Leanne and I met at De La Sol yoga studios in Hamilton. She is a wealth of knowledge, a supporter of women in skilled trades, and an overall bad-ass. Her house is so unique and she’s put a ton of work into it.
Read her story.
About Leanne and her home
My name is Leanne Graham. I am a Construction Coordinator with PCL Constructors. I have worked in shopping mall renovations for 6 yrs now. Outside work I enjoy simple things, outdoors, birdwatching, yoga, and cooking!
Where is your home?
Describe your home:
Bought as 2 bdrm, 3 bath. Recently converted to 3 bdrm, 2 bath. 1600 sq ft, 100+ old brick townhouse.
How long have you owned your home?
I signed the papers in late June 2014, I moved in September 2014.
Why did you decide to purchase a home?
I had lived in Toronto for 7+ yrs, I was ready to resign to a simpler life with more space. I was eager to have a functional kitchen (canning, etc), a vegetable garden and outdoor space, space to store my ever expanding book collection, and have cozy knitting and reading nooks!
What were you looking for in a home? And did you get what you were looking for?
I was looking for something with A LOT of old character, not a dump or awfully renovated. High ceiling and neat details. I got EXACTLY what I was looking for.
What was the most stressful part of the house hunting process?
The anxiety when I found my dream house. It was at the VERY top of my budget and it was a sought after style/features, etc. It was the third house I viewed and I was worried I was being too impulsive, and I was worried I could actually afford it on my own (I was single when I bought the house).
What advice do you have for house hunters?
Trust your gut – don’t buy something because it’s what you can afford (or not afford!) The right house will come along and you will know it. Snow shoveling SUCKS. So does weeding gardens. Consider all upkeep when looking at properties.
Did anything surprise you about the house after you bought it?
My “new” furnace motor blew the first month of using it after buying the house. I was relieved it was repairable and ONLY $500 fix (however at the time $500 was a HUGE expense for me and meant I had to be SUPER careful with finances). Snow blew under BOTH my outdoor doors the first winter, my dad helped me fix the doors and thresholds.
What work have you done on the house?
We GUTTED our main bathroom and relocated our upstairs laundry. This allowed us to turn an awkward third bathroom into a third bedroom. I knew the main bathroom was a problem when I bought the house and would need renovating (the shower surround was rotting). We had a second shower that could be used in the meantime. This job was HUGE for us, the original budget was $7,500-10,000. We ended up spending $15,000. It was painful, however renovating an old house you find things you won’t expect. We did EVERYTHING we wanted, thinking I’d rather spend the $$$ this round, than regret saving $1,000 now later (ie – raised ceiling, stained glass transom, heated floors). When you renovate – ALWAYS have more $$$ than you expect and don’t cut corners. (I was raised by a contractor and have worked in construction for 10 yrs, it’s just not worth it).
What advice do you have for new homeowners?
Always have an emergency fund of SOME type. Ideally cash/investments that are readily accessible, at least $2000+ at all times JUST in case. Don’t buy unnecessary things, furnish your house as time goes on, in ways you love. Pinterest is AMAZING. I moved from 400 sq ft into 1600 sq ft, the first year of home ownership I had nearly empty rooms, it’s OK.
Follow Leanne on Instagram – @thelgraham