JUNO Awards in the Hammer!

The 2015 JUNO Awards are only 9 days away. The awards ceremony will honour Canadian music achievements in the later part of 2013 and in 2014. This wonderful event will be taking place in our fair city of Hamilton, ON. HOW EXCITING! The ceremony takes place downtown in FirstOntario Centre over the weekend of March 14 – 15 and televised nationally on CTV March 15. GREAT NEWS is that you do not have to wait till next weekend to enjoy the festivities in the city. There are various concerts and events related to the awards taking place as soon as tonight, March 9. Actually, there have already been pop up performances in the city…..anyway, get in on the fun! Plan ahead by checking out tourismhamilton.com’s Juno Awards – TURN IT ON! section and find a complete listing of events.

I will note, one event I do plan on participating in (so long as real estate work doesn’t get in the way) is Turn It On Music Crawl. It is an enhanced Art Crawl with live performances throughout the JUNO Zone – Jackson Square, James Street North/South and King Street East/West locations. In addition to music, you will be able to snack at food trucks, enjoy local entertainment, pop into shops and galleries. James St North specifically will have 10 stages set up throughout the day and then the Art Crawl itself will begin. Don’t miss a minute on Friday March 13 from 5-9pm.

HOORAY for JUNOs in the Hammer!

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Kitchen Renovation – Difficulty Making Decision

I am a full time REALTOR. I know I have told you many times before. I see houses daily. I view old, new, retro, stylish, modern kitchens and SO MUCH MORE. When you see a kitchen you know you would want this, or that, but you would never lay it out like that, or couldn’t live without this…I could go on, but you get what I mean. It seems so easy to know what you want when it is right in front of you. I always thought my husband and I would know exactly what you wanted in a new kitchen. Let me tell you, it isn’t that easy.

I am a very visual person. I need to see IT ALL together to know how I feel. When you are putting pieces together to make a whole and all the pieces are at different locations, it was hard for me to wrap my mind around. And I am a decisive person when it comes to so many things in life. Now that I am married and want and need to share the decision making process with another person, things are much more difficult.

My husband, John and I have similar tastes, which would make it easier, but it still hasn’t been. That is not to say we don’t agree on the choices have and are making for the new kitchen. It means, there are too many choices to make and you simply want to make sure those final decisions ones you will be forever happy with. I think we will be. But, WOW! Making the design decisions was and is difficult than I truly expected.

Like anyone preparing for a renovation, you set an approximate budget. You look at photos, you set your mind or heart on a look, or colours etc. We did all that too. My husband and I decided on a white kitchen with grey accents (in tile or paint for example) and new we were going to work with our existing kitchen configuration. We had a budget in mind and we were not interested, at this point in time, to tear down walls. The big decisions made, you would think. That was all very manageable. Then, we went shopping.

After investigating different kitchen companies (5 to be exact), we settled on the newly launched IKEA kitchens. Wonderful. We went to IKEA to order. 4 hours in IKEA resulted in a full order. YEAH! 4 HRS! No one tells you how long this will take. I had a layout planned months ago when we first went to IKEA but, with the new launch, we had to start from scratch. Base cupboards now needed a slight change, a set of drawers moved, some enlarged, and then the fridge and the sink need an adjustment. 4 hrs of decision making is draining. Are you done, NO! More to come…

Choosing tile is another challenge. I love intricate detail. Colour is gorgeous. If I had my way, a room full of Portuguese tile would be a dream. However, together, John and I discussed that we may not live in this house forever. We should make choices that would appeal to any buyer coming through our property. The REALTOR in me never hides and I have taught my husband well. So, we need to love the kitchen, but not get out of control with our selection. After 7 different tiles shops, from big box stores to smaller family owned companies, we finally choose our tile…FOR THE FLOOR ONLY. Yes, samples came home and went. Yet, no concrete decision on back splash quite yet. Again, more to come…

So the decisions we have made should be great. They were not easy though. I gave you the extra short version on our progress. At this time, for those who have never renovated a kitchen before, know the variety out there can be overwhelming.

