a peek inside the fishbowl

07 Jul, 2011

Guest post: Top 5 reasons to reno instead of move, by Julie Harrison

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Guest postings

Julie is a fellow Ottawa local and blogger. I read her blog Coffee with Julie religiously every day and think she is particularly gorgeous as well as brilliant and funny. Also, she is up for mother-of-the-year award this year and rumor has it she’s bound to win even though she has fallen short of maintaining her organic garden and homecooking regiment. Someday you should ask her to tell you about stuffy taxi cab rides in NYC. Over to you Julie! xoxo

Dear Andrea,

I’ve been really loving your Reno series of posts. I am fascinated by real estate and, more and more, by house design, so I eagerly look forward to each one.

Although your posts are upbeat, I would imagine that you are also experiencing some of the stress that invariably comes with all that decision-making. As you know, our family decided to move house instead of renovating. It was a really difficult decision, but one that we are very happy with now.

“Now” meaning “now that the move is done and we are in our new house.”

But fear not, your decision to renovate brings about some very significant advantages over the moving house experience. So whenever you are feeling overwhelmed by the reno work, I’ve prepared a little list that might help buoy your spirits.

#5. You can pat yourself on the back and invest in some luxury
The cost of the real estate commissions, land transfer taxes, lawyer’s fees, and a myriad of other closing costs totals to approximately 10% of the total cost of your house sale. When you sit down and actually consider this, it’s a mind-boggling amount of money. Knowing that you’ve saved yourself these costs by going the reno-route means that you can totally justify the granite counter tops you’ve been eyeing for your kitchen. Totally.

#4. You can still imagine that House & Home magazine will come knocking one day.
Real estate agents are all about “staging” these days. So when you put your house up for sale, you’ll need to stage it. This process involves a total stranger coming into your house and pointing out all of the items in your home that are simply not fit for public consumption. Inevitably, these items are your most prized possessions. So much for your design style.

#3. Your secret is safe with me, girlfriend.
If you stay put and do a reno, you don’t need to pack up your underwear drawer, which forces you to realize how your stash has slowly transformed over the years from lacy and colourful to granny-style and practical. With a reno, you can live in denial about your granny-panty transformation.

#2. Remember when you couldn’t bring yourself to flush little Nemo down the toilet?
Another bonus of doing a reno is that you don’t need to de-frost your freezer. It’s not the actual de-frosting that’s bad, but rather coming face-to-face with what you’ve actually been storing in there. If you’re lucky, there are no former pets.

#1. A reno can dramatically increase your chances of staying married.
When you sell and buy a house, you need to make multiple visits to the lawyer’s office to sign paperwork. This makes drawing up divorce papers fairly convenient, since you’re already there and all. But with a reno, you can keep the ol’d marital strings tied because you won’t be crossing a lawyer’s threshold. This is something to keep in mind as you bicker about which bathroom faucet is the best choice.

So Andrea, just print out this little list and keep it folded in your back pocket. It might just come in handy in the weeks to come.

Love from your bloggy friend,


6 Responses to "Guest post: Top 5 reasons to reno instead of move, by Julie Harrison"

1 | Javamom

July 7th, 2011 at 9:19 am


That’s so funny. Especially the undies part…LOL. Lacy (and racy)? Must go see if I still have those around…

Happy Summer Vacation to all from Toronto!

2 | neeroc

July 7th, 2011 at 11:26 am


Love this!

Wish I’d seen it in March. We could not have made our old home work for us, but we somehow managed to move into a home that needs a lot of renos. Luckily all trips to the lawyers are over. *g*

3 | Lara

July 7th, 2011 at 12:02 pm



That’s all. :)

4 | Chantal

July 7th, 2011 at 1:04 pm


cute post Julie!

5 | Finola

July 9th, 2011 at 6:08 pm


As someone who reno’d, I think this is an excellent post, and I would love to do the counter to it. Hmmm, still waiting for House & Home to visit, and the ol’ marriage only barely survived months of CHAOS!!

Great post Julie :)

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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