HanStone Canada partnered with Toronto based realtor and lifestyle blogger Kaitlin Rees to help create her dream kitchen! Kait and her husband purchased this house 4 years ago as a rental investment property with zero plans of ever moving in. So what changed? Kait is answering some questions on her kitchen renovation project and why they decided to move in. She is also giving us some realtor advice on home renovations.
My name is Kaitlin Rees, I have been a real estate agent in Toronto for 6 years now. I work for Berkshire Hathaway. My mother who is also an agent taught me about the real estate market at an early age. Ever since I was a little girl I used to love browsing homes with my mom or joining her at her open houses. I’ve always enjoyed home style and interior design, and have recently had the opportunity to put my eye for design to the test with my very own renovation.
We bought our house 4 years ago as a rental investment with zero plans of ever moving in. As we began to plan our future and with our wedding around the corner, we felt our condo had an expiry date and it was time to start looking at other options. We quickly realized with our budget we would have to buy a fixer upper and renovate. So why not just spend the money and fix what we already have? The project was a full gut (minus the basement) and took almost a year.
My design inspiration was clean and minimal. We didn’t use a designer for our house, we just lucked out that our contractor had impeccable design. I kept saving images from Instagram and Pinterest and realized I was saving the same style of images over and over again. I showed our contractor a few ideas and he just rolled with it! A functional kitchen was also key – lots of prep space, big sink and a long kitchen island.
I am currently obsessed with arches! Seeing kitchens with an archway leading into their pantry is just stunning. It’s actually funny because I love seeing more traditional/farmhouse style homes, which is the total opposite of ours!
Picking to work with HanStone Quartz was a very easy decision! We did a small reno on our condo before and used a cheap quartz brand. We instantly realized why we paid the price we did. Soon after that, through HanStone, I learned how important quartz quality is. I also love that HanStone Quartz is Canadian Made, out of London ON. We went with Montauk quartz countertops after going back and forth between that and Coast. Ultimately we picked Montauk because we felt it would open up the space more and just felt lighter! We still love Coast and will likely use it in a future home for the kitchen countertops.
When it comes to a home renovation I always offer the same advice: keep things that can be difficult to change and costly down the road neutral. Some of the bolder design trends could become an eye sore in a few years. One example of this would-be mosaic tile, while it looks great and is on trend now, it may not be everyone’s taste. So, why not pick a more neutral tile and perhaps pick a wallpaper and add a feature wall. Changing handles, mirrors, light fixtures and accent pieces are a great way to change and elevate a space. Keeping things neutral will appeal to more buyers especially when it comes to resale!
I think the amount of work you put into a renovation depends on your overall goals, renovating to sell vs. planning on living in a space for the next 30 years is significant. I’m always amazed at how painting alone can totally change a space. Freshening up a kitchen could even be a simple as changing nob/handles, and even replacing a dated countertop. Quartz countertops is a great way to add value and modernize a kitchen.
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