It's been awhile since I've blogged about my impending renovation of my Swell Dwell in Riverdale called The Tales Of Tennis Crescent.
You see, ever since I got approvals to extend the second floor of my 1960s duplex and add a third floor (you can read about this in more detail in my post called Navigating The Committee Of Adjustment For Toronto Real Estate), I've been mired in the nuts and bolts of getting the construction drawings prepared by the architecture firm SustainableTO along with the quotes to make it a reality.
Getting quotes for my renovation hasn't been easy. I don't fault the contractors I've called in – four to be exact. First, the demand for a calibre contractor is so great in Toronto – which has been undergoing a building boom for over 20 years – that just finding a firm willing to engage you is challenging. The truth of the matter is that my renovation/addition project slides into the “ok-but-not-great” category for a builder. While I'm probably looking at a hefty $600,000 to transform my house, the sad reality is that I've had to break the project into 'phases' to match my budget.
That's because right now this is the Dream of how it will appear:
It's not just my budget which is prompting me to approach this as 'phases'. While this might sound bizarre in our culture of instant gratification – I also subscribe to the value of taking your time. I learned this when it took 8 years to complete my Button Factory Loft located in Toronto's Little Italy neighbourhood. It was the first loft conversion of several when I was part of a development team back in the 1990s, affording me the opportunity to secure a slice of the vintage factory space that featured a brick walled garden. Because of my limited budget I moved into it incomplete and, over the span of 8 years it underwent three transformations (well, let's say the first one was from barely habitable to livable) to elevate it into my Dream Home. It was during this journey I discovered how much 'Design Is A Process', learning that with time on your side all those ideas you had when you first moved in may not have ultimately been the best.
I believe living in a space over time creates a deeper awareness of the magic your Home ultimately offers. I'm talking about the intangibles of how light and air interact with built form – presenting you with elemental aspects you never knew were important or integral to how beautiful a space might be until you've lived in it – and how as occupants we may discover that the spatial wants we believe we need may be drastically different than the way we might actually use the space. If you give yourself time to better understand your property – and even phase in the renovations – you're more likely to create a better fit – and reflection – of yourself. I'm not sure this is a certainty for everyone, but it is for me. Or maybe I'm just saying this because I can't afford the level of finishes I really want right now.
My renovation will be split into three phases. Phase One is getting the exterior shell and building components complete so my place is habitable. Phase Two is installing the interior finishes as my budget allows, and Phase Three is the exterior landscaping. Along with extending the second floor at the rear of my dwelling plus adding a third floor 'shell' to the tune of $400,000, I'm easily facing another $100,000 in interior finishes (kitchen, 2 baths, flooring, lighting, window coverings, custom railings, 2 gas fireplaces, a wood stove and custom built-ins) plus another $100,000 for exterior landscaping and getting my backlit laser cut screens attached (yes, Virginia, this will be a $1,600,000 semi-detached 2-unit investment).
Because all I can afford – this year – is getting the exterior shell done, a lot of top notch contractors are ho-hum on my project. One shared with me that his clients generally hire him without questioning the budget, another sent me a one line quote saying the shell would cost $375,000 without an itemized break-down – and then in our follow-up correspondence with much more detail (thankyou!) I realized the 375k sum was before the 13 percent HST taxes (another 50k in cost). I'm currently politely chasing the other two to give me their costs as my start date ominously approaches.
I have to say – being in real estate and the development industry for the past 25 years – none of this surprises me – but it's still disheartening to get contractors to return calls!
Take it from me. A renovation is not for the feint of heart. It's an exhausting ordeal that costs substantially more than one wants, In fact, it will cost you one dollar more than you have.
Lately I've been dreaming of installing herringbone floors on my entertainment level. I love how classic they are, and when incorporated into a modern setting I think they elevate the space while infusing an understated elegance.
Which is why I'm quite envious of the future Buyer of this Modern Listing In Roncesvalles Village. First, I love Roncesvalles Village, which is sufficiently central to be urbane yet out of the fray enough to feel like a city village with its grocers, cafes and neighbourhood parks. Basically the equivalent of Riverdale (where my house is), but on the west side of downtown, this newly constructed 4bed modern manse combines the 'location location location' mantra of real estate with the finest of modern contemporary living and finishes. Which, to make a long story short, means that I LOVE this house.
There's a zillion reasons why I love this property but one of my favourite feature is the custom white oak herringbone floors that run from front to back on the main floor of this custom built home.
Now, I gotta ask. When was the last time you were in a residence with herringbone floors? Were you in Le Marais in Paris, an English castle, or a Rhode Island estate? I'm pretty sure you weren't in a Modern Swell Dwell in Toronto, right? That's what I love about the owners of this property. In their commitment to do it right, they dropped double-digits installing dreamy white oak herringbone floors in this uber-chic executive home.
Here's some pics:
As I navigate my own renovation, I can freely admit I want these (and those stair rails!). In fact, I want them so much I'm prepared to spend several years living on plywood sub-floors until I've save sufficient funds to install them. I don't mind this, but thank goodness I have a terrific work ethic. In the interim. I'm just a wee bit green with envy for the Buyer of this stellar high design dwelling. For the Buyer who wants to buy a house and do nothing but decorate, this is a Dream Come True!
Wanna see more? Check out this A Modern Cube Of Perfection In Roncesvalles Village – including flavour video – offered for sale for $1,599,000.
In the interim, stay tuned for more Tales From Tennis Crescent!
~ steven and the urbaneer team
we're here to earn your trust, then your business.
Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 322-8000
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Tales From Tennis Crescent