Recapping our 2017 projects

Happy New Year!!!The beginning of the year is a great time to look back and look forward.So, here’s a look at the projects we completed in 2017. In part 2 I’ll share the projects we’re looking at for 2018.But for now, the year that was…

Front porch

It was pretty hard to miss the eyesore that was our front porch. The original floor boards were showing their age and the concrete-slab step had a significant slant to it. Good for watershed, bad for toddlers! Our contractor, Brett from BWB Construction did a fantastic job on the new porch. We kept the existing railing to cut down on cost and we were able to salvage the support beams (stay tuned to see them in an upcoming project!) One teeny, tiny snag…..we found the home’s original oil tank underneath the porch. Not a big deal, except for it being half full of oil! We found out that the home switched to natural gas in 1990 so it’s a little past its prime to say the least. We found a great company to come and remove the tank the next day, which added cost but not a lot of time to the project. Hit me up if you are ever in need of a remediation service. We also found these flyers from the early 1960s for a shoe store at Centre Mall. #history

Backyard

We also tackled the back yard this year. When we bought the house the entire back yard was hard surface. Two decks, ashphalt driveway extension, and a large paver patio. With two growing and restless kids at home, we thought we needed to soften it up a bit. In May, we ripped up the pavers and laid sod through the majority and dropped a bunch of mulch against the side of the deck. (Tip: in the spring, the city mulches up all the trees that come down over the winter and give it out for free. Keep an eye out for notices on the city’s social feeds.) Our vision was to create a park-like environment, so we removed a few spindles off our upper deck and ran a slide into the mulched area. We also hung a 35’ rope from the giant maple tree for a swing. We added some new furniture to the “conversation deck” which Tom calls “the dock.” The kids and adults now have age-appropriate spaces in the backyard and we got a lot of use out of it. Can’t wait to hang out there when this snow decides to melt!

Brick craftsman

Yep, who can forget this project! We shared a lot of posts and stories on Instagram using #brickcraftsman throughout the process. Read the before and after. As a quick recap, this was an investment property that we bought as a 2+1 bed, 2 bath home with an open but unfinished attic loft. We touched every room in the house and added a master bedroom suite upstairs, bringing it to a 3+1 bed and 3 bath. It’s been tenanted by a great family making a new start in Hamilton since September.

Decked out

Part of owning value-add investment properties is to slowly update and upgrade them. We use a non-scientific approach for this, but we tackle safety issues first, then cosmetic matters while limiting infringement on our tenants’ privacy or enjoyment of the space. Ie, don’t plan and execute a month-long backyard reno in the middle of summer.( Tip: investing in these improvements also helps at tax time!)  One of the items we wanted to address at this property was building a small deck off the back sliding door. When we bought it, there was a flight of four steps straight down. Big time stranger danger as we say in our house! So, in mid-November, Tom coerced a very dear friend into freezing out there with him while constructing this deck. Simple, 4×8 wood construction on blocks now gives the tenants a private place to have coffee, park a barbecue or simply not fall to a broken ankle when they step out the door.

Basement reno

Back to our house, our basement was “finished” in the sense that it had drywall, a drop ceiling with occasionally working lights and asbestos tiles stuck to the concrete slab. In the absence of a main floor family room, we wanted to create a place for our rambunctious rascals to play and not have to worry about frostbite on their toes. Also, we wanted a place where we could shut a proverbial door and block out the toys. So, we set to work. The plan was to remove the drop ceiling and replace it with drywall. Add a comfortable and durable flooring solution. Remove the track lighting to make way for recessed pot lights. Make better sense of the storage room. Create a defined office space for my files, printers and the like. And make our laundry area a little more welcoming. Tom handled the bulk of this work (with a pretty cute little helper), which is still technically ongoing, but the space is so much better and brighter and safer for our kids to play. We love it down there and use the room often. We’ll do a full post to share a bunch of details from the space.A busy but great year of projects behind us. Each one of them had challenges, but definitely good decisions to go through with them. Now, bring on 2018!

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