Skip to main content

Pros and Cons of Moving to Parksville, BC

The beautiful seaside town of Parksville is known for its long, sandy beaches, vibrant community, and small-town feel. With a population of around 14 000, the quaint feel of Parksville can’t be beaten. But is this town the right fit for you? When moving to a new town or city, it’s always a good idea to weigh the pros and cons to help come to a better decision about relocating. We’ve listed some commonly asked questions and concerns about Parksville below.

Advantages of living in Parksville

Is Parksville the best place to retire on Vancouver Island?

A slower pace of life, beautiful natural scenery, and a slight bias towards an older demographic are key features for why Parksville is a great place to retire. The median age of a resident is 62 years old and this is accommodated by warm ocean waters for swimming, a vibrant seniors’ centre, and an assortment of year-round golf courses nearby.

Qualicum Beach is about a ten-minute drive from Parksville and offers many of the same amenities plus a few more. Together, these towns are referred to as the Oceanside region. In terms of amenities, they contain options such as a health centre, grocery stores, fitness and aquatic centre, and several religious organizations. Retirees especially enjoy the impressive golf courses of Qualicum Beach.

Parksville weather

Parksville benefits from the same mild, temperate climate as the rest of Vancouver Island. Winters are generally mild and bring a small amount of snow each year. Summers are comfortably warm with rare instances of heat waves. Temperatures range between 3 and 22 degrees Celsius on average, making it very comfortable to go for a walk or take a dip in the ocean. As it is a waterfront town, a small breeze usually comes in with the waves. View Parksville’s weather forecast and have a look for yourself.

Parksville real estate – waterfront and waterview homes aplenty

If you are dreaming of a waterfront home, where you are mere steps away from sandy beaches and warm ocean water, you’ve found the right place. Parksville is filled mainly with two to three-bedroom, single-family homes that are either on the beach or within walking distance of it. A small number of townhouses and condos are also found, notably a few newer buildings near the waterfront in downtown Parksville.

If you are more interested in acreage, then you will want to look inland. Moving in the direction of Coombs and Hilliers will open more opportunities for hobby farms and similar properties.
Compared to Vancouver, real estate listings in Parksville are relatively more affordable. While some homes are older, custom renovations are fairly popular. Another option that has been growing in popularity is building a custom home. It’s a perfect marriage between an ideal location and a home built based on the homeowner’s lifestyle.

Fresh air and a clean town

Are you looking to get away from the city smog? The air in Parksville is fantastic due to the ocean breezes and plentiful amount of trees and forests. The water tastes great, too. An overall low level of pollution puts Parksville high on the environmentally-friendly scale.

Those seeking a healthier lifestyle will appreciate the cleanliness of the town, the freshness of the city, and the lack of wear and tear on the overall environment. If you or a family member suffers from a breathing problem such as asthma or COPD, then you may find the environment in Parksville will benefit your health.

A mature caucasian couple out for a hike together. Senior man and woman smiling and walking in a forest in nature

Considerations about Parksville

Parksville jobs

As a small town, there is a limited number of businesses and job opportunities. Some people choose to live in beautiful Parksville and commute to work in nearby Nanaimo, Qualicum Beach, or Port Alberni.

The unemployment rate may look startling to some, but it’s important to keep in mind that Parksville is a preferred place to retire so that will heavily affect any statistics regarding employment. Of the available jobs, working in retail and health care provide the bulk of the workforce. In addition, many remote positions have opened up in recent years due to the pandemic, making Parksville an ideal location for your home office. Where else can you leave work and head straight to the beach?

Things to do in Parksville

In terms of things to do similar to larger cities like Vancouver, you can think of Parksville as containing some of those things on a smaller scale, but with the addition of outdoor recreation at your doorstep.

While you won’t find a large venue for concerts or NHL games, you will find the beautiful Rathtrevor Provincial Park, mini golf, various golf courses, restaurants, local businesses like cheese shops and breweries, and endless opportunities for embracing nature.

The long tides mean the sandy beaches have ample time to warm up in the sunshine, which causes the incoming waves to get a little bit warmer and more comfortable for swimming. Families enjoy Parksville beaches for swimming, building sand castles, and relaxing on a warm summer day. Adults enjoy creating sand castles, too. An annual competition at the Parksville Beach Festival involves a sand sculpting competition that is a must-see. These gorgeous works of art are on display for a few weeks until the elements wear them away.

Independent transportation

Do you have a driver’s license? While you may have gotten away without one on the Lower Mainland, you’ll likely need it in Parksville.

Many shops and amenities are within walking distance and there is a local bus that gets the job done. However, having your own wheels will come in handy for places like Rathtrevor Beach, travelling to nearby towns, or any other local area that isn’t serviced by the city bus.

Parksville does not have numerous bus routes and a SkyTrain system for users to get around. Some private companies offer bus service to other parts of Vancouver Island, but this can be a costly option if you need to commute regularly.

The perk to this situation is that traffic in Parksville is virtually non-existent. Gone are the days of finding yourself crawling along the highway just to get to work or home. If you want stress-free driving, then you should consider Parksville.

Emergency health care is limited

While most health concerns can be addressed by the local health centre, the nearest hospitals are in Nanaimo and Port Alberni. Granted, it does take about 30 minutes by vehicle to drive to either location (with favourable traffic conditions) but that can make some people nervous. If you are the type of person that wants a hospital in your hometown, then Parksville might be a little too small for your needs.

In general, most residents are highly satisfied with the healthcare situation in Parksville. Staff competency, equipment standards, friendliness of healthcare staff, and speed in completing examinations are all reported with more than satisfactory ratings.

However, Vancouver Island is running a little short on available family doctors. While you will be able to see a physician during a visit to a walk-in clinic, finding a family doctor may take a while. This problem is not unique to Parksville, but it is worth planning ahead if you do decide to relocate.

