Kitchen remodeling is at the center of a whole-house renovation made possible by two separate rear additions
In July 2022, Eastview Homes’ blog illustrated how our team Creates Curb Appeal in an Exterior Home Renovation. The piece displays photographs of a recent Burlington remodeling project which exhibits many attractive exterior design elements. Curb appeal refers to the visual attractiveness of a house when viewed from the street. Having a beautiful home increases its value of course, and sometimes it inspires the people next door to do their own improvements which can raise the value of an entire neighbourhood. Speculators who buy investment properties cruise about residential areas looking to spot the streets in transition. The previous blog post referenced above shows how this house and the neighbour’s were once twins, flipped endwise so the driveways were together. Now both properties have been renovated since their initial construction and they look entirely unrelated. In this respect, exterior home renovations completely transformed two cookie-cutter-blueprint subdivision houses and gave them unique appearances.
Work done at the rear of the house was described in another July blog post about Sculpting A Residential Poolscape. Just in time for summer, Eastview transformed the backyard of this same property into a gorgeous waterpark complete with a changeroom and cabana that’s perfect for relaxing on hot afternoons and for entertaining family and friends in all seasons. The cost of maintaining and running a swimming pool this size can be as much as $4,000 a year for cleaning, chlorinating, and filtration. It also raises insurance fees and increases homeowners’ liability, but on hot summer nights it’s the envy of the neighbourhood and significantly magnifies social-worth.
Originally, the backyard was sectioned off with the swimming pool contained behind a waist-high chain link fence, as per municipal bylaws, and the pool itself was shaded by bushy trees. To properly makeover this area, the perimeter fence was expanded to encompass the entire backyard and the shade trees were removed. In the photo provided, readers will observe how the living room has a big bay window that views the pool. This is a rear addition that required three types or excavation, basement underpinning, floor leveling and so much more, but in turn the additional space gain made all manner of other improvements possible.
Leveling the Main Floor
The most prominent feature of the original home was the recessed den which accessed the swimming pool. Readers will observe in the photo provided how the house had two backdoors because the rear of the property was divided by a page wire fence around the pool, and now that same barrier encompasses the whole yard. Having two rear exits is an impractical waste of floor space and less efficient in terms of heating and cooling.
Recessed living rooms set lower than the main floor of the house is a homebuilding style that dates to the 1920s, and one that gained popularity in Burlington and all across North America in the 1960’s. You can see the unique architectural feature in retro TV shows like Mad Men, and in classic 60’s sitcoms Mary Tyler Moore and the Dick Van Dyke show. In Canada, sunken rooms with fireplaces were cozy conversation pits and the envy of the neighborhood. Before the renovations, the west wall was a brick mosaic with a gas fireplace under a big screen television.
Despite its quaint charm, the step-down living room was high on the list of things to fix because the home owner dreamed of having a more streamlined main floor without the dodgy stairs and railing. Our designer went one better and engineered two rear additions which both add hundreds of square feet to the home. This expansion allows for a proper living room with a nice bay window to view the pool. There was no basement under the sunken living room, and so by far the hardest part of this home renovation was digging out subterranean regions in order the make a proper foundation to support the additions.
Two rear additions required excavation and basement underpinning and became a complex endeavour that was well planned in advance. The whole process was detailed in engineering drawings with lots of different stages as scheduled in work orders and timelines. Without going into excessive detail, the basement underpinning process starts with removing the existing cement floor, followed by prolonged periods of excavation to get below the surface and extract the soil without damaging the house above. It’s all done in stages following the drawings provided by the engineer. New posts and new footings were added and a two-inch space between the existing footing and concrete was filled with dry pack grout. Temporary jacks were necessary to support the beams.
Once the above steps are completed, the next stage was to install new plumbing and an interior drainage system was added for waterproofing purposes. All of the procedures used to protect the basement from flooding were detailed in an earlier blog post entitled Waterproofing a Rear Addition which details how the newly formed concrete walls were coated with a special vinyl barrier and how the basement now has special channel mats hidden below the sub-floor and carpeting in the event that any moisture does manage to penetrate the bubble. The post also shares details related to the sump pump and other improvements designed to keep basements warm and dry in all seasons.
