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reVISION Renovations Blog

Category: reVISION’s Renovation Blog

  1. Who needs a building permit for a renovation?

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    UPDATED – Now and then, I will visit a prospective customer, and they will ask if a building permit is necessary. I find it a curious question considering the amount of construction horror stories on TV. But, even more, interesting is that many of these homes are well over a million dollars and homeowners are willing to shortcut and risk their home for a renovation.

    One big myth is that the renovation project will cost more. Yes, it does, but Permits are a nominal cost and usually amount to 0.5 to 1% of the renovation contract. But what about the work? In my experience, if your trades are journeymen, the cost is about the same. However, if your preference is for a couple of guys working out of the back of a van that can “do it all,” then yes, it will cost more. Just be sure to wear a helmet and carry around a fire extinguisher in your newly renovated home.

    The Risks of a renovation without a building permit

    1. Home becomes uninsurable or now has much higher premiums
    Without a permit, renovations will not be verified, by a third party, if done to building code. Insurance companies could consider it a greater risk for fire, flood or collapse.

    2. Home becomes unsalable
    Renovations, especially significant ones, done without a permit is a red flag to buyers. Verifying trade work done to code can be costly. Repairs or adjustments to suit code or zoning can be just as much as the actual renovation. Don’t be surprised if the buyer asks for a significant discount (or walks away)

    3 Safety
    Building codes are for the benefit and safety of homeowners. 99% of people (and frankly some renovation contractors) do not know the current building code. Building and trade inspectors are your third party to ensure work is to code, giving you and your family the peace of mind that your home is safe.

    To permit or not to permit is further complicated by contractors who say, “we will do it to code, just won’t pull a permit.” My response is to pull a permit. A contractor that tries to sway an owner from using a Permit is very likely unaware of the current code.  If he does know, then why the fear or concerns of pulling a Permit? As well-intentioned as a contractor might be, they are human and will make mistakes. Truthfully, we sometimes make mistakes, and thankfully, we have an inspector who will put the second set of eyes on the work.

    Get an estimate on your project today.

  2. Why you should convert your basement into a rental suite

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    As the pandemic slowly marches on, now, more than ever, it’s highly beneficial to have a second income stream. Moreover, turning your basement into a rental suite in your home is a great way to bring in extra cash during uncertain times. Considering the increases year over year, creating a rental suite looks more attractive than ever.

    A recent national report states, the average rental monthly income from a one-bedroom suite is $2167 versus $1987 in 2020. Furthermore, in 2021, a two-bedroom is $3044 versus $2644 a year earlier. Greater Vancouver is one of the most desirable places to live in the world. With no shortage of tenants looking for places to rent, converting your basement into a suite can be a solid investment. 

    The benefit of creating a basement suite vs renting out a room in your home

    A suite has a separate entrance and is self-contained with kitchen and bathroom amenities. Meaning, both yourself and your tenants do not need to share amenities or rooms. As a result, you may hardly even notice that you’re sharing the same house. 

    When renovating a basement, you will likely need to consider several things. Things may include; permits, where your separate entrance will be, plumbing requirements, general layout and room segregations, fixtures and fittings etc. Since this is almost a ‘mini build’ within a home, we highly suggest you enlist the help of a professional. 

    As you will be renting this suite, the renovation must be complete to a standard a tenant would expect, unlike our own homes, where we can put up with a few flaws; having to fix things while tenants are living in the property should, where possible, be avoided. 

    If you consider converting your basement into a suite, please reach out to us at reVISION Custom Home Renovations. We would be happy to help advise you on your next steps.

  3. Custom Cabinetry: What to consider

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    Custom Cabinetry is a hot topic at the moment. You only have to type this into Instagram to see the beautiful custom kitchens and built-in storage units that have been custom-built.