Ready to dive into Parksville’s real estate market?

At Ballard Fine Homes, we personally believe Parksville is one of the best places to live on Vancouver Island. As a custom home-building company, we have built homes all over the Oceanside region and can’t speak highly enough about the benefits of owning a home in Parksville. We are passionate about building beautiful homes on Vancouver Island that our clients love.

For more elaborate builds, we offer an extensive selection of high-end finishes and designs for that professional touch. Smaller renovation jobs are also welcomed, as well as any questions you may have about our process. If you are looking to renovate or build your own custom home, we would love to get in touch with you to make that a reality.

Kitchen design mistakes you’ll want to avoid

Kitchens and bathrooms have a reputation for being one of the more expensive areas of the home to renovate, so it’s extra important to get it right the first time. Don’t waste your time and money fixing something you could have prevented – read our tips below before you put that first nail in the wall. Even better, hire the professionals at Ballard Fine Homes for your next renovation to guarantee the job gets done right while looking absolutely perfect.

Your kitchen layout should be functional and flow

One of the most important things to consider is the layout. Avoid overcrowding the kitchen by leaving ample space for movement and work areas. Another mistake related to the layout is inadequate storage. Be sure to plan for enough cabinets, drawers, and pantry space to keep your kitchen organized and clutter-free. If you are downsizing your storage space from your current kitchen, make sure you downsize the amount of utensils and kitchen tools you currently have, otherwise it just won’t work.

How does your current kitchen function? What are things you like about it and what are things that drive you up the wall? If you can think of examples of other kitchens you’ve been in and enjoyed, that will already put you one step closer to avoiding a costly mistake on your own design.

Air circulation often gets overlooked

Another common kitchen remodel mistake is neglecting the ventilation system. Proper ventilation is essential for eliminating cooking odors and maintaining good air quality. Hood fans and the ability to open a window when that tray of cookies stayed in the oven just a bit too long is both functional and safe.

Spacing out the distance between counters and an island will also help with air circulation. This is important for regulating the temperature of the room and overall air quality. Kitchens are usually more enjoyable to be in when they aren’t hot and stuffy, right?

Measure before you buy

Have your eye on some new appliances? Measure first at home before you get to the store. Often, buyers get tempted by a great deal or a beautiful piece only to find out it doesn’t work in their space because it is too large or doesn’t match the decor. It can be an added expense to return appliances to the store in terms of time and gas for your vehicle, and an unnecessary headache. If you ordered your appliance online, you may be required to pay hefty shipping fees to send it back to the store – even if it was free shipping to get to your house.

Sometimes it can be helpful to view a showroom to see exactly how an appliance looks up against a particular style of cabinet or countertops design. As always, a professional eye cannot be overstated. When in doubt, ask the experts.

Kitchen sink in modern house kitchen with vegetables. Internal view of a modern kitchen. Interior design kitchen beautiful perspective. Quick to prepare meals.

Kitchen design tip: Can you see what you’re doing?

Lighting is often overlooked, but it plays a crucial role in both functionality and ambiance. Avoid relying solely on overhead lighting and consider incorporating task lighting and ambient lighting for a well-lit and inviting atmosphere.

If possible, natural light is always a plus but be mindful about that functionality, too. If you are someone with mobility issues, are you really that likely to jump up on the counter to wash your windows from time to time? If hiring someone to help, it may take them longer to wash a large window than if it were a little bit smaller.

Do your countertops make sense?

Lastly, don’t forget about the countertops. Choose durable materials that are easy to clean and maintain, and ensure you have enough counter space for food preparation and other kitchen activities. If you have young children, try the “fingerprint test” to see how easily smudges and fingerprints show on your countertops and appliances. If smudges and fingerprints are not something you want to be constantly touching up, then make sure your design choices accommodate your lifestyle in that way.

The same goes for common backsplash mistakes. Is the design too busy? Is your grout the correct colour? How does the backsplash colour scheme work with your walls, floor, countertops, and large appliances? Although it is a smaller component of a kitchen, it makes a large impact.

Check out kitchen designs that work and look beautiful

You know what to avoid but how about some kitchen inspiration that is guaranteed to work? At Ballard Fine Homes, we have an extensive showroom that displays various light fixtures, finishes, countertop designs, and sample layouts. Casually walk around and take in the variety of beautiful designs, and talk to one of our staff members for any questions or advice moving forward. Our custom features make it easy to design a kitchen or home just the way you want it.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can better remodel your kitchen, contact the team at Ballard Fine Homes to get that professional touch in your home.

Moving to Nanaimo – what you need to know

Is Nanaimo a good place to live? Are there any bad areas to be aware of? Those considering moving to Nanaimo have questions like these, and more. In this relocation guide, we will answer the most commonly asked questions about moving to Nanaimo. The pros and cons of living in this harbour city will be outlined so you can make a better-informed decision about where you’d like to live.

Cost of living in Nanaimo

One of the most important points to consider is how much it is going to cost to live comfortably. While inflation occurs all over the country, some places seem to get hit harder than others. Those considering moving to Nanaimo might be doing so because it is simply too expensive to live in larger cities like Vancouver.

When comparing the cost of living between Nanaimo and Vancouver, Nanaimo wins on most fronts. Rent, groceries, and other consumer prices are generally lower in Nanaimo than in Vancouver. Other sources support Nanaimo’s more affordable cost of living compared to other British Columbia towns and cities.

Real estate market & rent prices

How much does it cost to rent an apartment in Nanaimo? Like with any city, costs vary depending on location. A one-bedroom apartment will run you around $1500/month, while a larger three-bedroom is $2500 or more. The median home price in Nanaimo is substantially lower than the provincial average, making Nanaimo a strong contender for more affordable real estate options in BC.

