Something old, something new

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

Nanaimo's Melissa Tolsma won the Reno Me! with FortisBC contest last year.



By Melissa Tolsma

A renovation, in many ways, is like a wedding.  As the reno process unfolds, I am feeling equal measures of anticipation and angst.  I hope to be living with this deck a long time, and I want to get it right!  The gate that Brad Fraser of Jonker Custom Building has already installed is like the dress in the wedding analogy—its lovely lines and simple style have set the tone for the rest of the project.

After a couple of months of planning, decision-making, and waiting, the major part of the reno, the new deck construction, finally began.  Brad and Brendan arrived early one morning and quickly got to work.  Brendan manned a jackhammer and began busting up the cracked concrete, save for a still-serviceable four-foot walkway strip along the shed.  Brad made short work of demolishing the existing deck.  By the time I returned home from work that evening, the deck’s sturdy skeleton was in place.

By the end of the next day, Brad and Brendan had finished the decking.  The thick cedar decking, with its rough band-sawn texture, is a nice complement to the old-fashioned 1940s sage green shingle siding on the house.  Brad saved the old decking to use for the new deck’s skirting (something old, something new…) and Brendan kept some pieces of concrete for me to use for a future broken-concrete path project.  The new deck will be displacing my main hose spigot, and I will need to make a path behind my shed to access the second spigot back there.  Broken concrete, also known by the trendy term “urbanite”, will give the path a rustic asymmetry.  Brad and Brendan also used urbanite chunks for the deck footings.  Their “re-use it” sensibility was one of the reasons I went with Jonker for the job.  Another reason was the sense of artistry they bring to their projects.  Brad added some thoughtful details to the deck—a round insert where the fire pit will go (with a removable middle piece for accessing the gas line) and picture-framed corners are a couple of its unique features.  Also on my reno wish list was a raised garden box to run parallel to the shed walkway.  I showed Brad a Houzz photo of one that that I liked, and presto!  He transformed some of the leftover cedar into a box so pretty it almost seems a shame to fill it with dirt.

Now that the deck construction is done, my work begins.  Brad will be back to sand it and install the benches for the fire pit area, but I’ve got plenty to do before that happens.  I need to make a final decision about the fire pit, get some turf or seed down where the old concrete patio used to be, and get that garden box planted.

Back to the wedding analogy: both weddings and renos are expensive.  It’s tempting to dip into my own savings to supplement the project, but I’m trying to stick to the $10,000 budget.  After pricing out fire pits, I realized that unless I could get a really, really good deal, I would need to go with the modest fire pit from the big box hardware store rather than my “dream” fire pit from Solus Décor.  As luck would have it (and I’ve had no shortage of luck!) Solus Décor very generously gave me a really, really good deal on their Hemi 36 fire bowl.  It’s a beauty of a bowl, made right here in BC.  The truffle-coloured cast concrete should look stunning against the cedar deck.  I am anxiously awaiting its arrival.

Just Posted

Noisy train whistles to stay at Harrison Mills rail crossing

A majority of residents didn’t want to pay for part of the $390K replacement crossing

HOMEGROWN: Family traditions key to Agassiz dairy farm

Julaine and Johannes Treur are keeping family traditions alive at their organic dairy farm

Vancouver TheatreSports finishes off Harrison’s Season of Performing Arts

Vancovuer TheatreSports will be performing in Harrison on May 4

Job market to remain tight in coming years: report

Conference Board of Canada predicts region’s unemployment rate to remain below five per cent

Chilliwack driver busted with heroin after nodding off behind the wheel

29-year-old man from Vancouver facing possible charges

Harrison Mills band holding contest to decide name

The local cover band will be announcing the winner at a concert on May 3

VIDEO: B.C.’s waving granny gets incredible send-off from school kids

Tinney Davidson has been waving at students on their way to school for over 11 years, but is moving in a month

Struggling B.C. adoption agency elects new board that intends to keep it open

The previous board announced that Choices would close May 31

Woman, 60, charged in connection to thefts at YVR

RCMP believe the foreign national is part of a larger organized theft group

Vancouver man, 19, charged in human trafficking case involving teen girl

The 16-year-old girl was reported missing and later discovered in Vancouver

Worst 10 bus routes in Metro Vancouver for rider complaints

TransLink releases list, with Route 319 at the top

Mayors, First Nations chiefs, urge ‘immediate action’ on new Massey crossing

Joint letter asks province to move up timeline, consider only eight-lane tunnel options

Bus driver assault in Vancouver once again raises safety concerns

A 49-year-old Surrey man was released on a promise to appear in court. No charge has been laid

Most Read