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March 23, 2017  |  by Jake Kostelyk

The Renovate vs. Rebuild Dilemma

We've seen the dilemma over and over. A family with a home that they want to completely "Gut and Renovate" or fully "Demolish and Rebuild", and unsure of which path is best for them. 

Their home is either too old, too small, too outdated, poorly designed or perhaps it's even starting to literally fall apart. 

When should a home be torn down to build a new one, and when is a renovation the best option?

Existing Condition of Current Home

First of all, we always ask the question "Do you like the general layout and character of the home? Do you like the overall architectural style? What, in the existing home, do you wish to retain, and why? 

>If the existing home is a basement entry home, and you need a bungalow, a renovation won't solve this. If your old home is 4500 square feet, horribly out of date and in need of a complete renovation, but what you really want is a compact 2000 square foot home, it may be best to consider tearing down and building new. 

If you like the general layout and architectural style, a renovation is often the cost effective solution. Retaining even the foundation and existing framing will save money, allowing you to to invest in quality mechanical systems and beautiful finishes throughout. 

Although your current house may not work well for your lifestyle with it's current layout, a full renovation can allow for walls to be opened up, layouts to change and the space to be complete re-imagined. By combining a more effiecient and open layout with, perhaps, an addition for more space, we can usually create a space that suits the needs of the family at a lower cost than if the house was torn down. 

If you like the overall architecture and space, consider renovating. 

Restrictions and Regulations

Some municipalities have strict regulations regarding the placement and size that a new home would be subject to. In many of these cases, if an old home is torn down, a new one would need to be smaller to coply with "Floor Space Ratio" regulations. Additionally, in many cities, old homes are subject to "Heritage"  or "Character" status, which require a great deal of red tape to demolish, assuming the municipality allows it at all.

Municipalities have a significant influence over what new home would be allowed, and at times, municipal regulations will determine whether a reno or new build is more viable. 

Cost Analysis

In most cases, renovating will be cheaper than building new. A new home automatically triggers all new municipal connections, significantly increased permit fees, HPO (warranty) enrollment fees, all before construction even starts. 

Once construction starts, a new home will be subject to all of the most recent (and stringent) building codes. Although these building codes are developed with the intent to ensure homes are well built, they are very costly. From engineering and ventilation to energy efficiency and insulation, the new home must be fully compliant, which comes at a steep cost.

If you want a new home, be prepared to pay more. While a renovation has the benefit of many "grandfathered" regulations, a new home will require the investment of building to the most recent building codes.


When deliberating whether to fully renovate your home, or build new, there are so many aspects to consider. Our recommendation is to investigate the viability of renovating as your first priority. Many homes can be renovated more significantly than homeowners think, and these renovations are usually less expensive than a new home. If the home does not possess the character, size or is fundamentally unable to be renovated to what you want, then a new home is the natural choice.

At Kenorah, we offer fully integrated Design/Build services for both renovations and custom homes so that we can provide unbiased guidance and explore both options with our clients. If you are struggling to determine the best path forward for your family, we'd love to help by providing whatever guidance we can. 

March 8, 2017  |  by Kenorah

Meet the Designers - Part Three

Lee-Ann Bellis

1. Your role and responsibilities at Kenorah, as well as education, credentials and experience.

I have an Interior Design Certificate from BCIT and my role at Kenorah is Junior Designer. I also help the Lead Designers with sourcing finishes and fixtures, as well as drawings and wherever else they need assistance. 

2. Favorite current design trend

My favorite design trend is geometric tile patterns. Hexagons and penny rounds or herringbone and chevron patterns. 

3. If you had to make one timeless choice for your home, what would it be?

I love white cabinets in the kitchen. It's very timeless and will always look fresh and bright.

4. What do you love most about your job?

The thing I love about my job the most is helping create a comfortable, functional and beautiful space for people to live in..


Lina Tran

1. Your role and responsibilities at Kenorah, as well as education, credentials and experience.

I am a Junior Interior Designer and I have a Diploma in Interior design at Art Institute of Vancouver and a Bachelors of Interior and Spatial Design at University of Technology Sydney Australia. I also have an IDIBC membership.

Kenorah is my first experience in the field of residential design/build. I assist the design leads, prepare CAD drawings, space planning, selecting finishes, working with project managers on site, taking charge as designer in construction phase for a few projects, gaining knowledge/experience to be a design lead with the opportunity to work in designing the Kenorah office and taking on a few renovation projects.

