Jun 182014

My Dad knew an architect who is good at working with heritage houses, Annabel Vaughan. Annabel was nice enough to give the District of Maple Ridge a call to find out about building permits.

The building dept. said they couldn’t issue a building permit.


Apparently, the two houses on our double lot are lying smack on top of the property line dividing the two lots!

See the two houses? See that line that runs vertically straight through them? Yup.

See the two houses? See that line that runs vertically straight through them? Yup.

So what do you do when the building dept. says no?

You call the  heritage department, and that’s what Annabel did. Lisa Zosiak, Heritage Planner at the DMR, told Annabel about a new Heritage Revitalization Agreement they had developed that would let us renovate and preserve the houses for generations.

The HRA meant that our reno plans would go through District Council for approval. After that, we would need a Heritage Alteration Permit to make further changes to the “character-defining elements”. We decided to plan out everything we want to do to the house, not just the bathroom, and get everything approved at once.

This really appeals to me because I grew up in a house that was never quite finished.

Annabel worked with us and this is what we came up with for the bathroom.

First, here is the existing bathroom again:

This is the bathroom as it is. It is next to the master bedroom and the office (once the pantry with the kitchen sink before we updated the kitchen). Where the wall notches in at the closet is the source of the foundation problems.

It’s actually a very square room.

And here’s what Annabel came back with:

I guess you may notice the extra 10 feet added on to the back of the house. More on that another time...

I guess you may notice the extra 10 feet added on to the back of the house. More on that another time…

We love this design!

A guiding principle to our vision is to create the house we want to live in for the rest of our lives. A forever house.

The bathtub and shower will be separated, probably by glass, from the rest of the room so that less humidity escapes.

We love the double sinks, the space for linen and the toilet tucked around the corner.

And we love love love the walk-in closet with it’s window to let in natural light. That is a north-facing wall so it will not be direct sunlight, but at least we’ll see our clothes in their true colours. The bedroom is small, and the original closet is tiny, dark and cold. At the moment our clothes are cluttering up our bedroom in a dresser and free-standing wardrobe. –OK, let’s be honest: our clean clothes are usually left in a laundry basket on the bedroom floor because we don’t have time to put them away. There, I said it.

By paying attention to details that are important to us, we will add another natural step in the evolution of this house and ensure that it is preserved as a beautiful, comfortable, sustainable home.

  5 Responses to “The Bathroom Plan”

  1. […] Annabel the architect knew a guy named James Burton. James’ firm happened to be working with Maple Ridge on some heritage stuff, so Annabel thought hiring him would be a natural choice. […]

  2. […] case is not so simple, however, and maybe they never are. At a bare minimum, we need to renovate the northeast corner where the bathroom is. We also need to resolve the issue with the lot lines I told you about. […]

  3. […] This line of thinking is how we came to adding a spare room and bathroom for the kids upstairs, a larger bathroom and closet downstairs, and a comfortable covered back porch. From a sustainability perspective, it was comforting to know […]

  4. […] I told him the story of our renovation that grew and the frustration that grew as well. I told him about the beautiful but stalled community […]

  5. […] have to get a Heritage Alteration Permit, so we should put all our plans on paper now including a larger bathroom, a master closet and a bathroom for the kids […]

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