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House Gut and Major Reno

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by chrisjr, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. chrisjr

    chrisjr Senior member

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    Park Avenue
    My folks recently (last night) bought a ~3200 SF home. Beauty property, detached, awesome views of the city, laneway in the back that allows a 3-car garage to be built.
    Walked through the place with a builder to get his opinion, do a mini-home inspection, and talk about changes we want to make. He sent this over yesterday, before the offers went in.

    Budget for Renovation Project

    General – Interior $ (in thousands)
    New HVAC 30
    New windows and doors - Loewen brand 70
    New hardwood on first and second floor - repair of any trim work afterwards 25

    First Floor
    Removal of walls to open up space and refinish walls 15
    New powder room 15
    New kitchen, servery including new pot lights, relocating rough-ins, refinishing walls 60
    New high end appliances (Sub zero fridge, wolf range, wine cooler, bosch dishwasher, integrated hood) 30

    Second Floor
    Reconfigure second floor to create master suite and refinish walls 15
    New master washroom 35
    New master closet 10
    New secondary bathroom 25

    Third Floor
    New synthetic berber style carpeting 4
    New ensuite bathroom 25

    Basement
    Construction of basement walkout in backyard 20
    Removal of walls and reconfigure, refinish walls 15
    New synthetic carpet throughout 5
    New washroom 20
    New laundry room 15
    New wine cellar - mahogany custom racking with cooling unit 18

    Exterior
    Wood slats on front elevation and new portico 10
    Landscaping of front yard and backyard 40
    New iron railings for two balconies and new flooring 10
    New three car detached garage 50

    TOTAL 562
    As a comparison, If you did a tear down and new build of a similar size home (3,150 sq. ft.), the cost would be around $830K
    *end email from builder.

    My main question for you Fine Livers and Designers is where more money should be spent, where less money should be spent, and your general comments.

    Cheers,
    Chris
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2012


  2. Douglas

    Douglas Stupid ass member

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    his numbers look funny to me. some of those look really huge. $15K to tear down a few walls and paint a few others on one floor alone? Those windows and doors look crazy expensive to me too. other numbers are in line; kitchen looks about right. others look small. $50K for a new garage? That's not a ton.

    As a comparison, I am in the process of a near-gut-job on a similarly sized home, many of the same sorts of changes, new baths, new kitchen with high-end appliances, moving walls, new storm windows, roof repair, new HVAC and electrical and lighting... not in the same area but I am spending considerably less than 2/3 of this total. Of course, at such a general level, the comparison is not particularly meaningful, but take it for what you will.

    Any work of this size will benefit greatly from going through an architect. If the changes you want to make are this drastic, you will save money, time, and energy by ponying up for someone to help you plan it. If you're on the Internet looking for advice on building, trust me, the architect will be worth your while. He will know what smells funny and what doesn't. He will know how to get a concrete bid package out. I understand that you needed some numbers to make an offer, but trust me, you need an architect here.

    I also wouldn't have the GC do the landscaping.
     


  3. chrisjr

    chrisjr Senior member

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    Douglas thanks for taking the time to reply here. It's great to have the advice from someone who's doing a reno and can compare numbers.
    The numbers have been groomed over and changed quite a bit. Three other contractors put together numbers and ended up in the $800K-1M range. This guy has been very responsible and we have seen his previous work, as well as spoken to some past clients who were very pleased with the final product though the timeline he originally quoted wasn't quite accurate (what else is new...).
    An architect will be hired by him and we have employed an archtiect to help with the outside of the house and an interior designer to help with the layout inside.
    I posted these numbers because there are a few posters like yourself who are very knowledgable in this department and with architectural ideas, and thought it would be fun to see your opinions.
    Here's the house in question:
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    SPOILER]
    Idea is to keep the outside relatively classic, though with all new windows and adding dark trim, new front porch. Main floor is being completely redone, from new 4" oak flooring to walls coming down to reloacting the kitchen.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011


  4. StephenHero

    StephenHero Black Floridian

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    My gut says this is a really bad financial idea. Everything in those pictures tells me the house is serviceable and refined to the point where the cost of the house wasn't priced as a "fixer upper." It seems like they're trying to take a B- house to a B+ or A- house, and half a million seems like way too much to do that, especially when they'll have to replace lots of fully functioning appliances, fixtures and materials that they've essentially paid for. If the house was falling apart, maybe. But because the house is narrow, and has relatively low ceilings, there is only so much to be done to make the home more attractive and livable. There isn't a lot of untapped potential that would necessitate that size of investment IMO. I'd focus on the kitchen and HVAC stuff and put everything else off until they felt more comfortable.

