How a couple did their own home renovation and got married in the same year
Chris and Gillian Baigorri
38-year-old education tech CTO; 32-year-old HR manager
Paid: $593,000 in 2013
Reno cost: $60,000, over 1.5 years
Before: 1,500 square feet
After: 1,500 square feet
When Gillian and Chris bought their 1890 row house in 2013, it had already undergone a series of shoddy renovations that had left very little of the original house intact. The interior was split into three apartments.
They priced a professional overhaul at $200,000, which seemed steep, so they decided to convert the place back into a single-family home themselves. With no renovation experience to speak of, they figured they could rely on advice from handy relatives, or, failing that, YouTube.
They got engaged that summer, but they kept working as their wedding day approached. First, they tore out the house’s two extra kitchens. They moved into the den while they demolished walls on the second floor. A bathroom became two spacious closets, and then they added a new master bathroom and slightly decreased the size of each bedroom to make space for additional storage. A 12-day honeymoon in Bora Bora made for a much-needed break from all the hard labour. Afterward, they finished their overhaul and moved back upstairs—only eight months behind schedule.
The original flooring couldn’t be saved, so Gillian and Chris finished the upstairs with dark maple hardwood they sourced in Etobicoke:
The master bedroom closet has bifold masonite doors that they painted a deep charcoal:
The new bathroom is decked out with white subway tile and marble pencil rail from SS Tile and Stone:
And here’s how the house looked before the renovation.
The upstairs hallway: