Ageing-in-Place in Gordon Head – a case study
Challenge: create separate living areas for a mom and daughter while maintaining the original look and feel of a 1960s home in the Gordon Head community of Victoria, BC.
One of the reasons homeowners in Victoria choose to renovate their home instead of buying something different is the relationship they’ve built with their house. There’s a story behind every nick in the wall, layer of paint, and that loose floorboard that seems to creak louder when you’re trying to be quiet. Instead of buying a new home in a different location, it’s often easier, better, and more cost-effective to improve the space you already love.
Local homeowner Phyllis contracted MAC Renovations to update her split-level home, built in the 60s near the university, to provide separate living spaces for her and her daughter.
“When my husband passed away, I was faced with the decision to downsize into a condo or update my home,” said Phyllis. “I had a lot of sweat equity in this property, so I chose to stay here with a few changes to give us more living space and ageing-in-place options for when I need them. I contacted a local designer to start the process, and she explained that we needed a team like MAC Renovations.”
“My daughter and I had discussed this project for quite some time, and we even made some full-scale drawings. The goal was to have a home with separate living spaces—we both enjoy our independence—with a shared kitchen and living room. The MAC Renovations team took our drawings and improved them. They made the hallways slightly larger to accommodate a wheelchair and redesigned the bathroom to include hidden supports for safety bars in the future, and a roll-in shower. It turned out that this would make my life much easier sooner than expected, as I had knee replacement surgery when the reno ended and then again just a few months ago. Mobility has been my focus for the past six months, and this renovation made it easy to cope with that.”
Jason Marsh, a MAC Renovations project manager, said, “Phyllis is a wonderful lady; very on top of the project and not afraid to share her thoughts. When we discussed the long-term use of the home, Phyllis said she realizes she’s not going to be there forever and wanted a way for her daughter to keep using the space after she was gone. We designed the addition so the space could generate income as a rentable suite, if needed.”
Building an addition requires substantial coordination between multiple sub-trades. “It takes a variety of professionals to complete a project at this scale effectively,” explained Jason. “Our crew took care of the structure, and we had local teams come in to install a new furnace and ducting, an on-demand gas water heater and gas fireplace, new oak flooring to tie into the existing, and in-floor heating for the lower level. Elevated Electric took care of the wiring, and Fineline Stucco gave us great surfaces to work with. A secondary project was taken care of by Authentic Landscape Design and Construction: building a raised patio for Phyllis to enjoy her new garden space.”
“As this is a split-level home, we knew that connecting everything for the three floors would be challenging, but the original homebuilder had built a wall cavity that made it possible to run the ducting, plumbing, gas lines, and electrical where we needed it,” said Jason. “The team at Accutemp came up with a creative ducting solution to service each floor, and Decora made adding in-floor heating on top of a concrete slab look easy. As well, they did a great job with the roll-in shower, despite the walls being out of plumb.”
“The MAC employees were fabulous. They showed up when they said they would, they cleaned up at the end of the day, and they were always easy to get along with,” said Phyllis. “The most I’d done on the house before was painting and small upgrades, so I had no idea about what to look for in terms of materials and design. MAC made suggestions that I followed up on, and I am extremely pleased with their recommendations. For every single aspect of the renovation: painting, plumbing, heating, windows, and all of the crews required to make it work, they were all simply terrific.”
“Another thing that I — and my neighbours — appreciated: MAC informed everyone on our street as to when they would be starting, what time of day they’d be working, and whom to call if there were any problems. Many of my neighbours stopped by to see the project take shape, and I know some of them contacted MAC for their own projects.”
With the majority of the renovations we do in Victoria, there’s usually a dramatic difference between the start and finish, but the goal for Phyllis’ project was to seamlessly bring more space to her home while maintaining its original look.
“I’m really happy with this project. We managed to match everything—making a new addition look like it was part of the original home when it was built in the 60s,” said Jason.
When asked about her experience working with MAC Renovations, Phyllis shared: “The MAC team is busy and definitely in-demand, but they haven’t grown away from the family-business feel. The way they conduct their business is excellent.”
We get many compliments for the work we do for families in Greater Victoria, but what Phyllis shared is one of the best. We’re hoping that Phyllis and her daughter enjoy their new space for many, many years.
Contact us to find out how you can build more usable space into your home.