Another renovation underway for clients – here are the “before” shots!

As most of you know, I do four or five renos a year helping my clients get their homes ready for sale. I have one on the go right now that should be finished next week.

My clients had original carpet in their living room that was getting pretty worn and dated. It ran all the way down the hallway from the front foyer as well.

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If we want to get top dollar on resale, that had to go — and they agreed to install new hardwood, yay!!!. (And note the 2″ builder basic baseboard, we’re replacing that with 4″ when the new hardwood is installed.)

They had  recently redone their kitchen and installed new ceramic floors, but the ceramic  tile had already cracked along the seams. We weren’t sure if it was structural (perhaps a sag in the floor joists?) but my original thought on seeing the problem was that the tradesman hadn’t used enough mortar, which turned out to be the case.

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Until we pulled the tiles up, however, we had no way of knowing. Levelling and reinforcing sub-floors can be expensive, so  I suggested they extend the  new hardwood into the kitchen as well. I knew the hardwood would warm up the room, which was feeling a little industrial; it would be less expensive to install than new tiles, and if the floor wasn’t perfectly level, the hardwood would be more forgiving than tile. Again, they agreed! (They are so terrific to work with!)

Originally, the quote we had for hardwood without the install was $ 4.75/sq ft, which is certainly fair, but I wanted to save them some money.  Alex Martinez, my go-to tradesman when it comes to flooring and tile, told me that Home Depot had put a lovely dark stained birch on sale at the incredible price of $2.75/sq ft. and I rushed over to see it right away. Alex picked it up for me and we left in their home to acclimatize for a while. (You need to let hardwood acclimatize for a couple of weeks where it’s going to be installed so it can adjust the humidity level, or it can buckle or warp after installation.)

There were also some cracked tiles in the foyer, so I picked up some really nice porcelain tile for them for $ 0.85 cents a tile at Home Depot. Here’s the hardwood (Birch Balsamic, it’s called), the tile I found, and the 3 x 16″ subway tiles we’ll be using in their upstairs MBR. (They had a new tile tub surround that wasn’t done properly and needed to be replaced because of leaks; the issues we found there will be the subject of another post later.)


They wanted to paint the entire main level, which was a light yellow and quite marked up from little kids and wear, as well as the stairway and upstairs hallway. I suggested either Behr Mortar, or Benjamin Moore’s Tapestry Beige, and they decided to go with Mortar, which is a light blue/grey with a bit of mud to it. It’s one of my favourite neutrals and works beautifully with the new tiles and hardwood.  Here it is on the walls of the bathroom in the investment condo on Burnside that I renovated last year (and have since sold to a very happy buyer.)


We are also changing out several lights. They had a really hideous light in the hallway with three twisty parts that looked like snakes, and a dining room light fixture made of shells that was just too big for that space. Below is the new dining room drum shade light I picked up for them at Rona for around $100. You can see the  flushmount drum shade light in the hallway where the “snake light” used to be; I got that at Canadian Tire for $40.  (And that’s Alex checking his messages!)

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I have a new light fixture for the main floor powder room too. It isn’t up yet as the room still has to be painted.  The new light is modern and contemporary;  I love it!  It cost around $100 at Home Depot, and it will be centred over the sink – the other one wasn’t. I also got them a properly sized mirror — the one they had was teeny-tiny, but that isn’t their fault: it isn’t easy to find the right size as it wasn’t standard. The new one was about $ 30 at HomeSense, on sale, and while it has a brass edge instead of nickel, which I would have preferred, it will fit perfectly.


They are away for the holidays now so I’ve been dropping by from time to time to keep an eye on how things are going. The house is in the usual state of chaos that accompanies renovations so I’m glad they are out of town while we get it done.

Below, you can see the big pile of hardwood we’d stacked in front of the fireplace. At the time of my first visit, the painter had just started cutting along the ceiling line with the new Behr colour–this is the original yellow.

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We’re also going to replace this old closet door in the foyer with a mirrored door from Mirrorworks. The new doors and installation will be around $ 460: Mirrorworks passed on their contractors’ price to my clients, which I really appreciated.

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So that’s the before. Wait until you see the progress shots and the afters — Alex is almost finished doing the hardwood, and the painter is almost done too, so check in tomorrow for more pics!

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