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.

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

Law Enforcement Torch Run in support of Special Olympics B.C. kicks off with a run at Swan Lake on June 6. The virtual fundraiser runs until June 20. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Torch run seeks to scorch previous fundraiser, targets $75,000 for Special Olympics

Global movement shoots for 40,000 km in honour of the 40th anniversary

West Shore RCMP K9 Halla. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sound of RCMP dog enough to stop suspects in Oak Bay

West Shore RCMP K9 unit called in, didn’t get to chase

A patio built by The Village is shared by three eateries in Estevan. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay eateries sharing communal patio space in Estevan Village

The Village invested $25,000 in streetside patio, hopes to make it permanent

Improving safety at Keating Cross Road and the Pat Bay Highway is the goal of the flyover project currently in the works. The province aims to reveal the final cost and design this fall. (Screencap/Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Final budget, design of Keating flyover in Central Saanich still in the works

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says information coming by this fall

Proposed design for the Topaz Park bike and skate park elements. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Victoria requesting feedback on Topaz Park redesign

Public input now being taken for proposed skate, bike park ideas

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-week-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

Most Read