    Before embarking on enlisting the help of a carpenter or starting a conversation with a renovation project management team such as us, it’s useful to consider what type of style cabinetry you’re looking to achieve. For example, there is traditional vs modern. It’s also important to consider what type of wood you would like to use. It’s useful to review what wood is already present in the home. By either matching this or creating a contrast in the same tone it can bring your home together in a cohesive design. Consider if you want Oak, Pine, Maple, etc and you may want to also match this to the period the home was built in.

    Another consideration is how you plan to use the space. If your having custom kitchen cabinetry, make a list of non-negotiable needs. For example, do you like having your spices visible? Perhaps you want your coffee machine hidden? You can get a lot of ideas from Instagram and Pinterest for this list.

    Consider the additional touches such as handles. Screengrab photos of custom cabinetry that you like and really inspect what you like about it. For example, you might decide you want chrome pull handles, but also consider if you want them all the same size or different lengths. It’s the small details like this that elevate and bring the custom cabinetry to life!

    If you are considering a renovation project that includes custom cabinetry. We work with a range of fantastic vendors. Feel free to reach out to us for a quote.

  4. Should I renovate before selling?

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    If your considering moving, you might have asked yourself ‘should I renovate before selling?’. When you’re listing your home for sale you want to ensure it looks its best to gain the highest return possible. We recommend speaking to your Realtor. They can provide you with a better understanding of the types of properties that are selling well in your location. They can also provide good insights into what customers are currently looking for when buying. This could range from modern kitchens to updated bathrooms.

    It’s certainly recommended, at the very least to fix any repairs before listing your home to ensure these issues don’t detract from the appearance of the overall home. Consider if you have neutral colours or is your home decorated to your specific tastes? It’s best to create a blank canvas to allow people to imagine themselves living in your home.

    If you decide to renovate your home before selling, it’s even more important to work with a Designer to ensure they can guide you towards styles that will work for the market. Updates that can add significant value include kitchens, bathrooms, gardens/landscaping, flooring, and appliances.

    You should also consider your audience. For example, if you’re selling an apartment you might want to renovate to increase the storage options. Whereas, if you’re renovating a family home, you may want to update the flooring to ensure it’s pet and kid-friendly. It’s another topic to bring up with your Realtor. They will be able to advise who your target market will be.

    Get an estimate on your project today.

  5. The perks of an outdoor kitchen space

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    Spring is here and it’s a great time to start thinking about your outdoor kitchen space. It’s time to get it ready to fully enjoy the spring and summer months. Check out the reasons we think you should consider investing in your dream outdoor entertaining kitchen.

    It’s perfect for entertaining

    An outdoor kitchen space is a perfect place to host friends and family year round. It’s super inclusive as it removes the need to squeeze into a tight kitchen. It also allows the kids to play in the garden/patio while you cook a delicious dinner on the grill! With the help of patio heaters you can create a space that you can use all year round.

    An Outdoor Kitchen Space increases the value of your home

    Having an outdoor kitchen really adds the wow factor to your home and can increase the home’s value. A deck will return about 72.1% of your investment, according to Remodeling 2020 Cost Value Report.

    It keeps the heat out of your house in the summer months

    Cooking inside when it’s warm outside can make your home feel hot and sticky. Being able to cook outside particularly during the summer months is a huge perk and can help you save on airconditioning costs. Most BBQs and grills heat up quicker than kitchen ovens so dinner time can be quick and easy. Allowing you more time to enjoy the evening sunshine over a nice bottle of wine!

    Create your own ‘dine out’ experience

    Don’t pay for dinners out at restaurants when you can create the perfect patio environment right in your own back yard! There is no need to run plates of food from the kitchen to the patio when you have an outdoor kitchen.

    If your considering creating a outside kitchen and entertaining area. Please get in touch, we can help.

  6. Should I start with an exterior or interior renovation?

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    If you’re considering renovating your whole home you might be wondering if you should start with the exterior or interior renovation first. Before you decide it’s important to consider the current state of the home. If you have leaky ceilings or know you want to extend your home before adding in a new kitchen, it’s an easy decision to start with the exterior.

