While many Okanagan residents acquire their dream homes through the long and laborious process of building new – we are seeing more and more families opting to renovate existing properties to transform a house with good bones into their own personal sanctuary. Often it’s a faster, more affordable process, and while you don’t have the complete freedom of starting from scratch – you do have the ability to dramatically reinvigorate or reimagine a property’s look and feel. This was the case with a West Kelowna home near Shannon Lake that we recently renovated.
A young family fell in love with the property’s location and breathtaking backyard, but couldn’t envision moving into the home in its current state – a very dark, moody, masculine and cluttered interior with faux stone covering the walls from floor to ceiling, suffocatingly small, closed-in rooms and orange… yes orange shag carpet. Being the savvy buyers that they were, they called in our professional help before writing an offer to help them access the property, discuss their goals, and determine if the renovation could be possible within their budget and timeline. It truly does pay to have your favourite designer, remodeler or builder walk through a property with you before purchasing the project. For a small hourly fee – pennies compared to the investment you’re about to make – you can have an educated and thorough discussion of all the pros and cons of the home and its potential before committing. This will always ultimately save you money in the long run, not to mention, ensure you achieve a positive, creative and fabulous result!
With limited funds available, knocking down and starting fresh was not an option, but we knew we could lighten, brighten and convert this claustrophobic, wild bachelor’s pad into a lovely, serene and welcoming family home for our client – and thus the renovation project commenced!
Our first step was to open up the main floor’s layout and eliminate the confining feeling of the dark stone surrounding every space. People often forget that they can paint surfaces besides drywall – remember paint is our least expensive, most effective tool – we quite regularly throw a coat of paint on brick or stone if the client wants an updated color or modernized feel without having to spend the big bucks demolishing, repairing and resurfacing the walls. Another perfect example of giving a material new life through paint can be found in how we treated this home’s original golden oak hardwood (which we were pleasantly surprised was hidden underneath the orange shag carpet!). Instead of replacing the hardwood (a costly expense), we opted to refinish and sand the wood back to it’s bare state and re-stain the floor a gorgeous rich, dark chocolate.
There was no saving the kitchen – we needed all brand new appliances and a completely re-designed layout to provide a better working area and place for the family to sit and enjoy each other’s company. We sourced a hand-painted-esque large scale patterned backsplash that was great bang for buck and broke up the monotony of the stone on all the other walls (remember the essential key to combining patterns is scale, so if you’re going to mix textures or patterns, always ensure they have varying scales or sizes and a continuous theme of color or vibe). We installed a waterfall edge granite island which gave the kitchen a luxurious feel and the custom oversized, industrial hood fan created a wow-factor statement piece that grounded the open concept main living area. This property was all about the stunning scenic views of Shannon Lake and the Okanagan skyline so we wanted as much light coming through the windows and unobstructed pathways to grand balconies.
When you are renovating – the first imperative step is creating a budget at the very beginning of the project with a clear “total” number that you can spend, and a detailed outline of how and where you will be spending those dollars. The second imperative key is to work with or hire a team you trust, a team who’s portfolio work you love and relate to, and a team with whom you have excellent communication with. The construction process is intimate and lengthy – you want to ensure you’re surrounding yourself with people you like and are inspired by. The third and most important key is to be flexible – undoubtedly, things will go wrong, unexpected problems will arise, and monies will have to be re-allocated – that is all part of the art and science of renovating but if you can try to enjoy the process and have a little fun along the way (wine helps!) I can guarantee you’ll be even more in love with the home when your finished the strenuous, gruelling, stressful AND super rewarding, fun and gratifying experience!
Photography: Jenn Beal Photography
Words: Sam Shakura, Rock House Style