RenoMe! with FortisBC winner looking forward to end of her reno

Melissa Tolsma of Nanaimo is almost finished the renovation she won during the RenoMe! with FortisBC contest.

Melissa Tolsma of Nanaimo was the winner of last year's Reno Me! with FortisBC contest.

Melissa Tolsma of Nanaimo was the winner of last year's Reno Me! with FortisBC contest.



By Melissa Tolsma

When I was awarded the RenoMe! with FortisBC contest grand prize last winter, I committed to writing five blogs about the reno process. This is my fifth blog, and although my blogging will be done, the project isn’t quite wrapped up yet.  The main part of my outdoor space reno, the lovely cedar deck, was ready early in the summer.  I’m hoping that its focal feature, the Solus décor cast concrete fire bowl, will soon be ready to go too.

The deck has certainly enhanced our summer outdoor living.  I like to pad out barefoot first thing in the morning and survey the yard, coffee in hand. The thick decking feels smooth and solid underfoot.  My daughter loves it as a performance space – I’ve enjoyed watching many exuberant ribbon dances, improv commercials, and pet circuses.  We both like to wind down there in the evenings, lying flat on the chunky cedar benches, watching the stars fill the sky.  It doesn’t get much better.

One of the features of the backyard reno that’s been a great bonus is the raised garden bed that was built with leftover cedar from the deck.  It’s now overflowing with late summer bounty.  The beefsteak tomatoes are epic.  Although we haven’t yet hosted our deck launch party, we’ve had a couple of informal gatherings revolving around bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches.

The deck space still needs some finishing touches.  It’s not Houzz-worthy yet; there are aspects of my vision that are still to be realized.  I had hoped to snag some end-of-season patio furniture on sale, but haven’t found what I’m looking for yet.  The broken-concrete path project is well underway, but taking more time than I expected.  What doesn’t, when it comes to home improvements?

I look forward to experiencing the changing seasonal backdrop to our outdoor room.  Right now, the tawny grass, bright pumpkins, and cricket song signal summer’s end.  But with the fire feature, we’ll be able to use the space much more in the colder months.  Down the road, I might cover part of the deck, too, for all-weather dining.  I know we will be enjoying our renovated yard for many years to come.

I am so grateful for the friends, family and co-workers who helped me win the contest with their votes.  Thanks to FortisBC, Black Press, Coast Wholesale Appliance and Solus Décor for their generosity and to Jonker Custom Building for their great work.  Now I need to get busy planning that deck launch party!

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in Saanich parkland

The birds don’t often touch down in the south of the Island

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

(Victoria Cool Aid Society/Facebook)
Victoria food drive aims to feed those also struggling with housing

Quadra Village furniture store hosting drive-thru event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Victoria police are asking for witnesses who might have information about this tricycle that was stolen in downtown Victoria on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Police seek witnesses after downtown Victoria company’s tricycle stolen

The three-wheeler was taken from the 2100-block of Store Street on Thursday

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read