Nanaimo contains a mix of housing types. Single-family homes are the most common, seen as ranchers, two-storey, split-levels, and usually contain a one-car garage. These homes are usually built in a mid-century modern or west coast contemporary style. More and more people are choosing to consult a Nanaimo home builder to create a custom home, which is more of a possibility given the savings on the property purchase.

If you are looking for waterfront homes on Vancouver Island, then Nanaimo is a great place to consider. Either on the water or with beautiful views, Nanaimo has several great waterfront neighborhoods such as Departure Bay, North Nanaimo, Hammond Bay, Old City, South Nanaimo, and Cedar.

Waterfront at Nanaimo, BC

Employment opportunities

How is the job situation in Nanaimo? Most employed residents work in sales, trades, business, and finance-related occupations, with healthcare and retail being the dominant industries. While you may not find as many jobs as in metropolitan Vancouver, the city of around 100 000 residents does provide a variety of employment opportunities.

Nanaimo weather

Nanaimo is a coastal city on the east coast of Vancouver Island. Like any other city by the sea, Nanaimo experiences a variety of weather conditions and its fair share of wind. However, all of Vancouver Island is known for its mild, temperate climate and Nanaimo is no exception. While not too warm or cool, Nanaimo also experiences rainfall, snowfall, and the occasional thunderstorm.

Nanaimo Demographics

With around 100 000 residents, Nanaimo is a vibrant mix of diverse cultures, ages, and backgrounds. The median age of a Nanaimo resident is 45 years old with a median household annual income of around $60 000. Most residents are married or single.

There are some visible minorities within Nanaimo, as well. Of these, South Asian and Chinese ethnicities are the most populous.

Overall, Nanaimo is a very welcoming place for young families, immigrants, and retirees.

Happy students with one in particular giving a thumbs up

Are there good schools in Nanaimo?

Nanaimo is a great place to raise a family. Several elementary and high schools are found throughout the city, including some post-secondary options. As part of School District 68, Nanaimo shares this space with nearby Ladysmith to provide twenty-eight elementary schools and six secondary schools. Post-secondary facilities such as Vancouver Island University and Sprott Shaw College further add to the appeal.

Healthcare satisfaction

In general, Nanaimo residents report a moderate to high level of satisfaction with various healthcare services and facilities. In terms of facilities, Nanaimo contains a regional hospital and several types of healthcare facilities.

However, there has been a challenge among residents on Vancouver Island when finding a family doctor. While this issue is not unique to Nanaimo, it is still affected by the high demand of residents seeking a physician. Those without a doctor can use walk-in clinics and the hospital for emergencies.

Central location

Nanaimo has a favourable location on Vancouver Island. It feels like a central location because getting to places like Victoria, Tofino, Comox, and even Vancouver all take roughly the same amount of time – usually between 1-3 hours depending on where you are heading.

The BC Ferries have scheduled, year-round services from Nanaimo to Horseshoe-Bay (North Vancouver) and Tsawwassen (south of Vancouver), as well as smaller routes to the various islands within the Strait of Georgia. The Vancouver Island Airport is also located at the southern end of Nanaimo, allowing for flights to Vancouver or Calgary.

Build your dream home with a Nanaimo home builder

Are you now considering relocating your family to Nanaimo? Ballard Fine Homes is a Nanaimo home-building company that takes the pressure off of building so you can spend more time on what matters – getting excited about your dream home. Our showroom and show homes offer an opportunity to see online or in person how various layouts, fixtures, and designs work harmoniously together. Don Ballard and his team are available to answer any questions you may have about how you can turn your dreams into a custom-built home designed perfectly for you. Contact us today to get started.

Don’t miss out on these kitchen storage ideas for your next home remodelling project

Are you looking for some kitchen storage inspiration to help reduce all that clutter collecting on your island? Our list of kitchen storage solutions is perfect for kitchens of all sizes. Those looking for storage ideas for small spaces on a budget will find this article particularly helpful, too!

Install cabinets into your existing island

If it seems like your kitchen island is a magnet for household clutter, consider turning it into a storage unit. Installing cabinets will provide additional storage space. If you don’t like the idea of handles, many soft-touch options provide an almost seamless finish.

Mount a knife or spice rack

If you find yourself limited on counter space, try moving some of those items to the wall instead. A magnetic, wall-mounted knife rack provides easy access in high-traffic kitchens. Of course, if you have small children then it is probably better to leave the knives in a drawer. But knives aren’t the only things that can be moved from the counter to the wall. Spice racks and magnetic spice holders that attach to your refrigerator are popular for small kitchens.

Visit your local dollar store

The dollar store isn’t one of the first places you would normally think of for a kitchen remodel, but there is a time and place for everything. Dollar stores often have affordable storage bins that are perfect for placing under the sink for cleaning supplies, organising the pantry, and finding a designated container for those odd-ball objects like reusable shopping bags. Some people find they are especially helpful for organising deep freezers and refrigerators.

Store dishes above the sink

In some countries, like Japan, kitchens are naturally on the smaller side so each piece needs to function at its peak. A smart design feature is to install a drying rack over the sink. Pots and pans are washed and then put on the rack to dry. Once dry, they stay there because that is their designated storage area.

A view of some kitchen storage ideas including a magnetic knifeblock and pans hung up on the wall.

Collapsible strainers

Some kitchen tools, such as strainers or colanders, come in a collapsible design. They become full-size when you need them, but can be collapsed and tucked away in a drawer taking up far less space than a traditional version of the same tool.

Shower caddies and rods

Remember that dollar store we mentioned earlier? It’s also a great place to purchase shower caddies. Hook a shower caddy over the pantry door or behind a cupboard, so they are only visible once you open the door. This provides vertical storage space for small objects like kitchen sponges and seasonings. A tension rod, similar to what you’ll find holding up a shower curtain, can also be used to hang cleaning supplies at the back of your cupboard.

