Respect your neighbours!

Respect your neighbours!

You may be lucky and have space between you and your neighbour’s house, but never forget that sound travels. It doesn’t matter whether you are renovating your small apartment or your mansion, whether it’s the whole house or just the guest bathroom, you want to ensure you’re respecting your neighbours. There are certain unspoken rules to being neighbourly during renovations. Too often do people forget about those around them, and neighbours can be too kind to say something.

 

Courtesy notes

Before you even begin to renovate, it’s a good idea to write a letter that lets your neighbours know about your upcoming renovation. This can prevent any noise complaints from your neighbors and avoid conflicts with them. How you address them in your letter depends on your relationship with them, whether it’s friendly or professional. Let them know how long you expect the project to take, your efforts to minimize disruption, garbage waste, etc. Include a note at the end indicating that you are open to speaking with them if they have any concerns and apologize for any inconvenience that may occur.

 

Curfew

There are different considerations to make regarding timing and renovating throughout the day. If you want to begin on your project early in the morning, make sure you keep the loud jobs for later. You don’t want to be that neighbour hammering away at seven in the morning.  Generally, renovations make a lot of noise. Be considerate about starting too early or working too late as it may cause frustration from neighbours.

 

Clean-up

If you’re naturally inclined to be clean, this will not be a problem for you. Make sure the garbage you’re removing from your house is properly stored and taken away when needed. Everyone likes a tidy neighbourhood.  In addition, if there are little kids running around and playing, as a parent you wouldn’t want rubbish and construction materials left out for them to get a hold of.

 

Parking

Sometimes parking can become an issue, particularly when you have a lot of workers coming to your house. Making it impossible for your neighbours to park near their house is a situation that you’re better off avoiding. This can be avoided by setting up a decent curfew. Even telling them to leave their number on their windshield allows neighbors to call them if they are blocked in.

 

Watch the language

It’s not uncommon for men to joke around and use language that can be offensive to others and not something children should hear. Before it becomes a problem, let your workers know that children are around and it’s important that they are mindful of their language.

 


McKenzie Lake: product picking

Product picking is personally what I think is the best stage when renovating. Or at least the most exciting stage. By picking products, you are giving others sight to what you’ve been envisioning from the beginning. If you’re like me, you’d be the type of person who could spend hours in a store looking at different colours and textures. I love determining whether a certain tile would look good with the wall paint and wooden floor. Likewise, your decisions at this stage will affect the feel of each room. It’s an exciting challenge to stay within budget while achieving your dream home.

 

 

Here is what we’ve been envisioning for our McKenzie Lake project.

 

Bathroom

Before we took a sledgehammer to the bathroom, the photo to the left is what the tub looked like. It was old-fashioned with yellow tile surrounding the tub. The bathtub area had great potential being located near the windows, so we wanted to use that advantage.

Our vision, to the right, is for the bathroom to be something clean and modern. This photo from Houzz.com gives you an idea of what we are hoping to achieve; a free-standing bathtub, surrounded by windows and preferably dark grey tile.

 

This bathroom from Houzz.com has a bit more of a country look to it, but the classic colours and free-standing tub give you a glimpse of our hopes for our bathroom.

 

 

Kitchen

As you’ve seen from before, the kitchen had some room for improvement. To refresh your memory, I’ve posted a picture to the left. Between the kitchen’s vintage cupboards and modern tile back-splash, the room needed some consistency.

 

Our inspiration for the kitchen comes from the photo on the right. Clearly, the space we have to work with is not near as large as what’s in this photo. However, the slick feel of the kitchen along with the grey and white colour combination are the qualities we hope to transfer over to McKenzie Lake.

 

Things to remember:

  • Stay within budget. Don’t purchase an expensive tile when you can find a similar one for less.
  • Some product might take time to get to you, such as carpet or countertops. Be prepared.
  • Save the excess. Keep some leftover materials, such as carpet, paint and tiles. You never know if the future may need you to fix a dent or two.
  • Don’t get decorative items such as plants or bath rugs until everything is put together.

