Forest Hill Full House

Whole home renovation of a semi-detached home in the Forest Hill area.

Our client for this project, who works as a sustainable design consultant, selected Greening Homes to renovate the family home. Though this semi-detached had been built not long ago, the finishes had started to degrade and the flow of the kitchen and basement needed work. There was also a desire to install healthier and more environmentally friendly materials throughout (some new and some reclaimed), as well as upgrade the efficiency of the plumbing and lighting fixtures.

Typically an older home will hide elements behind the walls that we need to carry a contingency for, but we completed this project under our initial estimate. Our client’s surplus budget allowed us to design and build a new locally-sourced, small-milled white cedar deck and completely change the utility of the backyard.


We upgraded this home, both in terms of energy efficiency and healthier materials, from top to bottom. This project included a kitchen renovation, three bathroom renovations, and finish upgrades to the main floor, basement and bedrooms.

HVAC was upgraded to include a Heat Recovery Ventilation system (HRV) and a high-efficiency tankless water heater. All of the electrical throughout the home was upgraded to LED pot lights and puck lights, and all plumbing fixtures were upgraded to low-flow models; many of those were EPA WaterSense certified.

Our Greening Homes crew installed many reclaimed wood accents throughout the home during the renovations in the kitchen and living areas. Special consideration to indoor air quality was undertaken to reduce any potential air pollutants brought into the home. All wood product finishes, caulking/adhesives and engineered products were low to no VOC.

We fully landscaped the front-sloped boulevard with native plants and built a new deck in the rear yard. The new deck was constructed from locally sourced, small-milled white cedar. This material has a much lower carbon footprint compared to western red cedar that needs to be shipped across the country.


  • Greening Homes created a waste diversion plan before we started this project to identify potential waste/recyclable materials the project would produce
  • The existing bathroom vanities, kitchen cabinets, plumbing fixtures, light fixtures and other salvageable interior elements like doors were carefully removed and donated to Habitat for Humanity. The tax receipt for the donation was given to our client.
  • Carpet removed from basement during demolition was installed under the concrete slab to increase the amount of insulation


  • FSC certified Paperstone and butcher block kitchen countertops
  • Recycled stainless steel kitchen countertop and fixtures
  • FSC certified custom bathroom vanity and walnut kitchen cabinetry
  • Upcycled bottle corks were cut down and used as a custom backsplash in the kitchen
  • Mosaic tile behind the bathroom sinks were constructed from our client’s reclaimed pottery and ceramic shards
  • Custom built-in bookshelf, fireplace mantel, and kitchen shelving from reclaimed wood
  • Reclaimed antique French tiles incorporated into new living room fireplace
  • Cork flooring throughout the basement
  • Custom six-panel sliding closet doors fashioned from reclaimed and refinished doors
  • A 97% recycled drywall product was used throughout the home
  • All framing lumber (where possible) was FSC certified
  • All trim, crown molding and interior doors were FSC certified
  • Ultra Touch recycled cotton denim batt sound insulation (bathroom walls)
  • California standard, lead free plumbing fixtures
  • New backyard deck built from small-milled and locally sourced eastern white cedar
  • Native plants used exclusively in the front yard


  • Toto DualMax WaterSense certified low-flow toilets
  • Heat recovery ventilation (HRV) installed to recover the heat energy from exhausted air (it’s used to pre-heat fresh cold air coming into the home)
  • High-efficiency tankless water heater installed
  • LED lighting throughout using 2.5w pucks in the built-in cabinets and kitchen, and Aroni pot lights in all of the living spaces, bathroom and bedroom ceilings


  • All subfloors and engineered cork flooring were NAUF (no added urea-formaldehyde)
  • Non-toxic soldering flux was used on all plumbing components
  • Eco-Logo certified no VOC adhesives and caulking
  • No VOC primer and paints
  • Refinished original wood floors with low VOC sealant
  • New HRV system installed
  • The HRV system exhausts stale air from the kitchens, bathrooms and laundry, and supplies fresh air to the living spaces and bedrooms


  • This site was a five-minute walk away from the St. Clair subway station and allowed the majority of the Greening Homes crew to take the TTC
  • Trucks and other vehicles were used for moving materials and tools when they were required (not for day-to-day commuting)