Label your pantry

It is easier to keep spaces clutter-free when everyone knows where items are supposed to be stored. Labelling your pantry is one way to help in this direction, especially if you are reusing containers to store something else (we’re looking at you, coffee cans and margarine containers!). This can be done by labelling the container or the shelf it is located on. Using broad categories like breakfast, snacks, grains, or condiments can go a long way in organising a disaster pantry.

Add extra shelving or cabinets

If you need more space, add an extra shelf or cabinet. Open shelving is a popular design choice, as it makes smaller kitchens feel less boxed-in. Another kitchen organizer idea is to have a tall cabinet that only fits cutting boards. This can be slipped in next to the fridge, oven, or anywhere else there is a suitable gap.

You have the knowledge, so let’s make it look great

This is only a small list of all the possibilities to renovate your dream kitchen. If you saw something that piqued your interest or want more ideas for how to remodel your kitchen, Ballard Fine Homes is here to help. Our business is known for building top-quality custom homes, but we also transform spaces through renovations. If you prefer to see our work in person, we have an extensive showroom with sample products, finishes, and rooms. If you can dream it, Ballard can build (or renovate) it! Contact us today to get started.

Pros and Cons for living in Courtenay, BC

When considering a move to any new town or city, it is important to be aware of both the positive and negative aspects of the area. A perk for some might be a consideration for others. As pros and cons are subjective, we’ve provided a list of what we feel are advantages and potential disadvantages for someone considering a move to Courtenay.

What is Courtenay BC known for?

Situated in the stunning Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, Courtenay offers a picturesque backdrop of mountains, forests, and waterways. The region’s mild climate allows residents to enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities throughout the year, from hiking and skiing to fishing and kayaking. It’s a place where you can enjoy the outdoors, build lasting relationships, and experience the unique charm of Vancouver Island living.

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Advantages for moving to Courtenay

Looking for some good reasons to move to Courtenay? Consider the following.

Courtenay is relatively affordable

Compared to major cities in British Columbia like Vancouver and Victoria, Courtenay offers a more affordable cost of living. Housing prices, rental rates, and daily expenses tend to be lower, making it more accessible for individuals and families.

Year-round mild, temperate climate

The weather in Courtenay is fairly comfortable most of the time. Summers are usually warm but not as excessively hot as you’d find in places like the Okanagan. While it does snow in the winter, the season is relatively mild compared to other parts of Canada. It receives a similar amount of rain compared to Vancouver and other surrounding areas.

Healthcare is not neglected

It seems like it doesn’t matter where you go in British Columbia, it’s going to be difficult to find a family doctor. While the pressure to find a physician does exist in Courtenay, the infrastructure supports an already well-established health care system. The North Island Hospital opened in 2017, for example. North Island College also has several programs and courses related to health care such as nursing and homecare, in which grads often choose to search locally for a job before moving onto other areas. Within existing medical facilities, residents report a high satisfaction with the quality of medical equipment available, friendliness of staff, and overall skill level.

Education options are plentiful

Families flock to Courtenay for many reasons and good schools are one of them. Combined with the same school district as Comox, there are several fantastic elementary and secondary schools for families. Those wanting to pursue further education can attend North Island College or other reputable schools.

A harbour near Courtenay, BC

Potential Disadvantages for living in Courtenay

Is Courtenay a safe place to live?

One of the factors people tend to look for is how crime rates are relative to other nearby cities. While Courtenay does see a moderate level of crime, it is still reportedly lower than places like Port Alberni or Duncan.

As with any city, there are some areas that are better than others. Ballard Fine Homes is a custom home-building company that has built several homes in Courtenay. Such homes on Mission Road and Klanawa Crescent, for example, do not appear on crime maps as problematic areas because their locations were carefully chosen by our experts.

Things to do in Courtenay

While there are shopping centers, restaurants, and recreational facilities, the variety and options might be more limited when compared to a larger city like Vancouver. If you are someone that likes to try a new restaurant every time you go out to eat, then you may find yourself on repeat a little more often in Courtenay. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing – there are some fantastic restaurants and breweries located downtown. The small-town feel of Courtenay means that there are opportunities for small-talk as you get to know local business owners.

Where Courtenay shines is in its outdoor recreation. If you are someone that enjoys hiking, fishing, skiing, boating, camping, or hanging out at the beach or lake, then you will be pleased with the options in and around this city. Mount Washington Alpine Resort and Nymph Falls Nature Park are local gems.

Ready to make the move to Courtenay?

If you are considering moving to Courtenay, the team at Ballard Fine Homes are happy to assist with questions about the area, custom home-building feature recommendations, and homes for sale that are already built to the highest standards. Whether you are on the fence or confident, contact us to find out more information about taking the next step together. We look forward to hearing from you!

Perks and considerations for living on a lake or near the ocean

Have you dreamed about living on a lakefront or oceanfront property? Is that dream now looking to be a real possibility? Before you dive into purchasing a waterfront home, take the time to do your research so you know what you are getting yourself into. Our article outlines some benefits and potential considerations when living next to a body of water, so that you can be one step closer to making an informed decision.

Benefits for living in a waterfront home

Do the benefits of living near water outweigh the cons? Here are some of the most common advantages that people tend to mention when thinking about buying waterfront property.

Beautiful Views

Imagine having your morning cup of coffee while looking out your window to see a beautiful sunset peaking above the ocean’s horizon, or perhaps you are on a lake and are admiring a Bald Eagle as it soars across the water. There’s no denying it – waterfront properties tend to have exceptional views. Whether it is the lake or ocean, natural wildlife, or untouched forest, the scenery can be breathtaking.

