Danforth Project – Video Update and 5 Things We Learned So Far
It has been awhile since the last update and there is lots of progress to share!
Here is the video update after the mechanical work for framing, HVAC, plumbing, insulation, and electrical rough-ins are complete:
We always learn something new on projects, so here is a list of five things we have learned so far:
- Plan your electrical, CAT6, and entertainment connectivity – then add a few extra!
Give thought to how you (or your tenants) will arrange the sofa relative to the TV and where your router and CAT6 outlets will go, especially in this age of WFH.
For smaller-scale renos, the GC or electrician might be able to get away with discussing on site with the homeowner pointing and tagging preferred locations, but for large projects such as this one (which involves a panel upgrade and rewire due to knob-and-tube), we worked with our in-house designer to develop an electrical plan.
A comprehensive plan includes the location of pot lights and light fixtures, CAT6 and speaker placement (and any other AV equipment), and the number and location of light switches. It will also show interconnected smoke / CO alarms, and it often takes several iterations due to site conditions such as ductwork and joist placement.
- Storage! Storage! And more storage!
This is always a challenge with small spaces, and we squeak out what we can: we decided to extend the height of the front foyer closet door to add a shelf on top, and added an outlet at the top of the basement stairs so we can hang a cordless Dyson vacuum.
Squeeze in creative storage whenever you can – I put in a 18” wide coat closet in our current unit and it’s a huge lifesaver for winter coats and shoes! Tenants and homeowners alike appreciate it, and it can be incorporated easily at the planning stage.
- Add attic access
Add a hatch on your top floor for future access for roof inspections, adding blown-in insulation, and in case you need to throw some bait in for, or capture pests as they sometimes burrow their way in!
We have ours in the second floor hallway so future trades can bring a ladder and climb up easily instead of trying to do it from the middle of a bedroom.
- Look into energy audits
This tends not to work for our luxury multi-family conversions due to the long timelines, but it works well for small to mid-size renovations as there are usually a few windows to upgrade, and maybe a new furnace, boiler, or hot water tank.
There are two programs currently available: The Enbridge Home Efficiency Rebate and the Canada Greener Homes Grant.
We applied for the Enbridge energy audit and recently completed the final inspection, and expect to receive a cheque for adding exterior insulation, a new furnace, and upgrading a couple of windows and adding the skylight.
The timeline for the Enbridge program is 120 days from the initial audit for work completion and return audit visit, and we ended up having to request two extensions. The second one was getting a bit dicey and we weren’t sure if we would be approved, so I suggest budgeting as if you aren’t going to receive the rebates, and treat it as a bonus if you do.
- Supply chain issues are real – stay flexible and roll with the punches
This is an issue that still persists, and we planned as much we could, including selecting a contractor with warehouse storage capabilities to enable us to order and store certain finishes we knew may take awhile.
That said, some appliances we ordered from the fall are still pending, and we recently learned the hardwood we ordered for January delivery is tracking to mid-March.
The best advice I can give you is to either wait for something you really, really love (which is what we are doing with the hickory floors below with downstream impacts on our schedule), or pivot to something more readily available to stay on track (e.g., we love the marble tile with blue flowers below, but they were out of stock and we chose something else).
Thanks for following along, and I look forward to sharing more on basement developments and finish selection with you in our upcoming blogs!