Remember I told you I was going to share my reno experience? It starts today. Psst, there is also a bit of a reveal at the end!
I'm starting at the beginning because I had a lot of questions about where to start when we began the process. I hope this helps. If you have any questions ask away!
Dreaming about renovating our home had been going on for many years. That's the benefit of living in a house before we took it apart ... we knew exactly what we wanted to do.
It was all a matter of time and money.
In the early spring of 2011, we decided it was the right time. You see, we weren't just planning a small kitchen or bathroom re-do but a major gut. Our little semi was built in and around 1916 and had seen many owners and poorly done renovations in its lifetime. It was tired. Old crumbling plaster walls, knob and tube wiring, mismatched flooring, old plumbing and an addition that left us freezing in the winter.
We knew we wanted to tear down the old addition and rebuild. We also had some interior walls we wanted to delete and wanted to play with the floor plan a little.
We started by inviting a contractor that a friend had used and recommended over for a walk through the house. We wanted to know if what we wanted to do was even an option for us financially. We discussed our budget and our "plan" so we could get a ballpark idea of whether our dream and our budget were in line.
He was very helpful. I would recommend getting some initial quotes from Contractors before you start. You won't be able to pin them down with a price but you will get a sense of whether your dreams are realistic.
We know many people who have renovated in our neighborhood. I had been collecting names and referrals for a while. We met with three potential Architects before making our choice.
This is a great website to visit for information on hiring an Architect in Ontario.
Note: Some people prefer to hire their Contractor first and use an Architect that they work with regularly. There are many benefits to hiring an Architect/Contractor "team". I'll talk about that later.
We ended up hiring an Architect that was recommended by friends. His style fit our aesthetic, he was experienced with renovating semi-detached homes and personality and budget were a good fit.
Now the fun part begins!
I enjoyed working with our Architect to come up with the design of our house. We knew what we wanted and had a very clear picture in our heads of how we wanted it to layout. For instance, we knew we wanted the back of the addition to be mostly glass. Big doors and windows to let the light in. But one of the ideas that the architect did bring to the table were new thoughts about the amount of glass windows. We ended up with the back and the side of the addition being glass. We love it!
We went back and forth for awhile with the designs until we had what we wanted. It was a relatively smooth process.
This is more or less what we ended up with in our drawings.(There were some changes along the way prior to permits).
and the inside layout...
This is the BEFORE picture of the back of the house.
and drum roll (well not the official drum roll because we are still in construction and it's a mess so don't look inside my windows or at all the garbage...)
and the side...
So there it is and we are loving it.
But I'm not done yet. Next time, I'll share the ups & downs of the permit process and hiring a contractor. If you have any questions let me know and I'll try to address them in the posts along the way.
The opinions expressed in this post are based on my experience. Please ensure that you do your research :)