Access to water activities

Besides enjoying the view, there is a functional component to living near the water. The ability to go for a swim, boat ride, or enjoy other water activities is a huge draw. Many people enjoy the option to come home from work and be steps away from something so relaxing. Lakefront or oceanfront properties make it so much easier to go fishing, swimming, kayaking, surfing, canoeing, or water skiing. When your commute to the water is less than a minute, there really is no excuse not to indulge.


The sound of waves crashing or gentle ripples on a lake can be very calming and relaxing. Many people find that living near the water helps them to de-stress and unwind. In a world that is so hectic and busy, finding pockets of relaxation like these is becoming more and more of a valuable asset.

Easier to breathe

Living near the water can provide cleaner air due to the breeze that comes off the water. This may not sound like much at first, but consider this: would you rather be next to a lake or ocean with a breeze, or downtown in a polluted city with the same breeze? We know what one we’d rather pick.

Usually, homes near water also have a considerable amount of forested area nearby. This naturally creates a cleaner environment. When a breeze comes by, it brings along a new batch of fresh air that hasn’t been contaminated by vehicle exhaust, large groups of people coughing, or any other contaminants. It’s just easier to breathe near the water!

Investment opportunity

There’s a reason living on the lake is such a big deal – it can be expensive. Homes with views or direct access to the water often carry a higher price tag than their city suburban alternatives. However, this can work in your favour.

A lake house property or oceanfront home can be a smart investment opportunity, given the right circumstances. As a rental, it is easier to charge a higher rent given the ideal location. In addition, setting it up as a vacation rental or Airbnb can provide more passive income. Over time, the assessed value of the home may naturally increase, too.

Considerations with waterfront living

There are some unique considerations when living along the shorelines. Some are common sense, but others could be things that are easy to overlook.

Higher risk of flooding

If you’re home is next to the water, there’s a chance of flooding, especially during storms or hurricanes. This can lead to damage to the property and potential safety hazards.

Increased insurance costs

That same flooding risk can be reflective on your insurance costs. A higher risk carries a higher price tag, so monthly or annual costs for insurance may be more than what you are expecting or used to paying.

Saltwater corrosion

If you live near the ocean, your home and belongings may be subject to saltwater corrosion, which can cause damage over time. What does this mean? The natural salt in the ocean reacts with metals on your property causing rust and breakage over time. Galvanic corrosion is another term used to describe saltwater corrosion.

More wildlife interactions (and mosquitoes)

While in the city, the worst of your problems might be the occasional raccoon getting into your garbage but waterfront properties bring a new ecosystem to contend with. Bears, fish, cougars, sharks, and other animals may try to coexist in the same area as your home. While it can be enjoyable to observe these creatures from a distance, it’s important to remember that they can also pose potential dangers. Areas with pools of sitting water are often the cause for large numbers of mosquitoes, too.

Tourist traffic

You aren’t the only one that loves the water – tourists do, too. Popular waterfront areas may attract a lot of tourist traffic, which can result in congestion and noise pollution, especially during peak vacation seasons. Additional measures to add privacy to your property may be a required investment given your unique circumstances.

Dock maintenance

Do you have a dock for swimming or mooring your boat? It takes a considerable amount of time, money, and effort to maintain a wharf. Regular cleanings, applying protective coatings, and inspecting for damages are some of the extra tasks associated with owning a dock.

Looking for more information?

Are you looking for the best lakes to live on year round, or perhaps you’d like more insight on what else comes with luxurious waterfront living? As Vancouver Island home builders, Ballard Fine Homes has extensive experience in building custom homes in places near or on the water. Whether you are wanting an oceanfront home in Nanaimo or Parksville or a place closer to Comox Lake, our team can help you find that perfect place to call home. Developments like Bayview Estates place your custom home directly on the beach – it doesn’t get better than that! Contact our team to learn more about what waterfront real estate listings are currently available on Vancouver Island. If you already have a place in mind, talk to us and discover what custom features are available to turn your dream into a reality.

Bathroom Design Ideas

Looking for some bathroom inspo? For your next build or renovation, you’ll want to check out our list for washroom design ideas – suitable for mains and ensuites alike. Make your space look brighter, more inviting, and easier to clean with a smart design.

Ensuite bathroom ideas

Whether it’s off the master bedroom or a guest room, ensuites tend to feel more personalized than the other bathrooms in the home. All the suggestions on this page are suitable for ensuites and shared spaces.

Elegant bathrooms

Take a page from the history books when choosing to design an elegant bathroom. By choosing a few gems and giving them a modern, updated look, these elegant bathroom ideas write their own histories.

  • Floating vanities and open shelving give the illusion of a larger space
  • Dimmer lights help control the feel of the room, making it seem more spa-like.
  • Install a large bathtub, such as a claw-foot or jet tub for a relaxed aura.
  • Go minimal. Minimalist bathrooms often appear to be more put-together than cluttered, disorganized alternatives.
  • Mix and match old and new styles such as antique wood vanities with glass shower doors or black matte hardware.

A modern bathroom design with a blue backlit wall.

Modern master bathroom ideas

How do you transform a regular bathroom into one that looks modern? One of the key features is how you organize your personal items. In short, hide them from view and adopt a minimalist design.

  • Clean and simple designs that lean towards minimalism make your bathroom look more spacious, clean, and clutter-free. Modern designs move away from ornate decor, emphasizing streamline designs.
  • Create a “wet room” where anything can get wet because there are carefully placed drains in the floor. Essentially, the entire room is like a shower, with no enclosed spaces.
  • Ditch the hardware on your cabinets and opt for soft-touch drawers. A smoother surface promotes a minimalist, modern look.
  • Grey and white are commonly seen in modern bathroom designs because of their versatility. Adding a pop of colour as an accent is easier when your base colours are already neutral.

