The Long Road

Yesterday we did the big reveal of our upstairs apartment complete with newly painted walls, a brand new kitchen and bathroom, new lighting fixtures, a gigantic closet, and a host of other yummy things. Looking at the before and after photos is incredibly satisfying. It makes all our hard work worth it! Thank you to all of you for your positive comments and words of encouragement!

But let’s get back to that hard work part.

So as you may have realized by now, this project was a massive amount of work. In particular, the lead up to getting the upstairs apartment ready was challenging. With the quite desperate time constraints of needing to get a tenant in as soon as possible, it made the last rush particularly stressful.

We detailed the new entrance to the apartment and the partition wall in this post, but there were still lots of little details, like installing lighting in the hallway. We went with an LED track light to help cast light throughout the length of the hallway.

hall 02

It helps to keep the hallway feeling warm with that lovely grey colour on the walls. You can see from our other photos that grey was our neutral of choice. When painting an apartment that isn’t one you’ll be living in, we had to go for paint colours that would work with most people’s decor. But anything except “landlord beige”.

hall 01

I love this view, where you can see the little red room at the end of the hall from the kitchen. The great thing about this apartment is that each room feels nice and separate, creating lots of privacy.

So once we had the basic structure of the apartment complete (kitchen and bathroom in, partition wall up, closet installed) there were still a million little things to do. Installing all the overhead light fixtures, putting up blinds and curtains, installing transition strips between each room, and reconnecting all of the remaining radiators (this resulted in a small flood).

We also had three inspections in the last few weeks. Inspections are a necessary but stressful aspect of renovation. Some guy comes in, looks at everything, and tells you whether you did it right. Also sometimes different inspectors have slightly different versions of “right”. It’s confusing. Now we’re both good with a little constructive criticism, but it’s always a little hard to take when the last five months of your life have revolved around getting this apartment in shape and some guy comes in and says “Nope!”.


So the first electrical inspection we failed. Waah waah. There had been some miscommunication about how some wires were supposed to be run and for a few hours Nick and I had a goddamn panic attack because we thought we might have to rip down part of our newly drywalled (and expensive!!!!) downstairs kitchen ceiling to fix it. I can’t…why…oh God help us…please no…no!!!!!!!!

But then Nick being the brilliant and clever man that he is figured out how to fix the problem so that he just had to remove the top of the upstairs kitchen baseboard and put it back in. No biggie. Sort of. So he and our electrician got to work and fixed that all up, and we passed the electrical inspection.


The last inspection was to secure the occupancy permit. This is a piece of paper that says “yes this is a separate dwelling and someone can live here”. A pretty important piece of paper. We were on tenterhooks a bit because the thought of something going drastically wrong was terrifying after all of the blood, sweat, and tears we had put into this place.

But we passed.

Hells yeah.

It was a very big day.

Then we had to advertise the crap out of the place to get a tenant in there as soon as possible. I became familiar with the inner workings of Kijiji in ways I never hoped to. But luckily it paid off, we found a great tenant, signed the lease, and handed over the keys.


It also meant I had to spend hours to clean the apartment that had been covered in dust for a few months, including delicately wiping down each of the bannister spindles in the hallway…..sometimes you really pay the price for historic detail.

But whatevs. We did it, we have a tenant, and finally, finally, we can relax a little.

I will admit. We popped some bubbly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>