Renovate Or Tear Down?
When I sat down with George and Angela in their Don Mills bungalow to discuss their upcoming project, I told them that I was leaning toward the tear down option as opposed to the renovation option.
We spent nearly two hours talking through ideas, their needs, and the timing of the renovation. The more we talked, the more I came to realize that for their specific needs and preferences, renovating would be a better option.
Here are some of the reasons why.
George and Angela wanted their home to suit the property – they did not want to build an oversized home. The existing footprint of the bungalow is a good size. The foundation and overall structure is solid and a good base to build on top of.
George had taken a great interest in the design of the home. He spent months working on layouts, elevations, and designs in a design program he bought from Staples. He was eager to show me his ideas. Although he had no previous design experience, George’s designs were pretty good. He knew the basic principle of what he wanted.
Overall, their needs were not complicated.
They wanted to maintain the modernist style that was central to the planning of the Don Mills neighbourhood back in 1952. They did not want the style of their home to stand out from the look of the completed neighbourhood in 1965.
They wanted a 3 bedroom home to accommodate themselves and their two young children. They did not have plans for any more children and did not want to build a house bigger than they needed.
The main floor would be an open concept space. Kitchen, dining, and living areas would blend together and be surrounded by windows and doors on all sides to provide as much natural light as possible. They left room for an office or den at the front of the house in its own small, private wing. The main entrance would be set to the side of the house so that it can also offer privacy.
Most of the budget would focus on the main and second floor. The basement had a height of 8 feet, which is great. The second floor will be partial sized, rather than covering the same area as the main floor.
The exterior elements of their home include window placements and a driveway that will suit the new layout. The house will feature a flat roof and a carport to the side. Angela suggested the carport, and it makes good sense.
The zoning bylaws will not favour one of the options over the other, the existing ceiling heights were not an issue, the home was structurally sound, and there was not much of a cost difference between either options.
The meeting ended with an agreement that renovating was the suitable option. I left feeling confident about our plans and hope to help George and Angela’s vision come to life.
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Written by: Bruce Borden, Walden Homes