Kitchen with wood beams, white cabinets, hardwood floors

Renos vs. moving

Why some Calgarians are choosing to stay put 

Our homes are our hearts. They are where we live, where we love, where we raise our families and where we make memories.

And as with all aspects of life, the heart wants what it wants. In many cases, this means a change.

However, instead of packing up our lives in boxes and moving to a new space, many Calgarians are opting to stay put and renovate instead, says Susan Rust of Susan Rust Interior Design.
Emotionally, many homeowners feel connected and sentimental to their existing home.

“They may have great friends and neighbours in the area and feel connected to the neighbourhood,” said Rust.


Renovating your home is also practical as it allows you to custom design the space to suit your needs, adds Rust.

Lastly, renovating is a more economical than moving.

“There are non-refundable fees in moving that don’t occur if you renovate: remortgaging penalty fees, moving expenses, REALTOR® fees, inspection fees, lawyers’ fees and upgrades that need to be done in the new house that may not have been expected or anticipated. (i.e. new carpets or carpet cleaning, repair work, adjustments to make it work for you family),” said Rust.

When it comes to top home renos to tackle, Deborah Harrison of inside out design in Calgary says changes to kitchens, master bathrooms/ensuites and family rooms can make any existing home feel like new.

“There’s a romantic idea that the master bedroom/ensuite resembles a sanctuary,” said Harrison. “It’s a space where you can relax and rejuvenate in like a spa.”

To get that spa-like feel, steam is a dream, adds Harrison, noting this luxurious element is being added to showers, along with heated towel racks and floors.

Adding coloured light therapy in showers and tubs, and task lighting and mood lighting for evening is also a popular change that makes a big difference, notes Rust.

“With mood lighting, there’s no need to turn bright lights on during nightly visits to the bathroom, which can completely wake you up and make it harder to get back to sleep,” she said.

The kitchen is the heart and soul of any home. Not just for cooking, this is the hub of the home where people gather.

“Having a well-designed kitchen can greatly improve the quality of life for the family members because it allows for many users to be engaging in many different activities at the same time, while comfortably sharing the same space, communicating and being together as a family,” said Rust.

An emerging trend is to seamlessly integrate appliances within existing spaces.

“We see a lot of integrating appliances into cabinets with just a splash of stainless steel here and there, which keeps the kitchen modern and classic,” said Harrison.

In addition, Rust says some creative design solutions for the popular centre island are reducing clutter, including a pop-up ventilation system for the cooktop that recesses back inside the counter surface when not in use; appliance cabinet that can automatically be recessed back into the cabinets below the counter so they are out of sight when not in use; and built in charging stations for cellphones and iPads.

Lastly, the family/great room is the perfect place to relax and de-stress after a hectic workday.

“It’s a significant room for entertaining guests or a casual relaxing room to hang out with your family,” said Harrison. “Improving its appearance and multiplying its functions by adding specific feature such as a kids’ homework station will benefit the homeowner.”

She notes some upgrades that can renew the space include installing an electric fireplace, custom built-in display and storage bookshelves and comfortable, inviting furniture. For the ultimate comfort: heated hardwood floors will cosy up any family room.

“Updating these spaces with perhaps a few structural changes, selections of quality materials, fresh designs and making spaces more functional, will make any home seem like new,” said Harrison.

“Remember a change is as good as a rest.”

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