Since starting this CCSR Interior Design blog, I haven’t made it really personal – and just thought of it more as a blog where I could share little tips that I have learnt, or some information on current projects we are doing. Well, today that will change a little bit! I thought I would share a little bit about myself – and also take you alongside my family as we embark on a little adventure we will title “Our Big House Renovation”. Now this might seem like a strange title – so I will give you a little bit of a back story – and get a little bit personal.
My name is Christa Carls Sophia Robinson (this is where the CCSR comes from), and I started my little Interior Design company in 2008. Going back a little bit further – I started school for ID in January of 2006 and got married in July of that year. I completed my Management Certificate in Interior Design in 2007 and had spent some time interning and then getting hired on as a Jr. ID at a design firm on Granville Island. Then in late 2007, I got my dream job working downtown Vancouver at a wonderful firm – until August 2008 when I went on maternity leave. During that time, I had also spent my evenings going to school to finish my Diploma of Technology – and then returned to school again after my daughter, Sophia, was born in October 2008. Alas, my heart was definitely in school and learning about the more commercial aspects of Interior Design – but I had to admit that my girl and my husband were my priority and held my heart with a firmer grip. So, I slowly let the dream of finishing school end. (Sad – but I’m okay!)
My supportive husband (who occasionally thinks I’m crazy!!!) saw me through starting up CCSR Interior Design in August of 2008 – and by starting up I mean doing the odd re-decorating project/working on everyone’s house as a favour for my portfolio/working on stranger’s homes for [almost] free. I mean how else does one get a start in business when they are having babies and loving being a mom/wife at the same time???? 🙂 This is I guess where the first part of the story of “Our Big House Renovation” starts – we bought our home in 2007 – a 2000 sq foot rancher in our home town of Maple Ridge, BC. We were younger then (ha ha!) and couldn’t afford to really do anything to it’s interior – but we didn’t care – because we were in OUR HOUSE! The photos below, are the photos taken from when it was listed for sale.
Almost a year and a half after moving in, for the sake of my “portfolio”, my husband agreed to re-decorating our living room and dining room. My husband is really responsible with money – and doesn’t usually see any reason to spend any of it on furniture/decor… – I MEAN – COMMON! (Can you see where we may occasionally disagree???) So I got him to agree to some re-decoration, and by that I mean, actually buying furniture (we didn’t really own any at this point!). Did I mention that he may have agreed to the “project”, but funding it was another story! So, I cashed in my Airmiles points for Pier 1 gift cards and went to work – with my $2200 budget. (PS Urban Barn Outlet in Coquitlam was my best friend – talk about deals on pieces that were just the tiniest bit damaged) Now, don’t be too hard on me – I can honestly say that I did the best I could with what I had – and this was almost 5 years ago! 🙂
So, fast forward almost a year, and we hear about some new bylaws that were being passed in Maple Ridge. Now, to understand my husband better is to know that he really tries to stay informed. He is always surfing the net (that sounds so 90s) and reading up on something new interesting thing – and he also really likes to explore paths not yet taken. SO… we decide that we should take part in an experiment with one of these new bylaws that were in effect. The one that caught our eye was this thing called a Garden Suite. (Simplified Definition – A seperate dwelling on a property no more than 968 sq ft) Now, my husband is lovely and allowed me to design this little house from the ground up – I got the chance to learn about foundations, roof pitches, vaulted ceilings, exterior elevations, sections, structural engineering, etc. And we came up with the plans for our little house – and began construction in late 2009.
My husband, our 18 month old daughter and I moved into the “Little House” in May 2010 and began renting out the “Big House” with the intent of staying in this 968 sq ft home for three years. I bet you can now see where this story is going! During these past [almost] three years – we welcomed our first son Levi into our lives in October of 2010, and then our second son Theo in July of 2012. And our little home that fit three comfortably, and four tightly – now fits five – o wait – it doesn’t really fit five at all!
At the end of January, our tenants had made the decided to move to another house – which was an incredible blessing – and we have now begun the huge process of figuring out if renovation is in our future. Have I mentioned that we get possession of our “Big House” March 1st – and have I mentioned that we have a new tenant for our “Little House”/Garden Suite April 1st. If you have done the math in your head – that gave me 2 weeks to make some plans, 2 weeks to order fixtures, millwork, appliances, windows, flooring, doors, and trim, and 4 weeks to get this thing BUILT???
So, as of yesterday my husband and I had one last chat about if we were going to do this thing – and today it is official – we are on this new adventure titled “Our Big House Renovation”. With the excitement that a renovation brings – what better way for me to remember the chaos that will surely ensue – than to BLOG to entire process for your enjoyment! Pray for me please – and for my dear dear children – as their mumma might come unglued! But, don’t worry too much – as we have done something similar to this in the past. Click HERE to see a video of when we renovated a 2700 sq foot home in 1 month.