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5 Awesome Home Renovation Projects

By Mike Holmes

Mike’s Advice / Home Renovation

Thursday, January 16th, 2020 @ 9:50am
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As a contractor, I can’t help it, but when I walk into a home, I always think about its potential. Usually, I can spot areas that are in immediate need of attention – like issues with the building envelope. Whether the doors and windows are no good, or if the roof is in need of attention. But I don’t stop there. I also like to think about what improvements I can make to a home that will help improve the quality of life of the family living there. Can we add some cool, personalized features that will make them excited to come home?

I work with a lot of great builders across North America, and I love it because I get to see what awesome projects they’ve done for their homeowners, and look for opportunities to use those ideas in future renovations.

Here are five home improvement projects that I’ve come across recently that I just love.

5) Fresh Herbs Year ‘Round


Okay, this is pretty slick. Effect Home Builders, based out of Edmonton, designed this accent wall.

Effect Homes Vertical Garden

It’s a vertical garden that was built into the kitchen’s brick accent wall to grow fresh herbs for the homeowner year ‘round.

It includes a specialized potting system with internal drainage to guard against moisture damaging the surrounding wall. My daughter, Sherry, created something similar for a homeowner when we made Holmes Next Generation, but this is taking that idea to the next level.

4) An Energy Efficient Home of Your Dreams


I love the look of log homes. This 1990’s poorly maintained log home was renovated by RDC Fine Homes in Whistler, BC. This home saw some BIG layout changes that look great, and make sense for the homeowners. An unused third garage was converted into a mudroom and includes a dog washing station for their furry friends.

RDC Fine Homes Kitchen

A wall between the kitchen and stairwell was replaced with glass, to open up the space, and allow lots more natural light in.

And the old den was converted into a pantry that opens up into the dining room.

Here’s the best part though: achieving energy efficiency was very a key goal of the renovation, so windows and doors were sealed to improve tightness, new triple glazed windows were installed, and new right sized modulating condensing gas boilers for home and drive were incorporated. You can read more about this project here.

3) A Personal Yoga Studio


This Lottery Home in London, Ontario is a beauty. I had the opportunity to check it out myself. My daughter Sherry’s favourite part of the house deserves a special mention. Wastell Homes built an awesome yoga studio and gym.

Wastell-Lottery-Home

I like that the workout room was a part of the house. It’s family-oriented to motivate the family to work out together.

It’s a healthy home – not just the quality of the indoor air, it takes into account the personal health of the family living there. I love working with Doug and Sue Wastell, they do something different every time they build a lottery home. Can’t wait to see the next one!

2) A View of the Lake


Bernskeotter Construction Lake View

This photo is of a custom lake house built by Bernskoetter Construction.

Each of these identical seven wall (window) sections are 26 feet tall. They were assembled on the lower level floor and required a telehandler, telescopic boom and six men to set. Sections are framed with full-length LSL (laminated strand lumber) studs. Each framed corner is spray foamed and wall sections are screwed together with 8″ lags. Corners are wrapped with steel strapping to the headers which are insulated with XPS (Extruded Polystyrene) foam board. Plywood is wrapped around the exterior by kerf bending to add as much structural rigidity as possible. Check out their Instagram posts for the progress.

1) Warm, Toasty Fireplaces


Fireplace

This fireplace is from a home we renovated (and fixed) for Holmes+Holmes Season 3.

My son, Mike Jr and I wanted to give the homeowners a custom mantel. In his workshop with Derek, he built a custom mantel and used a technique called shou gi ban, an ancient Japanese technique to preserve wood (insects and rot included). The wood was from a barn, which was special to the homeowners because their late daughter loved horses. You can read more of the homeowner’s story on my LinkedIn page.

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