Tuesday, December 31, 2019

And now for something completely different

Happy almost new year!  It's been awhile since we've posted and we're still plugging away on getting our plans drawn up and permits approved for the house but in the meantime, we...bought a studio apartment and renovated it.  This wasn't mentioned before because it wasn't actually part of our plan!  One of the hazards of not having a renovation in progress is that it apparently leaves me with too much time to look at real estate listings and, long story short, we found a very good deal on a very tiny studio in a condo complex where I used to rent many years ago.  The combination of familiarity and opportunity proved too much to resist and we bought it in mid-October.  And promptly found ourselves spending a lot of nights and weekends working on the renovation but, in just a couple of months, we finished the renovation, listed it for rent, and will have a tenant moving in soon.  Fingers crossed that we like being landlords...or our realtor will be getting the next phone call!

The studio is so small that it was both quick to finish and very frustrating for the lack of space for tools.  We're already looking forward to working on our own house where we don't have to drive even a short distance or play the never-fun game "where is that tool we need right now?"  And there are a lot of things we would normally rip out and replace but shared walls and basic economics prevented us from doing so in the studio.  Nevertheless, we've managed to make some tweaks to the studio and think that it's nicer now than it was before - the pictures will tell the tale!

Existing kitchen - meh, fine, nothing great to see here

Existing bathroom - that is not a trick of lighting, there really are two (slightly) different color tiles here!

The main room, looking towards the entrance (on the right).  Floors aren't bad, everything else is pretty much just okay

Main room, looking from the entrance.  Note the fancy green "feature wall" (spoiler alert: we did not keep the green wall).  Old windows, old window blinds, trim around the doorless door, weird box-out on the wall for long abandoned hvac.  All functional but...could be better
One of the more perplexing design decisions was that the former owners took out much of the wall between the kitchen and main room.  But with a studio, you need all the wall space you can get!  We decided to install a half wall here with a bartop to provide more seating/counter space and a wall against which a sofa can go

Getting going with the new kitchen flooring - a cement-look tile

New flooring complete!
Drywall up on the half wall
Turning to the bathroom - old, mismatched tile gone, starting install on the new marble-look porcelain tile.  Love a large format tile, it makes install so much faster!
Working on the floor - going with a gray hex tile here for a more modern look
Skipping ahead...we didn't do a good job taking in progress pictures but here's the reveal:

Ta-da!  The new kitchen has stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, new light fixtures, and space for a cafe table by the window.  The oak bar top provides a transition into the living room and the half wall is a good place to put a sofa

Hello kitchen!  You look much better now!
One more of the kitchen - Brian custom built the wine rack to the left of the microwave because there wasn't an off the shelf option to fit the space.  Maybe it's just because I love wine (I do), but it's one of my favorite things about the kitchen

Another angle

And still looking out from the kitchen - Brian designed and built the moveable divider wall, which separates the main room from the entrance and provides some privacy to have a bed against the back wall.  He also built oak shelves on both sides and they can be moved anywhere on the rack to provide storage.  It turned out to be quite a squeeze to get the wall into the studio - we were lucky it made it up the stairwell but it did and now it's here to stay

More main room - you can see how the divider wall makes for a nice entry way when you come in

Among other things, we replaced the windows and added trim around them.  The new trim makes such a big difference!

Moving into the bathroom
Having a lot of oak boards in the basement turned out to be very useful - more custom shelves in here, plus everything else is new (vanity, countertop, medicine cabinet, lights, fixtures, towel racks...literally not one thing was worth saving)

Newly tiled bath/shower - and no mismatched tiles here!
And finally, the two walk-in closets.  It might have been overkill but we ripped out the old single poles, repaired the walls, painted, and put closet systems in.  There's actually a fair bit of storage for a small apartment and this should make it even more usable

Second walk-in.  Hopefully no one will complain about storage space!
So that's it!  The final tally for 2019 is one house sale, one house purchase, one move, and one condo purchase/reno/rental.  That's a lot more excitement/stress/progress than we would have expected a year ago!