All posts by Dave Gray

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Designer Touch – Practical Indulgences

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Designer Touch – Practical Indulgences

Save and splurge your way to a chic, gender-neutral nursery

By Rebecca Hay • Photography By Stephani Buchman

Babies are precious and of course, deserve to have it all. However, while our bundles of joy are worthy of a beautifully designed space, it’s easy to get carried away splurging on every detail. After all, it’s the parents who’ll be spending many sleepless nights here, too. You don’t have to break the bank to get the designer look you crave. Here’s how I kept my budget in check while still creating the chic nursery I dreamed of for my own little babe.

GENDER- & BUDGET-FRIENDLY

I’m particularly proud of this nursery, which was designed with some extra love for our first baby. Since we didn’t know the baby’s gender, I opted for a neutral theme and colour palette. Navy is one of my favourite neutrals, providing a sophisticated backdrop that’s ageless and pairs well with a variety of colours. I wanted a space that felt contemporary yet timeless, with some traditional elements. The strategy was splurge and save.

WHERE TO SAVE

For these purposes, keeping the redesign simple and cost-effective was key. To finish the walls, I originally wanted wallpaper, which can be pricey. We changed tracks and opted for the navy painted wall with gold decals to achieve that “papered” look without the effort, commitment or cost. I invited the grandma-to-be to help with the stickers (placed at random) and we turned this fun project into a party!

NAVY  IS ONE OF MY FAVOURITE NEUTRALS , PROVIDING A SOPHISTICATED BACKDROP THAT’S AGELESS AND PAIRS WELL WITH A VARIETY OF COLOURS .

Another save was the chest of drawers. By customizing this affordable piece of furniture, we made it one-of-a-kind. I dressed up the Ikea dresser with pretty square, gold knobs from Anthropologie. What a find! These gold knobs add a touch of sophistication to an otherwise simple, practical piece of furniture.

Art is another easy save. The adorable baby animal photographs were purchased online and put into inexpensive box store frames. The cost? Minimal. The look? Too cute for words and suited to any boy or girl!

Get this LOOK:

I used Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy HC-154 as my neutral of choice, and a great alternative to the ever-popular grey palette. This bold blue is fresh and classic. It makes the gold accents pop and complements the coral and yellow accents. Colours befitting any child, no matter their gender.

WHERE TO SPLURGE

Then there’s the “splurge” part of the decorating strategy. Some of the furnishings came at a greater cost, but in my opinion were well worth the spend. The crib is a solid-wood piece from New Zealand, classic by design with a slight nod to mid-century modern. Not too girly or too masculine. The modern rocking chair too was a splurge, but again, worth it for its comfort and lovely wood base.

My favourite element is the custom drapery, which also lands in the “splurge” column. I love using fabric as an accent in a room, to bring in interest, texture and colour. The best part is the ball fringe, which adds a playful detail. A bit of a risky move but miraculously, only a single pom has been plucked off by little fingers…so far!

Underfoot, the wool broadloom carpet is soft and cosy, and adds warmth to the space. The light carpet and white wainscotting detail help to balance the dark-blue walls and brighten a rather dark room.

Remember when decorating a nursery, or any room for that matter, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of it all and lose sight of the real goal—a harmonious space that makes its inhabitants feel comfortable, relaxed and right at home.

SIBLING SHARESIES

We made this nursery a space that any little baby can grow into. It’s a nursery that my little boy has thoroughly enjoyed. By thinking in terms of gender-neutral palettes and smart investments, this nursery has been an easy hand-medown to a new baby sister! As your kids grow and develop their own specific likes (and dislikes), the accessories will be easy and economical to update and add. You don’t have to overdo a theme, or break the bank doing it.