    One piece of design advice: I'd get rid of that back deck railing ASAP. It looks really tacky to me. I'd replace it with box hedges in planters that are about 18" above the decking. If you plant some small hedges on top of that (12-18") , they'll give you the same function of a railing (about 30" of "railing"). Just run black hoses from the bottoms of the planters underneath the deck for drainage.

    These planters (but shorter)

    [​IMG]

    These hedges

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011


  5. dah328

    dah328 Senior member

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    How would you go about selecting an architect for a substantial renovation such as this one? It seems like a bad idea to leave all the design work to the sensibilities of either a general contractor or interior decorator.
     


  6. chrisjr

    chrisjr Senior member

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    In this case we're using a family friend who has helped us on a few minor projects in the past. On this he is advising us on what to do to the front and back of the home to make it more appealing.
    [​IMG]
    This is an idea we have been playing with for the back. It's taken from this house . Really like the massive floor to ceiling doors at the back on the first floor, and it is definitely nice having something to cover the BBQ for when it's raining or snowy. The second floor deck will never really be used, but looks nice IMO, and will let in a ton of light to the master bedroom and master bathroom. There will be a third floor deck on the new house (which this picture obviously doesn't show), that will not be covered but will have railings. Also, we will have a large deck area on top of the garage (the land slopes downwards and thus the top of the garage, the deck, will almost be level with the backyard, which will likely be mostly or all stone patio and gardens). We are also hopefully having a walkout from the basement on the right side of the deck (when looking at the picture from the 3rd floor view down).

    Since the home we're in now is being torn down, and the new owner doesn't care for anything inside the house, many of the new appliances, vanities, reverse osmosis unit, etc. that we have will come over to the new place.

    FYI, Stephen, the lots size is 30x 159 ft and the pictures make it look skinnier than it is. The ceilings aren't massive but the first floor is around 10ft, second floor and third floor are around 9ft, if I recall correctly. For reference there are houses this size, very nicely done inside and outside, selling for $3 million in this neighborhood. South exposure (view of the city skyline) and laneway are a major plus. That said, I think the main purpose of this is to build a house that will function well for my families' needs, with the goal of being able to recoup costs if it is sold in the next 5 years.

    Project starts Jan 9 when we take possession and hoping to have the majority of the inside done by March 31, when we lose possession of our current home.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011


  7. chrisjr

    chrisjr Senior member

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    double
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011


  8. Joffrey

    Joffrey Senior member

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    $70K for new windows is crazy. $30K for HVAC, really?
     


  9. hrb

    hrb Senior member

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    reading your post, i have to agree with the 1st respondent and say his numbers look off on the high side in a number of areas including wall rebuilds, hvac, and windows among others. His quote to rebuild new (which comes to about 263ish p/sf is about right with top end finishing throughout). For reference, my father is an architect and brother-in-law is a builder. good luck with the reno and do your due diligence.
     


  10. venessian

    venessian Senior member

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    Sò più de eà che de qua.
    Another nod to those who say the numbers seem high.

    I am an architect, but I am not familiar with Toronto construction costs.
    However, $562,000/3200sf = $175/sf, which is high imo.
    Tear-down/rebuild = $830,000/3200sf = $260/sf, which is a bit low imo, considering the rebuild would include everything new, including structure and all utilities, etc.
    So, something is not adding up here.

    Also, the other GCs stated $800,000-$1,000,000 for remodel? That's from $250/sf to $312/sf, and that just seems ludicrous.

    Is Toronto incredibly expensive, in terms of construction costs? What is the impression of the architect your family hired?

    I looked for a bit at "toronto remodel costs" online, looking for something like Means Construction Data. While I didn't find anything for 2011, even the 2007-2009 costs I found, adjusted for inflation, don't seem to approach the quoted numbers.

    I also agree that some of the scope seems a bit overdone considering the (apparently good overall) condition of the existing structure, but if your parents want to revise plans, etc., that is their decision of course.

