Friday, January 29, 2010

Cost update: January 2010

There has only been one major expense related to the renovation since my last cost update in December 2009, and that was the land survey. Here are the updated figures:

Land Transfer Tax - $6477.00
House Inspection - $414.75
Sewer Inspection - $322.41
Change Locks - $70.00
Legal fees to register mortgage, etc - $2005.10
Energy Audit - $149.50 (after $150.00 gov't rebate)
Land Survey - $2625.00

Total: $12063.76

Monday, January 25, 2010

Revisions to the concept drawings for our renovation

Thanks everyone for your comments via this blog, email or facebook. We have sent some ideas back to the architect for her to incorporate into a second draft of the concept drawings.

Basically, we like the upstairs of Option 1 with the downstairs of Option 2. In particular, we like the architecturally interesting staggered design of the rear of the house in option 1, the kitchen at the heart of the home, the south facing aspect of the main living spaces that will be flooded with sunlight through all those windows, and great access to the terraces that will allow them to become outside rooms in summer. We also like the sequence of spaces in the main living area with an away room that can function as a play room while the kids are young, but can be converted to a library with a computer when the kids are older. Downstairs, we preferred option 2, with the bike storage off the garage, large play room and spacious office.

However, there were a few changes that we want to make. We prefer the foyer, mudroom and stairs of option 2 on the upstairs level. We are also willing to get rid of the powder room on the upstairs level in order to give the kids' bathroom more space. We also need to have a larger kitchen and slightly larger bedrooms for the kids. So, we have asked the architect to bump out the rear of the house by another three feet or so. This should give us enough room to create a more U-shaped kitchen with more counter space. Downstairs, we have asked the architect to increase the size of the mechanical room to allow for more storage and to combine the laundry and mudroom into a single room with lots of cabinets for storage, a sink, and enough space to open an ironing board. In the play room, we have asked to incorporate a wine fridge, cabinets, counters and a sink, which will come in handy for cleaning up after art projects and serving food during birthday parties in the back garden.

We hope to have a new set of drawings to look at by the end of this week, or perhaps next week, so check back then to see how our ideas have been rendered.

Thanks again for all your suggestions.

Energy Audit Rebate recieved


We recieved our Home Energy Audit Rebate last week for $150 from the Government of Ontario. So the total out of pocket expense to have the audit completed was only $150. Really, there is no reason not to have a home energy audit done if you live in an older home. The most common air leakage problems can be fixed with caulking, weather stripping and plug covers, and you will make back the $150 you spent in saved energy bills in just a couple of years. Plus you'll have the moral beneift of reducing your greenhouse gas emission footprint.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Concept drawings for our Ottawa renovation

With much anticipation, we met with our architect this afternoon and she showed us two sets of concept drawings for the renovation of our Ottawa bungalow. Generally, we are pretty pleased with what she has shown us. I think we are leaning toward the main floor of design one, while liking the lower floor of design two. We have suggested a few changes already, but we have some time to mull things over and get back to her. We'd sure like to hear what others think. Feel free to give us comments on the designs.

We will be getting pdf versions of the drawings soon, but in the meantime, I have these lower quality images to look at.

First, here's what it currently looks like inside.

Below is design one:

Below is design two:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dying with anticipation to see our renovation concept drawings

Tomorrow is the big day! That is when our architect is going to show us her conceptual plans for the renovation of our little Ottawa bungalow. We are both really excited.

Of course, there is always the possibility that we will not at all like what she gives us. But that's OK, it's going to be a back and forth process. One of our architect's references told us that the first set of concept drawings they saw were way different from what they were expecting. In fact, they were worried that the architect had not listened to them at all. However, the architect explained that she just wanted them to see what the house could be and then they took ideas from those drawings and made new ones.

Anyway, we hope to post pictures of the concepts here, and we are looking forward to reading any comments.

Wishful thinking - no extension for the Home Renovation Tax Credit

Despite the rumours that the Government of Canada's Home Renovation Tax Credit would be extended into the new year, the Globe and Mail is reporting that the government has said it intends to let the credit expire at the end of January.

Well, there may be hope yet. My guess is that if, for some reason, an election is called in the first few months of the year, we may see the Home Renovation Tax Credit resurface as an election pledge. And with the most recent polls putting the Liberals and the Conservatives tied for voter support, an election may not be out of the question.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Renovation Tax Credit may be extended into 2010

If you follow the political news, you may have heard Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty, say in November that the government's plan was to end the popular renovation tax credit in December 2009. Under the program, Canadians were eligible for a maximum $1,350 federal tax credit if they spend up to $10,000 on home renovations. Unfortunately for us, we have not yet started any home renovations, so it looked like we were going to miss out on the credit.

However, in a recent blog post, Globe and Mail columnist Jane Taber ruminated that the credit could be extended into next year. If so yeah for us.

On a related note, one commenter on Taber's blog noted that if the tax credit is extended, make sure you take photocopies of your receipts. Many stores still use thermal paper to print receipts, and these fade after a short while. If you simply stick the receipts in an envelope until you do your taxes next year, there may be no printing left on the receipt to read or submit to the taxman!