SOURCES CRIB & ROCKING CHAIR: Nursery Works DRAWERS: Ikea KNOBS ON DRAWERS: Anthropologie ANIMAL PRINTS: Etsy PAINT: Hale Navy HC-154, Benjamin Moore GOLD STAR DECALS: Etsy LAMP, YELLOW CLOCK, CEILING LIGHT: Ikea DRAPERY: Tonic Living SIDE TABLE: West Elm

Designer Rebecca Hay, Principal Designer of Rebecca Hay Designs Inc., is a Toronto-based boutique design firm offering complete design & renovation services for residential, commercial and vacation properties for over a decade. Known and celebrated for her design work and appearances on various acclaimed HGTV shows, Rebecca and her team design classic, livable spaces that reflect the homeowner’s personality. Servicing clientele throughout Toronto, the GTA and Canada. rebeccahaydesigns.com

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Ford Transit Connect

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Ford Transit Connect

The Connect Van is little changed from 2107 and that includes the sticker price of $24,604 for the basic XL model. That’s lower than the original price of $25,754 when the Connect debuted, a saving of $1,150. Who says there’s no such thing as progress!

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There’s no choice of engines with the cargo van. The only option is the 2.5L, four-cylinder Duratec which churns out 169 horsepower and 171-lb.ft. of torque. The Duratec comes with a six-speed SelectShift automatic with overdrive.

With its boxy shape, it may not be stylish, but it’s practical. There’s access from the side and rear doors. The passenger seat folds flat for use as a writing service or for laptop use.

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Also available are 180 degree, 50/50 swing-out rear cargo doors or a rear liftgate.

As with the Transit, the customer can have their Connect custom-fitted to meet their need for rooftop ladder racks, storage cabinets, dividers, double floors, drawers, and cargo management packages.

A tire-pressure monitoring system is standard as is a rear-view camera. The cam also provides guidelines to help the driver align their vehicle trailer hitch with the trailer’s receiving hitch.

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Standard as well are the Trailer Tow Package, which includes Sway Control. Sway Control detects and stops wheel slip and under- or over-steer or roll motion. It also helps maintain control when road conditions are bad.

Hill Start Assist is also standard, as is Emergency Brake Assist, which adds braking power should the driver underestimate the stopping distance.

This excerpt is from Herb Ellis’ two-part review of the new 2018 pickup trucks and work vans.

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Kitchen Planner

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Kitchen Planner

The faucet and sink are the focal point in the hardest working room in any home

The kitchen is the hub of any home, and the sink and faucet are probably the hardest working components in any kitchen. By focusing on those two interrelated components you can generate a lot of business working with clients ranging from budget-conscious, small-space dwellers, to affluent homeowners looking to create the luxurious kitchen of their dreams.

Tight spaces and tight budgets

Many homeowners are looking for a low-budget spruce up, either to refresh a dated but otherwise functional look, or to maximize resale value when putting their home on the market. A new sink and faucet is an affordable upgrade that doesn’t require any structural changes.

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The reality for many is that condos have become the de facto “starter home.” Condo-sized kitchens required condo-sized thinking. The Prolific sink was designed with small spaces specifically in mind. The 33” x 17¾” basin comes with five accessories, including a bamboo cutting board and a dishwasher-safe colander, all of which you can store right in the sink basin when not in use.

Expansive upgrades

If space isn’t an issue, clients will appreciate a large double-basin sink that makes washing and rinsing easy. Kohler’s Whitehaven under-mount sink has a classic farmhouse style apron front that overlaps existing cabinetry. The 24”- to 36”-wide sinks have large- and medium-sized basins, separated by a low divider. Each is available in 16 different colours, from white to “Black Black,” and the durable enamelled cast-iron finish will last the lifetime of the kitchen.

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Other upgrades clients might want to consider include a counter- or wall-mounted pot-filler faucet by the stove, a filtered-water faucet for drinking, and built-in soap dispensers that match the look of the faucet they’ve chosen.

Regardless of kitchen size, homeowners have a plethora of options to choose from. Sinks are available in enamelled cast-iron, stainless steel, and even composite materials, such as the Cairn, made of Kohler Neoroc. For faucets and other fixtures, the range of options expands to include brushed nickel and bronze.

Logistical planning

Large or small, you’ll want to plan the kitchen to maximize space while minimizing wasted effort. Designers often refer to the “work triangle” layout when planning kitchens, with the refrigerator, cooktop, and sink at the three points of the triangle. There are a few “rules” that come with this concept, including that no object – such as a cabinet – should block movement between the three points, household traffic should not flow through the triangle, and no point should be more than nine feet from any other.

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With open-concept designs, owners often picture having their sink – or a secondary one – built into an island. This typically means running additional water and drainage lines. Before committing to a particular design, you’ll want to make sure there’s space to run the lines through the joists, and that you have sufficient slope to the stack to ensure proper drainage.

