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Fancy, Fun and Financially Sound

When you hear the word “fancy” used to describe a house reno, what comes to mind? Something out of the pages of a design magazine? Maybe something straight from The Sopranos?

Most people think they can’t afford fancy, or that it’s not worth it. I’ve spent my career teaching people how to do smart renovations that provide return on investment, and the one thing I constantly have to remind people about is that “smart” doesn’t always mean “cheap”. There are some smart upgrades that you can make to your home that may feel a little luxurious, but can up the value significantly.

Now, when I talk “fancy” renos, I’m not talking gilded columns and elaborate coffered ceilings. I’m talking practical updates that up the ante of your home and set it apart from the competition.

Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors throughout” is one of the most popular phrases featured in North American real estate listings. People want hardwood floors. Whether they’re engineered or natural, hardwood floors look great and can work in any home. There are plenty of other flooring materials that perform and look as good as hardwood, but if you’re going high-end, there’s no substitute for the real thing.

There are tiers of hardwood as well, ranging from basic maple and oak to exotic wood and hand-scraped finishes. In terms of ROI, a well-installed, good quality wood will get you the return you’re looking for. If you want to go for something more unique and expensive, keep in mind the overall value of your home and your neighbourhood. If you over-renovate for either of those, you won’t achieve maximum ROI.

Curbless Showers

While the jury may still be out on the “bathtub vs. shower” debate, one thing that is for certain is the move toward curbless showers (ie. showers with very low or no threshold). Here’s why they’re “fancy”: They’re usually much larger than a traditional shower stall and often feature benches, steam functionality and multiple showerheads. While this all sounds pretty luxurious, it’s also super practical. Curbless showers are accessible, and with an aging population, accessibility is a huge selling feature. Having a shower that is not only entirely relaxing, but also works for any homeowner is an extremely attractive selling feature.

Changing impractical layout

Pulling down a wall and re-routing plumbing doesn’t exactly sound like a glamorous renovation to take on, but hear me out. Kitchens and bathrooms are the most valuable rooms in your home, but only if they’re functional. It might seem like a big project, but re-designing your kitchen, for example, to give you a proper triangle, is going to significantly increase the value of your home, and also make it much more user-friendly. We’ve all been in those kitchens where you can’t open the oven and dishwasher at the same time, or bathrooms where you have to squeeze behind the door to get to the sink. Those rooms are a result of poor planning, and rectifying those poor choices - even if they weren’t your own - is a significant, but smart investment. And it’s not just kitchens and bathrooms that fall into this category. Creating an open concept main floor is almost a given for resale value, as most homebuyers have come to expect it. Just be sure you bring a contractor on board before you start smashing walls - especially if you don’t know where your home’s plumbing and electrical are located!

Heated Floors

Imagine it’s a cold January morning and all you want to do is stay in the shower just a little longer to stay warm. When you finally drag yourself out, would you rather step on cold tile, or a cozy, heated floor? Heated floors used to be complicated and expensive, but new technologies, such as heated mat options that you simply cut to fit your bathroom floor, have made this once legitimately fancy feature attainable for the average homeowner. While still considered something of a luxury item, heated floors are actually a smart solution for bathrooms that have no other source of heating. While you’re at it, you should upgrade to a heated towel rack as well!