The kitchen is a focal point of the home. As a warm space where family members eat and gather, a glorious kitchen can increase the value of your townhouse and help generate interest when it’s time to sell. But while most people are good when it comes to design rules (i.e. what wood goes with what stone), there are some actual rules you need to know that take the shape of building codes and bylaws.
Know the Codes
Does the building construction impose any restrictions you should be aware of? For example, do you need to install a specific kind of stove hood to ensure proper ventilation? During a renovation, understanding building codes and rules is very important if you want to avoid unintentional violations that can leave you with a serious (and costly) headache.
Be Considerate of Your Strata and Neighbors
Living in a townhouse means you’re in close proximity with your neighbors. After all, you share a wall. A little consideration and forethought can make renovating your townhouse kitchen a lot easier. First, explain your plans to the strata and ask if there are any objections or rules that you need to understand. When construction starts, try to limit the noise to business hours. It’s not always possible, but showing that you care about the rules and your neighbors can prevent souring relations.
Consider Quick Upgrades
Kitchen renovations tend to be costly, but there are a lot of small ways to improve the appearance of the room. Installing new knobs and pulls is a quick and easy way to refresh a dated kitchen. Remember, the ultimate goal is to maintain the functionality of the room while creating a look that’s visually balanced and appealing. Another relatively affordable option is an appliance upgrade, which comes with the benefit of no contractors/construction.
Fixtures and Finishing
In a space like the kitchen, function defines fashion. Selecting materials for the kitchen isn’t just about trends and pretty colours. This is a functional space, and it’s important to find solutions that work. For example, brushed finishes tend to hide fingerprints and water spotting much better than polished ones. This can be a serious consideration for a townhouse that contains little children. Personal aesthetics will also come into play. Brass and golden finishes tend to be warmer and more dramatic, while stainless steel and silvery-tones add a subtle sparkle to colour palettes. Every decision has its pros and cons, so it’s important to understand the benefits and challenges of the styles you like before calling in the contractors.
Most townhouses come with an appliance package—the fridge, stove, and dishwasher usually come from the same manufacturer. The reason for this is simple. Different brands have subtly different finishes, which becomes much more apparent once they’re in close proximity. Choosing the same line of appliances is one way to get around this. If you’ve got your heart set on a specific appliance, ask if you can have a sample or picture to make sure the finishes on other appliances coordinate.
When renovating a townhouse kitchen, remember that beauty and design are just one facet of the project. It’s tremendously important to understand the building codes and strata rules to ensure that desired changes fall within the guidelines of what’s acceptable and works with building codes. The penalties of ignoring these rules could potentially cost thousands of dollars and result in some very angry neighbours.
Make sure to work with certified professionals, ask the advice of suppliers, and ensure your plans meet building codes and requirements. A new kitchen is always fun, but you shouldn’t have to walk through fire to get it.
LOOKING TO BUY OR SELL A TOWNHOUSE IN 2019?
As an experienced townhouse realtor in Vancouver, Ariane Benjamin has been tracking and studying townhouse sales and neighbourhood trends for over 15 years. Her one-on-one approach to buying and selling emphasizes a customer-first attitude and allows her to deliver results and value. Call (604) 779-1500 to set up a complimentary consultation with Ariane today.