Ric Tremaine Your Real Estate Consultant for Life

Ric Tremaine Your Real Estate Consultant for Life

Projects I've Undertaken

Homes and buildings come in all shapes, sizes and price ranges, and it's rare to find that "perfect fit".

Making changes to an existing property is an option, but it can be challenging. 
Challenging, unless of course you engage an agent with a lifetime of experience in doing just that!

[SCROLL DOWN] to see several examples of real properties where my concepts made them "fit the need". Such changes, when designed carefully and executed well also can add significant value to the investment.
Simply [CLICK] on the title line below each section to open that gallery in a new window, then [CLOSE] that window to return to this page.



Need:  A condo-alternative for a couple, close to transit, downtown, with: low taxes, easy maintenance, private garden.

This property was purchased from an estate and had been occupied by the same owner for over 50 years. A classic Victorian Cottage it was wood frame with Insul-brick siding, and sat on a wide lot. With 2 bedrooms and living room on the main floor, it was dark, very tight, and the bathroom was in the under-utilized upper level.

Located close to a Subway, it was determined that the size was adequate and a full upgrade as a single or couples home would be highest and best use.

The house was gutted leaving walls for one of the front bedrooms intact to preserve structural integrity thus leaving an L-shaped remaining section. This created an open-concept living dining area where we fitted french-doors to a new patio to the rear and opened some of the ceiling above to create a vaulted ceiling. A new kitchen was built in the former front bedroom and the rear room became a bedroom / den with french-doors opening onto the garden. Re-positioning and strengthening the 2nd floor knee walls and collar ties allowed for a den / bedroom and larger bath on the 2nd level.

Keeping it's original footprint and elevations, the home maintains it's heritage and low taxes. A glorious condo alternative, the home is easy to heat, low cost to maintain with direct access to the secret garden to the rear.


CLICK here to see the ReDevelopment of this Condo Alternative



 Need:  A "signature home", with: Classic Heritage features, modern dramatic space for entertaining, a garage, office & additional apartment for revenue in a downtown location.

This property had been used as a rooming house for decades and was in need of total gut and renovation.

Detached with 3000 sq ft of space on a large lot, it was in an area that was in transition with growing demand for large elegant homes. Designed in 1890 classic Queen Anne Victorian style, room sizes were generous and the lot would support a good seperate access to the underutilized "basement".

The entire house was gutted, leaving only framing, fireplaces and the beautiful stairwell. Damaged crown moldings and trims were meticulously reproduced.
Two small rear 2nd floor bedrooms were eliminated and the floor removed providing a dramatic 2 story family room to the rear with a classic Lord and Burnham greenhouse added to the rear of the 2nd floor to bring in light and passive solar heat to the classic black &white tile below.

French doors on the main floor to a new rear garden further flooded the room with light.

With a large area to the side of the original "addition" to the rear, there was enough land to excavate stairs and a large sunken patio to the sunny south of the basement. Adding 5 sets of french doors to the patio provided separate access to the newly excavated full basement thus adding 1200 sq ft apartment with private patio.

Click here to see Before and Afters, of a totally restored and RePurposed Queen Anne Victorian 


Need:  A large elegant home downtown that would provide revenue. Wants were: classic historic features, separate revenue space, home office, several guest rooms and a private garden.

A classic Edwardian gem, this 4400 sq ft "gentlemans home" had many changes since it was built in 1901. Semi detached and on a hidden street downtown behind a high-rise and beside a noisy park the home was a maze of rooms and contained 3 badly designed apartments. The home had been overlooked by many buyers.

Research showed that the home had a previous life as a B&B, and that the immediate neighborhood and park were in transition. A careful look and serious research provided the road map to restoring the home as a single family home, with guest rooms offered to the public, and with office space for the home based business of the owner.

Very few of the original pictures remain available, but the pictures here show the restored property, re-designed, furnished and legally correct for the unique use of the owner.

CLICK here to see the Large Elegant Home and choose an album


Need:  A significant property with historic features to provide living space for two individuals, one having special needs and to have: live/work potential, revenue potential, several guest rooms, private garden, close to transit and hospitals.

Designed by E. J. Lennox in 1889, this Victorian beauty had been for many years a Jesuit monastery. With a maze of 12+ rooms plus fully utilized basement area the home was more of an institutional use on a busy street.

I recognized that the setback from the street and superior construction let the occupants enjoy quiet separation from traffic, and development of the rear garden would provide relief from "city noise". I also recognized that the home was essentially single family, and thus offered very low taxes.

