

So, all in all, nothing traumatic. A couple of extra days and an extra $5000 doesn't put major stress on the project. As long as we can keep it to that! The good news is the bulk of the 'surprise' phase of the reno is past us. This is that phase when you start opening walls and seeing all the things you were guessing about prior to starting. With everything exposed and being put back together, it is usually a little easier to keep the budget on track from here on out. We have also paid out about 70% of the budget so far, so the upcoming expenses are less substantial.

I've got no photos from the past few days and the stucco ceiling was being scraped and re-mudded to be flat. If you haven't done this, it is a MESSY process. Should have some new photos shortly though. For the rest of the week, we've got the drywall repair being mostly finished and the upstairs bathroom being drywalled and tub coated.

Happy renovating!

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New year… new renovation project…

This Vancouver townhouse was in desperate need of some love… and we wanted to give it her! Check out these hideous BEFORE pictures:


Nice curb appeal… it goes down hill from here...


Retro? Yep. Stone fireplace. Skanky carpets. And check out that light fixture! Yuck...


And the kitchen? That's original 70's baby!


Ummm… yeah. That's all gotta go.




Pretty sure I would need a shower after showering in this original bathroom.



So what's the plan here? Well, to start with… rip EVERYTHING out. Kitchen. Bathrooms. Carpets. Light fixtures. EVERYTHING. We've got a great layout to work with, but that's about all.

In the kitchen, we are starting over, opening up the wall and adding pot lights. Here is how it looks at the end of day 1:


As you can see, we have opened up the wall significantly and the electrician has cut the holes and rough in the pot lights. We need to get the electrical finished and drywall done before we start thinking about installing cabinets. Middle of next week sounds about right for cabinet installation. You can also see the channel cut into the ceiling here that is needed to add the pot lighting into the living area.


Here is a closer look at the electrical work needed to install the pot lighting.


When gutting a townhouse, you create a lot of junk. This is what is left AFTER we removed a truckload…


As for the bathroom, we almost got it all ripped out. The bathtub is actually going to be salvaged and re-finished here as it is a killer double wide tub that you just can't find anymore. The epoxy re-finishing costs about $600 and consists of spraying 7-8 layers of epoxy paint over the existing tub. Looks and acts like new. A great cost saving decisions if your old tub is in good condition.

What's in store for this weekend? With any luck all the electrical work will be complete by the end of the day Saturday. On Sunday we have our painters coming in to scrap and skim coat the ceilings to get rid of the 'popcorn' effect and go with a more modern flat ceiling.

I'll be back with another update on Monday when we start putting things back together!

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Looking to do a renovation project in Vancouver? Well we just finished one and I thought I would share the experience.

Let's take a look at what we started with... And I tell you, it wasn't pretty!

Here is a look at the kitchen... Nasty cabinets, weird opening to the dining room, and disgusting ceiling fixture (that you can't quite see here...)
Kitchen renovation - before Kitchen Renovation - before

And into the dining room... sexy light fixture eh?

Dining Room - Before

The living room? Not much better. Dark and dingy.

Living Room - Before

Into the bedroom we find... more dark and dingy. Trust me... these carpets were more disgusting in person...

Bedroom Renovation - Before

And, finally... the highlight of the whole thing? The bathroom. Had to bathe in Purell after leaving this room...

Bathroom Renovation - before

Gross right? Now on to the good stuff... here is what is looked like after 20 days (yep, just 20) and roughly $29,000 in labour material...

Remember that kitchen? Well here it is with the wall opened up, pot lighting added, new cabinets, granite counters and stainless steel appliances:

Kitchen Renovation - after

Kitchen Renovation - After

We also added a breakfast bar for entertaining...

Kitchen Renovatio - after3

The living room got new laminate flooring, new lighting, new paint and a new, sleek fireplace mantle.

Living Room Renovation - After Living Room Renovation 2

The bedroom got the same treatment as the living room with new floors and paint... sliding mirrored doors helped to open up the space as well.

Bedroom Renovation - After

The bathroom got a total overall, with new marble flooring and countertop, new fixtures, new lighting and a totally new feel.

Bathroom Renovation - After

To top it all off, when even converted a detached storage area into a very cool den space...

Den renovation

How did it all add up? With a purchase price of $310,000, renovation and carrying costs of roughly $45,000 and a selling price (with multiple offers) of $402,000, this Vancouver renovation project worked out better than expected. Throw in a total turnaround of 3 weeks for renovations and an additional 3 weeks for closing, this one went ahead of schedule. Overall, a ton of fun and looking forward to doing another one before the Summer is done.

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