Wednesday, July 21, 2010

If I Had a Million Dollars...

As I plod along at trying to finish my current slew of home reno projects (nursery, bathroom, new floors on the 2nd level, building a new linen closet, etc), I find I sometimes get distracted with thoughts of other projects. Not projects that have any hope of ever getting completed this lifetime. In fact I’m not even talking about projects on a property I own - I'm talking about fantasy projects, like “Wouldn’t it be great to buy the house around the corner and fix it up?” type projects. So as an outlet for my wandering project eye, I thought I’d share my crazy fantasy projects on this blog and tag them with, “If I Had a Million Dollars...”. So here’s the first in what will likely be many posts.

Today’s fantasy project is 52 Pearson Ave (MLS: W198483), which is currently on the market for $749K. This solid, detached, 3-storey, Edwardian-style house would have been built between 1910 -1930 and sits on a 26 x 125 ft lot, with laneway access to a 2 car garage. It has 5 bedrooms and 2 baths, and is located on the North side of a quiet tree-lined street in Roncesvalles Village. So if I had a million dollars and was shopping for a new home, here’s what I might do…

Math ruins the fun in this creative fantasy exercise, so I’m just going to assume that there aren’t any transaction costs and that I paid the asking price, leaving me with 251K to spend on improvements. I like to always keep resale in the back of my mind when I plan or design any home improvements, so my goal would be to try to improve the value of the home too.

The house appears to be very well maintained and considering that the semi-detached house a couple of doors down sold for over $1.1M, I think there’s little risk of over-improving. The biggest problem with this house right now, is that it doesn’t work for modern families: too many bedrooms, not enough bathrooms, small kitchen and no family room. So that’s where most of the 251K will go. Here’s a breakdown of what I would do:

I would spend 120K to take down the mudroom and open up the door and window in the kitchen
to create a new family room addition across the full width of the back of the house (approximately 20 feet wide). I would also open the window in the dining room up to this new space, with a set of French doors.

With the back of the house facing North, I would design the addition to maximize natural light. I’m thinking a conservatory structure for the family room with a dining area just past the kitchen and a lounging area on the other side of the dining room French doors. Something like this:

The kitchen is just shy of 16’ x 9.5’, giving 32 ft of uninterrupted walls for cabinets and counters. This would make a very functional galley kitchen. I would probably spend about 20K on appliances, 25K on cabinets 6K on counters and 4K on other items for a total of 55K for the kitchen. Something like this - I like the dark cabinetry.

I would convert one of the bedrooms into a bathroom, making the house a 4 bedroom, 3bath house. And then I would renovate the 2 existing baths with new fixtures. At about 15K per bathroom, the total expense would be about 45K

The rest of the interior is in very solid shape and would only need a cosmetic freshening up. I would allocate about 11K, to paint and floor refinishing.

Finally to complete the makeover I would spend 20K on windows, new porch trim and i would rejoice once the chain link fence came down.

There you go, that would be my idea of a pretty nice $1M family home in Toronto: spacious, stylish, functional and in a great little neighbourhood.


Flourishing Networks said...

beautiful designs - love it!!

glow said...

And, if I had a million dollars, I'd buy the house and hire you to do the renos! I'm pretty sure I won't have it in me to do another fixer-upper all by myself, and I love your ideas. :)