Metro’s homebuyers Joe Stanton and Liam and Madeleine Rushton have both purchased a new home. Now they are talking about renovations and trying to determine how to go about getting them done.

When Stanton, a 42-year-old banking executive, closed the deal on a downtown condo, he knew the first thing he would do when he took possession was upgrade the bathroom.

The Rushtons, who just found out they are expecting twins, are keen to have a family room in their new home in the suburbs. They definitely have the space to add a room … now all they need is the know-how.

Moe Abbas, owner of Ottawa General Contractors, says the first step in any renovation is the design process itself. You need to spell out exactly what you want to do in order to get a good quote for any project.

 

“The best is to go with a design and build company,” he says. “Then I would call a few contractors to get a rough idea of how much it would cost.”

The Rushtons’ project will cost about $100,000 while Stanton’s bathroom will run $10,000.

The Rushtons hire an architect for detailed plans of their sunroom.

Stanton plans out his bathroom himself, using his own ideas and gathering information from bathroom retailers and renovation sources including books, magazines and websites.

For the Rushtons, “It’s a very detailed process. It’ll be about five to six months to see a shovel hit the ground,” Abbas says.

Abbas recommends padding the quoted price by five to 10 per cent. Part is for the normal overrun of a project, but also because the Rushtons and Stanton will likely change plans.

“People always want to add things while they’re renovating — you might as well do the siding, you might as well change the windows — you see what I mean,” he says.

“It’s very rare that an addition comes in at the price it was quoted at.”

Four months later — 10 months after they started — the Rushtons wave goodbye to the last contractor and spend their first Saturday in the new sunroom.

Stanton has an easier path to his swank washroom. He has to tick off the same boxes — cost estimate, design and permission — but everything is much quicker. The design only takes two hours, as does the estimate.

Many people skip getting a building permit for interior renovations, but Stanton plays by the rules and gets the paperwork. The work itself takes three days.

A month after he first decided to renovate his bathroom, Stanton slips into his claw-foot tub.

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