Shane Rennie and his wife are seasoned renovators, so they wanted a home with "great bones" they could put their personal stamp on. Andrea Cox / For CREB®Now

A blank canvas

Shane Rennie is putting his renovation expertise to work on his family’s new Scarboro home

Shane Rennie and his wife Nilo are seasoned renovators. Rennie owns Rectangle Design Inc., a design, build and renovation company, so he knows the business inside and out. And together, the couple has renovated more than a dozen of their own personal homes. They had been living in Marda Loop, but it was time for a change. They wanted a quieter neighbourhood, close to a great school, where they could raise their two children, who are eight and 10. They also wanted a home with great bones that they could put their personal stamp on. After almost a year of searching, they found a 1,400-square-foot, mid-century, split-level home on the ridge in the century-old neighbourhood of Scarboro and are currently in the midst of renovating.

CREB®Now: What attracted you to the community of Scarboro?

Shane Rennie: We had been living in the South Calgary/Marda Loop area for the last 10 years. It’s an incredible neighbourhood. But we had sold our house and were living in a condo, while looking for a home that we could put a little value back into. A little gem came up for sale in Scarboro, which is a community that we honestly thought that we would never be able to move into. We had been looking throughout the inner-city, and as far south as Lake Bonavista, in areas that had less density. We wanted the kids to be able to ride their bikes without worrying about traffic. Then our agent found the house in Scarboro. We weren’t looking in this neighbourhood because we didn’t think that it was in the cards financially. The street and the school are fantastic. The house was at the top of our budget, but for this neighbourhood it was still really reasonable.

CREB®Now: What is your renovation plan?

Shane Rennie: Our first vision was a substantial renovation that was going to add 2,000 square feet – it was quite grand. But we scaled it back. We realized that we didn’t need as much house. We put into effect a three-phased renovation plan.

“Our first vision was a substantial renovation that was going to add 2,000 square feet – it was quite grand. But we scaled it back. We realized that we didn’t need as much house.”

Before we moved in, we completed step one, which was a mini-renovation to make the home more livable. It included sprucing up the bathrooms and making the bedrooms more functional. We’ve just wrapped up the second part. We’ve made the exterior more appealing, we painted out the flooring and the walls, replaced the kitchen cabinetry, and did a thorough cleanup to set the stage for what is going to take place over the next couple of years, which is a 600-square-foot addition off of the back of the home to take advantage of the views. The part that we are most excited about is the 100-square-foot addition off of the main floor – it will be a glass box that will house the kitchen to take advantage of the sweeping views of the downtown skyline and also of the new train bridge. I don’t know why, but both my wife and I are obsessed with watching the trains come across the bridge in the evening.

CREB®Now: How was your experience using a REALTOR®?

Shane Rennie: Having the right Realtor is crucial, and our experience was fantastic. My wife and I think that we are know-it-alls. We have been doing renovation projects for a long time – almost 20 years – but we didn’t even see this house on the MLS® System and it had been listed for a month. Our agent brought it to us and we were so delighted. She knew what we were looking for. It had to be the right fit and accommodate a renovation – a home that we could put our personal touch on – and she found it. She was amazing.

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