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Monthly Archives: October 2013

We will live a well-insulated life in our laneway

The laneway house is now on an accelerated completion schedule.  Because we have to be ready for the Vancouver Heritage Foundation‘s Laneway House Tour, we will be working hard to present a nice looking, almost-finished house to the participants. And by “we” I mean our builders.

So it was good to meet with Laurel and Angelito from Novell this week to see what’s happened and talk about what will be happening.

The rain-screening is complete on the exterior and just needs the sign-off from the home warranty inspector before the Hardie Board goes on.

The interior has all been insulated — and well-insulated, too.  We have a combination of batten and spray foam.

Here's a combination of batten and closed-cell spray foam

Here’s a combination of batten and closed- and open-cell spray foam

Here is batten above and open-cell spray foam below.

Here is batten above and closed-cell spray foam below.

Upstairs you can see the south-facing wall and the ceiling/roof:


Here’s the gable over the stairs with spray foam.


And here’s what’s going to keep us toasty in our shower:


You can see the packages of tiling here — ready to be installed once the special water-resistant drywall is in place.

The spray foam is a combination of open-cell and closed-cell.

Monday we will meet with the landscaper.  There’s not a large area to be landscaped, but we want it to be extra nice, for ourselves of course, but also for the people in the Main House and for the neighbourhood.

Next week we’ll see huge changes:

  • drywall
  • hardscaping
  • by Friday – tilework to start / doors installed / green roof and deck tiles installed

After Thanksgiving (Canadian Thanksgiving is the second Monday in October) we’ll see even more changes:

  • flooring
  • cabinets and appliances
  • smart garage door
  • plumbing and electrical finish

It may be a little cool in the house for the tour, Fortis isn’t scheduled to come in until October 22 to hook up the natural gas for the heating system, and we probably won’t have the counters installed in the kitchen.  But for the most part we will have a completed house.

It’s a laneway house world!

It’s that magical time of year again!  It’s time to get your tickets for the Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s Laneway House Tour!! We always support this effort to expose everyone to the best of laneway living.  But this year (and for the only time!) we are part of it!!!  No wonder I’m going crazy with the exclamation marks!!!!

The city is bragging about how many laneway houses are being built. It’s a movement that is taking hold.

The Huff Po is asking people to rent laneway houses.

And Global TV pointed out where laneway houses work for the increase of affordable housing in Vancouver — and where they don’t work.

And the Vancouver Sun mentioned our project (and my name!!!!!)

Maybe it’s the time of year (or as Joni says, maybe it’s the time of man) but the focus right now is on laneway homes.

We are SO PROUD to be part of this movement.

Shelley Fralic pointed out the one problem with laneway homes

Laneways are a good idea, especially as a means of increasing urban density and affordable housing while discouraging demolition. They provide rental income, and accommodation for university students or family members who don’t want to leave a cherished neighbourhood and their local support systems.

But here’s the problem with laneway houses.

They are built on lanes. Right on lanes. Which means, not to put too gritty a point on it, that when you live in a laneway house, you become a resident of a back alley, which is not always the most savoury of locales in which to spend your golden years.

True dat, Shelley, we will definitely be looking at the alley.  But, unlike our alley-facing condo where we lived (happily) for 13 years, we will have a south-facing laneway view — sunnier than where we lived before.  And as the TV story said, having eyes on the laneway will increase the security for the whole neighbourhood.

Are laneway houses the answer for affordable housing in Vancouver?  Of course not.  But they are part of the answer.  Co-op housing. low-rise condos, high-rise apartments, rentals, basement suites, are all part of the solution.

We are part of the solution.  And it just feels right.

If it takes a village, well, we’ve got one

Over 1000 permits have been issued in Vancouver for laneway houses.  That means if we were all gathered together, we would have a real village of laneway homes!  A community of people living in laneway houses!

As our mayor says:

“Whether for students, aging family members, or young people looking to live close to home or new job opportunities, Vancouver’s successful laneway housing program is creating more affordable and sustainable housing options in single-family neighbourhoods and contributing significant new rental housing,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson in a news release.

Whether you’re building for family members:

Michael Lyons, vice-president of marketing for Smallworks, a builder of laneway homes in Vancouver, said last year that at least half his customers are building the small houses at the back of their lots for the next generation.Read more:

Or for rental

Many laneway homes rent for around $1,500. That is an excellent mortgage helper. Throw in the odd illegal basement suite or two (that are littered all over the city) and you have a house that generates close to $3,000 in income per month.

Laneway homes are proving to be more and more popular.

In fact, Comox is deciding to join the laneway revolution.  But they call their ADUs “coach homes”.

Comox council has passed two bylaws that establish the general guidelines and principles for the development of coach houses in residential homes.

It’s time to embrace the idea of “gentle densification”.  It’s time for a city of laneway houses.

Or better still, a global village of laneway houses. Perth, Australia, is embracing laneway life.

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