Soundproofing solutions for your Cowichan Valley condominium

Soundproofing for Cowichan Valley Condos

It’s important to note that noise is a two-way annoyance: If you can hear your neighbours talk on the phone or watch a movie that means they can hear you too. In this context, soundproofing could also be considered privacy-proofing your conversations from adjoining units. Soundproofing is a valuable upgrade to your Cowichan Valley condo unit.

There are two concepts for soundproofing that fit almost all circumstances: mass and air gap. Ideally, they work together in a system that stops a wide range of frequencies. There are two basic ways to soundproof a wall that is between two dwellings. The first is reconstruction of the wall with a system to reduce noise. This option can be expensive depending on the length of the wall and how much soundproofing is desired. The other way is to use some clever materials and strategies that will dampen noise. This is helpful if you’re a renter or need sound suppression for a condo.

Let’s start with the free solutions and work toward the more premium fixes. Common sense would dictate that quiet stuff shouldn’t be placed near a shared wall. Your reading chair might look better on the other side of the room anyway. Do you own an armoire or wardrobe? Put that on the shared wall so it will absorb some sound.

The next step is to use a curtain effect to block sound. This might be a piece of art, a large mirror, or a rug purchased specifically to use as a wall hanging. IKEA makes inexpensive area rugs with beautiful designs and low pile that are perfect for this application. Mass loaded vinyl is a heavy (2lb/sqft) sheet product that is intended for floors and walls. It can be cut to size for extra weight behind a wall hanging. Condos usually have steel studs so, unless you’re using a self-tapping screw, attach sound curtains with the proper size and type of drywall anchors.

Moving beyond decorating with soundproofing, we arrive at reconstruction approaches. Simply adding another layer of gypsum to the wall help because its mass stops sound waves. This requires adjusting (and soundproofing) the receptacles and possibly the baseboard trim. Newer gypsum designed for this has a layer of lead on one side. Another alternative is to use mass loaded vinyl between the gypsum sheets. This is a job for a professional unless you’re comfortable with drywall installation.

If you have plaster walls, then replacing them with drywall and installing a sound control system at the same time may be practical. Depending on where the wall is, you may want to install a second set of staggered studs. This eliminates direct transmission of sound by vibration by creating an air gap. Spray foam insulation has a very good sound rating and can fill the void completely. Finish the wall with double drywall and acoustic sealant along the edges. Again, this is a job for qualified trades, but the result will reflect the effort put into it.

Sound control, soundproofing, privacy-proofing are part of a healthy home environment. Having control of our space and a quiet space to relax and work contributes to a sense of well-being. It also increases your property value. You might be able to tolerate the sound of your neighbour’s home theatre system or snoring but imagine how much more comfortable you and your family will be with the sound of silence.

Questions or comments about soundproofing your condo? Want to talk about your next real estate transaction? Contact Lorne Gait and Morgan Fisher today for a personal appointment.

Plant an edible perennial garden to increase the market value of your Cowichan Valley home

Easy, Edible Perennial Gardens

One of the best uses for perennials plantings is edibles, especially here in the Cowichan Valley. Perennials go dormant in the winter and return each spring. Many vegetables and herbs are perennial which means you can enjoy bigger and bigger harvests from one plant as the years go by. They’re ideal for plant-once gardening that will grow and produce for many years. You can choose perennial vegetable and herb varieties from an extensive list of these amazing plants.

Asparagus is one of the most expensive grocery store vegetables. Planting just a couple square feet of this delicacy will keep it on the menu all year. Artichokes are another pricey vegetable that are perennials. Potatoes, garlic, and onions will grow each year by themselves if given minimal care.

Herbs such as chives, shallots, thyme, fennel, and spearmint are wonderful staples for a homestead-style garden. Put them in salads of sorrel and radicchio, also perennials, for free green salads through the spring and summer months. Fruit such as rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries (and many more types of berries) are easy to grow. With some informed pruning, they will produce baskets of sweet, organic berry treats.

