Monday, March 30, 2015


Here's the main reason why we decided to make a second-storey addition on our house: a new addition to our family.  Her name is Leah, but I usually call her "Bean".

Bean is pretty happy most of the time, because she doesn't have to worry about renovating a house, or work, and stuff like that.

Bean got off to a pretty rough start in her little life but we're super fortunate to have the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) here in Ottawa, and a world-class team of neonatal intensive care, cardiology and surgical specialists. Bonus that we live only 5 minutes away.

This picture is in the house while we wait for final permit drawings and approvals. Once they're done we'll have to move out to a rented apartment. Bean is doing just fine now.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Japanese / Canadian Renovation

Hi, this is my blog about a Japanese / Canadian renovation of a small 1950's era "storey and a half" bungalow in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. This whole process started over three years ago when I reached out to a few local architects to see what it would take to design a second-storey addition for the house.

The original house is about 24' x 28', minus one set-back corner, with less than 700 square feet on the main floor. The basement level features a nice walk-out that lets in lots of natural light.

There were a bunch of objectives you might expect of a renovation:
  • more space, obviously
  • a functional kitchen to replace the tiny, awkward layout f the exiting one
  • improved insulation and damp-proofing
  • plumbing and electrical rough-ins in the basement to enable it to be used as an in-law suite
  • improving drainage in the basement walk-out area
But the real reason I started looking for architects is because of the Japanese features I wanted:
  • a Japanese-style "ofuro" bathing room.
  • a tatami room with real tatami mats
  • a design that blended western and Japanese aesthetics (something Frank Lloyd Wright did).

After selecting an architectural firm, the design process itself took a long time, but we eventually got a design that we were fairly happy with. There were things we'd have wished to be different but couldn't do, because of the shape of the original house, the narrow lot, proximity to the flood plain and other issues that came up during the whole design process.

This shows the final design as of April 2015. Overall this is a pretty good interpretation of the Japanese / Canadian idea and will be really nice when it's finished.

The Top of the Slope

After a year-long hiatus I've been wanting to get back to this blog because a lot has happened in the meantime, and a lot of interesting...