We recently completed our renovation with Urban Studio and were very pleased with the end result. We purchased our 1913 workers cottage with the intent of renovating it as it was in dire need of some love and modern conveniences. The one storey structure had beautiful 10-foot ceilings and was on a nice sized lot but we needed more space for our growing family. Urban Studio assisted us through the design, a very iterative process, where I was able to infuse my vision into every square inch of what we wanted for our "new" home. We went from a one-storey 1 bedroom + den and 1.5 bath house to a two-storey 3 bedroom (+1) and 3.5 bath house. We gutted the main floor, underpinned our basement to 8 foot ceilings (previously 6 foot) and added a brand new second storey addition. Throughout the process Joseph was very hands-on and responsive to our needs and concerns. He was also very patient as I was a very hands-on client and was regularly at the house doing site checks and quality control/ contract administration. I had a very specific vision in mind for our home and Joseph and the Urban Design team helped execute exactly what I wanted, bringing my vision to life.
We chose to renovate during COVID and while this brought a set of challenges (material cost increases, etc.) Joseph was very communicative and oftentimes took on any additional costs to see our project through to the finish line. We had anticipated a 36-week construction timeline and he pushed the team to maintain our timelines despite the uncertainties and material challenges throughout the pandemic. At the end of the project, we only had a 4-week delay which is near perfect if you've ever undertaken a construction project of this magnitude.
Joseph kept us up-to-date on all things going on at the house, and took time out of his busy schedule to arrange for face-to-face meetings at the house on a bi-weekly and at times weekly basis. He provided a list of many suppliers which served as a great basis/ starting point for sourcing materials (flooring, tile, vanities, baseboard, moulding, etc.) and we had a great experience with many of his trades (particularly his fine finishing carpenters Rezo and team who were absolutely incredible and very open to building items I had hand sketched).
Joseph's kitchen designers were amazing and very responsive to my vision. They not only delivered exactly what I was looking for but worked with me in their warehouse to design the perfect shaker cabinet fronts, custom cutting a shallow depth front. The cabinetry is very high-end and amazing quality, all soft close and wonderful built-in garbage, recycle and composting solutions. They were also open to my suggestions and accommodated all of my kitchen requests. The kitchen designer also built our living room built-ins and front entryway bench and shaker shelving. They took my hand sketches and turned them into beautiful, high-end pieces that add so much character and charm to our home.
Everything in our home is exactly how we wanted it to be and I was able to flex my passion for design while being supported by knowledgable trades. As with every construction project, there will always be unexpected things you encounter but Joseph was quick to inform us and support us in pivoting our design to accommodate any changes. If you're not comfortable taking the design lead, Joseph is also very knowledgable and can provide his depth of experience to assist in decision making. If there is something that you want and you are clear in your expectations, he will ensure your vision is brought to life.
Following our move in, Joseph has also been very responsive in "fixing" any small details we may have missed, and was quick to send out trades to complete my check-list of items. He also provides a 5-year warranty on his services so we can sleep easy knowing that he will be there to support us down the line if anything comes up.
Things to keep in mind if you plan on signing the dotted line:
- Go check out Joseph's work and follow-up with his references. He provided us with a long list and it helped us make the decision to go with him. See projects in every phase/stage of design so you know what to expect and so you also get to see his workmanship throughout each stage of the project
- Be sure to purchase your fixtures and finishes in advance so you're able to find exactly what you want (lighting, bathroom fixtures). Having these ready to go will avoid any rushed purchases
- Find precedents of what you like (Pinterest, Instagram, etc.) so these can guide your design and decisions throughout the process
- Know that you will hit a point of decision fatigue, make sure you have thought through the details in advance so you're prepared to make decisions promptly
All in all we are so pleased with the outcome of our project. We have received so many compliments from neighbours and passersby and oftentimes look out our window to find people admiring our new home.
Thank you to Joseph and the Urban Design Studio team for being so great to work with, I know I wasn't the easiest client but they were patient, friendly and delivered on everything I dreamed.