DIY house flip

How one first-time home­owner trans­formed his dated digs into the home of his dreams in just two months.

The Coast - Homes Halifax - - Contents - BY MICHELLE CAMERON

Mark Mac­don­ald got the keys to his house in the west end of Hal­i­fax well know­ing he’d have to put in work. The home, though en­dear­ing, was stuck in another time—clut­tered and car­peted, with pop­corn ceil­ings shel­ter­ing the space.

For Mac­don­ald, who favours a con­tem­po­rary and open con­cept aes­thetic, scrap­ping the closed-off, honey oak 1950s feel, was a project to say the least.

“To be able to go out and buy some­thing I could af­ford, it had to be some­thing that needed a lot of work done,” he says. “The only way to get the eq­uity was to build the eq­uity into it.”

Mac­don­ald looked at the space of the house like a blank tem­plate, an­a­lyt­i­cally de­ci­pher­ing what he could change and how much it would cost him. Though a fixer-up­per, the house didn’t suf­fer from struc­tural is­sues like wa­ter or foun­da­tion dam­age. Mac­don­ald ac­knowl­edged the house seemed well-loved and taken care of, which so­lid­i­fied his de­ci­sion to spend more than a lit­tle to cre­ate a lot.

With self-im­posed dead­line of two months and far from a sea­soned DIY pro, the hobby Mac­don­ald took on, was a risky hob­ble into the un­known.

“You re­al­ize as soon as you take the walls out...you can’t go back,” he says, paus­ing to laugh. “You can only try to go for­ward.”

But thanks to work­ing in elec­tri­cal sales, Mac­don­ald says he was lucky enough to be well con­nected in the con­struc­tion in­dus­try.

“Hav­ing a net­work of pro­fes­sion­als to lean on for ad­vice is in­valu­able in my opin­ion, be­cause if I didn’t there would have been so many times I’d hit a road block in the DIY and it could’ve held me up for days if I didn’t have an an­swer read­ily avail­able from friends.” The house ben­e­fit­ted from fin­ish de­tails from Char­lotte Sk­iba of Char­lotte

In­te­ri­ors, ex­per­tise from Benoit Elec­tric and grunt work from loved ones.

Mac­don­ald didn’t just re­ceive help­ful ad­vice from friends and fam­ily he got left­over pieces of maple, chop saws, and lots of ex­tra hands help­ing him whit­tle, sand, paint and stain in the wee hours of the morn­ing. Slowly but surely his spe­cific de­sign taste be­gan to man­i­fest the house into his home.

Gut­ting the place of all throw­back decor, Mac­don­ald knocked out nearly five walls, al­low­ing the space to breathe, sanded the floors twice (which he still has night­mares about), and re­source­fully trans­formed scraps of ma­te­rial into a one of kind din­ing room ta­ble. Mac­don­ald’s end re­sult mas­ter­fully jux­ta­poses in­dus­trial and con­tem­po­rary styles.

“I have no back­ground in de­sign,” he says. “But I know what I like. I like ex­pos­ing un-fin­ishes, keep­ing it rus­tic, in­dus­trial and tran­si­tional, but bal­anc­ing it with a de­sign style that’s kind of clean.”

Mac­don­ald says the ar­du­ous process was well worth it, for both the ac­com­plish­ment and his wal­let.

“What’s two-and-a-half months of evenings and week­ends in the grand scheme of things? I walk into my home and just pride­fully look at it now. It’s some­thing I can en­joy every day.”

They look like a dream, but these floors were night­mare in­duc­ing—they had to be sanded and stained twice

Every sin­gle part of this bath­room was gut­ted and re­built, ex­cept for the tub

LIT­TLE BLUE AN­CHOR STU­DIOS

AF­TER

AF­TER

IN PROGRESS

This fire­wood holder is also the last bit of di­vid­ing wall stand­ing on the newly open­con­cept first floor

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