HAPPY OFFICIAL SUMMER! It feels so great to finally be here. Spring (work wise) was long and gruelling and at most times felt never-ending. I think I worked on about 30 houses over the last 4 months and it definitely wasn’t easy, so you can imagine that summer is incredibly rewarding. Real estate in general slows down a bit over the summer, which gives me time to catch my breath, get organized, get inspired, and this particular summer, work on Project Elmer.
Project Elmer is our very first, very own house. Even though it’s not the first home we’ve owned (that would be our condo), it’s our first house, our first own four walls, our first backyard.
I was brought into the house in late February to do a few small upgrades before it got listed on the market for sale. The first time I stepped into the house I felt an incredibly strong, positive energy. It was an older house with a couple of small renovations done here and there, but for the most part it remained it’s relatively original, charming, cottage-y self.
The lovely owner, who was moving out of the city to be closer to her grandkids, didn’t want to spend too much money getting the house ready for sale, but there was so much potential that you just needed to have a creative eye to see where the house could go. The more time I spent there, and the more conversations I had with the owner, the more I felt drawn to the house.
Fraser and I had been on the house hunt by that point. What first started as us looking for an investment property to renovate and sell (while still living in our condo) turned into a hunt for our next home and renovation project. We had gone through lots of houses by that point, and something about Elmer stood out. The location was perfect (The Beaches are incredible), the house had so many renovation possibilities, and the vibe just felt right.
Once we decided we wanted to buy Elmer, we got to work on our offer. Because I was already working on the house and knew that it was going to come to market, Fraser and I tried to buy it before it listed. It was in March, when the Toronto housing market was on fire. We thought that if we could get it off market, we could save ourselves the stress of an inevitable bidding war. As much as the owner wanted to accept our offer before listing the house, she wanted to give it a chance on the market just to see what would happen.
In the end, we submitted an offer on offer night along with 6 other people. We went a few rounds, negotiated back and forth, and GOT THE HOUSE. It sounds super casual saying it like that, and trust me, there were more than a few emotions, but the result couldn’t have been any better.
Being in the line of work I’m in, I have great (and very valued) connections with every kind of trade. The plan is to eventually renovate the whole house, but we know it’s a process and we also know we want to focus on one thing at a time.
We decided to start with the basement, since it’s the brain of the whole house. All the mechanical components are down there, and most of them need upgrading. There is electric baseboard heating, an older hot water tank, a chimney stack running through the whole house and no insulation behind the walls. While I typically would have hired individual trades for this project, I felt bringing on a General Contractor was valuable in this particular instance, not only due to the extent of work but also because of the structural changes we planned to make.
We decided to put together a list of the things we wanted to tackle:
– completely gut the entire basement
– move from a hot water tank to a tankless, on-demand hot water system
– remove the chimney stack opening up space on all 3 floors
– add insulation behind the walls
– replace the baseboard heaters with radiators
– remove the centre post directly in the middle of the rec room, and reinforce the footings on the other two posts
– raise the beam, currently sitting 6 inches lower than the ceiling, flush with the rest of the ceiling
Plus, we want to do some of the pretty stuff too!
– remove 3 piece bathroom from existing location
– add new 3 piece bathroom in the existing laundry room area
– relocate and finish the laundry room
– make a separate mechanical room
– redesign the rec room layout
– redo the bedroom
All of this is estimated to take between 13-15 weeks, and we’re just about done Week 1! Alot has already happened, and we’re so excited to share the journey with you guys. Follow along as we go week by week, room by room, finish by finish and emotion by emotion to see the whole space come together.
In the meantime, check out the glorious demo pics below.
Have a great weekend everyone!!