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RCGA 03-13-2013 05:49 AM

Home Reno - Start, Progress and Finish (one day)
"Buy the cheapest house in the best neighborhood"

Long story short, I bought a pretty substantial fixer-upper (~1400 sqft bungalow) in one of the best neighbourhoods in my city (St. John's, NL). The home was built in the late 60s and not much has been done inside since. It was an estate sale (we were close with the family), and priced below market value.

The labour is all being done by myself and my dad, apart from some electrical upgrading. This is where I’ll save a lot of money (free labour).

We have zero appliances, couches, or furniture and plan on making due with freebies and used stuff as much as we can. The primary focus is on having “good bones” – something we can build on in the future.

Renos started March 1, 2013

Purchase price: $295,000
Reno budget: ~$20,000

A comparable home (fully renovated) is for sale with an asking price of $398,000

I'll use this thread to document the reno process and get feedback.

Preliminary Photos – Album here:

Top Floor Plan

List of Upgrades

Every room
• Paint
• Moldings and baseboards
• Gyprock over the stucco ceiling
• Sand and re-stain the hardwood

• Knocking down two walls to open it up more
• Replacing the floor with limonium
• New cabinets (custom made)
• Title granite counter top (significantly cheaper)
• Buying used appliances, hopefully we’ll get some that are free

Living room
• New big window
• Door so you can walk right out on the deck
• Redo the fireplace with brick
• Replace that huge radiator under the window in the living room with something more compact
• New stairs and railings

Bathroom (top floor)
• New double vanity
• New floor

Bathroom (bottom)
• We’re going to leave this as a half bath until we need to change it

Entertainment room (red carpet)
• Hardwood (free)
• Entertainment unit
• Fireplace redo

Office (brown carpet)
• Hardwood (free)
• Remove one closet (closest to the door)

• Front deck
• Back deck
• Landscaping and some minor tree removal

Not shown
• 50% of the downstairs is undeveloped
• Not sure when we’ll get to that, but we’re not in any rush

RCGA 03-13-2013 05:50 AM

Week 1

TrailerParadise 03-13-2013 08:08 AM

wow thats quite a project. Keep us updated, i cant wait to see more!

fetzer85 03-13-2013 03:58 PM

That floor in the (I'm guessing?) living room looks great, was it already there?

RCGA 03-14-2013 08:16 PM

We're most likely going hardwood for the kitchen floor. It's either that or vinyl. The problem with vinyl is that because of the shape of the kitchen (an L), we have to buy more than necessary, or run into the issue of seams in the floor, which I'd like to avoid.

Counter top is still up in the air and depends on pricing. The counter will be a straight run of 13', but will have about two feet on both ends coming out. Not really sure what to expect here, but I hear the cheap end for granite is about $50/sqft installed (so under $2000)? The cheap-o option is porcelain tile @ ~$2.50/sqft, that would cost under $100.

RCGA 03-14-2013 08:25 PM

Quick iPhone pano from today. I have a long weekend so hopefully I'll get some more progress pics up.

Goals this weekend include:
  • drywall over stucco ceiling
  • some primer coats on a few rooms
  • gut the bathroom (more)

Windows on Wash 03-15-2013 07:08 AM

Looking good.

RCGA 03-17-2013 03:24 PM

$600 in drywall and we finally have the upstairs ceilings completed

fetzer85 03-17-2013 03:41 PM

Wow that's a lot. Just curious, what size sheets did you use and how much was each sheet? Our 4x8 sheets were $6.xx each, I can't imagine doing 100 of them...

RCGA 03-17-2013 03:59 PM

Most were 4x12 @ $20/each

Living on an island in Canada has its disadvantages when it comes to building supplies :(

fetzer85 03-17-2013 09:41 PM

Well, it is what it is. Important thing is you got it up there. I loathe drywalling ceilings...

SquishyBall 03-19-2013 09:44 AM

Wow this is incredibly ambitious. You seem to work fast -- one thing I definitely am not able to do. You have so much progress already. Do you think $20k is realistic? You have some big ticket items on your list... cabinets... appliances... moving walls... heating units... kitchen floor, and "50% of the downstairs"... If gypsum cost you $600 for that one ceiling cuz of your location, then everything else will be expensive, too.

Are you planning to live here or sell? Do you have a time frame to move in? Are you spending days on this or is it a nights-and-weekends project? Good luck -- looks fun!

RCGA 03-19-2013 09:53 AM

I'm not living there now. I'm actually living with my parents while the renos are going on. We hope to move in by the fall (so no major rush).

The $600 covered the entire top level, not just that room.

It will be tough to stick to the $20k as there are things I think I'm not willing to skimp on now (ie not going with a cheap counter top in the kitchen). But I'd rather go over budget and do it right, than buy cheap and buy twice in 5 years.

RCGA 03-19-2013 06:49 PM

fetzer85 03-19-2013 06:56 PM

That last pic reminds me of what I tell my daughters - sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better. :-)

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