It’s not unusual these days to see a small wartime home being torn down to make way for modern infill. As a 1940’s solution to the wartime and post-war housing needs in communities Canada wide, the form and function of these small homes served their purpose well, but over the years homeowners have started to consider the wartime home footprint too small and not built for the lifestyles of today’s families.

Wartime Homes Don’t Have to Be Destined for Destruction

Stop the wrecking ball! Even with the challenge of working with a small footprint and close promixity to neighbouring homes, wartime homes don’t have to be demolished in order to be enlarged. With some creative design, these modest dwellings can be reimagined and reinvented as modern living spaces. Here at Lagois, we’ve had the pleasure of transforming a number of these homes in Ottawa – with dramatic results.

Our most recent wartime home renovation on Atlantis Avenue was featured in the 2017 Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association Reno Tour – a house tour showcasing the work of RenoMark-certified builders. Lagois is proud member of RenoMark – a national body whose membership abides by a strict renovation-specific code of conduct.

“We take pride in being a RenoMark member. Events like the RenoTour are a great opportunity for us to showcase our earned membership and be included in the vetted list of respected Ottawa RenoMark Renovators”, said Herb Lagois, Owner of Lagois Design Build Renovate.

The popular tour raised $3,500.00 for Habitat for Humanity in 2017, one of Lagois’ charities of choice. Throughout the day, 181 visitors toured the home and were able to speak with the Lagois team who were on site to answer questions. Guests commented that the space looks “like a real, liveable space” as opposed to a stuffy magazine shoot, and they were shocked at how much extra space and functionality was packed into the home, on its original foundation.

Taking a Wartime Home from 1 ½ to 2 Full Storeys

The work at the Atlantis house started with demolishing the existing half second floor and expanding the main floor with an addition at the rear of the house. The reconfiguration of the new full storey on the second floor allowed for a large master bedroom and ensuite plus two extra bedrooms, a bathroom and a closet. The rear addition features a bright, airy and modern kitchen with hardwood flooring that transitions seamlessly to the original flooring of the house.

One of the many visitors who passed through the home was the owner of a nearby wartime home with the exact same original interior, except in mirrored orientation. They were really excited to see the renovation and be able to “be in it” to better visualize the changes they’re hoping to make to their home.

Other guests were charmed by the exterior of the home. While it was noticeably different from its original form, it still managed to maintain a style and scale that was complimentary to the other homes on the street. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the roof line has been rotated – a key component to adding more space to the full 2nd storey.

Feedback on the interior of the home was equally favourable. “Modern yet cozy”. “Expansive yet intimate.” Ultimately, we’ve renovated this house to feel like a new home altogether.

Having the chance to see how the Lagois team has used different finishes, materials and colours in full scale really helps guests to imagine what they could do with their own renovations. For example, the high gloss white finish paired with wood grains on the cabinetry gives the kitchen a modern/contemporary look with just the right amount of warmth – a feeling that is hard to capture with small showroom samples. This is one of the reasons why we love the RenoTour event so much each year – we’re showcasing our renovations in full scale.

Are you the owner of a small wartime home? Do you want to discuss the possibilities for breathing new life into your house? Lagois Design Build Renovate has extensive experience in renovating wartime homes in Ottawa and would be happy to start the conversation with you about reinventing your home. Give us a call. We’d love to chat!

Don’t miss the 2018 Greater Ottawa Homeowner’s Associaton RenoMark RenoTour. Subscribe to our newsletter for advance notice of next years’ GOHBA/RenoMark Tour.