Monday, 29 August 2011

Choose an Older Property for the Value and the Upswing

I’m continually surprised at the number of homebuyers that opt to purchase a new property rather than buying and renovating an older one. While home shopping I can understand how tempting and desirable it is to buy a space where everything is shiny, new and in optimal condition. Who wouldn’t want those things?  However, it’s unfortunate how few people realize that you can have all that and more in an older property. This is especially true for urban professionals living in city centres where condos rule. By renovating your space yourself (in conjunction with your designer of course!) you can personalize it to your tastes and create a space that truly caters to your lifestyle - whether you are single, a regular dinner party host, a gourmet chef or home-based entrepreneur. And there are other benefits too.
One of the biggest advantages with purchasing a condo that requires updating is the value that you get for your money. Generally the suites and rooms are significantly larger and come at a much lower price per square footage compared to new developments. Have you seen 455-square foot condos being sold for $ 250,000?! With older properties usually being more affordable, buying and then creating your own personalized oasis does not at all mean spending more money but it does mean getting what you want in exactly the fashion you’ve always imagined.
Another perk, which I hinted at above, is the absolute control that homeowners have over the materials, finishes and use of space that you will live with for perhaps a very long time. With new condos, base finishes and appliances are usually included and trying to change these can be very costly to replace as developers have spent a lot of time negotiating for these specific items which vary in quality. Lastly, think location. In Toronto, many older condo developments are located in spectacular areas. For example, Toronto’s waterfront is dotted with condos just waiting to be transformed into incredible spaces of your design on the waterfront in buildings with amazing amenities.
If you are still a non-believer follow my regular Friday posts as I transform an older downtown condo in Toronto into a homeowner’s dream .You can start here. Look out for a complete Return on Investment breakdown coming soon. If you have questions on what you can do with your current space or a property that you are considering, feel free to contact me, Paul Kenning Stewart with questions at   

Friday, 26 August 2011

Week 7 Condo Project - Its all making sense

The positive connotation of the # 7, is that of 'Luck'. Whatever the case may be, it was a very busy and wonderful week with the installation of the Kitchen Cabinetry. Things are finally starting to make sense.

The Client originally asked for an open, contemporary flair with a European 'flavour' to be used for personal enjoyment but also conducive to casual entertaining. The counter and storage space has more than doubled from what was here originally, and by removing the walls there is a better flow, visually expanding the 860sq ft space taking advantage of the magnificent unobstructed view (21 stories) from every corner of the 'home'. The 'old' floor plan was good but dated, the 'new' floor plan is clean, crisp and timeless. Eventually 'pops' of colour will be added here and in the Bathroom, but instead of explaining, you will have to wait for the pictures. This renovation is still on schedule and should be drawing to a close in the next 3-4 weeks, tomorrow is the counter measure, and then once installed, the backsplash.

Thank you for following me, and if you stay until the end I'm sure you won't be disappointed, and give you some insight towards 'what to expect' for your own renovation.

Friday, 19 August 2011

The Condo Project - Week 6 - Calm Yet Productive

This week has been calm yet productive.

Finishing touches have been made to accommodate both the kitchen install which begins on Monday (week 7), and also an early partial 'move-in' of the Client before he leaves for New York. What this means is having a semi-working bathroom (sink and w/c), and the electrical ready for the placement of the appliances and painting of the walls (touch ups) throughout, and of course making sure the floors are level for the cabinetry. (Additional painting will be required once the 'dust' settles).
The install of the cabinetry should be approximately 4 days, and the measure for the counters will take place next Friday, which means tomorrow we'll have to pick up the kitchen sink for them to confirm its size for undermounting. (Never leave anything to chance!) Also I had two new doors delivered for the bedroom and bathroom. (opposite each other at the entrance to the unit). I really like them because there is a 'textural' quality to them having 5 separate panels of translucent glass to allow natural light to penetrate into the 'back entrance' area. (but why did I do this to the bath.........because I think it's sexy and bathrooms should be!)
I sometimes feel I have a tendancy to be controlling, but from experience I have found that if you begin to relax during 'any' renovation, one mistake can 'snowball' from one disaster into another, and this is the time when it stops being 'fun'. This is what it's all about, enjoying what you do in life and being the best you can be, you should always 'walk away proud', and hopefully you have learned something new each and every day. Paul K Stewart @ PROJEKT HOME.


Friday, 12 August 2011

Week 4 - Condo Project - Its really coming along

Busy Busy Busy. It was an incredible week. The floors are down, the fridge receptacle is in place, and the shower tiles have been grouted, which allowed me to have a measure done for the back wall of the shower which will be 3 sheets of back-painted 'lime' Everyone needs a 'shot of colour' in the morning, too fun! The Vanity (wall-hung) is in place and the plumber is in on Monday to install the toilet or w/c, which ever you can relate to.
The kitchen cabinets arrived on Thursday (1 week ahead of schedule) and the appliances on Friday (today as requested) so all is good. It's wonderful when schedules 'actually work' and although this is not always the case (maybe others, not me), this has been exceptional and although there is still 6 weeks to completion I can say it has been a pleasure working with the many individuals involved to date. The kitchen install is scheduled for August 22nd, and at this point I think I'm more excited than the owner of the space. 
Stay tuned, from this point on, an average 860 sq foot space will slowly be transformed into exceptional week to week. Paul Kenning Stewart @ PROJEKT

Friday, 5 August 2011

Condo development - Week 4

This week can seem rather discouraging for most Clients as nothing seems to have happened. But this is in 'viewing' as opposed to 'behind the scenes work'. Most obvious is the 'channel' which was drilled into the concrete wall, for the relocation of the outlet for the new location of the Dishwasher. Where the tub was located in the Bathroom, it will be replaced by a large walk-in shower, so the drain for it was also relocated and the base has been put in, along with the replacement of the wall board surrounding the room, and installation of the newly revised plumbing, wall and floor.
If you remember, this is a condominium, so the 'changes' are done by drilling into the concrete walls and floor, very time consuming......and loud!
Along with these changes, the entire Unit has been primed and painted including the ceilings, so the floor can be installed and as you can see, the installation has begun. Yes, I was hoping that I'd be saying that it was finished, but there is also something known as 'wishful thinking', on my part. Additional decisions had to be made at the last moment on shower tile trims/finishing, so the contractor could frame everything within the shower space. Friday morning is a 'glass measure', and necessary to keep up with our timeline.
By this time next week, I will be able to unveil the completed floor install complete with the baseboards so this part is slowly drawing to a close and then the actual wait for the delivery of the kitchen cabinets, and the completion of the Bathroom.
In the meantime the Client is visiting friends at their cottage, relaxing, and he can do this because I'm here as the project manager so I 'hope' he remembers to have a 'drink' for ME!