With the basement expanded and re-orientated, the furnace was moved to a more central spot where its out-flowing HVAC ductwork can better access all rooms in the house. The laundry facilities were moved upstairs to make enough space for modern home theatre with a big screen TV and comfortable couches, plus a downstairs washroom, an extra bedroom, and more storage. Basement underpinning is usually done as part of a basement makeover and was absolutely necessary in this project. The basement excavation and renovation was a prerequisite to be completed in order to accommodate our remodeling of the main floor layout.
With the concrete foundation now supporting two rear additions, it was finally possible to raise the floor in the family room and completely remodel the kitchen by adding an island with marble countertops.
The dust collecting track lighting was removed and replaced with LED pot lights, and where the ceiling meets the wall is attractive crown molding which is also illuminated in a sleek lighting design. The screen door exit to the backyard has been replaced with French doors set in an impressive wood frame which is similarly molded and which leads to a covered porch with white wooden pillars.
Opposite the sunny French doors is floor-to-ceiling shelving behind glass which has its own own LED lighting. The shelves here are perfect for storing china plates and antiques. Beside this inlaid armoire is a dual-zone wine cabinet appliance which allows both red and white wine to be stored separately, each at optimal serving temperatures.
The floorplan is now infinitely more streamlined and efficient with two axis-lines that meet at the rear doors. It’s now possible to see the street from the backyard through the house, and to wash dishes in the kitchen while keeping an eye on the family room without anyone or anything being hidden in a subterranean enclave. The room is nice and bright with its modern windows, and is warmer and more secure because the drafty screen doors to the pool have been removed.
Upgrading the kitchen appliances, lights and insulation results in more aesthetically pleasing and energy efficient interior space. Renovating the kitchen typically produces immediate energy savings which help recoup the cost of the project long-term, and will bring the domicile in line with current Canadian standards.
Rear Additions Streamline the Floorplan
The kitchen is the beating heart of a modern home because in addition to cooking and eating meals, it’s also a workshop and meeting area where families start and end their busy days. In our non-stop digital world, it’s where the home’s occupants plan activities and take stock of what they’ve accomplished.
Because we added a rear addition, the kitchen is large enough to accommodate an L-shaped island which greatly increases the convenience of the room with inline appliances and another sink. The island’s marble countertop triples the work space for prepping and cooking, and more drawers and cupboards with shelves underneath the island countertop double the room’s storage space for cooking implements, food staples and other supplies.
The island soon becomes a informal dining area with seating for four, and is sometimes called the Breakfast Bar.
The staircase at the center of a recently renovated house is a good place to visualize the new layout’s increased efficiency. The kitchen was moved to the right and the two rear exits were consolidated to make a straight-shot from the front door to the back of the house. This required two separate rear additions which extended the corners of the structure to make everything fit better. The new stairs are quieter and made with more tensile wood and plush carpeting, and the wainscoting has become floor-to-ceiling wall panels. In addition to the new windows and doors, the overhead LEDs, white walls and lighter flooring creates a much brighter space.
Stairways join the main floor and upstairs environments and the stairway railing carries the design theme upstairs where the bathroom vanities also have white stone countertops and the same colour wood floor as the banister. The master bedroom and bathroom were also made-over and track lighting was replaced with LED pot lights and all these rooms received better windows.
With a comfortable recliner and side table, the bedroom window area becomes the perfect place for quiet study.
The master bathroom has a shower with a thermal-memory rain showerhead but also a specially designed nook for cozy bathtub, a Jacuzzi brand Signature® Oval Freestanding Bath tub priced at $3,970.00 USD.
The kid’s bathroom came together around a custom vanity with a white countertop to match the master bedroom’s white stone amenities and kitchen island.
The laundry room was moved upstairs and given its own room. This makes it much easier to wash clothes because the homeowner doesn’t have to carry a laundry basket up two flights of stairs from the basement to restock bedroom closets.
Plenty of insulation was added to the basement ceiling to acoustically isolate and soundproof a modern home theatre.
From top to bottom this Burlington home renovation with two rear additions and kitchen remodeling has exponentially increased the quality of life provided and improved the general livability of the home from the ground-up.