Halifax’s Condo Real Estate Specialists

Condo Renovation Project

Condo Townhouse Reno – Part 3 Posted on Apr 06, 2013

After the demo of the old bathroom and kitchen the contractor David Bryant installed a bathroom fan in the ceiling of the main bathroom. These are important to have as they keep moisture moving out of your bathroom and this helps keep mildew at bay. Most older homes and condos do not have them, so when you are doing a bathroom reno and the walls or ceiling are open, it is a good time to have one installed inexpensively.
The floor of the shower was installed starting with a Kerdi shower kit. A shower kit is important to have as it sits on the floor below the tile and directs the shape of the shower floor toward the drain, it is also another water impermeable surface. In the event that your tile grout wears away, there is something there to catch the water from entering your floors. The tile used on the walls of the shower was also installed on the floor of the bathroom itself, while the tile on the floor of the shower was a smaller mosaic tile. Mosaic tile on the floor is an unconventional use, but it’s a great look and should feel neat on the toes. Once the tiles were laid and the walls painted, the new water efficient toilet and modern vanity were installed.

Bathroom Tile Install.

Bathroom Tile Install.
The old carpets on the stairs and the bedroom level was removed and replaced with a darker grey, higher quality carpet. The new carpet updated the space while keeping it cozy in the bedrooms. The flooring on the main level was still the original hardwood, which was looking a little worse for wear. There was some debate about removing it altogether and installing newer flooring such as new hardwood, laminate or cork. One flooring specialist recommended replacement, or to simply buff the old wood and leave it in place until the client was more comfortable with the added expense. The problem with this approach is that if floors are left unfinished and old looking, the whole space will feel unfinished, not matter how nice the new kitchen looks. Floors are better refinished or replaced when there is no furniture, or cabinets in place so that you can finish more evenly, doing it in the future would be much more challenging. The client’s contractor felt passionately about the floors being refinished, saying that it would make the whole space feel new and he really believed that the original wood could be revived. They brought in another floor refinishing company and they  were in and out in a day and a half and the floors looked amazing, it even revealed a beautiful dark border around the room.

Hard Wood Flooring Before. Floor Refinishing In Progress. Original Hard Wood Refinished. Entry Stairs Before. Carpet Being Installed On Stairs. New Carpet Laid In Second Bedroom.

New Baseboard Installed.
An electrician was brought in while the bathroom was being done and installed new pot lights throughout the main level. They also had wiring put in for three pendant lights over where the peninsula between the kitchen and the main living space will be. All of these are set up with dimmer switches that can be controlled remotely from the owner’s iPhones.

Fireplace Accent Lights.
Once the flooring was down and refinished, the custom cabinets were delivered and installed over two days by Genuine Kitchens. The clients went with dark walnut cabinets with a modern look to suit the space. The darker cabinets will stand out nicely in contrast to the light granite counter-top and natural wood floors.

During the construction the clients kept their eyes out for sales on appliances at the Sears Outlet store we have in Halifax. This worked out great for them as they got some real deals on great high-end stainless steel appliances. The appliances were put in place and connected by their contractor.
The granite counter-top was on order and due to arrive a couple of weeks after the clients moved in so David, their contractor put some plywood in place so they would have something to rest their take out on for the time being. It would be take out or eat out for the next couple of weeks as the under-hung kitchen sink would not be installed until after the granite.
This concludes our blog post, be sure to check back soon or sign up for updates to see the exciting conclusion of this reno!

Condo Townhouse Reno – Part 2 Posted on Jan 30, 2013

Once the contractor had the measurements of the kitchen and bathroom he could work out the preliminary quote for the work to be done. David pointed out to them in advance that labour is a fairly fixed cost. It takes roughly the same amount of time to install the parts but things like they type of tile, counter tops, cabinets and fixtures can all affect the final cost dramatically. As a small, square example, tiles can range in price from less than $2.00 per square foot to over $20.00! When you are dealing in a couple hundred square feet of space to tile the price can increase quickly even with a small adjustment. The clients agreed to the rough quote, knowing that these were just ballpark figures and that they could fluctuate depending on the finishes chosen, so we just had to wait for closing day to get started.
I should like to point out at this point that you should never plan to move or begin construction on a new condo purchase on closing day. Closing day is the day that all of the paperwork and funds exchange hands, deeds are issued and keys couriered. Even if you have met with your lawyer ahead of time and the bank is all lined up, it still takes the better part of the day for the lawyer to release the keys. I have seen it before when a client didn’t listen when I explain this to them and they wind up frustrated with movers waiting around to get access to their new home. These clients understood the process and scheduled their contractor to begin the day after closing.
On closing day rather than handing the key over to the happy new condo owners to begin their move, I ran the key to the contractor so he could set about tearing the place apart the next morning. 🙂
The first thing to go was the kitchen interior wall and all cabinets. The client had found out that Habitat for Humanity would take the old cabinets for use in their Re-Store, those were set in the garage and they picked them up the next day. The appliances were no longer serviceable and had to be thrown away.

Kitchen wall with pass through/cabinet row removed.

Kitchen wall and cabinets removed. Most appliances removed. Crew’s gotta eat.
They then moved to the bathroom where there had been some water penetration through the grout behind the existing tile. In the end most of the gyproc had to go to be replaced with a newer technology, moisture resistant product. The vanity, tub and toilet had to go as well.

Bathroom tub, toilet and vanity removed as well as the existing tile and gyproc.

Sign up for updates, in my next post we will take a look as the kitchen and bathroom re-construction gets underway!


Condo Townhouse Reno- Part 1 Posted on Jan 19, 2013

    I recently helped some clients make a purchase of a townhouse condo on Dresden Row in Halifax. The location is ideal for them as is the condo itself, they are both busy professionals who would prefer to spend their spare time enjoying dinners downtown and travelling rather than cleaning gutters and mowing lawns. Another asset for these clients is the single car garage and additional parking spot, this is ideal for them as they have a sports car that requires indoor parking and storage over the winter, and they have another car for day to day use.

Garage and Parking of the Dresden Row Townhouse in Downtown Halifax.
In purchasing this condo the clients made a great move, they saw and focused on the value in things that cannot be changed about the condo, things like the garage, the fact that it is an end unit and the layout. One of the drawbacks of this particular condo and a problem that people often encounter, is that it is older and in need of an update. Things like flooring needs replacing, kitchens and bathrooms that need updating are all things that can be changed and will bring increased value down the road, but can be a turnoff for people with less vision.

Original galley kitchen.

Original galley kitchen.
    We knew that they couldn’t move into the condo in the condition it was in, so I made arrangements to get back into the condo with a contractor once we had an agreement of purchase and sale in place. We met with David Bryant from Streamline Construction, David and his team have experience with interior renovations and have done a number of kitchens specifically. They have worked with everything from Ikea cabinet design and installs to custom cabinets and poured concrete counter-tops. Since the kitchen is the first thing we want to tackle, we got together with David in the space right away. It is important get on-site with your contractor to talk about concepts and allow them to take measurements to get the client a more accurate quote.

Original main bath vanity.

Original main bath shower.
   My clients had done their homework, they knew specifically what they wanted done with the space and had pictures from Pinterest to show their contractor. The pictures are a great help as it allows the contractor to know what kind of feel you want in the space and specifically what tile or fixtures you like, or what style cabinets you like. In this case, they had a particular bathroom sink and vanity that they had found online and David was able to find exactly the one they wanted which will really set the tone for their new bathroom.
In my next post we will get in to the demo of the old kitchen and bathroom! Check back or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter to follow the progress.