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Renovation Nation

Brenda McMillan
The National Post
August 4th, 2012

A Houzz survey reveals 72% of Canadians will overhaul their homes in the next year, but which room is more popular: kitchen or bathroom?

Canadians are prodigious decorators and renovators. Just take a peek at Houzz.com. The site, which contains a massive database of home-design ideas and had 1.5 million unique Canadian visits in July, recently conducted a Houzz & Home Study that revealed 72% of Canadians will tackle home decor in the next two years, while 40% of us will build an addition, or remodel a portion or all of our abode. That is significant. But what exactly are we doing, and why?

I’m a good example, as I am currently wrestling with a basement bathroom update that started as a minor DIY decor upgrade then spun out of control into a major overhaul thanks to a leaky shower. I only wanted to make it look cleaner, sleeker and prettier, but I am now making changes that will add value as well.

If I had responded to the houzz.com survey, I’d have fallen in with the majority of Canadians.

Bathroom remodels are the second most popular project (after new flooring) with 40% of us choosing to renovate or decorate (or both as luck would have it). My reasons for starting the reno are also relevant, as 83% of Canadians choose style, “improving the look and feel of the space” over profit. But the number of homeowners looking to make improvements to increase real estate values is also significant at 56%. We want our abodes to look snazzy but are also aware of the investment factor. In that respect, we are different from our American neighbours, since only 47% cite increasing property values as their main reason for renovating, and 86% do it to update the look and feel of the place.

Surprisingly, on major projects like a home renovation, 76% of us get our hands dirty by doing some or all of the work ourselves (v. 66% of Americans). That is impressive. And scary. There is no shortage of homes that need shoddy renovations fixed for television cameras. Somebody did that work, and it could be you — or me. Gulp.

Numbers also differ across Canada. Calgarians, for instance, pay $32,000 on average for a new kitchen, the third most popular renovation, while their neighbours to the north in Edmonton pay $14,000. In Toronto, the price tag is $26,000 while in Vancouver and Montreal tastes run to $22,000. Montreal residents, who are more likely to hire an architect than other Canadians, are also more likely to go over budget (57% v. 44%). A total of 20% of us never assign budgets. Maybe because we don’t think a lick of paint and a new towel bar is going to take so long and cost so much. Luckily, I was not one of the 14% who took out a loan for my home improvement.

Over the next two years, seven out of 10 homes will be renovated or decorated according to the study. That means most of your neighbours will be painting, building an addition, landscaping or updating in some way. If you live on my street, you can count on me to be one of the renovators. I just hope it is not the same bathroom.

Posted on Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at 12:24PM by Registered CommenterElaine in | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

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