Fun bathroom decor

Looking to add some personality to your bathroom? Perhaps you aren’t the type that is into a modern or minimalist look, but you still want your washroom to look a certain way.

Opt for subtle humor in an art piece. This could be a funny sign on the back of the door or a beautiful looking art piece that has a hidden message once you get close enough to get a good look at it.

Transform the room with a patterned shower curtain. If you can’t decide on a particular colour, use a shower curtain as your inspiration and then choose pieces that match.

Photo of an elegantly designed bathroom with white orchids

Bathroom wall designs

The right wall design can transform any room, just not the bathroom. As these rooms are often on the smaller side, usually there is only enough space to choose one or two wall decor items or designs. Choose carefully and measure your ideal size before you go to the art gallery. Using tile as an accent can make a great impact, too.

Ready to renovate your bathroom?

The bathroom is one of the most impactful rooms in the home. A beautifully renovated bathroom or kitchen can influence potential buyers to make an offer on your home. If not selling, a renovated bathroom can provide more functionality, easier to clean, and looks great!

Drop by Ballard Fine Homes to browse our showroom where you can see examples of different finishes and how they all work together to create something truly stunning. Our knowledgeable staff are happy to provide you with help to turn your ideas into a custom renovation. When in doubt, let us guide you through some decisions others have made so you can see if they will work well with your vision, goals, and budget. We look forward to meeting you!

Best places to live on Vancouver Island

Are you looking for a quick answer for where the best places are to live on Vancouver Island? Our article describes our top picks for cities and towns we think are great for families, retirees, and singletons alike.

Nanaimo Real Estate

The Harbour City of Nanaimo’s population has been growing steadily over the years – and for good reason. It’s central location, large amount of amenities, and variety of real estate options make it desirable for a range of interested buyers. So what does Nanaimo have to offer?

Luxurious waterfront and waterview properties look into the Strait of Georgia with views of the BC Ferries and distant islands. The region of Departure Bay is especially known for its outstanding views, large plots for single-family homes, and convenient access to the core shopping areas.

Looking for something a more humble? South Nanaimo neighbourhoods such as Cedar, Chase River and Extension are less developed than the northern end, meaning more opportunities for vacant land and an overall quieter vibe.

Travellers love to live in Nanaimo because it acts as an excellent home base. With access to the BC Ferries and Nanaimo Airport, travelling is a breeze. It’s central location also places it perfectly between destinations such as Tofino or Victoria.

Top Nanaimo Attractions

In general, people tend to gravitate towards Nanaimo because of these amenities and features:

Parksville Homes

Do you enjoy sandy beaches? How about a home on the beach, or within walking distance to one? Parksville is a small town on Vancouver Island with exceptional homes next to the ocean.

While originally popular with retirees, more and more younger people are choosing to live in Parksville because of its smaller size, friendly community, and proximity to Nanaimo’s larger attractions.

There are a mix of homes in Parksville, suitable for all budgets. Some of the cheapest homes on Vancouver Island are found near the outskirts of Parksville, usually on medium-sized plots of land with small ranchers or mobile homes. Conversely, Parksville also contains several luxurious waterfront condominiums that are highly sought after for their prime views and access to the beach.

Top Parksville Attractions

We love the beaches in Parksville, as well as the small-town community that goes along with it. Other great features of Parksville include:

  1. Rathtrevor Provincial Park (Rathtrevor Beach)
  2. Paradise Mini Golf & Fun Park
  3. Parksville Community Park

Comox Listings

The Comox Valley is perfect for those that enjoy outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, and snowboarding. Surrounded by water on three sides, Comox is known as a picturesque, family-friendly community popular with growing families. It is also one of the best places to retire on Vancouver Island with its safe and vibrant community, mild year-round climate, and endless choices for things to do and see. The local Royal Canadian Air Force Base provides a sense of local security appreciated by Comox residents, plus it provides an airport for public use.

Homes in Comox range from small ranchers to large, executive style homes with ocean views. A selection of townhouses and condominiums are also found near the western edge as you draw closer to Courtenay.

Top Comox Attractions

The safe community of Comox contains the following attractions:

Courtenay Developments

As part of the Comox Valley, Courtenay shares many of its perks with its sister Comox. In addition, Courtenay contains more shopping options and is closer to the mountains. As a larger city, there is generally more going on in Courtenay compared to Comox. If you love having that perfect mix between downtown shopping and escaping to the great outdoors, Courtenay is a great fit.

As one of the fastest growing communities on the island, Courtenay contains several new developments and homes for sale. Many custom-built homes are built in Courtenay due to its desirable location, amenities, and accessibility to nature.

Top Courtenay Attractions

  1. Shopping at Driftwood Mall
  2. Near Comox Lake
  3. Near Mount Washington Ski Resort
  4. Numerous hiking and walking trails

But what about Victoria or Tofino?

Does it seem strange that we excluded Victoria and Tofino from our list? While they are good places to live, there are a few downsides that made us leave them off our list as the best places on Vancouver Island. Don’t get us wrong, they are still amazing choices for the right lifestyle.

Potential disadvantages for living in Victoria

What is wrong with the capital city of Victoria? Not much at all, actually. However, it’ll cost you an arm and a leg to live there as it is one of the most expensive cities on Vancouver Island for real estate. This makes it harder for families and retirees to get into the real estate market unless they’ve had a lucky break or have worked hard for years saving up for prime real estate. Traffic congestion doesn’t help the cause, either. If you take public transit, be prepared to share it with university students – standing room only.

Perks such as additional ferry service to Vancouver, a local airport, and navy base aren’t actually located in Victoria, but its surrounding areas of Sidney, Saanich, and Esquimalt. If you have your heart set on Victoria, look around at the surrounding areas for opportunities for more affordable real estate listings. While there is nothing inherently bad about Victoria, the cities we listed earlier offer just as much value (or more in some cases), so we feel those are better choices for the majority of people.