Perennials may need a little help to get established. Choose the right spot for them based on their needs for light and soil. For example, full sun means six to eight hours of direct sunlight. For the first few years, make sure to monitor their progress and make adjustments, if necessary. Give them water regularly, keep weeds down, and fertilize according to best practices. You many need to wait two or three years before a perennial feels at home and begins to produce.

Perennials are low maintenance with deeper root systems resistant to drought. They may blossom for only a few weeks but make wonderful shrubs. Some may bloom again in the fall when the weather signals them to produce seeds or fruit. Perennials may come from seeds or bulbs.

The next time you’re at the plant nursery, check the labels to see if the plants you like are annuals or perennials. Consider how much time you spend in the garden and the space you have. Maybe there is room for some of these recurring wonders in your backyard and on your menu!

Questions or comments? Want to talk about your next real estate transaction? Contact Lorne Gait and Morgan Fisher today.

Cowichan Valley homes for sale

Most Desired Home Features

A home is defined by how we use it which means it needs to fit our lifestyle and our expectations. We need them to be trouble-free, efficient, and comfortable. Modern houses are evolving from mere dwellings to spaces that fit like a tailored garment or a fine pair of shoes. According to, these features are in high demand for 2021. See if any of them belong on your Cowichan Valley home shopping list.

A walk-in closet is predicted to be the most sought-after feature in a new home. Although some critics say these hidden retreats of calm are more than people need, the benefits seem to outweigh the criticism. If you love clothes and have a shoe collection, a walk-in closet is a necessity. They’re more than a big closet, they’re a dressing room with flattering lighting and mirrors for checking your look.

Energy efficiency is the sexy new feature this year. Ultra high-performance windows, LED lighting, and heat pumps put the swagger in a home buyer’s step. Going green is more than saving money. It’s a middle-class status symbol that says you’re hip with a sophisticated understanding of value for money. What could be better than near perfect climate control all year for pennies a day?

In the spirit of hygge and fika and appreciating all the good things in life, the laundry room has finally made its debut. This previously unmentionable room has come of age and now beckons the homeowner to sit, stay, and contemplate the meaning of clean laundry. Ample cupboard space, a place to iron, and intelligent appliances are accessorized with a desk and soft lamp light. Combine with a mud room and it becomes almost like a second kitchen perhaps with enough space for a gathering table.

Kitchen designers have settled on stainless and granite as the two main features of a proper kitchen. Interestingly, also reports that medium brown cabinets are preferred by first-time buyers—perhaps because they seem more luxurious—while repeat buyers tend to prefer white cabinetry. A classic white kitchen is hard to ignore. They’re easy to clean and white goes with everything. Pair them with white appliances if you like the look and plant to stay or stainless steel if the home is going on the market.

Architectural style is still trending to a fusion of traditional and contemporary minimalism, as seen in these examples. The Southern California-inspired philosophy of indoor/outdoor living continues to grow in popularity. The naturalistic environment of a joined living space and outdoor space is fundamental to the idea being connected with nature.

One way to achieve a sense of verdure that is an unmistakeable characteristic of indoor/outdoor design is to mirror the patio space and the living space. Choose sliding doors without a track in the floor. If the living space has a tile floor, continue the tiles outside to the patio for a seamless look. Use trees inside to harmonize the transition between the house and the yard. And, for colour inspiration, look to backyard plants and skyscapes. The goal with this method is to blur the boundaries between the house and the yard.

Questions or comments? Want to talk about your next real estate transaction? Contact Lorne Gait and Morgan Fisher today to learn more about new home construction trends.

Modular homes for sale in Cowichan Valley, BC

Modular Homes in the Cowichan Valley

In the early 1900’s, a small mail-ordered house was a practical alternative to a custom designed and site-built dwelling. Homeowners could order the entire structure, pre-cut and ready to assemble. A kit house saved the buyers money on labour and materials because everything was ready to be put together. They were so popular that almost 3% of all homes in the US at the time were built from kits! Kit homes are still sold for the cottage market.

