Q. Why couldn't you renovate your existing house?
A. The house is over 100 years old and was gutted and renovated really badly some time in the last few decades. The people who did the renos did not even remotely follow the building code, so the house is falling apart at the seams. No central heating was installed, an elevated floor was put in incorrectly (leading to mold), a bunch of the floors have no sub floor, and the cracks in the foundation were not repaired. And so much more. There is none of the original charm left in the house and nothing that would be worth saving or would stand up to major renovations.
Q. Are you sure?
A. We had a building inspector and an architect check it out before we made a decision so yes, we're sure.
Q. Why didn't you just buy a new house?
A. We have a giant (for the middle of the city) lot and we live across the street from a dog park and within walking distance of pretty much everywhere we want to go. Plus, with building a new house we'll know that it is designed just for us (and our pets) and is healthy, safe, and practical.
Q. Who is designing the house for you?
A. The architect's name is John Donkin. He's designed a lot of beautiful houses here in Ottawa.
Q. Is your new house going to blend in with the other houses on your street.
A. No. It's going to be all modern and gorgeous. Most of the houses on our street and small, non-descript houses from the 1950's or earlier. We live on a street where a lot of the houses are rented out to university students, so there's not a lot of uniformity in the homes.
Q. Is it expensive?
A. Yes. Though less expensive than buying a comparable house somewhere else in the city. And houses are expensive things.
Q. Is it an eco-house?
A. It will be LEED certified at the highest LEED level (platinum), which means that it is built and maintained in a way that does as little as possible damage to the environment and the people who live in it.
Q. Does that mean you need to have solar panels and a grey water system?
A. No, but it does mean that your appliances and systems need to be highly efficient. We also get big LEED points because we live downtown and can walk to wherever we need to go.
Q. Is there going to be a rental unit in the basement?
A. There's going to be an in-law suite down there for people who would like to stay with us for both short and long periods of time.
Q. Are you having a house warming party?
A. Damn straight we are.