In the planning stages

Reno Me! with FortisBC contest winner Melissa continues her renovation.



By Melissa Tolsma

I soon faced the next big challenge in my backyard reno: communication.  The rendering that Sarah Gallop Design provided is the big vision, but I need to be able to articulate the details of what I want to happen.  Although the design is stunning, it’s a little flashy for my humble little house.  I like aspects of it, but I think a more rustic, West Coast style might suit my space better.  Brad Fraser, from Jonker Custom Building, encouraged me to look for more pictures that I like.  Google image searches soon led me to Houzz, which has been a great source for ideas.  I’ll admit, I’ve developed a little bit of an addiction to Houzz.  Its vast repository of home-improvement eye candy is habit-forming.  If you haven’t yet discovered it, be forewarned!  Houzz even enables my habit by emailing me now and then just to keep me hooked.

One idea for the reno that Brad suggested is a more inviting entrance to the backyard.  I had admired some of the great gates on their website and wanted to find something new.

My sad, saggy plywood gate and unfinished arbour don’t exactly make the best first impression.  I gave him the go-ahead on the gate and arbour, and while I waited for the prize money to arrive, I kept looking for inspiration online.

Over the next couple of weeks, I forwarded some Houzz pics to Brad: a pair of rustic benches by a seaside firepit, a pretty raised garden box, a gate that I liked.  We’ve had a couple of phone and email conversations to debrief about these images, and I feel pretty confident that we were on the same page.  I became even more confident when Brad brought over the gate he’s been working on.  The handsome gate, with its lovely lines and mortise and tenon joints is truly a work of art.  Brad even custom stained it to match my fence.  I searched the local home improvement stores for some hardware to complement the gate, but nothing seemed worthy.  Again, I turned to an online search, and found a nice drop latch from 360 Yardware. Their motto,“Life’s too short for crummy hardware” helped me make the decision to invest in a simple, sturdy bronze drop latch.  The manufacturer, Coastal Bronze, says it will darken to an old-penny brown with a greenish-blue patina.

I’m feeling positive that the planning I’m doing now will pay off very soon.  The reno is off to a great start!

Just Posted

Saanich councillor fears weed could crowd out food as greenhouses convert

Head of provincial association representing greenhouse vegetable farmers not worried about issue

Taking risks: Victoria theatre expert and author gains traction for his new model of tragedy

Edwin Wong releases Risk Theatre book, hosts successful global playwriting competition

Experience automotive classics and more at the Vancouver Island Concours d’Elegance

Motorcar Weekend features Show and Shine, high-end Concours division, all for a great cause

Langford veteran rehab program takes multi-tiered approach to treating pain

Clinic ‘bio-psycho-social approach to healing’ from Victoria to the West Shore earlier this year

Sunny skies ahead for Tuesday

Plus a look ahead at your week

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Police seek tips in 2015 death of Island teen Brown

Four years has passed since the body of Penelakut Island woman was discovered

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Most Read