Today, we’re seeing a trend in the Cowichan Valley that is moving away from traditional home-building and toward assembly-line construction in a factory. Homes are built in sections that fit on a trailer and then joined on the job site. A modular home can be a ‘single-wide’ but more common are the double-width or staggered tile designs. There is no limit to the combinations and size of a modular structure. You just keep adding modules and floors until the house is just right for you.

A modular home is different from a manufactured home. Modular homes are designed to be just like a real house that goes on a concrete foundation. Designs have changed in recent years and more of them are appearing as ‘in-fill’ housing. In-fill refers to homes that are intended for vacant lots in between houses in an existing neighbourhood. Residents expect a new home’s design to fit in to the existing scheme so designers have created modular homes that look site-built. They can go on practically any city lot because they are defined as a house, not a mobile or a manufactured home that you might find in a trailer park.

Modular homes have a number of advantages over traditional site construction. The main benefit is speed. It arrives at the building lot complete with appliances and requires only some drywall patching and paint. A modular home can be placed and connected to utilities in a couple of days. That can save owner-builders a lot of money in financing and other costs.

Have a look at some videos on modular homes being placed on their foundations. Note the sizes and variety of styles. Some have attached garages and decks that were built after the home was delivered.

Another benefit is the efficiency of construction. Because they’re assembled in a factory by full-time trades, there is very little waste in materials or time. Materials are stored in a climate-controlled environment. Everything is carefully measured and fitted to exacting standards. Nothing is wasted on the factory floor which helps keep costs low.

A modular home is built to standards that exceed traditional site-built housing because of the stress it will encounter on the journey to the site. There is extra bracing and heavier materials used. A modular home is designed and constructed to last a long time.

Modular homes are the trend of the future because they fit the idea of lower cost and higher quality that we demand in everyday products. Instead of major renovations, we might see a time when a module home can be picked up and taken to a recycler as a whole unit. A new unit could be placed on the same foundation.

Interested in land for sale to site your new modular home? Want to talk about your next real estate transaction? Contact Lorne and Morgan today for information on buying a modular home in the Cowichan Valley.

Garage organizers for Cowichan Valley homes

Organizing the Garage

Garages are usually low priority when it comes to cleaning and organizing. After all, it’s a room for the car and trash pails, isn’t it supposed to be a little bit rough? As a storage room, garages get low marks due to the humidity and dirt that can infiltrate boxes causing damage to the contents. As a car park, it’s often a crowded space with mixed priorities that can take over. If you’re ready to organize your garage of your Cowichan Valley house, read on.

Organizing is really about making decisions on what to do with stuff you haven’t used in a long time. Thankfully, there are a number of places that will take your junk, no questions asked. ReStore, created by Habitat for Humanity, is a retail outlet for recycled building materials. They will take a half-box of nails, that old brass chandelier, and whatever else you can find that tends to cause instant procrastination when you don’t know what to do with something. Value Village is another place that will take household items no matter how awful you may think they are. The only rule for donating garage junk is that it should be clean and in working order. Everything else can go to the curb for scavengers or in a dumpster.

Once you have removed the junk, the next step is to figure out where the remaining stuff will go. For this, you’ll need shelving. Ironically, the previously mentioned ReStore may have some nice used shelves. If you’re installing bracket shelves, make sure they’re wide enough for the boxes of decorations and large toys. The idea is to move everything off the floor. Build or install right up to the ceiling if you can. Closed metal cabinets are a nice safety upgrade if you store flammables in the garage. They can be locked to keep children from playing with paint remover or insecticides. You can never have too much storage space.

When hanging shelves, be sure to use the right hardware for installation. Screwing brackets directly into studs is the safest method. If you must use drywall anchors in some spots, be sure to use the correct size and style for the amount of weight the shelf must bear.