Before we renovate…

When you get your hands on a new project, it can be hard to hold yourself back from knocking cupboards down and ripping out baseboards. That’s how we felt with the McKenzie Lake home. It’s our first project of the year and we wanted to get started! Instead, we had to make sure we went through the 10 stages of pre-renovation. To show the importance of going through these steps, we will show you what we did with the McKenzie Lake home.

 

Get to know the house

For those who followed us through our blogs about pre-renovation, we stressed the point of getting to know your home and what needed to be done. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that we did the same. To know how much it would cost and how long it would take, we walked through the house to determine what needed to be done. Through this process, we created a budget for ourselves. We saw jobs which we knew how to do ourselves, and we saw where we needed to bring professionals in. In addition, we determined what areas we would be willing to give up working on if things got too expensive.

 

 

Take pictures!

This is not necessarily a step that is a must, but it’s one that will be satisfying in the long run. Take pictures of the before, the during and the after. You could even do a panorama of the room. Being able to see the change all your hard work accomplished will be incredibly satisfying. A tip to keep in mind though: make sure you remember the position and angle you took the original photo. By doing this, you’ll truly see the difference your efforts made.

 

 

Get estimates

At this stage, we needed to get contractors in. We knew what needed to be done and it was time to find out how much it cost. It’s very important to stay within our financial plan. To do so, we told the contractors what our rough budget was before they walked through the house. As our Transformation Director, Karen Ingram-Johnson, said, “You get a different result if you say, ‘how much will it cost’ vs. ‘this is what we have to spend’”. After receiving various quotes from contractors, we picked the one the fit best with our plans and budget.

 

Adjustments to plans 

For the McKenzie Lake project, there was not a lot of structural change that needed to be done. Instead, we wanted to focus on redoing the kitchen and the bathrooms. We also hope to remove the arched doorways as they are an outdated style. Basically, we want to clean up the home and give it a fresh look. During our first walkthrough, we wanted to knock down a wall between the kitchen and the dining room, but after the contractors came in we discovered the wall had water pipes and air ducts inside. The cost to make that change was higher than our budget, so we needed to adjust our plan for the kitchen.

 

Create a demo list

To help save costs, it’s useful to start demoing before the contractors come in. It will do two things; save them work and save your money. We suggest making a list of what you can take down and get rid of yourself.

 

Now we are off to demoing! Follow our renovation process on our Instagram where you’ll get more pictures and videos to follow along with.

 


Introducing McKenzie Lake

Starting a new project is always exciting for us. We believe to do well requires understanding and knowledge of the community we are working in. The first project we have for 2018 is in McKenzie Lake, a suburban neighborhood in southeast Calgary. Before we provide updates on our McKenzie Lake project, we wanted to provide some background information on the community.

History

McKenzie Lake was not always a community with a lake. In fact, the original community was called McKenzie in 1984. As Calgary grew in the 1990s, the city was inspired by the success of Lake Bonavista. As the neighboring community to McKenzie, Lake Bonavista had a lake at the heart of its community, making it attractive to live there. With this knowledge, Calgary built a lake for the community of McKenzie, changing its name to McKenzie Lake. Following this expansion, the neighborhood became much more charming.

Activities

McKenzie Lake has grown into an active area that values the ability to be connected. The McKenzie Lake Community Association (MLCA) encourages homeowners to become members and work together to keep the community at its greatest potential. The MLCA offers everything from before and after school care to yoga and basketball classes. A second organization, McKenzie Lake Residents Association (MLRA), also tries to improve the community by giving Pilates, Zumba and sport-ball programs. To keep the community connected, the MLRA hosts safe and fun events, such as the Father’s Day Fishing Derby and their Family Fun Day.

Culture

Most buildings in the McKenzie Lake community are single-family homes. The community aims to provide activities for its residents, so it’s no surprise that McKenzie Lake is the spot for raising a family. With its strong effort to build a sense of community, McKenzie Lake has also become a popular spot for immigrants to live. Priding itself on being a welcoming community, it makes it easy for new families to settle in. However, there isn’t a high turnover rate for houses in McKenzie Lake. Those that move there tends to stay there. It is a family community, one that brings connection and security to those that live there.

 


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