Friday, February 18, 2011

Our First House

In 2004 we had a very young family (our kids were between the ages of 9 and six months).  We decided it was time to buy but because of Vancouver's sky-rocketing housing prices, we looked East and bought in the Fraser Valley.  We bought one of the first houses we saw, mainly because we could afford it, mostly because it was on the side of town that I liked.  But not knowing much about the area, we ended up buying on one of the busiest through streets.  Strangely, it was never busy when we looked at the house...

It was very ugly inside, as these next few pictures demonstrate, but we felt we were up to the challenge and were excited to put our mark on it. 

Please note: none of this furniture belongs to me :)

We fixed that house up mostly by ourselves, but the road got busier as more development happened in the eastern suburbs.  In the end, we flipped it within a year.

Our two youngest getting baths.  It was the hottest summer on record, and we had no running water in our bathroom.

I didn't get to enjoy that kitchen for long, but in the end, it was what sold the house on the stupidly busy street.

It was an exhausting process and we decided next time we'd do it slow.  And we'd hire someone else to do all the work.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Why We're Renovating

Four growing children:

A beautiful view:
Quiet street:

Basement Entry

I don't know if our type of home is unique to British Columbia, but there are a lot of them here, and they were very popular about fifteen years ago.

'Basement entry' is a bit of a misnomer because we don't actually have a basement.  Our house is built on a concrete slab with two stories completely above grade.  You walk in on the ground floor and then up a flight of stairs to the main floor where you find most of the bedrooms plus all your living space.

The so-called basement isn't usually finished by the builder (which makes them cheaper to buy).  Ours is poorly finished and the layout is choppy.  But we love our neighbourhood, the kids can walk to some of the best schools in the city and our view is amazing.  So instead of moving, we started thinking about what it would take to move our living space downstairs and add some bedrooms upstairs.


"If we're going to fix up the downstairs anyway, how much harder would it be to rework the layout and put our kitchen, living and dining rooms downstairs?"

Famous last words.