Designate areas for certain things such as the mower, recycling, kids’ toys, etc. Use big, friendly labels so everyone knows where to put things away. Making labels is a fun rainy-day activity and will solicit organizational buy-in from young artists. Sparkle letters? Why not?

When everything is up off the floor, and you’re happy with the overall effect, you might want to consider taking it to the next level. Epoxy floor paint with mica chips is every man’s dream garage floor. Easy to clean, dust-free, and professional-looking, this high impact finish can only increase the value of your home and neighbour envy.

Questions or comments? Want to talk about your next real estate transaction? Contact Lorne and Morgan, your Cowichan Valley Royal Lepage REALTORS®, today.

Cowichan Valley homes for sale with open concept

Construction Trends in the Cowichan Valley

Each generation of design takes cues from the past and incorporates them into visions for the present. Sometimes the result is brilliant. Other times it can be a mashup of incompatible theories. Today, the trend for new homes in the Cowichan Valley is reverting back to traditional with contemporary influences. People are looking for liveable spaces designed for real life families. Sustainable materials, flex-spaces, and eco-friendly elements are in vogue.

Kitchens that double as entertainment spaces have evolved from the family room-kitchen combo. The space is becoming more formal, less playroom. The bathroom is becoming a spa and a retreat for rejuvenation. Look for quirky features like a “king’s attic,” a room only accessible through the master bathroom closet. A true hideout for tired parents.

Technology is now omni-present in our lives, and it has begun to permeate the home, as well. Voice-activated helpers turn on lights, order pizza, and help us manage schedules. We can expect to see more connections between devices with the coming wave of “Internet of Things.” Your fridge will be able to order directly from the grocery store when supplies are low. When a storm knocks out the power, your car will reverse the flow of electrons from its charger to keep everything running. An electronic cocoon is the next big trend.

Decor will continue to evolve with more white decor. It never goes out of style and works with every decor. Pure, soft, cool, and warm are a few ways paint makers describe their favourite blends. There is a tone of white that is perfect for your walls. A white canvas allows the homeowner to decorate with colour accessories. White walls are a potential gallery for your inner art curator.

White-on-white is also synonymous with minimalistic spaces. It might inspire some to shed unused belongings, a trend that picked up speed in the 2010s. The catchphrases are living with less, less is more, and minimalist lifestyles for a better focus on appreciation. In these types of spaces, lighting is the main feature. Create shadows and pools of gathering light to separate spaces and give the illusion of rooms within rooms. LED lights make it possible to keep one or two on all the time for plants or safe navigation at night. Brighten a dark foyer to encourage good feng shui energy to enter the home. Consider small helper lights for dark corners and halls such as a salt lamp or an LED string in a plant.

Another welcome trend is quietude, a trend that points to sensible priorities. Separation of space begins with the visual and is complete with control of the audible environment. Wall units against common walls are helpful. Some print on demand art websites will include a sound-proof dampener. Mass loaded vinyl under an extra layer of drywall will silence a bedroom for sleep. Although this is a slightly more expensive option, it works well and when professionally done, will increase the value of your condo or townhouse.

Questions about new home construction in the Cowichan Valley? Want to talk about your next real estate transaction? Contact Lorne Gait and Morgan Fisher today to receive the newest listings by email.

Home water filtration systems in the Cowichan Valley

Water is a Cooking Ingredient

Water absorbs tastes from the pipes and conduits in the water system. Additives like chlorine can also affect the taste of this most basic of all ingredients. You wouldn’t use flour or milk that smelled like copper or chlorine so why use less than pristine water in your cooking? Cooking with filtered water can make everything from coffee to pasta taste better not to mention reconstituted juice and homemade pop. Purified water is better for people, makes better infant formula, and is healthier for pets, too. Use in fish tanks, to water plants, and to make cleaning solutions that won’t leave mineral deposits.

Here in the Cowichan Valley, we are blessed with an abundant supply of clean, fresh water. However, that water must pass through miles of pipes, new and old, before it reaches your home or business.

