Monday Morning Quarterback

Perhaps I’ll try being positive, for a change!

I have completed the renovation at my new condo at West Side Lofts, and I’m quite pleased with the results.

Sure, I wish that my “finished” “new” condo was in better condition than when I took occupancy on September 28th, but it just reaffirms the old adage, “If you want something done well, do it yourself…..and pay for it out of your own pocket.”

I’d love to know what you all think – honest opinions, please!

I’m not a fan of the long front hallway, but the space itself is decent and being a corner unit means tons of windows.  The colour scheme is excellent, if I do say so, and I’m very pleased with the finishes that I chose (I didn’t really show the bathrooms, but they look great too).

It’s been a grind, but it’s done, and the awful, concrete shell of a condo that I was given back in September is all but a distant memory.

For those of you that never saw the YouTube classic, the first time around, click below:

Quite the difference, wouldn’t you say?

Also, just for kicks, here’s a look at the “finished” concrete walls that I was forced to drywall over.  There were dozens of these little holes:


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  1. David Fleming says:

    @ Bob & Buk

    Trust me – I wanted to keep some loft features. It just looked so incredibly awful the way it was that there was no way to find a tenant (I need one or else I lose $1300/month for a year), and I can’t imagine buyers looking at the concrete mess and putting fair purchase price on paper.

    The unit still contains some original loft features: exposed concrete ceiling, exposed duct work, high ceililngs, floor to ceiling windows, etc.

    I had to make a judgement call based on my experience.

    We’ll see how things turn out.

  2. buk says:

    i agree. you’ve lost the essence of the loft. now it’s just your run of the mill condo.

  3. Bob says:

    Someone said that you made it look less like a loft, and much more like a suburban house (with the beige paint color and the baseboards…) And I agreed with them. (I’m sorry!)

  4. Duncan Scott says:

    Great work David! Great before and afters!

  5. Billy O says:


    Great renovations. Good luck with selling the place, I’m sure you will be able to with it’s new and improved look.

  6. mcbloggert says:

    @ Toronto

    It’s funny when Dave said it took three weeks I was amazed that he got it done so quickly! My experience with contractors and minor renos is that it takes forever! Materials get ordered then delayed, other materials are out of stock, wait more time, contractor gets sick, then the sub-contractor doesn’t show up – you name it!

    As for the unit’s value – well, I think this is just a case of armchair quarterbacks calling it as they see it! It is probably safe to say the the majority of this blog readership is interested in real estate because it is (most likely) their biggest investment – as such, they pay attention to the market and make broad generalizations that are often coloured by emotions e.g. “I can’t believe how overvalued the market is”, which really means, “how am I going to afford what I really want, when I can only afford is X”…

    While I am not going to directly comment on the value, the market will address that, I think once the building is fully complete, it is going to be a sought after building. It is after all right smack dab in trendy queen west – drinks at the Drake on the way home from work…I think there are a lot of people who will pay a very nice price for a 2 bedroom, granted small, condo, with parking in that area.

    So long as interest rates remain within a couple % of where they are now – and white collar employment continues to remain steady – there will be an abundance of buyers and strong prices…

  7. David Fleming says:

    @ Toronto

    Do you have any idea how busy contractors are?
    Any idea how long it takes to pin somebody down?

    The electrical work took one full day.
    The drywalling took five days.
    The flooring took one day.
    The painting took two days.

    You DO realize that they weren’t all in there working together, right?

    You have to line them up, one at a time, one after the next.

  8. Toronto says:

    night and day looks a lot better but your still out of pocket money of $15,000…three weeks work?…that seems a long time for flooring and drywalling and two new overhead lights….

  9. Oh no, too bad I couldn’t watch the video links in your post David. It seems that my boss blocked youtube in our office. I’ll check later tonight. But really, i think you did a great job solving the problems yourself. They say that if you have a problem with something, don’t just rant about it, you also fix it. And that’s what you are doing and it is so great! Good luck David! I’m sure your condo space looks really good.

  10. buk says:

    350k in fall 2011?

    i’d bet a bottle of dom p against that!

  11. Anonymous says:


    And that’s why they say that the Toronto market is undervalued…. It’s like passing the hot potato…

  12. David Fleming says:

    @ Meow

    The same unit is on the market for $369,900 right now, and not only do they not have the same renovations as I do ($13,500), but I’m planning on selling my condo when the building, common areas, and amenities are finished – unlike the unit for sale now.

    If I can’t get $369,900, I can get $350,000 without a doubt in my mind. I’d stake my reputation on that.

  13. meow says:

    Maybe I’m a bit harsh. But it seems like a very small condo. i’d say realistically valued at no more than $320,000

  14. meow says:

    $369,900? Dude really? You’re at least $60,000 over it’s value.

  15. dogbiskit says:

    It looks much, much better but I don’t care for the floor plan. It’s hard to tell from a video but the living/dining area looks extremely small especially for two bedrooms. I’m getting flashbacks to a meeting room being carved up into a mock 300 sq ft apartment! Still, I have no doubt you’ll make a tidy profit.