    Typically we recommend, renovating as much as possible at the same time. It’s a large upfront cost but ultimately it’s cheaper in the long run to only have to call out trades such as plumbers or electricians once for a project rather than multiple times. With that said, we understand that whole home renovations can be costly, and therefore you may need to approach it in stages.

    Make a list

    You want to consider all the tasks you will need to complete during your renovation and make a list in the order you would logically have to approach them. For example, you wouldn’t install new flooring before changing the shape or layout of a room. Once you have made this list you may find you have to start with the structure of the home before the interior. If not, you have the luxury of deciding what to tackle first. Consider your current savings. For example, right now, you may have enough to paint the exterior of your home but not enough for a brand new kitchen.

    You may also want to consider the season. For example, if it’s the start of winter, it would be best to start with your interior and save the exterior work until the warmer, dryer months.

    Renovations feel more productive and rewarding when you can start ticking projects off quickly. To build the momentum you could add some smaller tasks such as interior paint to the start of the project list to get ‘the ball rolling’ in the right direction.

    If you’re considering an exterior or interior renovation and don’t know where to start our Project Managers can help advise and provide a free quote. Reach out for an estimate today.

  7. Get prepared for your home renovation.

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    Getting prepared for your home renovation regardless if it’s big or small can feel overwhelming. The preparation time can change depending on the scale of the renovation. Furthermore, if you plan to live in your home during the renovation or not. We’ve put together a checklist to help you get prepared, so you can swap that anxious feeling with excitement.

    Decide what you need to pack

    Decide if you just need to cover your furniture with drop cloths or if you need to remove items from your home. For example, if your renovation includes flooring, you may want to move furniture out of the way. This will include finding storage facilities and or somewhere to live for the duration of the renovation. If you can’t move your furniture, decide what needs to be covered or if you have a room in your home that will be renovated later in the process and can be used for storage until then.

    Create a ‘Project Base’

    This base might be a kitchen wall or a dining table. You will likely need samples on-site, paperwork, a timeline, paint samples etc lots of these items can be stored on your laptop but there will also be a need for physical samples. Ensure you dedicate a space for everything you or your contractors might need.

    Clear the walls and shelves

    It’s important that you remove what you can to avoid items getting lost or breaking. While contractors always try to be careful, accidents can happen. Contractors might also need to gain access to walls so items like mirrors, artwork etc should be removed. That’s said, speak to your Contractor or Project Manager for confirmation.

    Consider your living situation

    If you are unable to live in the property during the renovation you will need to consider where you and your family can go. Some clients try to renovate before they move into their home, however, we understand this isn’t always possible. If rooms such as your kitchen or bathroom is going to be renovated, or you work from home it might be best to consider living with a friend or family member or renting an airbnb or short-term rental for the period of the renovation. Don’t forget to tell the neighbors.

    If you are considering a renovation and want to know more regarding getting prepared for your home renovation, please feel free to reach out to us today to chat.

  8. Is it time to replace your windows?

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    With the wetter weather (hopefully) behind us. It might be time to replace your windows. Not only do your windows keep the heat in, but they also allow airflow throughout the home. Windows are also a statement that can be seen from inside and outside of the home. Tired, old windows impact your energy bill, the look of your home, and your home’s value. Updating your windows makes an instant impact on your home environment and style. There’s a range of styles, sizes, and locations to consider. Our personal favorite was a ‘backsplash’ window we created. It allowed our client to bring the outside in when cooking!

    5 benefits to replacing your windows

    1. Decrease your energy bill
    2. Improve the ‘curb appeal‘ of your home
    3. Increase the security of your home
    4. Improve the natural light in your home
    5. Improve the airflow in your home
    6. Soundproofing

    How do I know when I need to replace my windows?

