Ink and Reverie – Changing the Plan AGAIN! The Dream House is Having a Little Baby…and No, I’m Not Pregnant

There has been some big decisions made on this front in the past few weeks…


As you know, together with my fabulous architect Wallace Brown, we’ve been working on the drawings and plans for the ‘dreamhouse’ for almost 2 years now and as the date approached towards ‘groundbreaking’, I found myself getting increasingly stressed and uneasy about the decision.

Here’s the jist of why:

The lot we purchased is a few doors down from where we live now, which is essentially, the worst street in the nicest area sort of deal.  As such, the return for anything we sell down the line sort of caps out at a certain amount. As the plans for the house continued to develop, it became increasingly clear that what I want to build is going to exceed that cap. On top of that, and to be very frank/honest, the new build is definitely pushing our limits in terms of budget at this point.  With my business just really starting and my husband in a new job for less than a year, it just doesn’t seem like the best possible time to dive into such a huge financial commitment.  Though I’m a creative at heart, my DNA does have some banker in it and seeing those kind of debt numbers on paper just sort of made my heart sink.

So…after a meeting with our banker last week, I sort of came to a very clear realization that this house on this lot and at this time, just wasn’t meant to be…and then I wallowed in self pity for about 24 hours…after that, I pulled up my big girl panties and started thinking strategically.

And at the end of a 3 day brainstorming session with myself, I presented hubs with my grand plan and I’m SO excited about it…I think you’re going to be to.

On the lot right now stands a 60 year old tear down…

383 pine

…and I don’t say that lightly. It’s a shit box…no redeeming architectural details…knob and tube wiring…tile that is very likely made of asbestos…cracking plaster…a kitchen addition build with no foundation or insulation etc. etc.  My big master plan is to renovate the sucker to within in inch of it’s life…stick a garage on it and wrap it up in a big shiny ‘looks great for as little money as possible’ bow.  In 5 months, I want to basically build a new house and then flip the sucker for a profit.  My very own little…

project flip

Working for us, is our neighbourhood…it’s very in demand and building lots alone fetch a pretty penny. Creating a nicely finished house at the price point we’ll hope to sell for puts us in a good place because we really did buy the lot for a comparative steal and there’s very little inventory in the range we’ll list it for.

So yah…on paper and in my head, I don’t see how this plan of mine can fail…and when it does work (thinking positively of course:) we’ll bank the profit and be in a really good place to find a lot that’s better suited to the ‘one day’ house…and we’ll be in a better place financially to take that much bigger plunge.

While all of this is happening, I’m going to be blogging every single week about progress/plans/money etc. etc. I want to show everyone the reality of what’s going on…both in terms of building/planning and budget.

In my head, I totally see already what I want the house to be…the look I’m going for is going to be ‘modern Georgian bistro’…white siding, black windows, restrained details, no trim, horizontal interior paneling etc…

Here’s some inspiration I’ve pulled so far…




interior inspiration project flip christine dovey



panelling project flip christine dovey

Design notes:

– wall to wall subway tile in kitchen

– black windows

– no crown/trim

– horizontal panel moulding

– some wood accents

– IKEA kitchen – lower cabinets only with open shelves above

– vintage lighting

– great room/kitchen/living at the back

Basically, I want this house to be a very scaled down version of what I want to do in the dream house but with less fussiness/marble/moulding/herringbone etc.  I’m hoping it will be a bit more stream-lined and warm if that makes sense…it needs to appeal to the masses so there won’t be wallpaper with busts or pink ceilings anywhere…white, black and wood etc.

Stay tuned for more apres the holidays…this is going to be a whirlwind of renovation and real estate fun because though I definitely would have loved to have jumped right into the dream house as planned, making lemons of lemonade is always when the best things happen.  Challenges make for the best steps forwards and I’m really so excited about this new venture…feeling lucky to be able to do this and to get to share it with all of you!!!

And PS, if you live in the Toronto area and are looking to buy, you may want to wait until October 2015:)


  1. Sounds awesome Christine. Wishing you much luck on this new undertaking. It’s gonna be great!

  2. Jen

    You know I’m looking to move out to the west end, right? 😉 White, black, and wood is right up my alley. So excited to read along on this new adventure Christine!

  3. Leah

    way to turn the situation! also, you will be able to flex more of those design muscles:). cannot wait to see the progress!! xo

  4. Dianne

    I hope you have lined up some great sponsors. What better advertising for them? This is going to be exciting. I will definitely be along for the ride. Love your spirit!

  5. you will turn out a doozy of a house that plenty of people will want to buy so your dream house is certainly on the horizon. can’t wait to see it all happen.

  6. Peggy

    I personally would not buy a home where the kitchen was wall to wall subway tile. I would feel like I was in a public washroom. It needs to be softer to feel like home.

  7. Way to think smart. I can’t wait to follow this, and I totally can relate to the whole building is WAYY more expensive than you think. Material cost is ridiculous! 🙂

  8. Kimberly

    love all your inspiration photos. Can’t wait to watch this project unfold. I’m a newbie so I think I’ve found my must read blog. Thanks!

  9. I already know I’m going to love this new series…thanks in advance for letting us tag along!

  10. Amy

    Sorry to hear your dream home is being delayed! But in the other hand happy to see you will have a project to satisfy you in the meantime!
    We have talked about what building will look like one day and I foresee a lot of these problems as well. I’ll be following project flip.

  11. I think this is a fabulous idea Christine! Plus how fun you get to do this twice. And you will learn so much that round two will truly be perfection. I sure wished I lived up there….cause I would want to buy this baby. Plus you get double blogging material…all I see is upside!

  12. This is all AMAZING! I’m already very excited about all your ideas. I know it’s going to be gorgeous. All the best.xx.

  13. Nancy

    Oh goodie! This is going to be so fun to watch! I am confident that you’ll pull it off with tons of style. I’ll be reading along.

  14. Sally

    Your blog just turned into my favourite kind of blog – real people (with real budgets) renovating while all of us get to follow along. Excited to see you wave your magic wand over the property and make it something special!

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