DD (dear daughter) of your favourite laneway dweller here.
Recently we decided to bite the bullet at the “big house” and finish off the next phase of renovations we started at the same time the laneway house was built.
If you recall, we only had enough money to finish the basement suite (half of the basement), leaving us with half a gutted basement, and lots of deficiencies in our living space on the main floor.
Vancouver is a pretty tight market, and our budget is relatively modest, so our 1950s bungalow includes some peculiarities we’d been living with for some time.
In the kitchen these are:
- Only one drawer (forcing us to use baskets in every other cupboard)
- Less than three feet of counter space
- An oven with tilting elements and a door that won’t open
- A single sink (which gets tied up every time the portable dishwasher is on)
- A faucet that rotates when in use
- An awesomely big, but fairly ugly utilitarian fridge
- A door to the back deck that won’t stay closed, and sits at the top of a steep staircase (to the basement)
- Overhead lighting that doesn’t always work (there are three lights on a track and different ones light up each time)
And in the bathroom we have:
- A medicine cabinet with warped shelves (and UGLY.so.very.ugly)
- A fan and vanity light on the same circuit (ugly and LOUD)
- A tub with cracks in the bottom, and a mouldy hole along the caulk line
- Tile with rotting/mouldy grout (moulding from behind)
- A sink with no counter and a cabinet with doors that are falling off
So some serious issues along with cosmetic ones, including the fact that the backsplash mosaic tile in the kitchen is, in fact, a sticker (one of my interim solutions).
And by finishing the basement, we’ll be able to increase our living space by about 400 square feet, giving our family some breathing and growing room.
A few people have asked us, for the amount we’re spending in renovations, why not tear down and build a new house? Great question. Some of the reasons (in the six years we’ve lived here) include:
- We couldn’t foresee vacating the property for the amount of time needed
- We want to keep some of the neighbourhood’s original character
- We don’t need a bigger house, just a smarter one
- We didn’t have the $250,000 + ready at the outset, and now that we’ve started down renovation road, there’s no turning back
So stay tuned for updates on the progress, or lack thereof, as we work through this next phase.