DIY Projects

November 4, 2009

DIY Renovation

We are renovating virgins. There, I said it. So, when people find out that my partner, Justin, and I bought a fixer-upper they always ask, “Are you handy?” Frankly, the answer is “maybe?” Sure, I hang a mean art wall and he can replace a leaky faucet, but gut and renovate our first house, who knows? Luckily we have some pros to help us out. We imagine the main floor of our downtown Toronto rowhouse to be like one of these beautiful spaces with an open-concept kitchen-dining room:

Photo Blog November 4 Kitchen With Exposed Brick And Island

Photo Blog November 4 Kitchen White Dining Room

Or this:

Photo Blog November 4 Kitchen Wooden Dining Table

Photo Blog November 4 Kitchen Neutral Simple

However, when we bought it, our house was like a rabbit warren (but not in that warm, snuggly way) with many smallish, dark rooms, even a pint-sized bathroom crammed under the staircase. I’m not sure about you, but it’s taking “cosy” a little too far for us. But, we could see through its awkward layout, snakeskin linoleum (!?) and worn finishes, so we took the plunge.

Photo Blog November 4 Before Kitchen

Photo Blog November 4 Bay Window Before

Photo Blog November 4 Before Staircase

Photo Blog November 4 Before Hallway

We want to open up the main floor, but we like the small room at the front of the house and imagine it as some sort of library or, as one friend suggested, a proper cocktail room. What do you think? Keep the small, cosy room or open the main floor right up? This stuff keeps me up at night. We are thinking it could look something like this:

Photo Blog November 4 Inpsiration Photo Living Room Bookcase

So, armed with this fantastic list of DIY tips from our super-agent Chander Chaddah, we both took a week off to start (lovingly) gutting the main floor ourselves.

Boy + sledgehammer = smashing good time!

Photo Blog November 4 Man With Sledgehammer

Girl + asbestos mask (pink coincidental) = a new level of commitment to DIY!

Photo Blog November 4 Catherine Mask

As the dust settles, I’ll post more images of our little rowhouse that could!

Read more about working with an extra-long living room.

Photo credits:
1. Living Etc
2. From Hus & Hem, photography by Tine Guth Linse
3. Enormous Champion’s Jordan Provost and Jason Wong’s Brooklyn home, from design*sponge, March 30, 2009
4. Remodelista
5-8. Catherine MacIntosh
9. Living Etc
10-11. Catherine MacIntosh