Like so many others, my then husband and I watched our share of home renovation shows, so when it came time to purchase our own home, we felt that we could renovate our home like we’d seen on television. After all, watching those shows made it look so easy. So, we made some rough plans, took some measurements, and left for our shopping expeditions (a number that we quickly lost count of). Much like the shows we also gave ourselves 3 weeks (unfortunately it was July, and we were in the middle of a heatwave) to do it all. Easy peasy, right?
Wrong! Because what they don’t give you is any sense of realism. Our timeline was off, our budget was off and of course we needed to hire professionals. We were exhausted and stressed working 15-hour days trying to complete everything. Not only did we blow our budget, we also had to move our young children into our home amid an incomplete and disastrous renovation. What we didn’t know was that the budgets these shows provide are completely unrealistic because materials and labour used on the shows are heavily discounted. Also sourcing all the material doesn’t happen in one visit or one day like many of the shows lead you to believe. The whole thing made me wish I had at the very least hired someone to manage my project and provide me with a reality check. What I realized is that I enjoyed working with my hands and creating new spaces, and I had a knack for it. This, coupled with my drive to help others was what started my home renovation education. I immersed myself in the home renovation world, first in the retail sector then once my training was complete I became a Designer specializing in home décor then more specifically custom designed kitchens and later as a Project Coordinator and Project Manager.
I further continued my education and work experience as a Project Coordinator and Senior Estimator for one of the most renowned design home builders in the city.
Through this journey, I have been witness to some amazing work by individuals and renovation and supply companies alike, but I have also heard of and seen firsthand renovations gone wrong because of lack of knowledge, poor planning, bad contractors or people trying to cut corners or save money on the wrong things.
I had been considering for some time, how I might share my knowledge, then friends of mine asked me to review a quote they received for a project they were considering. Upon review I realized many components were missing and there were other peculiarities in the quote they received. The home was older so asbestos was a real possibility and yet there was nothing in their quote for asbestos testing and abatement and removal if necessary. Asbestos poses a real health threat and my first thought was their safety, after all they were going to be living in the home while the work proceeded. Also missing were quotes from trades; from electrical to plumbing, a lot of expertise is needed even in the simplest renovation. No permit fees either (a good contractor always suggest these to protect you and them). The quote aside, there was also not contract. That outlined the responsibilities of the contractor and homeowner as well as payment schedules, warranty information, standard labour rates or product markups. This was my EUREKA moment! I derived a way to share my knowledge with my fellow Manitobans and hopefully launch a sustainable business that will help to provide for my family all while giving back to the community.