The Patocka Residence Make-Over

Eight years ago, Rachel Patocka and her husband, Tom, bought their family home from his parents. The ranch-style bungalow sits on a City acreage in a beautiful stretch of ravine wilderness. It was built in 1976, and though Rachel’s in-laws had made some changes to the home, the family decided it was time to update it and make spaces more functional for their family of four.

The first things on the chopping block were an obtrusive beam that was cramping everyone’s style, a relic of an accordion closet door, and wooden wall panels, Dukes of Hazard style!

First meeting: October 2014

Pre-planning began: January 2015

Renovation start date: April 4, 2015

        Renovation completion date: August 30, 2015

 

BEFORE

 

January 2015

 

DC/RR: What made you decide it was time to renovate?

RP: I’m an army brat, we moved every three years when I was growing up. I needed somewhere stable to call mine, to call home. We went to look at different places in our area, but only found more houses that needed updating, so we decided to stay put.

We knew what we wanted, and actually had begun work with a different contractor the year before. But it wasn’t good timing. They gave us one day to sign the contract and we felt rushed, so we just said no. When we met with Kendall and Sheldon, we just had a good feeling from the beginning.

 

DC/RR: Did you have a vision in mind from the beginning of what you wanted?

RP: We wanted to tie the rooms together; they were two opposing forces. I couldn’t wait to get rid of the brown wooden slats on the walls—it was like the Dukes of Hazard playhouse in here!

I wanted more room in the kitchen. It was a one-person workspace. I come from a family of eight siblings. When we all get together for the holidays, it has to be buffet style. I needed a big workspace and somewhere we can lay out dinner.

I also really wanted a boot room where we could store the girls’ winter clothes and sports equipment.

 

CONSTRUCTION

 

 April 2015

 

 DC/RR: Did you run into any surprises during the renovation?

 RP: The basement was always leaking because of the angle of the roof and vaulted ceiling above the dining area. That had to be fixed before they could start the renovation. I was worried it was going to put us really behind, but Sheldon and his team had it fixed and framed in 10 days and we were able to move on with the rest of the project.

The first question Tom calls with when he is working out of town and there has been a heavy rain storm (which there were many of this past summer!) was “Is the basement dry?”

It has been bone dry all year!

 

DC/RR: What were some of the most challenging decisions you had to make?

 

RP: Counter tops. It’s hard to know what it will look like when it is all laid out. You know you like a little square of flecks on a little square of quartzite countertop, but will you like a whole slab of flecks?

I also wanted frosted glass in the kitchen. There was a lot to choose from, but Kendall and I were able to wittle down the choices together.

 

DC/RR: What were some of the best decisions you made?

RP: Increasing R-value with spray-foam. It was worth the money—it’s cool in our house in the summer and warm in the winter. Also, the reclaimed wood features ties the rooms together, and the kitchen is the best part. Everything has a home in this kitchen. My oldest daughter also loves baking and making cakes, so we can do that together.

 

DC/RR: How long did the renovation take?

RP: We began the renovation on April 4th, 2015, and they handed over the keys on August 30th. They were finished ahead of schedule. We were settled into the house in time for the girls to get into routine for a new school year. It was wonderful! 

 

AFTER

 

August 2015

 

DC/RR: Do you feel like you live differently in your home after the renovation?  

 

RP: I love to read. I now have a quiet corner where I can sit and read by myself or with the girls and have lots of light and the space fits a comfy couch instead of two stiff chairs. And having room for a desk means I have somewhere to work and can keep the kids in my sights when they are doing their homework.

 

We were also able to keep the things that I always loved about the home, too, such as the exposed brick and the wood-burning fireplace. Every Christmas, the family goes tobogganing and comes back here for a big roaring fire. That was one thing I didn’t want to give up.

 

DC/RR: Any learnings along the way you want to share?

 

RP: Take everything in stride. I understand better the time frame for things, now, and that the work will get done.

 

Also, working with a contractor who will do the planning and work up front is key to being done on time. We had all the tile and floor and materials lined up for an April start date. That took the pressure off the timeline. The renovation was finished early. And that never happens.

