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How a $360,000 renovation transformed a Junction shack into a sparkling family home

Before and After: How a $360,000 renovation transformed a Junction shack into a sparkling family home

Goodbye, muddy floors, ’70s panelling and dilapidated shed. Hello, airy interiors, bespoke cabinets and EV-ready garage

Toronto, Real Estate, Before and After: basement before


The place

A three-plus-one-bedroom, four-bathroom semi in the Junction that just underwent a big-time renovation. It has a separate one-bedroom basement apartment and a new two-car garage with a panel that can support an EV charger.

The history

Gord Harrison, a contractor, initially purchased this 100-year-old property, for $1 million in February of 2021, as a home for his young family. He brought in his friend Shawn Chua, with whom he had partnered on a dozen previous renos, to share the load. But, a year into the job, they discovered a rat’s nest of problems: poor insulation, asbestos and a basement floor that required re-pouring. Harrison needed to recoup costs, so he kiboshed moving in, instead opting to rent the upstairs and basement units at $4,400 and $2,100, respectively. In total, he and Chua spent $360,000 turning the place around.

Related: How Etalk’s Chloe Wilde transformed an old Kawarthas schoolhouse into a Scandi-chic rental

The tour

First, the façade’s facelift: Harrison and Chua resurrected the porch, re-sided the gable and installed a new staircase.

Toronto, Real Estate, Before and After: facade before

Toronto, Real Estate, Before and After: facade after

The pair wanted to create a modern open-concept space with more natural light, so they tore down one of the front room’s walls. They also preserved that ceiling cove (which used to be part of a fireplace) and exposed the original brick. They installed white-oak engineered hardwood flooring throughout the house.

Toronto, Real Estate, Before and After: front room before

Toronto, Real Estate, Before and After: front room after

The kitchen was originally in the back of the home, but Harrison and Chua moved it forward to add a powder room, a dining area and a stacked washer-dryer closet. The new space has quartz countertops and an island that seats three

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Bathrooms are the first places homeowners tackle for renovation

After buying a home, many new homeowners dive into a project. When faced with a bunch of different projects to choose from, where do most people start?

According to a study by Contractor Growth Network, most homeowners start in the bathroom. It makes sense. Many homes in Connecticut were built in the 1950s and 1960s. Oddly colored tile covers many of the walls and sometimes homeowners are blessed with a blue toilet or green sink. Pepto Bismol pink was also a common color.

After bathrooms, kitchens and basement remodels are the next most popular areas to renovate.

According to the study, the national average for a bathroom remodel is currently at just over $11,300, depending on the size of the bathroom. A half bath is much less expensive than replacing a tub or shower.

Custom vanities provide personalized storage. An extension allows for a make-up table for added function. The main floor tiles are installed in a pinwheel pattern, while the other tiles simulate a rug.

Gordon Beall Photography

Custom vanities provide personalized storage. An extension allows for a make-up table for added function. The main floor tiles are installed in a pinwheel pattern, while the other tiles simulate a rug.

Sharon McCormick, of Sharon McCormick Designs, shared some tips for homeowners on how to get the most bang for your buck during a bathroom renovation.

“Make a list of what does and doesn’t work in your current bathroom as well as features you’d like to have,” McCormick said.

She suggested carefully planning your renovation. If you can keep your plumbing lines where they are, it will save you money. However “consider how happy you are with layout as you go about your daily routine,” she said. Sometimes it’s worth it for the added cost if it’s going to greatly improve your bathroom.

If you are a DIYer, check the latest building codes as you plan and pull a permit if the extent of the renovation requires it. If you

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