Research of the current and historical uses provided many clues as to original plan. Ceilings and wall treatments were removed revealing damaged (but repairable) moldings, trims, and fireplace locations. Re-apportioning some of the upper rooms, addition of several baths and a large kitchen / dining area allowed the home to transition to use as a home, with home offices, guest rooms and meeting space that could be used for a variety of needs.

The rear garden was fully enhanced and landscaped with access provided via french doors from a family room.

CLICK here to Re-Purposing of a Significant home providing Revenue Potential


Need:  to preserve and protect a neighbouring magnificent Heritage Home with rich history.

A Classic Victorian Richardsonian Romanesque design by E.J. Lennox, this property languished on the market for some time. With 6,000 sq ft of glorious rooms, it had been a significant builders home before the turn of the century and offered some of the finest design features and exquisite glass I have worked with.

Used as rehearsal space / sound studios and offices for a record label the home had become redundant. Underutilized and subject to commercial taxes and broadly protected by "Heritage", few people wanted to tackle these obstacles.

The property was reclaimed as a single family home with accessory uses, thus reducing taxes. Re-defining some of the upper rooms, while restoring the historic rooms was undertaken with much work done to the exterior.

Ceiling height was adequate so basement rooms were re-defined and furnished in a manner that would work for the new owners needs.

CLICK here to see Before & Afters of restoration and RePurposing of a Victorian mansion, then on the First picture.


Need:  To expand usable space within the exisitng envelope. 

Garages are often overlooked but may be under used. In century properties these need be researched as they may offer incredible expansion potential.

On a corner property one "garage" sat to rear of a large Victorian and was accessed by the side street. Before and after pictures follow.

THE SINGLE STORY BUILDING: It took several visits to learn that it was significant and had been misunderstood for decades. Research at City Archives and searching old media revealed that this was in fact the main level of an attractive Coach House and a picture was obtained from a former neighbour.

Restoration of the building was undertaken with heat provided by way of a period inspired gas fireplace, and access to the garden by way of restored original "horse doors". With French doors added to an existing opening this added much needed space. It has subsequently been used as a garden room for entertaining as well as accessory space to the main house.

Where research provides proof of additional footage, there remains further development potential. In this case, by adding back the 2nd level which was destroyed by fire.

THE 2 STORY BUILDING: On a back alley the original coach-house had been destroyed by fire. My research yielded proof that it had been there (he blurred photo is an old picture) and a replica was rebuilt on a renovation permit.

CLICK here see how some Garages can add space


Need:  To utilise unused Basement

These were underutilized basements where I saw potential to be redeveloped. Creative development added cost-effective interesting floor space to meet a new owners needs.

Some floors can be lowered at reasonable cost to provide additional height. Light is critical but modern lighting can enhance a design that maximizes natural light from existing or new window openings.

Old style large heating ducts can be removed and replaced by modern hi-efficiency systems for rooms above, and gas fireplaces to heat the basement.

Stone walls were cleaned and sealed, ventilation provided and opening windows provide to create amazing rooms for a home business. Furnishings that give a sense of the era were sourced and provided.

CLICK here to see examples of Basement ReDevelopment


Need:  to ReDesign a Condominium Loft to suit current market.

I have considerable experience with historic homes, but I have also worked with a number of contemporary and commercial properties.

This commercial building of 18,000 sq ft that existed on a residential street was converted to 18 "loft's". The developer had missed the mark with his proposal for "artist lofts" and the project was floundering. Costs had escalated and the artists that he envisioned populating the project were unable to afford the conversion. I was invited in to identify a market demographic that could afford the finished units. That was done but units had to be redesigned and upgraded with access to exterior space, higher quality finishes and kitchens.

The project faltered again when the builder could not gain interim financing, but the newer buyers I had brought in including a seasoned project manager. Under his direction the project completed and all of the buyers I worked with got their individually re-designed units. A tough deal for sure, but proud to say it succeeded.

More pictures will be added as I source them. These pictures are one "before", and multiple taken after showing how the space was used

CLICK here to see an example of a Loft Project I worked with


Need:  A builder seeking multiple homes project to develop for a specific demographic.

This row of classic Victorian homes was built in 1890. Several were converted to rooming houses over the years and became part of the land acquisition for a large apartment complex. One of the homes had burned to the ground and was eliminated many years ago. The remaining were owned by different individuals.

After researching archives I learned the importance of these and assembled the properties. After careful consideration a plan was set to build back the missing historic facade and rebuild all of the homes. On all of the homes only the facade and brickwork was carefully preserved or matched. 6 beautiful "townhouses" were re-built and returned to single family homes, each offering a separate basement apartment.

CLICK here to see a Rebuilt and Pe-Purposed series of historic Townhouses 



CLICK here to see the ReDevelopment of this Condo Alternative DRAFT MODE...


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