Are You Building a Monster Home?


There's no doubt about it. Home renovation and building is a booming industry in Canada. The Atlas Group said that the industry has been steadily growing since 2013, and it's been outperforming the entire economy.

Canadians spent 68 billion dollars on renovations and home builds in 2014. It was predicted that Canadians were going to spend 53 billion dollars on home renovations alone. Despite these astonishing numbers, Canadians are still dissatisfied with the square footage of existing large homes in the country.

The solution for some Canadians is to build monster homes' in mature or small home neighbourhoods. Monster homes can be in excess of 5,000 square feet amongst properties that are one-third (or less) their size. This activity has become much more satisfying than renovating a 3,000 square foot home.

The desire to add massive home extensions or build gigantic houses is taking a toll on cities, and their residents. For most communities, monster homes are a monster sized problem.

Some argue that monster homes are problematic because their size and style destroys the character of old neighbourhoods. They can also overshadow neighbouring homes, gentrify neighbourhoods, push residents out, force real estate prices to skyrocket, and drop neighbouring property value.

Most of all, their monster name refers to their size. Yet, a definite size threshold remains vague for these homes. For example, one can find monster homes scaling 6,600 square feet, while one West Vancouver home sprawls 17,000 square feet, and another huge build in West Vancouver consolidated two lots to make room for a 26,000 square foot home.

West Van

Image of one West Vancouver monster home plot courtesy of Vancity Buzz.

Since there is no definite size threshold for monster homes set, one could say that their size is relative to some extent. But if that's true, how do you know if you're about to build, or renovate your home and create one?

Check the neighbouring houses before you build or remodel

Think about size relativity. Since there is no official size for a monster home, a good measure to follow is your neighbourhood's scale.

For example, think about a mature neighbourhood with large lots and small bungalows. A two-storey mansion that covers the entire lot on the street might be considered a monster home in comparison to its neighbours.


Monster houses are huge. They can stick out like sore thumbs if they are poorly planned. Consider finding a cozy lot or home in a high-end developing residential area. Your new build or home addition will fit in nicely there because the existing big homes will compliment its size.

Get a building permit

TrustedPros can't stress the importance of building permits enough. Zoning laws regulate building height and sprawl restrictions. One way to find out if your project fits with local zoning laws is to get your reno, remodel, or building plans approved through a permit office. You may not be able to build your home upwards even if the neighbourhood across the street is home to several huge mansions!


Nevertheless, there are plenty of municipalities that have lax building codes. This allows people to build monster homes without roadblocks from the city. As monster homes become more of an issue for municipalities, zoning and building codes may change to help restrict building size.

Click here to find more about why building permits are so important.

Be clear and resolute with your project

Follow through with your project according to what the permit is issued for. For example, throwing down your home when you only have a second story addition permit is a very bad idea.


Changing your project after obtaining a permit may cause problems between you and your municipality. Your city can demolish or halt your project if you can't produce the appropriate building permit.

Be fair and reasonable with your community

Everyone should be able to live in the home that they dream of. That includes you, and your neighbours. Whatever your project is, try to be considerate of your community.

Think deeply about what you really need before you start. Trends push us to keep up with contemporary styles annually, so choose something reasonable before you make major changes.


Of course, you can't please everyone, but try your best to keep your neighbours happy. The home improvement market is full of options that can help you make satisfying compromises if need be.

Nobody wants to live in the shadow of a residential high rise. Take a look at the suggestions below to avoid this situation.

How to expand your existing living space

It's possible to maintain neighbourhood character and upgrade your home at the same time. Consider the following:

  1. Home additions don't have to be vertical. You can expand outwards too. This will help maintain the neighbourhood's height profile while helping you achieve more living space. Keeping your house height low will prevent it from casting shadows on neighbouring properties.
  2. Turn your garage into a liveable space. Garage renovations are great options for those who need more space but aren't ready to make major home additions. Garage renos fit seamlessly with the existing home and neighbourhood. Moreover, garages typically have existing electrical and plumbing, which makes them great blank canvasses to work with.
  3. Dig deeper. Consider renovating your basement to make the space livable. It is possible to excavate under and existing home to increase your home's square footage.
  4. Add dormers. They can create an upper level in sections. Dormers are a great option if your municipality is flexible with residential height restrictions. Dormers can add extra space without having towering upper levels.

What are you waiting for? Get free quotes by posting your project today!!

Posted by: Nicole Silver
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