As a Realtor, my recommendations, opinions, and sometimes choices are vital to guide my clients through the buying and selling process. That comes very naturally. When it comes to me, my own life, I am always a bit nervous. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I do not know if you can relate. Hopefully you are much more decisive than my husband and I.

Regardless, the time has come for the tear down! The fun begins tomorrow evening. Expect more from my kitchen renovation very soon.

2015 – The Year of (more) Renovations

My husband and I have been living in our 1921 built home in Hamilton’s Gage Park area since spring 2013. We bought this house because it met all our needs and wants, including the fact my 6ft 4inch husband could stand in the basement and attic with EXTRA Head Space. That seems funny to some, but that matters when it comes to an old home. You don’t get that much!! There is 2.5 storeys of space, character, oh….and renovations. Like most first time buyers, we wanted to get our hands dirty. We wanted to make this house our home. Granted, we got help along the way, as we are both not overly handy, but it is still the joy of remodelling a house just for you.

Our house was used for many years as a duplex. The previous owner had started transforming the house back into a single family property. They did a good amount of work (not the best quality work). We, with the help of our families and contractors, have been renovating since we took possession. Now, I am sorry that I never posted/blogged during our first 6 weeks of renovations. I can let you know that we completed the attic space from bare flooring and visible roof rents, to a cosy living space (that we still need to furnish). We gutted the 2nd level bathroom. We now have new drywall, tub, vanity, the works! We even tore apart the basement; but that is a future project that you will see down the road via this blog. The house also got a full face lift – refinished flooring (that is to die for) and paint throughout the house.

You are now up to date!

I can happily inform you that 2015 is our year to tackle more renovations. I will share with you, my readers, all the trials, demolition, and bliss of remodeling my house. February marks the beginning of our kitchen remodel. I am over the moon excited to have a new kitchen that isn’t falling apart before my eyes.

But, before the posts commence, I wanted to share some information I found on remodeling costs, time frames, and tips. I hope to keep you in the loop of how long my renovations take, where I found the best bang for my buck etc. These articles shed some light on things you may not have considered or known. I found them helpful and I hope you do too.

First off, the image attached to the blog is a great reference for value of your renovations. I am a REALTOR of course, so I think of resale value all the time, for myself and my clients. As much as this renovation is for us, I have to always bare resale in mind. Its just what I do!
Also Check out:

The Best Way to Finance a Renobest place to start when considering a remodel/renovation

How much did your Kitchen Renovation Cost?

A Valuable Guide to Kitchen Remodelling Costs my favourite read being that I am working on my kitchen

How long is that remodel going to take? – Which I must note comes from the National Association of Realtor in the United States of America. Sorry I couldn’t find a similar one for us Canadians.

Let the kitchen remodel BEGIN!

Start 2015 with Good News about HAMILTON, Ontario

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2015 has arrived! Where did 2014 go? No matter. Shake off 2014, begin those New Year’s resolutions, and get back to work. Or, continue to work away, in my case.

I found myself working throughout the ‘Christmas Break’. I am married to a teacher, so I felt entitled to 2 weeks off to spend with him, but that’s not real estate. My career and work hours are not ‘typical’. The real estate market in Hamilton has not cooled off, like our temperatures. 2015 is expected to be no different. So, for my first post of the year, I thought I would simply share all the good news coming out of The Hammer.

Off the top, you should read the CBC Hamilton article Boom town: Hamilton housing predicted to stay hot in 2015. ‘Hamilton was the tightest market in the country all year.’– Doug Porter, chief economist, BMO Financial Group within the article. We expect it to continue in this way. Hamilton is a great place to live and invest and is truly HOT, quoting the article, of course. Best to join the party early. Also, select the links at the end of the article for further reading. These are related pieces discussing the Hamilton condo market boom and much more.

People still view Hamilton as a gritty, steel-milled, stink hole. Growing up, I recall friends calling my hometown the ‘armpit of Ontario’. Okay, we are not shiny or smell like roses, and maybe we never will. We are a working-class community trying to clean-up. But, you cannot deny the changes that are coming and are HERE! Gentrification is giving our downtown new life. For the full read, have a gander at the Globe and Mail’s article How Hamilton is revitalizing its downtown to bring new life.