Potential disadvantages for moving to Tofino

For families, Tofino provides limited opportunities for growth. With only a couple of schools and a tiny population, this is small-town living at its peak. While it does get busier in the warmer months for tourist season, Tofino may be better thought of as a vacation destination rather than a place to live.

The quiet, small-town feel may be desirable for some retirees, however medical care is limited. More serious cases will need to visit Port Alberni’s West Coast General Hospital (over 2 hour drive), which is usually quite busy.

If you’re okay with living away from major centres with limited supplies and amenities, then Tofino may suit your needs. But if you are interested in Tofino for its proximity to nature try checking out Comox or Courtenay instead, but with more options at your fingertips.

Take the next step

Are you ready to move to Vancouver Island? Build your dream home alongside the professionals at Ballard Fine Homes. Nestle your custom home amongst the trees and peaceful birds, or build near the ocean and fall asleep to the sound of waves gently lapping on the shoreline. Vancouver Island offers endless possibilities for custom builds in several outstanding locations. Contact Ballard Fine Homes today for a no-obligation discussion about your dream building goals.

Why You Should Buy a Vancouver Island Waterfront Home

Vancouver Island is one of the best places in the world for waterfront homes. The natural, west coast beauty of British Columbia paired with warmer waters makes this a haven for waterfront real estate listings. Some of the most luxurious homes are found overlooking lakes and the ocean and for good reason. In this article, we discuss a few of our top reasons for living by the water, along with a few considerations to keep in mind when looking for a new home or beach house to buy.

Waterfront, Waterview – what’s the difference?

In general, waterfront homes are situated along the shoreline of either a lake, ocean, or river. The water is usually steps away from the home. If you are imagining a home on the lake, with a short path to the shoreline where your wharf is waiting for you – then you are thinking of a waterfront property.

Waterview homes contain a view of the body of water. This can be a glimpse off in the distance, or it can be paired with a waterfront home, giving the best of both worlds. Sometimes the home is near water, but not near enough to be right on the edge of the shoreline. Other times it is a considerable distance away, making some people wonder if there is much of a view in the first place!

Benefits of lakeside (or oceanside) living

There are so many great reasons to live alongside the water. Whether you choose the calm, still waters of a lake or the comforting sound of waves caressing the shoreline, there’s much to be said about waterfront living. Here are some of our top reasons why you should buy a Vancouver Island waterfront home.

    1. Vancouver Island is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, with rugged coastlines, pristine forests, and majestic mountains. Living in a waterfront home allows you to fully immerse yourself in this stunning environment and enjoy the sights and sounds of the ocean or lake every day. Also, there is a wealth of recreational opportunities available, from hiking and camping in the nearby mountains to fishing, kayaking, and boating on the water.
    2. Do you enjoy peace and quiet? There’s something inherently calming about living by the water, with the sound of the waves lulling you to sleep at night and the gentle sea breeze blowing through your windows. If you’re looking for a peaceful, serene lifestyle, this type of home might be just what you need.
      Many lakefront properties are considerably more private than their city counterparts. Living out near a lake can sometimes mean your home is nestled in trees, surrounded mainly by natural flora and fauna. Several oceanfront properties also contain private beaches, inaccessible to the general public.
    3. If a community is important to you, anywhere on Vancouver Island is a prime opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals who share your love of the outdoors and the ocean. This is another way to provide a sense of belonging within your community.
    4. Is your health important to you? Often these homes are away from cities and closer to nature. In addition to providing a serene environment, things like better air quality, lowered stress, and more of an inclination for physical activity can all benefit your health.
    5. Live the dream in your vacation home, full-time! Instead of renting an Airbnb or houseboat, relax on your terms when it is most convenient for you. While taking a week-long vacation is nice, there is something to be said for the opportunity to take an hour or so out of your day to lounge on the wharf, take a quick dip, or roast marshmallows on the shore, whenever you please.

Water features in a backyard.

Considerations when buying waterfront properties

Purchasing a waterfront property is a big investment, so it is important to consider how this purchase will impact your lifestyle and budget. Before jumping the gun, make sure you are aware of the following things to consider:

    • While you may initially consider purchasing a property for your home, it can also serve as an investment opportunity. Waterfront properties are highly sought after, and Vancouver Island is no exception. If you choose to invest in a waterfront home, you may see significant appreciation in value over time. You can live in it for years and then sell it later at a potentially higher price than the original purchase price, or you can rent it out as a vacation home for additional income. Nanaimo waterfront homes for sale today may end up being a great investment for later, as its central location, ample transportation, and access to amenities is so convenient.
    • Depending on the area, conveniences like municipal water and sewage might not be an option. This can mean there are added expenses for waste management and water filtration. Some homes may require a water filtration system that brings in lakewater to the home and purifies it for safe consumption. Getting the lake tested for contaminants ahead of time is a smart move, too. Regarding waste management, your home may require the installation and maintenance of a septic system. Household garbage may not be picked up curbside, so regular trips to the nearest landfill might be part of your new routine.
    • Insurance costs may be higher than a similar home located in town, depending on the possibility of natural disasters like flooding or tsunamis. How far away is your home from emergency responders? This is important to consider for both your health and may affect the price of your insurance premium.
    • Building regulations and zoning bylaws may differ from those in town. As there is more natural beauty, additional environmental regulations may affect where you can build structures, for example. If you envision developing your property, make sure your custom plans are approved by the governing authorities ahead of time.

Curious to see what waterfront properties are on the market today?

Are you excited to live along the waterfront? With benefits such as reduced stress, beautiful views, and easy access to fun water sports activities, living in a waterfront property can’t be beaten.

