Design Chick  

Real cost of renovating

This week, we’re pulling back the curtain on renovation costs.

The world of interior design is filled with complex budgets and numbers, and sometimes clients are surprised (maybe even shocked) to find the cost of turning their design dreams into a reality doesn’t match up with what they thought their overall budget would come in at.

And who can blame them, really? There is still a lot of secrecy and semi-transparent business practices prevalent in the construction and design world unfortunately.

But we’re all about transparency in our firm, so today we’re taking a mid-level master ensuite renovation with average cost breakdowns, and hash it all out, line by line…

Let’s get started!


A 255 square master ensuite including walk-in closet, built in 2000 and in need of a total facelift.

No supporting walls will be removed; all existing fixtures, finishes, and cabinetry to be removed and replaced.


A combination of contemporary and organic; clean, bright elements with natural wood tones, stone, and glass accents.


Update and modernize with the addition of a free-standing tub, open up shower enclosure with glass panel, maximize closet storage and functionality, replace all tile and plumbing fixtures, replace vanity millwork and counter tops, new paint, new interior doors and trim.


Design Fee                      $7,500* – consulting, drawings, materials and finishes selection (*Starting from)


Plumbing Labour             $6,500

Plumbing Fixtures           $12,000 — tub, sinks, sinks/tub taps, shower faucets/valves, toilet

Drywall Repair/Patch       $1,200

Paint Ensuite/Closet        $1,500

Walnut Veneer Vanity       $2,500

Stone Counter                  $1,800

Counter/Vanity Install       $1,200

Tile – Shower/Splash       $4,200

Shower Tile Install            $4,000

Electrical                           $3,000

Light Fixtures                    $1,000

Glass Shower Frame        $3,000

Ensuite Floor Tile              $1,800

Floor Tile Install                 $2,500

Cabinetry Hardware           $350

2 Interior Doors                  $650

New Base & Case              $500

Vanity Mirror                       $400

Master Closet Fittings        $11,500 – melamine towers, hanging systems, pull-out drawers

TOTAL                               $67,100

Once you start itemizing all the elements in the renovation, things add up pretty darn quickly, don’t they?

Keep in mind, we haven’t included any builder or general contractor fees, permit costs (if required), or allowed for any variable contingencies.

But don’t let the numbers or complexity of a renovation like this keep you from pursuing your dream space.

A good designer can meet you where you’re at budget-wise, and walk you through the entire process start to finish before any trades even ring your doorbell.  

Must-visit design shops

I’m on a mission to share with you all the design tips, tricks and love I can muster – and this week it’s all about loving on the local design market.

We live in such beautiful surroundings with diverse retail offerings. We may not be Vancouver, but there are lots of amazing shops and local design haunts just waiting to be discovered.

Get out and explore locally with several of our Kelowna design shop favourites…


A modern furniture and accessories store in the Lower Mission; you will find everything from chic home furnishings and accents to one-of-a-kind jewelry.

If I could just live in their store, I most certainly would. They feature some of the most contemporary and modern designs from lines like Martha Sturdy, Jonathan Adler, G. Romano, Kartell, and more. www.lexiandlake.com


Beautifully curated and masterfully styled, Alchemy is a lifestyle store featuring a curated mix of unique home decor, art, jewelry, scents, and even delicious gourmet chocolates and macarons.

They’re constantly changing up their looks, which means more eye candy and design inspiration for all us savvy design connoisseurs. www.alchemylivinginc.com


Family owned, and committed to the community, Marshall’s has over 22,000 square feet of continually updated showroom space. Boasting a fabulous variety of furnishings, accessories and area rugs, they take pride in providing top-notch product, perfect for our lake-life lifestyle. www.marshallshomeliving.com


Located right in the heart of downtown Kelowna, this dreamy boutique stocks their shelves with beautiful and useful goods conducive to keeping a peaceful, easy feeling home.

An effortlessly chill and inspiring spot, featuring European-milled, Canadian-made fine bedding, Canadian down duvets and pillows, furniture made by their resident woodworker — a man on an endless quest for perfection — and a rotating cast of scents, objects, and confections that brings beauty to life. www.oliveandelle.com


A Canadian company, founded on the idea of providing its customer with unique and sophisticated collection of eclectic furniture and home décor, Muse & Merchant focuses on design, quality, value, and customer service.

Offering a wide array of home furnishings sourced from around the world, they embrace the use of sustainable, reclaimed and recycled materials and feature the best in eco-chic furniture the industry has to offer. www.museandmerchant.com


Combine the images of home and cottage — the places where we live and play — and you'll arrive at Lakehouse.

A family owned and operated lifestyle store, they’ve sourced hundreds of suppliers and thousands of items from around the world in categories including gourmet kitchen, furniture, home décor, wine and bar, and giftware.

Located right off the sunny shores of downtown Kelowna, Lakehouse strives to excite and ignite design and food-minded visitors from all over the world. www.lakehousehomestore.com

White hot interior design

t's a hard scheme to pull off, but when it's done right, a white, monochromatic space looks simply stunning.

It requires thoughtful planning, integration of texture and perfect undertones, smart fabric choices… not exactly an easy feat, but if you're brave enough to take the plunge, here are a few things you need to know to make your spaces sizzle in white...


The ultimate rule of doing a white room: Layer. Use varying shades of white, cream, platinum, pearl, and linen. If you don't layer your white tones, you may end up with a hospital room for a living space.

Rooms that lack dimension in the form of tone-on-tone layering often feel stark, harsh, and institutional - so unless you're aiming for an ultra-pure and minimal aesthetic, don't get too matchy with your materials and finishes.


