Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016: My brand-new home

Since we broke ground for building our Vancouver Cohousing project in July 2013, I’ve been inside my apartment a dozen times or more to follow its progress. Today was the first time I got to see it finished. It was the official walk through with Ravi Jandu, quality control supervisor for Noble Construction Management, our project managers. Another cohousing member, Ian Beaty, who is a contractor himelf, was there helping me look for deficiencies in the work and scoping out a minor reno idea.

Overall I’m very pleased with my place, but at first glance I was shocked. The engineered wood floors were nothing like the sample I had seen. I know that in the context of problems in the world, this is extremely privileged small potatoes. But let me rant a bit. My 510-square-foot place is small and dark; I may put a “Lorne’s Cave” sign on the front door. I knew this when I chose it, but all our one-bedrooms are dark – the common house is bright – and the $320,000 price was as much as I was prepared to spend on a home. I upgraded from laminate floors to hickory because the sample looked uniformly light and I wanted anything that would help relieve the darkness. But the installed flooring is all different shades – see the photos. It chops up the already small space; there’s no visual flow. Whine, whine, whine.

OK, rant done. The kitchen is gorgeous with light-grey Shaker cabinets, quartz countertop, undermount sink, gas range and a dishwasher – goodbye dishpan hands. I’m happy with the bathroom, except the dinky 15-inch-wide mirror. There is hot-water radiant in-floor heating throughout. The bedroom is cosy but doable, and my treadmill desk will be a very tight fit in the in-suite storage room, but at least there’s a place for it.

After Ian and I debriefed over coffee at the bustling Chau Veggie Express at 5052 Victoria Drive, I tried out Kawa Sushi at 5088, the sushi bar closest to cohousing. Business was slow but the service was quick, and you can’t beat the value – $5.95 for 18 pieces (yam, tuna and California rolls) plus miso soup. Not stellar sushi but just fine for a neighbourhood joint.

Victoria Drive between 33rd and 43rd is so diverse, with restaurants featuring the cuisines of China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma and most recently Turkey. The day may come when there’s a headline “The New Drive” in the Georgia Straight heralding Victoria Drive’s arrival as a newly hip neighbourhood. I may write it myself. Under my own name this time. Back in the late ’60s while I was a reporter for the Vancouver Sun, I wrote and photographed for the Straight about demonstrations and protests under the pseudonym Sheikh Istanli.

Did my daily practice today. They say New Year’s resolutions often don’t last more than a month. I’m hoping that writing these posts will help keep me on the path.

Tomorrow I’m looking forward to getting back to friends who have commented and encouraged me – thank you!




The bedroom, the room people like to darken, is ironically the brightest room in my place.

12 thoughts to “Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016: My brand-new home”

  1. okay, you got our opinions of the floor, but you were there first person and it’s your place so no comment from this squirrel about them. If the bedroom is bright – can it be used as an office? That’s the brightest room in our house, but you’ve been there so you know we have a lot of options. We tend to live downstairs in the winter as the office needs separate heat unless the sun is shinning in the south facing windows. In that case, we’ll leave the central heat off and spend the day up there or up on the mountain skiing! Regardless, dear friend, I hope you learn to love every stick of wood in it and that you enjoy every moment you’re in it. Can’t wait to visit. Did you say there’s guest digs as part of this complex? We’re on our way…. 😉 I should start a blog Being 7-0, don’t cha think!?!

    1. Yehudah, yes indeed, we have two guest rooms in the common house. You and Joanie would be most welcome. Just give me a heads up so I can book a room for you. Lovely people in my cohousing community.

  2. You are right about the kitchen. It’s fabulous. I like the floors but would not have been able to live with the lack of light.

    Mazal Tov.
    When does the mezuzah go up?

    1. Glad you like the kitchen, Leora. Anna has the same unit across the courtyard and I hear she has some ideas about lighting.
      I’ll be moving around the third week of February and I can imagine a chanukat bayit sometime in March. Do come!

  3. I agree with you on the floors Lorne. The sample should be representative. They are a tad busy for a small area but will blend once you get all your stuff in there and wood always mellows nicely. My 2400 sq’ house on 1.3 acres of waterfront assesses lower than 580 sq’ in Vancouver. Guess I won’t be moving south anytime soon;-)

    1. I’m glad you agree, Kathy. The floors chop up the already dinky space. I will investigate what it would take to make the floor more uniformly dark, for some consistency. Even if you aren’t moving south, it’s always good to see you when you visit. Come check out Vancouver Cohousing,

  4. I think the floors look OK. That “random look” isn’t bad.

    I hate dark rooms. I added two high-efficiency flourescent fixtures (loaded with several blue-white bulbs) to my 8’x12′ workroom, and they make a _huge_ difference.

    . Charles

    1. I can’t imagine ever liking the floors, Charles, but time may dim my hating them.
      I don’t remember what your lighting is like in your workroom. I’ll have to check it out. There’s a rough-in for a ceiling fixture in my place.

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