If you are curious about learning more about additional pros and cons of living along the waterfront, please reach out to our team at Ballard Fine Homes. As a Nanaimo home-building company, we have extensive knowledge of all the nooks and crannies of Vancouver Island and are excited to help you on the path to your dream home. Reach out to us to find out more about building a custom home or how we can help you renovate your existing home into something more luxurious.

How to plan a home renovation

Planning a home renovation can be a daunting task, but with a systematic approach, it can be manageable. In this article, we share various steps to consider for a home renovation plan, a fixer-upper schedule, and where you may want to stay during the construction process.

Steps for your next home renovation plan

Goal Setting

First, define the scope of the renovation project, what is the end goal, and what are the priorities. Consider what you need vs. what you want and set realistic expectations. Brainstorm your ideas, look at home renovation books, and magazines, or walk through a showroom.

Set a budget

Determine how much money you can spend on the renovation and allocate funds accordingly. It’s important to set aside some money for unexpected costs or emergencies. Figuring out the cost to renovate your home ahead of time will allow you to determine what to prioritize and where to set your limits for unexpected design or functional features.

Hire the professionals

Consider hiring a professional to help you with the planning process, as they can provide valuable insights and expertise. An architect or designer can help you create a plan that maximizes space, functionality, and aesthetic appeal.

For the building process, various contractors specialize in different trades, or you can go with one company that subcontracts when needed so you have one less thing to worry about. Keep track of the renovation progress and communicate regularly with contractors. Be prepared to make changes to the plan if necessary.

Renovation plan

The renovation plan should include a detailed list of what needs to be done, the materials required, the timeline, and any necessary permits. The plan should be comprehensive and include every detail to avoid any surprises later on.

Depending on the scope of your renovation project, you may need to obtain permits from your local government or building department. These permits ensure that your project complies with building codes and regulations.

Choose your materials

Select the materials and finishes that meet your needs, budget, and style preferences. Consider durability, functionality, and aesthetics while making your selections.

When purchasing items such as paint or flooring, always consider purchasing a little bit more than what you think you need. This ensures the colour and texture of that particular batch stay consistent throughout the space. If you run out of paint partway through a project and run to the store to buy more, the new batch of paint may be mixed slightly differently and the colours may not be a perfect match. You will want the paint to match perfectly, especially if you need to do a few touchups down the road. Similarly, additional flooring is great for this reason, including fixing any mistakes that may happen along the way.

Review the work

Once the renovation is complete, inspect the work to ensure that it meets your expectations. Make sure all contractors are paid and obtain any necessary certificates of occupancy.

Planning a home renovation takes time, effort, and attention to detail. But if you follow these steps, you can make the process manageable and achieve the results you desire.

Inside of a shower

Fixer-upper schedule

How long does it typically take to fix up a home? It can vary depending on the size and scope of the renovation project, of course, but here is a small example of a fixer-upper schedule for a mid-size renovation project.

Weeks 1-2: Demolition and Prep

Getting down to a blank slate and understanding what you have to work with is the first step.

  1. Remove old flooring, cabinets, and appliances
  2. Demolish non-load-bearing walls
  3. Evaluate the condition of the electrical and plumbing systems
  4. Prepare the walls and ceiling for painting

Weeks 3-4: Electrical and Plumbing

While the walls are exposed, take the time to make sure all your electrical and plumbing are up to code.

  1. Update the electrical wiring and outlets as necessary
  2. Install new plumbing fixtures and replace old pipes
  3. Add additional lighting fixtures and ceiling fans

Weeks 5-6: HVAC and Insulation

Before closing up the walls, there are a few things you can do at this step to help save time and headaches later.

  1. Upgrade the HVAC system as necessary
  2. Install new insulation in walls and ceiling
  3. Replace old windows and doors with energy-efficient models

Weeks 7-8: Drywall and Paint

  1. Install new drywall and finish the walls
  2. Paint the walls and ceiling
  3. Install trim and mouldings

Weeks 9-10: Flooring and Cabinets

  1. Install new flooring (e.g. hardwood, tile, or carpet)
  2. Install new kitchen and bathroom cabinets
  3. Install new countertops

Weeks 11-12: Finishing Touches

  1. Install new light fixtures and window treatments
  2. Install new appliances
  3. Finish any remaining details, such as touch-up paint, hardware installation, and deep cleaning

This is just one example of how long these steps may take, and it’s important to note that each renovation project is unique and may require a different timeline. It’s crucial to work closely with a contractor and adjust the schedule as needed to ensure that the project stays on track and meets your expectations. If you are expecting to move in by a certain date, allow for some extra time in case of unexpected delays.

When determining how to renovate a house, thinking about the project in stages will help you organize your resources and produce a more accurate timeline.

Where to stay during a home renovation?

Sometimes it is better to stay somewhere else during construction or renovation. Contractors can work without distractions and your level of comfort won’t be disturbed if they happen to be working on the only bathroom in the home, for example.

Staying in a hotel is the first option that comes to mind, but it can be rather pricy depending on the time of year, area, and type of hotel. Other options include staying with family or friends, renting a temporary apartment or house, bunking up in a camper or RV right on your property, or finding an affordable Airbnb for the duration of your renovation. Depending on the type of renovation, some people prefer to take off entirely and go on vacation. If you have everything prearranged ahead of time, this can be a very desirable option.

Thinking about your next renovation project?

Renovating a space can be an exciting project, especially when the results make your lifestyle more comfortable, enjoyable, and functional. The process of setting up a renovation and going through the stages can be daunting for some, so consider allowing the professionals at Ballard Fine Homes to help you out. As a home-building company in Nanaimo, Ballard Fine Homes also provides custom renovations for clients. View our showroom for ideas and inspiration for finishes, materials, and how it looks once it is all together. If you can dream it, Ballard can build it. Contact us today to get started.