In 2012, my husband and I bought a 1959 bungalow. It was far from perfect but we loved the character it had and the surrounding neighborhood. We knew a major renovation was likely in our future, but we were newly married and had just finished a reno on my husband’s condo. We did not have the energy or the resources to tackle another big project. Even though we knew the reno wouldn’t happen for a while, we still had many conversations about what we could change and what our must haves would be when the day came.
By 2015, the planning began in earnest. At first, we thought it made sense to start with the rental suite in the basement. We hired an interior designer and started getting quotes from contractors. We got a serious reality check. This was going to cost a lot more than we had anticipated. With this in mind we decided to focus on the main floor instead.
Our designer did a few iterations of the main floor. None of the designs we came up with were fixing our layout issues within a budget we could afford so we decided to put the project on hold for a while. We bought some CAD software so we could tweak the floor plan ourselves. This gave us the freedom to create a multitude of adaptations to our home. We had versions where there was a second story, bump outs, an addition. We reviewed some more contractor quotes but concluded that staying within our existing square footage would be the most cost effective.
We realized our main priority was better access to our backyard. Two doors, two sets of stairs and a gate separated our kitchen from the backyard. Definitely not ideal for BBQs or hangouts. We also really wanted to have a dog at some point and the idea of going through all that just to let the dog out to pee at night was a serious deterrent.
One day while sitting in the backyard we had an epiphany. We should add a deck and turn our existing bathroom into a back entry. That idea brought the floorplan together and solved a lot of problems that we hadn’t been able to figure out so far. After that, the final design fell into place and the real work got underway. In September 2018 we moved out and demolition began. It was incredible to watch all our years of planning finally come to fruition.
While the interior reno was finished in February 2019, the exterior space has continued to evolve. We decided on a rich gold for the accent colour on the front of the house. At first, I was unsure about such a bold choice, but I ended up loving it so much that It inspired my colour palette for my business cards and other collateral. The deck was added as part of the initial renovation and over the last two years we’ve continued to add. A louvred roof, cozy furniture, colourful decor and most recently, a natural gas fire bowl. While the process has been long and at times arduous, we now have a second living space that we love. And thanks to our west-facing backyard, we’ve been able to use it in all four seasons, including our crazy Calgarian winters.
Since I was a kid, I have always enjoyed rearranging and redecorating my spaces but it was this renovation that sparked my desire to pursue a career in interior design. While the process was incredibly challenging at times, it made me realize how much I wanted to help other people create their perfect spaces. Working on our floor plans began as a hobby but my 20 years experience in IT and affinity for learning new software showed me that this was a natural fit for me.
I decided to take some classes to see if this was what I really wanted and I obtained my diploma from the Interior Design Institute. My education further solidified my design aspirations. I love looking at a space and seeing the potential, both aesthetically and practically. Creating a beautiful space that provides better functionality fulfills all my design dreams.