Michael Chesney at his 920 Third Street home.

Michael Chesney at his 920 Third Street home.

Pride and pitfalls when it comes to renovating a house

In an age where HGTV, DIY and FineLiving networks have become as familiar to us as MTV and, where Mike Holmes has achieved international celebrity, it’s almost impossible not to know something about home renovations.

  • Sep. 15, 2011 2:00 p.m.

In an age where HGTV, DIY and FineLiving networks have become as familiar to us as MTV and, where Mike Holmes has achieved international celebrity, it’s almost impossible not to know something about home renovations.

But for those of us who are avid watchers of Holmes on Holmes we know how difficult and most times unpredictable renovations can be.  Perhaps this is why we watch in awe as only the brave take on the mammoth responsibility that comes along with restoring older homes.

Brand new Nelson resident, Michael Chesney has seen fit to tackle the task of restoring one of Nelson’s most well-known Fairview homes.

Located at  920 Third Street, the house, though not classified as heritage, sits on one of the biggest lots in Nelson, covering four typical lot, which is an  attractive feature for his kids, but he also wanted to fulfill his wife’s mandate.

“The first thing my wife said to me, and she doesn’t usually complain about anything, ‘please don’t get us up on this hill,’” says Chesney.

Chesney, who planned on moving right into his home with his family and had no plans to renovate, has now embarked on a $150,000 restoration.

“If you take down one piece of stucco, one thing leads to another, and it’s an endless cycle,” says Chesney.

While he has run into a few unexpected problems, an improperly fortified basement, an ant colony which cost him his porch and stairs, and wooden columns through the foundation which left holes in the basement.

Any experienced or first time renovator will testify that the key to any successful renovation is a good contractor and those who’ve been through a bad one, are full of advice about the “warning signs.”

Top of the list of advice that Chesney has for home renovators is, “Run if the contractor asks for the money first… it’s usually a scam.”

But despite the unavoidable obstacles that come with restoring an older home including dry rot, plumbing problems and building permission fumbles, with meticulous attention to detail and commitment the end result can be stunning.  This is the result Michael hopes to achieve.

Chesney invites Nelson residents interested in learning about older home restorations or renovations to come take a peek at his home’s progress next week from Monday to Wednesday.