 

I found having a designer on board during renovation immensely useful with it being our first one. Kendal’s keen eye, construction knowledge, and organization helped keep me sane. It also helped that she seemed to be able to visualize what I would like for our home. Kendall was a great liaison to have, and also extremely helpful with keeping us within our budget but still including things that we may not have thought of. She also ensured that communication was streamlined so that everyone was on the same page. 

 

I feel like Diamond and Revolving Rooms has a vision for the rest of the home when we renovate it. It’s great to know we will be in good hands when the time comes.

 

For more photos from the Patocka residence make-over, go to: 

 http://www.diamondcontractingab.ca/to-be-or-not-to-be/

 

 

 

 

 

Important questions to ponder (and answer) when hiring an Interior Designer

Starting a renovation without an adequate interior design blueprint is like starting a business without a marketing plan; both can yield wasted efforts and expense.

 

In the world of DESIGN, the spectrum of what interior design professionals can do is wide and can be confusing. There are many branches of interior design, and niches to appreciate, including home staging, choosing furniture and new colour schemes; however, it’s a common occurrence for home owners to find themselves in a renovation or new build situation with an interior designer who is in over their head.

 

To find the right interior design professional, ask yourself the following

 

 

1. What is the scope of my work? Am I redesigning an ensuite bathroom or kitchen, or looking to turn my living room into a library?

 

2. Do I require someone to help me with an updated paint colour? For example, if I change the colour in the kitchen, do I have to change the colour in the adjacent living room?

 

3. Do I need structural work done? For example, do I want to relocate a wall?

 

4. Do I need help space planning furniture? Do I want to transform my dining room into a more functional entertaining space for guests and family.

 

5. Am I building an entirely new home? Self explanatory.

 

Professionals who help their clients change the paint colour/colour scheme, buy furniture, stage their home have different skills than an interior designer who is coordinating a construction site. If you are building a new home/infill, renovating your existing home, remodeling your existing home, consider the following definition of interior design.

 

At Revolving Rooms and Diamond Construction, we define Interior Design as

the marrying of construction elements and interior functionality.

 

Interior Design is not only about the materials and textures that are “visual” in a space, but it is the foundation and “guts” of what it took to get those textures/features to look amazing. We get it, not everyone has an appreciation for lumber and electrical and all the unseen elements of what make a new build or renovation great, but it’s easy to forget just how important they are to the final outcome.

 

 

There are all different types of certification for interior designers, and many different niches that are born of the same education. Some of the interior design professionals you run into will have Interior Design Technology (IDT) training where they have learned how technical (fitting the measurements of the dream shower into the renovated ensuite), functional (making sure the dream shower fits the needs of people and purpose, and that the client doesn’t have to turn sideways to exit), and aesthetic aspects (tile texture, colour scheme, and plumbing fittings) come together in a home or commercial environment.

 

That IDT training gives interior designers a better understanding of the construction environment and the “guts” of a project. Aside from education and certification, years of experience and project portfolios are other ways to distinguish one interior designer from another.

 

An interior designer needs to know how the space will function to ensure the materials used in the construction process are adequate.

 

Interior selections are selected with certain function and end-user in mind. For example, the subfloor in a bathroom will dictate what kind of tile can be used; the placement of pot lights in the kitchen will determine how a space is lit and whether the desired ambiance is created.

 

Interior designers, like us, who work alongside a construction/general contractor team are lucky enough to have all trades at our fingertips. When we present a plan to our clients, for example, for the installation of their dream shower, we draft a floor plan, then run upstairs to consult with our amazing plumber, Wayne, who will talk it out and make us look brilliant when we present a solid plan to the client that has taken all aspects of interior design and construction into consideration.

 

Interior Design aspects and Construction requirements MUST communicate at all times throughout the renovation process.

 

Ever been into a home where the layout didn’t flow or make sense? Likely, the designer behind the renovation or remodel wasn’t thinking about moving in. At Revolving Rooms we think about moving in, ALWAYS.

 

That’s how we guarantee you will want to when we hand over the keys!

 

If you have any questions about how to hire the right interior designer for your home renovation or infill, please contact us!

 

 

           

 

 

Floor Installation Tips you won't regret reading

 

The song “Under the Floor Again” by The Damned was never released as a hit single. It’s maybe no surprise it flew under the radar, but it kinda gets you thinking about what you need to know before you go there…if you plan to replace the floor in your home, that is.

