Let’s Check in…

I was feeling a bit nostalgic today with all the big changes I saw at the condo this week. I went back to my original post and looked at my “must have” list. Wow, things have changed. Let’s take a look.

Our Must Haves:

  1. Open concept kitchen with an island √
  2. Replace the hardwood floors throughout √
  3. Expand to two full bathrooms √
  4. Have a great play area for the kids
  5. Update the design to suit us  √

We are slowly but surely ticking things off our list. We haven’t decided completely about the kids play area yet, but we are looking into a few storage options. Stay tuned for a post about their bedroom and playroom. The girls are very excited about it.

But what else has spiralled out of adding a bathroom and tearing out the kitchen?

Our new additions:

  1. Open the stairwell to let in light
  2. Change the glass to a floating glass system throughout the stairwell
  3. Change the glass on the loft balcony to match the stairwell
  4. Add new lighting throughout the house/add recessed lighting ceilings
  5. Add heated floors
  6. Add a workstation for homework and crafts and adult work at home days
  7. Add organizational systems to the closets downstairs
  8. Open up/widen the doorway between the kitchen and living room
  9. Add AV and electrical to make it a “smart home” since the walls are already open
  10. Paint everything!

I always heard that a reno is more like a living organism than a static project but now that I reflect on it, it is really clear.

The Ceiling

Things are looking up. Literally.

Billy and his crew have been working hard at the things that can be done while we are waiting for the final authorization from our strata to start the plumbing. This includes some electrical and drywall and my favourite – getting rid of the popcorn stucco ceiling!

It was everywhere, including the loft. I wasn’t sure how they would get to that area to flatten it out and paint it etc, but Billy assured me it would be fine. Here are pictures of how he did it. Brilliant and safe!

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He also did the “easier” ceilings like the bedrooms, the dining room, the kitchen etc.

Here are the after shots:

Billy is also reframing the ceiling in the kitchen and the stairwell so we can have better lighting in these areas. I just went shopping with Amber to look for our other light fixtures. I’ll post those pics very soon. Stay tuned!

Getting to know our new house…

I’m mostly writing this blog for my family and friends who mostly live over 7000km away from me but I’d love to share the experience with anyone else who’s interested. This will hopefully keep them in the loop, but allow me to have some fun and memories of the process. I hear renos can be very tedious with lots of awful decision-making and conflicts/fights between spouses….none of which we will experience I’m sure (insert sarcasm here). But I do think my husband and I have very similar design tastes and are usually pretty reasonable when it comes to making a practical and quick decision.  I guess we are about to be tested. Hopefully it’s a good test 🙂

First I thought it would be a good idea to show you the current configuration of our house. As you will be able to see, it is quite lovely already and I would be happy to move in as it except that I have been waiting for 11 years for this house. So I have had a loooong time to dream up what I want in MY place. I don’t want to feel like I moved into yet another rental that I am now allowed to paint.  I want it to feel like us, and that’s not easy. I will tell you about our design inspirations in a later post, but let’s say that the hubbie and I like things a little different and definitely colourful.

So, here’s the house.

The new living room.

The living room.

The view of the Kitchen looking into the living room

The view of the kitchen looking into the living room

The powder room

The powder room

Our bottom floor is actually on the second floor of the condo building and opens onto the roof of a heritage building (so no chance of ruining our garden or view with a future building – yeah!) The entry opens into a big room with a fireplace. This used to be a dining room, but we are going to switch it up and have the living room here. It also has a powder room that we want to expand into a full bathroom (more on that later – this will be a pressure point). There is a doorway to the left that then leads into the kitchen/dining room/work area open concept room. The whole bottom floor is accessible to the wrap around patio outside and has floor to ceiling windows, so lots of light and plants. This is a real plus for us.  The place we have now has no outdoor space, so having a place to enjoy a coffee outside in the morning is going to be wonderful.

The dining room looking outside

The dining room looking outside

IMG_7921

The stairs/landing area

Up the stairs then opens onto the kids’ play area. It is fairly big and with a bit of creative storage, will hopefully keep all the kids gear at bay, or at least not be underfoot when guests are over (anyone who’s stepped on many tiny legos will know what I mean!)

The play area and loft

The play area and loft

Then there are three bedrooms on the upper floor as well as a laundry room. There isn’t an official en suite, but the two bathrooms from the original condo were previously renovated into one large bathroom. I don’t really want to separate it unless we have to (i.e. when we have two teen girls fighting over one vanity – then I may change my tune). It has two doors and plenty of room, so hopefully it will be good for a few years especially with an added shower downstairs for emergencies or when guests stay over.

The Master bedroom

The master bedroom

My/(Our) walk-in closet!

My/(Our) walk-in closet!

The girls new bedroom

The girls new bedroom

The upstairs bathroom

The upstairs bathroom

I’m also quite excited about all the storage in this house.  There is a huge walk-in master closet, multiple other walk-in closets off the living and dining rooms and even a pantry next to the kitchen. It will be weird not having a downstairs storage area, but we should have plenty of storage without needing it elsewhere. I even have a shoe rack in my closet (every girl’s dream I think!).

The patio outside is great. We can see it from anywhere in the kitchen and can see the side part from the living room. It will be great to let the kids just go outside and play on the patio, use chalk, ride their scooters, have a mini pool etc. It’s going to be a godsend this summer.

Looking out onto our patio

Looking out onto our patio

The common area looking onto our trees and patio

The common area looking onto our trees and patio

The girls have also decided they want bunk beds, which means they will share a room. This gives us a real guest room for the first time in our lives.  We already have a lot of visitors (did I mention Vancouver is a great city?) but we would love for them to keep coming and for more people to come stay with us.  We LOVE our visitors! We will probably put a desk in here as well so that it becomes multifunctional for when guests aren’t here.

The guest bedroom

The guest bedroom

Well, that’s it.  A run down of the place so far. We have lots of ideas, but need a tonne of help to make them work and tie everything together. Stay tuned to meet our amazing team – that’s where the magic will happen.

Our First House!

Finally. It took 11 years of renting, 3 apartments, 2 babies and untold realtor listing viewings but we found our home.  Thank you Sanjay! It is perfect for our family. Well it will be with a few renovations.

It’s located in the middle of Yaletown in downtown Vancouver, BC. We have resisted the urge to move to the suburbs once the kids came along and it has paid off. I think we found a place that gets us all the perks of a suburb home (albeit on an itty bitty scale) with the joys of having a walk score of 98%.

It’s a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom 2 story condo. It’s almost 2000 square feet, so the footprint is much larger than what we have been living in, but still smallish in comparison to most houses out of the city. It has an amazing outside space – a huge patio, towering trees and a common area with tonnes of grass for the kids. We finally get to BBQ!  So even though it is technically a condo, it feels like we have a house in the middle of the city.

We love the space but thought it needed a bit of a facelift after 20 years (who doesn’t right?).

Our Must Haves:

  1. Open concept kitchen with an island
  2. Replace the hardwood floors throughout
  3. Expand to two full bathrooms
  4. Have a great play area for the kids
  5. Update the design to suit us

Nothing to it right?