2. Favorite current design trend

I like a Contemporary look, whether its interior to exterior, as well as spaces that are open to one another. I also like materials that have a clean look like added wood or live edge wood to add features.

3. If you had to make one timeless choice for your home, what would it be?

We were able to renovate and make it happen in our home with changing the living spaces (kitchen, dining and living room) into more a social and open area that were previously closed off into more formal areas). Also, updating the traditional BC box house by removing walls to make living spaces into a great room.

4. What do you love most about your job?

I love working with my colleagues and clients, with many personalities and characters that inspire and create a style to their house. The before and after viewing with a “wow” response is always a highlight and I enjoy going through the process from the beginning to the very end. 


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Categories: meet the designers
March 1, 2017  |  by Kenorah

Meet the Designers - Part Two

We are featuring Part Two of Meet our Designers! Next up is Itel our Architectural and Engineering Technologist.

Itel Chung

1. Your role and responsibilities at Kenorah, as well as education, credentials and experience.

I am an Architectural and Engineering Technologist. I graduated from a 3-year diploma program from Thompson Rivers University that included courses in Architectural Design, Structural Engineering, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc. Pretty much anything building related. I grew up doing odd construction jobs and have had hands on experience with framing and finishing.

My responsibilities at Kenorah include designing houses and overseeing renovation design, permitting and anything City related, coordinating Engineers, Geo-techs, surveyors and any other third party involved with the project in design phase, reviewing bylaws and doing prospect research, site measures and on-site assessments. And most importantly, keeping the candy dish full at the office. 

2. Favorite current design trend

The design trend I’m in love with these days is the industrial look. Specifically, the look of raw wood materials and concrete or stainless steel.

3. If you had to make one timeless choice for your home, what would it be?

My timeless choice would be a passive house design. I’m obsessed with natural light and during the day I don’t want to rely on electricity to illuminate the space.

4. What do you love most about your job?

My job allows me to be creative and technical at the same time. You can design something beautiful but at the end of the day, you still have to figure out how to construct it. 


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Categories: meet the designers
February 20, 2017  |  by Kenorah

Meet the Designers - Part One

We thought it would be fun for our clients and blog readers to learn a bit more about our Design Team, as they will be Blog Contributors in 2017. We took the opportunity to ask them some questions about their design background, what trends they are liking and more. 

We are kicking things off with our two Design Leads, Leslie and Vanessa. Enjoy!

Leslie Teague

1. Your role and responsibilities at Kenorah, as well as education, credentials and experience.

I am a Design Lead. I went to school at BCIT for Interior Design ande I have 10 years experience in the residential construction industry. My role is to assist the home owners in designing their new home or renovation. All the way from creating a layout that is beautiful and functional, selecting finishes, plumbing, lighting etc.   It is my job to guide them through the design journey and create a beautiful new space

2. Favorite current design trend?

I do like the trend towards less upper cabinetry in a kitchen and more open/floating shelves. I like the airiness and lighter feel it creates in a kitchen.

3. If you had to make one timeless choice for your home, what would it be?

I am still always a fan of the subway tile. It is timeless and can work with many different design styles.

4. What do you love most about your job?

Working with the clients and seeing the joy when they get to see the project complete. Working at Kenorah I get to explore all different types of design as each client has a style and taste that is their own. It is fun as you don’t get stuck in a rut of doing the same things over and over.


Vanessa Palframan

1. Your role and responsibilities at Kenorah, as well as education, credentials and experience.

I’m a Design Lead. I am certified with the National Kitchen and Bath Association (I have my AKBD), I am also a Registered Interior Designer (with the Interior Designers Institute of BC). I have worked in design for about 7 years and started in kitchen design.

2. Favorite current design trend?

            I’m loving geometric shapes, and I’m still a big fan of colour.

3. If you had to make one timeless choice for your home, what would it be?

A well planned functional kitchen. We spend so much time in the kitchen, cooking and socializing that having a place for everything is so important, from seating, and storage to cooking and cleaning.

4. What do you love most about your job?

I love working with people to create the spaces that work for them. Those spaces become not only functional, but an extension of their personalities and styles. 


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Categories: meet the designers