 

You may think it’s no big mystery, the likes of what is “under your floor”, but lack of its preparation can make or break a successful installation and the longevity of your new floors.

 

If you are planning on installing new floors as part of a home renovation or giving your place a facelift, consider the following about your floors before you invest.  

 

A few tips before you install a new floor.

 

1. The cost to level a floor can sometimes outweigh what home owners want to spend. Make sure your renovation contractor includes subfloor preparation in your estimate and budget. There is no way for your contractor or salesperson to know what is under your existing floor, and what amount of time will be needed to prepare the job site for laying floor that will last its full lifetime.

 

2. All your flooring products should spend some time onsite before installation—longer in the rainy season—and your installer should measure the humidity in the wood to make sure it matches the environment and the subfloor they are installing on.

 

3. On average, only 25% of installers out there are trained and use proper installation practices. Don’t be fooled. Laying floor requires the same workmanship and years of experience as any trade to be good at it. Look for certification and, especially, years of experience. Keep in mind, a great tile setter isn’t necessarily going to be as good at laying hardwood, and vice versa. Ideally, your home renovation crew will include one tradesman/woman who is great at each type of installation.

 

4. Make sure your installer is using the right products for the right floor. For example, the adhesives for engineered hardwood are different than for regular hardwood, and more expensive in some cases. Also, the glue used at sub terrain levels is different than the main level depending on moisture levels. Make sure they are not cutting corners when it comes to the products that are going to keep your floors looking great.

 

For more tips on what to look for when you hire a floor installer and common misperceptions about floor installation, sign up to receive our upcoming Scoop on Scope newsletter!

 

 

 

 

The Diamond Company Culture

Well, if you want to know the real reason we all show up for work at Diamond, it’s for the FREE coffee.

Ha! Kidding!

Companies of the world are setting the bar high these days when it comes to exercising company culture. We may not have nap rooms, gourmet meals served three times a day, or get perks if we buy an electric car, but we do try to create something special at Diamond.

Adventure is important to us, and keeping a fun and energetic company culture is up there on the priority list at Diamond; after all, it is the stable home base from which we inspire our clients and perform our best work!

So, how do we keep the Diamond family happy and exercise company culture?

  • Every three months, we plan a team building outing. In the past we have gone paintballing, axe throwing, and found ourselves in very confined spaces at escape rooms. (At Escape City, the winning team didn’t only win, but we discovered another secret room when Phil fell through a wardrobe!)

 

  • In the summer months, the crew plays Slo-Pitch together with significant others. Look for us: we are called the “Bow Down Pitches!” And everyone around here has a nick name, of course! Quiz: Who is Eagle Eye?

 

  • Every year we say adios to summer-with a company BBQ, and every year at Christmas time, we sign up to be “Elves” for the Holiday Hamper program and get together to deliver presents and Christmas dinner supplies to families. Very fun!

 

  • None of us are too keen to lock up too early at the end of the work week. The crew can often be found in the “Shop” sharing stories and having a Friday beer.

 

  • We are diligent when it comes to hiring the people who are going to fit best with our team. Of course, we look for the basics (skills, accreditations and work ethic), but most of the time, hobbies and interests outside of work trump experience.

 

So, why does all this matter?

 

Strong company culture builds trust. Each one of us is treated like an owner at Diamond, and we take on a project like we have everything to lose. No matter our trade, each one of us is accountable to the client, corresponds with the client, has knowledge to share with the client, and knows what is going on beyond our own job on a work site. We feel trusted to make the right decisions.

Having a bond and friendship established outside of work also keeps us accountable to each other, too, where we can banter and razz each other, but also give honest feedback and room to grow and learn.

At the end of a project, the true reward is not getting paid (although that is nice!), but rather talking with a happy client, seeing a job well done (and maybe getting a little recognition on social media or in a magazine, wink, wink). 

Bonding outside of the work environment turns colleagues into friends and helps us translate Diamond core values from paper to real life, and when all is good at home (that is, the office), we can go out into the world and do our best work!

How does company culture play out in your life? We want to know your story!