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The first week of our home renovation

Amazing team. Amazing life.

It’s been a full week since we got possession of the new home. It’s been a long week. A busy week. A productive week.

I knew going into this project that it wasn’t going to be easy and that we would run into bumps along the way. So I wasn’t totally surprised at some of the things we discovered as we tore down walls, lifted old hardwood and poked around in the ceiling.


Most people would be afraid to take on such a big project. So many people ask us how we maintain a sane mind (for the most part). I guess what it comes down to are our experiences and personalities. Ben and I have very realistic expectations, follow crazy deadlines and have insane ambition. Not to mention we are best friends and make a great team.

This isn’t our first rodeo. Ben and I bought our first home together.  I was 26 and had a passion for home decor and design. Ben was 30 and had already owned 2 other properties, one of which was a new build. We decided to tackle our first renovation project in our first home. Ben was handy enough to do some smaller jobs and knew many trades who could get the other work done. I have always been a leader, great delegator and been able to keep our team on the project’s timeline. I have always been good with money and financially controlled and kept us on budget; while Ben was amazing at keeping the trades on task and working.

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Not to mention we are two feisty Italians and knew how to keep everyone on track in a positive and respectful way. (Using lots of hand gestures and slightly louder than usual voices, charm, and charisma)

Since our first major house renovation in 2006, together, we have renovated 2 other properties. More recently, Ben has completed his Realtors license and has partnered with his best friend to create Ultra Property Group. Together with their team, they buy, revitalize and put back on the market beautifully renovated homes across Calgary.

Everyone wants the ability to go big, buy big, live big…we had. The funny thing is, it didn’t align with our values or beliefs, ever. At first, we were thinking in the typical Calgary way – 25-year amortization, invest in a home, live through a boom, make a lot of money, sell your home, take out equity, move into the bigger home and repeat. The problem was it wasn’t who we were and yet we felt very pressured by life and people around us to keep up. Which seems so ridiculous looking back.

When did that change for us?

A couple of years back, Ben and I sat together one night and mapped out our values. We discussed how we wanted to live our lives together. We discussed our individual goals and our family’s goals. Which BTW I think is a fantastic exercise that all couple should do. It really gets you on the same page, helps you set goals together and allows you to understand and support one another through your differences.

We were about a decade into our journey of life together. We had three kids and a dog. We weren’t going to have any more children or dogs. This was it. We wanted to start living life the way we wanted. We wanted less because we knew it would give us more. One of the goals we discussed was downsizing to a space that would better utilize square footage. We wanted a space we could invest in to create an intentional and beautiful home but still get a good return.

Week one has come to a close and we did so much work together as a family and as a couple. One night Ben and I sat there pulling out over a thousand staples and added over 500 new screws to the builder’s grade floor from 1979. There we were working in the moonlight because we had no power for lights. We got frustrated, we got annoyed, we laughed, we told stories and we finished. Our backs were sore and palms bruised. We left excited and in love with our home and each other.


Week one brought us several hidden wasps nests in the insulation, mouse droppings (ewwww…which was immediately dealt with and resolved), beams, boards, and engineers that had us slightly changing our plans and my least favorite…traces of black mold that led to having to tear down and remediate a wall.

Despite all the curve balls, I can’t believe how much we accomplished in a short week! Now we head into week 2 with all the surprises we encountered fixed. The house is in prime shape for the next step. Our new windows arrive soon, some framing work to be done and the new subfloor to be installed. The sunroom skylights arrive this week and we will be meeting with insulation specialists, our tile guy, and finalizing some design ideas.

Our deadline is November 15th. I know this seems like a lofty goal and many of our friends and family members think we’re completely crazy to think we will be living there so soon but they don’t know our secret. We are an amazing team, we planned this out and we made room for oversights. I guess now we will have to see and leave it in the hands of time….and two Italians.

I believe we got this. Keep following to find out

till the next post,


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