A water filter removes lead and other heavy metals that may be present from pipes. In apartment blocks, water can become stagnant when fewer people are drawing it from taps. If it’s a large building, the water may have been in the internal plumbing for a day or two. Modern conduits are made of plastic which can leach chemicals into the water, and even if harmless, can affect the taste. A good quality water filter is your defence against water contaminants.

Until recently, water purification options were fairly limited. Bottled water and jug-size filters were the two main choices. As purified water has become more popular, filter makers have responded with a range of under-counter appliances that will cleanse thousands of litres of water before a filter replacement is necessary. The result is tap water that has no contaminants, necessary for good health.

You can take the taste test before purchasing a filter. Buy a bottle of good quality water. Brew two cups of tea, coffee, or cocoa. Use bottled water for one and tap water for the other. Which tastes better? It’s almost certain that the drink made with purified water will taste fresher and more satisfying. You can try the same experiment with any food that has water added for a better tasting meal.

Adding an under-the-counter filter will make such a difference you’ll wonder how you lived without it.

Questions or comments? Want to talk about your next real estate transaction? Contact Lorne Gait and Morgan Fisher today to learn more about increasing your property value with a purified water system

Free home staging consultation when you list your home for sale in the Cowichan Valley

Kitchen Makeovers to Beat the February Blahs

Are you bored with your kitchen? Is a renovation out of the question? Did you know that a mini makeover can increase the value of your Cowichan Valley home? With some careful upgrades to the most touched pieces, and a colour shift with accessories, a makeover can be affordable and fun. The first step is to establish the scope of your project by considering ambition, time, and money.

New cabinets from IKEA are not expensive, especially if you can install them yourself. With a modest budget and some labour, you can transform the layout of your kitchen to something much more efficient. At the other end of the spectrum, a deep cleaning and new paint on the backsplash costs very little. Or you might find that re-grouting the tile floor and painting the ceiling are all you need to do.

A February kitchen makeover may be planned over four weekends. Here is a sample schedule to give you some ideas:

Week 1

Paint is one of the easiest ways to improve the look of a room. Clean the walls thoroughly with trisodium phosphate (TSP) to remove cooking oils and prep the surface for paint. Traditional colours for kitchens are whites, greens, light blues, and soft greys. Mix and match them to create your own style. Creamy white walls with a pale blue ceiling will expand the space and allow light to bounce around. No time to paint? Simply washing the walls with TSP will brighten them and give the space a fresh look.

Week 2

Replace the faucet with a new one. There is a faucet style for every taste and budget. Most will have a pull out or down spray tool for rinsing beyond the normal reach of a spigot. Newer ones have a touch-less feature that is convenient when your hands are covered in food. If you like your existing faucet, consider a moveable spigot head from the dollar store. It will be a small but welcome improvement.

Week 3

Cabinet pulls and knobs are a terrific way to introduce a new look to your kitchen. They’re easy to install with just a screwdriver. Unless you’re replacing the whole cabinet, try to replace like-with-like. That is, choose simple replacement hardware that doesn’t require any drilling or other modifications. If new knobs aren’t in the budget, remove the old ones and let them soak in a detergent solution overnight. You might be surprised at the difference a deep cleaning will make to their appearance.

Week 4

Window coverings can be changed with the season. In the summer, a translucent venetian blind will keep things light and, in the winter, an insulated roman blind can add a cozy feel while saving energy. The best part is you can leave both up all year round and switch between them. Avoid curtains in the cooking area to reduce the risk of fires.

Want to talk about your next real estate transaction? Need some advice on pre-listing renovations and home staging? Contact Lorne Gait and Morgan Fisher today.

Beautifully Renovated Vancouver Island Ocean front Home

Beautifully Renovated Vancouver Island Ocean front Home

This beautifully renovated Vancouver Island ocean front 3 bed and 4-bathroom estate is situated on a spacious 27,094 Sq.  Ft walk on waterfront lot. 