Visual cues

Even with 3D animations, many clients often find it difficult to visualize how all the components of a project will come together in their renovated space. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but actually being able to see and touch the fixtures before installation can save a lifetime of disappointment with an errant purchase.

Earlier this year, the first Canadian KOHLER Signature Store opened in Vancouver. The 5,000-sq.ft. space features dozens of different kitchen and bath displays and a wall-mounted display of faucets, with many of the fixtures fully functioning. It’s open to the public seven days a week, so you can send your clients to see their options firsthand, at their convenience, prior to making their final decision. (For more information on the KOHLER Signature Store, see the June/July 2017 issue of Renovation Contractor.) Elsewhere, the company has also partnered with dozens of specialty retailers across the country that have Kohler-focussed displays.

If you can’t make it to a Kohler showroom display, contractors and clients alike will appreciate the online Kitchen Planner. Start by perusing one of the many ready made designs, ranging from traditional to eclectic, then create your own custom space by choosing from various sink, faucet, countertop, cabinetry, and wall colour options.

Big budget or small, Kohler’s range of kitchen sinks and fixtures can help you fulfill any client’s needs.

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Work Smart: Tie One On

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Work Smart: Tie One On

In every issue of Renovation Contractor we include a readers’ time-saving tip for getting the job done, and send them a great prize for sharing their idea. In our December 2017/January 2018 issue, John Estey of Hopewell Residential in Calgary shares this tight tip:

If you are using something like a Tapcon, without a sleeve, and it doesn’t quite have the bite you need I find it handy to have some tie wire on hand. I fold a length of wire in half and then secure it into my drill so I can twist it nice and tight. Put a few lengths of the newly twisted wire into your hole and it should give you all the bite you need.

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Totally wired

Think you’ve an idea got with some bite? Send it to allan@renocontractor.ca and you could see you idea in print, and win a great prize from DeWalt.

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Seeing Colour in 2018

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Seeing Colour in 2018

By Rebecca Hay

The future is bold, bright and colourful. If you’re thinking of remodelling or re-decorating your home next year, colour is your best way to stay ahead of the curve. Here are a few of the trends you can expect to see.

Be bold on the FLOOR. Antique and Vintage Carpets have made a comeback. These “old” rugs allow us to bring colour and history into the home. This trend also includes the Second Life rug trend stronger than ever with their rich colourful hues. Burnished reds and washed out blues to name a few.

Warm rich, decadent RED is finally making a comeback after many years absent from the design scene. Dusty floral wallpaper and fabrics are the perfect expression of this trend.  The rich hue has even been highlighted as Benjamin Moore’s colour of the year, Caliente AF-290. Taking a cue from this trend and add some pop to your living room pillows with rich red timeless velvets such as Alendel Fabrics pandora collection. Nothing grabs your attention like a bold pop of red velvet!

Stronger bolder colours are being sought after in bathrooms. We are now seeing respected luxury bath product companies like on of my favourite companies Victoria + Albert Baths now offering distinctive new external FINISHES including: Gloss Black, Anthracite, Stone Grey, Light Grey, Matte Black. You can make a beautiful strong statement with their new dark tones: Gloss Black and Anthracite, sure to enliven any space. Using a standout dark tone will make a neutral bathroom memorable because “anything goes with black.”

Kitchens too are all about colour, being MOODY & making a statement. Classic white cabinetry will always be popular but we are starting to see more saturated blues and emerald greens top the list. Kitchens with contrasting cabinetry (white/navy) are still popular but more and more you will see full kitchens in one dark rich hue. It’s bold and brave and surprisingly inviting.

So there you have it, expect to see lot of rich bold colour in the year ahead.  Whatever your New Years decor plans are, be sure to keep in mind that it only takes a little of any trend to make a statement. So pick your favourite and make 2018 your most colourful year yet.

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vandabaths.com

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Register for the 2018 Renovators’ Roundtable

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Register for the 2018 Renovators’ Roundtable

NEW DATES!

Our next Renovators’ Roundtable will take place Wednesday, October 10 through Friday October 12, 2018.

As always, the event includes informative seminars on business development and the latest tools and materials, a hands-on trade show, and a great networking opportunity to meet with your colleagues from across the country.