    I don't understand why one would hire the architect only for exterior advice and an interior designer to re-plan the interiors. At the least, typically the architect would deal with exteriors and the interior (layout at least) and coordinate with HVAC, etc., while the interior designer would focus more on decor, furniture, etc; and not wall location, etc.

    I also agree that having the GC do the landscaping is generally a waste.
     


  11. Risk_Reward

    Risk_Reward Well-Known Member

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    +1
     


  12. chrisjr

    chrisjr Senior member

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    Thank you for the input all. I know some numbers have been updated so I'm going to try to get a hold of those. As well floor plans should be available.

    As as aside, real estate prices in this area are pretty stupidly expensive. There are 3 or 4 houses on the street that are worth $3M+, so we will be far from the most expensive house on the street. Further I would say that area is one of the most desireable locations to have a home in the downtown area of Toronto that is exceptionally located for shopping, transit, and recreation (park right behind home).

    Some houses that i think would be somewhat comparable post reno:
    http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=11149429&PidKey=1611154618
    http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=11213951&PidKey=-530525472
    http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=11026239&PidKey=921228191
    http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=11145431&PidKey=-819419227

    Re: Venessian's comment: i believe the feeling was that the interior designer would be better to work with in regards to knowing how certain pieces will fit in different areas, figuring out the most ideal location for the new kitchen, master, etc., though I know that the architect (whom was actually referred to us by the contractor, not sure how you would feel about this) is working with the designer to come up with the plans. One example of an area of contention was whether to move the master to the third floor, which the architect suggested as it would have killer views and really makes sense with the current use of the space, though the designer was adamant that homes nowadays are much more attractive for sale if the master is on the 2nd floor.
     


  13. bha

    bha Well-Known Member

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    Just to add a data point here, for those of you outside Toronto (or even Canada)

    Yes, the building cost in Toronto is MUCH higher than you might be used to. Compared to Dallas or Houston, it's very very very expensive for example.

    Toronto is one of the most expensive cities in the country, and Yorkville is probably the second most expensive area of Toronto (only behind Forest Hill).

    So while $70k seems high for windows/doors, consider the fact that my neighbour wanted to replace his double front door unit (with sidelites and a transom window at the top) and was quoted $30k. I could probably buy reasonably good windows for my 4000sq ft house and be in the $50k+ range very easily.

    And I'm in the suburbs where things are (supposedly) cheaper.

    I think these prices are totally in line for a Yorkville builder doing a house in that area.

    The problem I have is that it seems like a lot of $ for an "upgrade" of an existing (already nice) house.

    Here's how to calculate whether it is worth it:

    Take what they paid for the house (say $1M)
    Add reno cost (say $600k)

    That brings you to $1.6M. Now look around on the street... are houses selling for that? not likely unless you bought a $1M fixer-upper in a $1.6-1.8M street.

    Start looking around at $1.6M houses in the area.. will you end up with that when you're done? Because if not, it makes no financial sense. Reminds me of the ads for a classic Mustang that say "just finished $10,000 restoration. Asking $3000 or best offer"

    If you're doing it because you like it, fine. But remember that's like painting the living room with purple stripes and hoping it will increase the value of your home by the $1k you paid to have it painted. It could increase it not one cent. Or even decrease it!

    Just make sure when you're "done", whatever you have is worth what you paid for it. That's my simple rule that has always worked for me.
     


  14. chrisjr

    chrisjr Senior member

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    Construction is starting soon. House will transfer ownership in early Jan and construction will start the next day. Now trying to deal with some 80-130 year old elm trees where the garage is supposed to go :confused:
    here are a few drawings if you're curious. Quality of the images dropped when i tried to convert from pdf to png. House is going to be changing quite a bit so i figured it would be a good idea to walk around with a video camera and/or take pictures throughout the house to compare before/after.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Cheers
     


  15. chrisjr

    chrisjr Senior member

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    Move in next week.

    Beginning in mid Jan of this year, house is in very out dated condition:
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    The demo begins:
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    Adding support beams
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    Future garage site
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    not enough windows on the rear...
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    dig out for the basement:
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    How about trying to turn ^^ into this?
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    Almost finito:
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    Last edited: Jul 6, 2012


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