To sum it up, you need to investigate our ambitious city for yourself. See it and Hear it – Have a stroll down James Street North, Locke St South, or Ottawa Street North and the character homes in and around it. Taste it –  Then, I would highly recommend you visit one or more of the top restaurants in our city. Huffington Post’s article Best Hamilton Restaurants: Where To Eat In The Hammer is the perfect guide. Experience the difference.

Finally, after you have warmed-up to Hamilton, come invest! Give me a call, shoot me an email, or post a reply, and we can discuss your real estate options here in my hometown – Hamilton (saying it proud with a mighty fist up to accompany the cheer)!

All the best to you in 2015! There is much more to come from this proud Hamiltonian.

The Hamilton Royal Connaught!

Downtown Hamilton’s gem, The Royal Connaught, sadly closed its doors in 2004. In 2014, as of this week in fact, the Royal Connaught has become the city’s gem once again and is now allowing for the purchase of its first block of condos.  Yes, this 1916 building boasts 700 suites and has an approximate occupancy of 2016. You can own a piece of Hamilton history!

The Royal Connaught is not only a famous landmark but it is now a true symbol of the revival downtown Hamilton and in the city itself.

I hope to feast my eyes on the stunning art deco lobby this weekend and get a glimpse of the model units and their purchase prices. If you can not make it down to see the beauty in person, here is a 360 degree view of the lobby thanks to Microsoft Photosynth 3D. The Hamilton Spectator has also provided a great article on the new, old Royal Connaught for more insight into the development.

Proud Hamiltonian signing off!

Hamilton – One of Canada’s Most Underrated Places

WOW, I absolute love how the Hamilton Spectator headlined their article on Hamilton:  “Once the ‘Armpit of Ontario,’ Hamilton now one of Canada’s most underrated places.” It says it all. Once a place mocked by the rest of Ontario as the ‘armpit’, due to the steel factories, is now a hot, up-and-coming city that many outsider are attracted to.

Hamilton, Ontario is in the midst of a resurgence. You can see it, feel it, and hear it here in the city. Glad we are now an underrated place. View the list of other underrated places to visit in all of Canada according to MSN Travel.

 

Victoria Day Weekend in The Hammer

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It’s Thursday night before the long weekend. It seems everyone is preparing to the escape from work as early as they can tomorrow to rush up north to some wonderful cottage retreat where they can celebrate the first long weekend of the spring/summer season. I, on the other hand, am happily staying in the city. I may not have the tranquility of a cottage location, but I do have awesome food, good friends, drinks, fireworks even, and a lake view (at the Bayfront of course). So here are a few events in the greater Hamilton everyone should attend this weekend.

Down by the Bay

Bayfront Park is the place to be this Friday May 16, 2014, from 4.30 PM – 8 PM. It will be the first of many Friday’s this summer where one and all can enjoy food, trails, shops, outdoor activity, great people and all the joy the area offers. Taste the creations from 15 different food trucks this Friday. Who wouldn’t want to start the weekend and the season off right?

Waterdown Arts & Music Streetfest

Head up to Dundas Street East (HWY 5) in the heart of Waterdown on Sunday May 18, 2014, to see and experience a street lined with vendors. From 11 AM – 11 PM you can enjoy 10 musical acts (stage located in from of the Mill Street and 5 American House), 40 street vendors, 15 food trucks, and the Niagara Inflatable’s. Family fun for everyone that has been in the works for 18 months now and will be a joy for the entire town and its’ guests.

Fireworks!

Sunday, 18 May 2014 head down to Dundas Driving Park at 71 Cross Street in Dundas Valley from 6 PM – 10PM for food trucks, snacks, soft drinks, glow sticks (available for purchase) and fun at the park all before the stunning fireworks show begins at dusk. Of course, the even is FREE but the Dundas Valley Sunrise Rotary Club would appreciate any cash donation at the gate to help finance the club’s local and international service work. This Victoria Day Celebration is supported by the City of Hamilto

Happy Victoria Day Weekend!