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How To Get The Most Out Of Your Reno Without Blowing Your Budget

Scott MacGillivray is certainly an expert when it comes to home renos, and he's sharing his best tips and secrets so you can get the dream spaces you want, without blowing your budget. 




The secret to saving money in a kitchen renovation is to keep the layout. This room looked like a complete disaster, but with a few simple upgrades we managed to make it look great and we added a ton of value to the home:
  • refaced cabinets and replaced the hardware
  • new appliances
  • new range hood
  • new floor
Cost $7,500

Must-Have Product: One of the most important things in a kitchen is lighting. Kitchens can be dangerous, what with all the knives and fire, so task lighting is vital to ensuring safety. Start with overhead lights (pot lights are always good) and then supplement the task lighting. In this cabinet under cabinet lighting was installed, which provides great task lighting for the entire counter.



Like in a kitchen, keeping the layout the same in a bathroom renovation will keep the costs down. In fact, you save around $750 per fixture if you keep them in the same place. This bathroom had the old classic green fixtures which is always a signal that you need an upgrade. We replaced the vanity, toilet, tub and floor, and we also included in-floor heating.

Cost $10,000

Must-Have Product: In-floor heating is often considered a luxury but if you’re already renovating a bathroom I recommend taking that extra step. Whenever you’re putting down a tile floor you want to have an uncoupling system underneath, which protects the tiles from cracking.  I use a product called Ditra Heat which combines the uncoupling system with heating coils. You can basically spend the money you saved on moving fixtures to heating the floors and you’ll add a bit extra value to the space.

Unfinished Basement



Turning an unfinished apartment into a finished income suite can seem like a big project, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. This basement had the advantage of having tall ceilings and a separate entrance so we didn’t need to dig down or do any extra building. Please note that if you have to dig or add a separate entrance you add significant time and cost to a basement renovation.
  • Split up the space to create an income suite with a living/kitchen area, one bedroom and one bathroom with laundry.  (Framed, drywalled and insulated)
  • Added extra insulation to the ceiling to provide appropriate fire and sound separation
  • Kitchen – installed cabinets along one wall, vented for range hood, and built an island with sink and dishwasher (plumbing)
  • Built media wall in living room
  • Bathroom – installed toilet and vanity, glass shower enclosure with custom bench, tiled floor and shower enclosure. Installed washer and dryer in bathroom closet.

Cost $65,000
Note: Doing a proper basement apartment is not an inexpensive endeavour, which is why it’s so important that you crunch the numbers ahead of time.  If you can’t cashflow the property it won’t do you any good.

Must-Have Product: One of the most important elements in any basement income property renovation is proper fire and sound insulation. Both for your own comfort but also by law. In this basement we used 2 layers of ROXUL SAFE’n’SOUND® in the ceiling which plays a huge part in stopping the sound transfer between floors. 

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Coming Up

Mon 29 Jamie Oliver’s one-pot wonder
Tue 30 Marilyn’s Big Little Experts!