  16. Wooba says:


    I’m with you on the lack of lighting.. However it’s fairly typical in new places. Most new condos from what I’ve seen do not have ceiling lights in bedrooms. It’s my pet peve and I think the electrical code should be changed to forbid it, but I don’t see that ever happening.

  17. David Fleming says:

    @ Marina

    I asked for them to leave out any sort of flooring, because I knew that:
    1) I could get it far cheaper elsewhere
    2) They would do a crappy job installing it, just like everything else

    But other than the flooring, I would have liked to see them drywall the concrete wall, give all the buyers 9-foot ceilings instead of skimping on materials to give them 7-foot ceilings, and more than TWO lights in the entire condo would have been nice.

  18. David Fleming says:

    @ Adam

    If the building were finished today – I mean all the units, the common spaces, and the amenities, I would list the condo for $369,900.

    In it’s previous condition, I don’t even know what I could do with it. WHO would be in the market for something like that!?!

    It’s not necessarily that the upgrades added a quantifiable increase in value, but rather I think the “basic” units that the developer is handing out would be near impossible to sell.

  19. Malec Chesterson says:

    Wow…Night and day. You did a great job. Some tenant will really enjoy that place and you won’t have to ask him/her/they/sasquatch not to pick at the holes in the concrete walls. My only complaint -now there’s too much light…but it’s probably just me -I’m Nosferatu.

  20. Adam says:

    Looks awesome Dave. This unit is really gonna stand out against all the other units when it comes time to sell. Care to speculate how much more you think you’ll fetch with all the real upgrades?

  21. Anonymous says:

    How did you manage to dig through all that concrete in the ceiling to add light fixtures? Did you actually tinker with the wiring within the ceiling concrete?

    I apologize if it’s in your commentary but I’m at work and my computer is muted!

  22. Wooba says:

    Quite the improvement David. But I can’t believe you went with wiremold. Vomit! I’m an electrician and I avoid that ugly stuff like the plague. I would have either gone with some sort of long twisting track light along the hallway or put sconces in the walls. It would have been easy to do with you have opening above the wall. If I were to buy that job one would be to rip all that electrical out!

  23. Marina says:

    Looks really nice. And I doubt anything the builder could do would have looked half as good.

    But honestly, we have it quite easy in Toronto. I have a couple of relatives buying condos in Eastern Europe, and there you just get a concrete box – no cabinets, no appliances, no paint or wallpaper, no toilets or sinks in the bathroom…

    I will be sending them a link to this entry 🙂

    One question though:
    Given this experience, do you think you would have preferred paying less but having no finishes on your condo? I mean, clearly you did not foresee the crappy job the developer did, but in hindsight?

    I wonder sometimes if the convenience of builder finishes is worth it. Would it not be a good option to get a blank canvas and $10-$15K off the price and do the floors / drywall / lighing yourself? And get exactly what you want?

  24. Princess Clara says:

    It’s beautiful. Great job. 🙂

  25. Kyle says:

    Nice job! I imagine you’ll see some return on your renovation investment. Hmmm, maybe you could start up a business renovating developers crap into livable units. Sounds like it could be a growth industry.

  26. moonbeam! says:

    Also kudos to you for acting as your own contractor for this renovation — you hired your own tradesmen, who did a professional job and finished in 3 weeks, and you got great results for the money spent!!

  27. BobbyV says:

    looks much better. Is it just me or is the combined dining/kitchen/living room really small?. Looks something like 13×15 …. which is really cramp for a 2 bdrm condo.

  28. meow says:

    Oh also the floors are amazing too. Just what it needed, with the nice white baseboards.
    You didn’t show the bathroom. How’s it looking?

  29. meow says:

    I think you did a great job! The drywall looks excellent and the lighting makes a big difference. I’m just curious, is there no door on the 2nd bedroom? That’s a little odd. Also, you may have mentioned this before, but how many square feet is this place? Did you decide to rent it out or put it on the market?

  30. calico cate says:

    What a difference. You and your contractors did a great job. The flow is much better and extending the walls and covering ducts, pipes, etc. was brilliant.

    But I wasn’t sure – were there only two lights when you took possession?

  31. JG says:

    Looks abosultely gorgeous – considering what it was prior, the piping coming out of ceiling, the bar stone archaic looking concrete walls, rough floor, and oh yeah, the 2 light fixtures! For $13k, I think it was perfectly allocated.
    And yes, the floors look very nice.

    Nice job – and nice to see the contractors did a great job.

  32. Cliff says:

    You did a great job. Sad that you had to spend all that money to fix a BRAND NEW CONDO.

    I have a theory as to why Lofts are growing in popularity. They cost much less to build! Builders don’t have to build ammenities, no attention to detail since it’s a loft….they save money on drywall and other materials. The biggest laugh is the poured concrete ceilings and walls. There’s no work done to insulate/soundproof or even correct the deficiencies in the concrete. We’ll be hearing and seeing many more of these horror stories since builders are free to do whatever they please. At least there are a handful of builders who still have pride in their work. Not enough, though.

    Thanks for the video.