Crucial in almost every environment (not just the white ones), texture is a perfect way to add depth and interest to your monochromatic palette. Play up combinations of glossy, ruddy, knubby, sleek, watery, shimmery, organic, leathery, woody, knotty, and cozy for a warm and inviting atmosphere... vital again when trying to avoid stark and cold design.


I have a go-to white I use in almost all of my spaces that require a soft, pure shade: OC-65 Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore is a design favourite across the board, and it's no secret why.

When paired with other colours, it still retains its 'whiteness', while melding softly into the colour scheme. When used in contrast with other finishes, OC-60 will act as the perfect backdrop.

Another few favourites you'll often see in magazines are:

  • OC-17 White Dove (Benjamin Moore),
  • Swiss Coffee 1812 (Behr)
  • Powderface CLW 1034W (General Paint),
  • Antique White (CIL RM 43YY 78/053).


Sadly, there is a catch 22. Children — as loveable and adorable as they are — do not make great low-maintenance accessories to the all-white room. So for those of you eyeing the cotton duck sofa or pearly cashmere pillows, perhaps it might be wise to consider a slightly warmer or darker option.

I love beautiful looking spaces, but it's not all that fair to constantly be hawking and keeping your kids out of any space in your home for the sake of its design integrity. Something to definitely consider... decide on warmer and more texturized pieces (so wear and tear over time is camouflaged best), or wait until university.


You can't pull this look off if you only go half way with it... otherwise you might end up with a confusing mess of a colour scheme. If you want to add some pops of colour here and there absolutely do so, but stick to the 80:20 ratio: 80 per cent white and tones of white, and 20 per cent accent colour(s).

Take the white throughout for walls, furniture, drapes, and maybe even flooring if you’re feeling brave, but you can then add in a hit of colour with the odd pillow, frame, throw, lamp shade, or small decor item.

I once test-painted a large blob of off-white paint over the existing living room wall colour (which happened to be a golden wheat colour at the time we moved in), just to see if I could handle the huge change from dark to light. It's a major jump to instantly go from what you’ve been comfortable with to something you think you want…

Design Tip:

  • paint a few test patches and see them at different times of the day first, then commit, sometimes you just have to dive right in.

Blissful bedroom design

Bedrooms are often one of the very last spaces clients tackle, or neglect to finish off all together.

That doesn't make the most sense, considering statistics report we spend nearly 227,468 hours tucked up in bed sleeping over the average lifespan - the equivalent of 26 years. 

If you're in the mood for a soothing and inviting space to retreat to, why not consider some of the following changes you can easily implement… You'll thank yourself in the morning.


It's not just the design of a room you need to focus on - first you must clear out the "mind-clutter" abject and misplaced objects and clothing create when they're strewn about or piled high in a corner.

Your bedroom should be a place you feel less tense and destressed in — not a place you lie awake at night in, surrounded by to-do projects, laundry, or items that didn't quite make it to the closet; it's amazing just how peaceful a clean, well-organized bedroom can be.

Change Your Light Fixture

Once you've gone through and tidied and purged, you can move on to the fun parts! Start simple by changing out an old or dimly lit light fixture with something that makes more of a statement.

Dining rooms aren't the only spaces that can benefit from a show stopping fixture: a smaller chandelier, a modern mobile, a capiz shell piece of art... step up and something unexpected.

Add An Area Rug

Whether you have hardwood, laminate, or carpet already... adding an area rug at the foot of the bed or even under the entire bed will soften up your space and allow you to add some interesting pattern and texture.

A 5x8 can tuck slightly under the foot of the bed and give you enough left over to add a bench or trunk at the end. Opting for something larger will give you a warm and cozy surface down either side of the bed to step out onto in the mornings.

If your duvet or comforter is heavily patterned, lean more toward a solid or something with a simple border around the edges, and vice versa if your linens are solid... too much pattern can seem too fussy and busy.

Mix Up Your Pillows

Just in case you wondered, you don't have to stick with the matching pillowcases and shams that come with your sheets.

Look to darker shades and accent colours if your bedding is white or taupe; you can even mix a few white or off-white pillows with these accents to kick up the contrast. And on the contrary,

if your bedding has darker tones, try adding something in silver, cream, pearl, sand, or watery blue to help lighten the mood.

Pick A Soothing Colour

You can paint your bedroom nearly any colour you please, but if it's a soothing oasis you want to create, stay away from deep or heavy-feeling hues.

I tend to stick to pale grays, sands, suedes, and even silvery sages when picking out bedroom paint finishes... the bedding, drapery, and decor can add hits of darker and brighter tones afterwards in smaller doses.

Ditch The Matching Suites

If you're in need of new bedroom furniture, consider ditching the 'full suite', and look at mixing and matching instead.

An upholstered headboard and footboard, paired with wooden night tables, and a complementary dresser in white is a much more interesting combination than a standard five-piece set.

Too much of the same finish in one space can make it feel smaller and more crowded.

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About the Author

Crispin Butterfield is the creative force and mastermind behind Urban Theory; a graduate of Mount Royal University in Calgary, her engaging personality and design-commerce savvy make her a valued and well-respected professional and mentor within her field.

She’s able to uniquely see the parameters and vision of each project in ways her clients often cannot, and has honed the process and proficiency required to grow incredible long-standing client relationships. 

Crispin embraces a life full of ingenuity and imagination, fueled by raw ambition and a desire to leave her mark on the world. Her impeccable design style, expertise, and a rock-solid business acumen is the foundation which allows Urban Theory Interior Design to provide full scale services with authenticity, innovation, and ample amounts of personality.

Featured in Style At Home Magazine, Covet, Canadian Retailer, and The National Post – www.urbantheoryinteriordesign.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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