Beautifully Renovated Vancouver Island Ocean front Home

Driving into this property you pass by a useful outbuilding which serves as a large workshop and recreation room area. The shop area could easily be a spacious double garage—if desired. The workshop leads toward a finished recreation room with kitchen, a sauna and a 3-piece bathroom—the perfect cave for quiet recreation. 

Diving further down the driveway you come to a landscaped area with room for several cars which can be parked just above the home.

Entering the home on the level you will find owner has spared no effort to renovate this home with high end finishes. The kitchen is spectacular with quartz counters and stainless-steel appliances including a dual fuel Propane and Electric Stove. The kitchen leads you toward a generous dining area, and a warm and cozy area to enjoy the sun and ocean views with an exit to a balcony facing the ocean. Off the dining room, there is a living room with spectacular ocean views. There is one bedroom on the main floor. Upstairs there is an enormous master bedroom with spacious en-suite and walk-in closet. A family room and second upstairs bedroom finish the upper floor. Downstairs is the laundry room, a recreation area, plenty of storage, laundry and a 2-piece bathroom.

Beyond the home is a gentle path to your own walk on waterfront area. This home and property are truly above average.

For more information or a viewing, please contact Lorne Gait at 250-618-0680. Or email to lorne [at] lornegait [dot] com

Beautifully Renovated Vancouver Island Ocean front Home — Pics . . . 

A Map to this Beautifully Renovated Vancouver Island Ocean Front Home

Here is a Map for you.  This map is from the Departure Bay Ferry to 319 Chemainus Road, Ladysmith, BC.  If you need help with directions, . . . Let’s get In touch


Video Link to 319 Chemainus Road  . . .

Please enjoy this video of the home and property at 319 Chemainus Road.  Ladysmith, BC.

Link to Full I Guide.  LINK

This link is a link to all the pictures, the video and a 3D Tour.  Enjoy and browse at your leisure.


For more information or a viewing . . . let’s get in touch.  Lorne at 250-616-0560 or leave a message at Get In Touch


Down payment assistance homes for sale in the Cowichan Valley

Down Payment Options

This is a question first-time buyers ask themselves when they find the perfect starter home in the Cowichan Valley. It’s in the right neighbourhood, at the right price, and it shows pride of ownership. All the things a first-time buyer wants in a house or a condo. They can afford the payments but haven’t been able to save a down payment. Luckily, Canadian homeowners have a number of options available to them.

Did you know that the minimum down payment is only 5% of the purchase price? That means a $350,000 home requires only $17,500 to qualify for an insured mortgage. Based on the affordability calculator, you would need an income of $55,000 to afford the mortgage on this example.

The Government of Canada offers an incentive for first-time buyers. A buyer can receive 5% of the purchase price for a resale property or 10% of the price for a new home. This can significantly reduce payments by reducing the mortgage needed to purchase. The incentive is an equity-sharing arrangement, which means the government has an interest in the property and the loan must be repaid when it is sold.

Through the Home Buyer Plan, regular deposits to an RRSP are a terrific way to save money and taxes, too. Your contributions are deductible from your taxable income so you’re able to save and receive a refund at the end of the year. Saving $300 per month for three years and depositing the tax refund to the RRSP at the end of each year would add up to a down payment for a $350,000 home.

Gifts from parents or relatives can be a helpful way to get started. It’s also possible to borrow the down payment from sources other than the mortgage provider. A personal line of credit can be useful in these types of circumstances if the overall debt service ratio is within allowed limits.

If you’re thinking of buying a home, it’s a good idea to defer large purchases that will affect your credit and debt servicing ratios. For example, buying a car before a purchase – even if you’re in escrow – can affect your debt ratio and cause the lender to withdraw the mortgage offer. The best approach is to wait until you have moved into your new home before shopping for big ticket items or using your credit cards for travel, etc.

With some planning and foresight, a new home might be within your reach already!

Are you a first time buyer? Want to talk about your next real estate transaction? Contact Lorne Gait and Morgan Fisher today.

Vancouver Island Real Estate Buyer and Seller Specialists