Families grow and times change, creating the need to expand living spaces and update cottages.
One family, which recently welcomed a baby, realized their three-season cottage was no longer suitable for their requirements. Not only was the living space within the cottage too small and compartmentalized, but they also wanted to spend more time there throughout the year.
It was a very dated building which needed a full makeover, explains Mike Vettese of GBS contracting. Though the old cottage was what one would call a classic, it didn’t meet a modern family lifestyle.
“When we first started the project, there were walls everywhere,” he recalls. “Every room was its own small space, walled in, with a tiny kitchen. The family really wanted to open the place up. Plus, with them wanting to live there year-round, it needed to have proper insulation, venting and siding to protect the interior.”
Knowing the extensive work needed to renovate the old cottage and make it new, Mike wondered if his clients had any emotional attachment to any parts of the house. They didn’t.
“They wanted it all to be like new but using the existing building and foundation as the footprint to work with,” he says. “Sometimes families will have nostalgic feelings about a fireplace or a particular room, but in this case, they were very happy to have a cottage that felt brand new.”
In fact, the old cottage didn’t even have a fireplace to be nostalgic about. This one does after GBS put one in.
All told, the cottage that was once 1,500 square feet of living space all on the upper floor now has 2,500 square feet of living space spread over two floors. Mike and his team even had to adjust the stair height going to the lower level because it was so low, “you couldn’t walk down without hitting your head.”
Now, the lower level features a lovely master bedroom with its own ensuite washroom and walk-out to the lakefront. There’s also, a small bedroom (which could also be an office) and another bathroom, plus a living room which also has a walkout to the lakeside paths.
The upper level also has three bedrooms and its own washroom, plus the open concept living space the family wanted, with big bay windows offering stunning views of the lake vista. You can walk out to the wrap-around deck and sit outside or open the windows and enjoy a cooling cross breeze while staying safe from the bugs.
“They now have the right cottage for their family to enjoy for years to come,” says Mike.
One reno, one contractor
One of the reasons this family – and others – choose GBS for their renovation projects is Mike and his team will be the only ones working on their home.
While they do have trusted local subtrades they work with – specifically electricians and plumbers – most of their projects are completed entirely by full-time GBS employees.
That means the walls, the insulation, the roof, the deck – and everything in between – are from one company that is accountable and responsible for what happens.
But, as Mike says, their team of seasoned staff include experts at various contracting disciplines.
“Our team takes pride in doing the job right the first time,” he says. “Having one team for the majority of a project gives peace-of-mind to the home and cottage owners who work with us.”
Projects big and small
Over the years, GBS has worked on contracting projects both big and small, from full renovations to necessary additions.
Another recently completed project involved adding what is essentially a separate apartment at a generational family home.
Some of the family wanted to move into the existing cottage permanently, so they enlisted GBS to create an addition to the original building without impacting what has been there for decades.
They wanted to be able to move easily between the two spaces, but have them separate enough that it provided full privacy.
Using a breezeway to connect the two spaces, Mike and his team built a two-bedroom living space complete with a kitchen and bathroom adding 1,100 square feet to the structure.
“It’s like having two-houses attached,” he says. “This family got exactly what they wanted and needed to live together – but separately.”
TEXT CHRIS OCCHIUZZI | PHOTOS ANDREW FEARMAN