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!

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The long road to recovery will have a few bumps

Some things will never be the same after the COVID-19 pandemic, local experts say

Sooke council approves new funding for chamber of commerce

A $16,000 service agreement to be created

Sooke council delays vote on Whiffin Spit memorial wall

Sooke district council has again delayed a decision to erect a memorial… Continue reading

Peninsula farm stands open for business with COVID-19 restrictions

Growers hopeful shoppers will support local farms

Income tax deadline looming

2019 individual tax returns are due June 1, June 15 for self-employed individuals

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

RCMP remind public to leave dogs chilling at home on hot days

Dogsafe has designed a Dog in a Hot Car Responder Checklist

Another Asian giant ‘murder hornets’ found in Lower Mainland

This is the farthest east the invasive species has been found so far

B.C. girl left temporarily paralyzed by tick bite sparks warning from family

Mom says parents need to check their kids when they go camping

PHOTOS: Loved ones reunite at an oasis on closed U.S.-Canada border in Surrey

Officials closed the park in mid-March over coronavirus concerns

Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Meanwhile, the pandemic has exacerbated the violence facing many Indigenous women and girls

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

COLUMN: Canada needs to remember rural communities as thoughts turn to pandemic recovery

Small towns often rely on tourism, which has been decimated by COVID-19

Most Read