    1. Feeling drafts?
    2. Seeing condensation often?
    3. Windows are fogging up often?
    4. Is rot or mould present?
    5. Do you see cracked caulking?

    When you’re considering if you should replace your windows, it can feel like a large project to take on. Particularly if this includes adding windows or changing the sizes and layout of rooms to maximize the natural light. Reach out to us today if you would like to have a quote or discuss your options.

  9. Where we buy furniture in Vancouver

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    You’ve completed your renovation and are looking to elevate it with your furniture selections. It doesn’t matter if it’s a condo, a townhouse, or a family home. Furniture can make or break a renovation. Ensuring the furniture doesn’t contradict or distract from the design is really important. Check out where our Designers like to go shopping locally for furniture for our projects.

    EQ3 Vancouver

    EQ3 defines itself as a “modern Canadian approach to furniture.” EQ3 offers a timeless, West Coast design that can easily slot into your home without drawing attention away from the design of your home. They steer away from ‘trendy’ pieces so you can rest assured that your items won’t look tacky or dated anytime soon. They also provide the option to customize items such as chairs and sofas.

    West elm

    You can’t really go wrong in West Elm. An American brand with its own design team that creates interesting pieces for your home. The style is modern and minimalist and typically leans towards younger customers. When purchasing big-ticket items we feel it’s important that they are timeless and well made, which West Elm has nailed.


    Another Canadian brand that started in Montreal. It’s the perfect place to pick out pieces that you don’t want to spend a small fortune on. The price is much more affordable some some of the other names on our list so can be perfect for picking out smaller items such as vases, pillows etc. It’s also a really great option if you need to furnish a rental property or in-law suite on a tighter budget.

    Pottery Barn

    Pottery Barn has more classic pieces that typically work better in larger homes. Their furniture is timeless as it leans more into the farmhouse, traditional neutral style. If your looking for larger items such as king size beds, super size sofas this is the perfect store.

    Moe’s Home Collection

    If you looking for more unique pieces Moe’s is a really great option. They have a wide range of styles and their showrooms almost feel like an art gallery. Here you can find many unique sculptures and home decorations.


    Homesense is the ultimate furniture treasure hunt. It’s a potluck and if you’re not confident with your style or what your looking for we would suggest staying away as it can pull you in all kinds of directions. However, If you looking for something in particular, such as bedding, a long mirror etc it can be the most affordable way to find a quality deal.

    If you’re consider a renovation, please feel free to reach out for an estimate today.

  10. Projects you should never DIY

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    It might be tempting to cut corners and take on all projects as DIY. However, there are a number of projects that are better left to the professional. The end results, safety, and resale value of your home can be impacted if you decide to take on the below projects on yourself.


    Cutting corners on plumbing can be costly in the long run. Unless you’re are trained plumber, mistakes can easily be made that can impact you and your neighbors. Leaks can be costly to fix. For larger projects, it’s best to leave your plumbing tasks to a professional who understands all of the rules and regulations and can carry out the work safely. That said, smaller projects such as unblocking a pipe are easier to take on yourself.

    Electrical work

    It might seem tempting to try and rewire and install a new light fixture location yourself but electrical work can be really dangerous. We recommend leaving all electrical work to the experts. In addition to electric shocks, there is a greater chance for a fire to occur when repairs are not completed correctly. For peace of mind, leave it to the experts.

    Removing a wall

    We recommend that you don’t take this project on yourself. Typically you’ll need a structural engineer to evaluate the wall before knocking it down and possibly even city permissions. Making major changes to the structure of the building shouldn’t be decisions made on a whim and experts should be consulted.

    Removing asbestos

    Homes built or renovated before the year 2000 could have asbestos insulation. It’s recommended that if asbestos is found that an expert removes it and it must be disposed of as hazardous waste.

    While we don’t want to discourage you to take on smaller DIY projects such as adding shelves, hanging pictures etc. We understand the value of having experts such as ourselves managing the larger projects. Let’s have a chat about your next project.

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