There’s also an opening night cocktail reception, contests and giveaways, and all meals are included, all for a very reasonable $250 (plus HST).

Click here for the registration/attendee package.

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VIDEO: Skid Steer Smackdown Hill Climb

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VIDEO: Skid Steer Smackdown Hill Climb

The Battle in Bowling Green, pits real contractors in the cab of competitor equipment to take on John Deere skid steers in four events. This first event is a hill-climbing contest with Smackdown supremacy at stake.

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The “Green” Issue and The Workplace

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The “Green” Issue and The Workplace

By Canada Day 2018 the federal government has vowed to make the recreational use of marijuana legal across the country. Our managing editor, Allan Britnell, is working on a feature for the February/March issue on the implications of legal weed on the construction workplace, and we’d like your input.

Do you have a formal drug and alcohol policy for your crew? Have you ever had to confront an employee who was high on the job? Have you ever fired someone for doing drugs on the job? Share your stories by contacting Allan at: allan@renocontractor.ca.

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Renovator Profile: Victor Mingo Quality Construction Ltd.

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Renovator Profile: Victor Mingo Quality Construction Ltd.

In the town of Truro, Nova Scotia, competition is tight for construction clients and certified carpenters. But Victor Mingo and his 29-year-old company are booked nearly a year out and have staff members who’ve been on the team for 20 years.

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Mingo has developed a reputation for doing top quality work and specializing in challenging projects. “Anything that’s unusual or different, we get the call,” he says. That includes complex roof frames and matching existing interior finishes.

Meanwhile, Mingo retains employees by managing them well, gathering them together at social functions and offering a medical plan. But most importantly, he offers steady work all year for his mostly certified team of 10. “They know the work is there, there’s no question mark every morning,” he says. While it’s somewhat standard practice in the region to lay off teams in the winter, Mingo gets work even in cold months and sometimes takes a hit to his bottom line to avoid layoffs.

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Mingo, who grew up in a small town outside Truro, was always around hands-on work, as his grandfather was a carpenter. He did vocation school and then spent seven years working for a construction company in Truro. He started doing some work on the side and quit in 1989 to found his own company.

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The economy was in rough shape at the time but Mingo, who would hire help on contract as needed in the early days, started by doing house framing and other structural work. Over time, he expanded to interior renovations, including top-notch finishes.

He built a house for himself and then for a few clients. Those led to more jobs building homes from the ground up.

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A major coup was landing a wintertime contract in the early 1990s at the Stanfield’s plant in Truro. Projects like upgrading washrooms and other interior work helped the company become year-round – Mingo still does work for the plant on a project-by-project basis.

Mingo’s tendency to say yes to just about any project paid off. “We were never afraid to take what came through the door, we never shied away from things that were odd or complex.” So, the team kept getting work that challenged them and expanded their expertise.

That reputation led to some ambitious gigs, including seven years of work helping build the Fox Harb’r Resort – Victor Mingo did several timber frame buildings, the high-end interior of the resort’s spa, and Tim Hortons co-founder Ron Joyce’s 15,000-sq.-ft. residence at the resort.

Today, Mingo’s wife Wanda still runs the office – she’s done so since day one – and he manages the team. Usually, two carpenters work in the shop he’s built in his backyard while the other eight go out on two-to-three jobsites. They’re always working on a range of projects, including, of late, a high-end cottage renovation to double the living space and build a pool house.

With projects booked into next October, the Mingo family and professional team have the kind of job security few experience in their region in this field. “People are willing to wait for us,” says Mingo.  —Diane Peters

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Fast Facts

Company name: Victor Mingo Quality Construction Ltd.

Location: Truro, N.S.

Specializing in: Renovations, new builds

Number of employees: 10, plus 2 owners

Approximate revenues: $1-2 million

Website: VMQC.net

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Video: Kick Start Planning Your Reno

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Video: Kick Start Planning Your Reno

By Rebecca Hay

It’s the New Year and we all have Resolutions and Goals for the year ahead. Goal setting has become a true passion for me and so I thought for my first video of 2018 I’d share my Tips on How to start planning your renovation. This is my first of the new weekly video series. Let me know if you like it and if you’d like to see more videos like it!

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