This new home on Triangle Mountain

HOMEFINDER: West Shore homes featured on annual tour

Young Life brings new home and renovation projects to the public

Whether you’re looking for ideas on how to expand your home, build from the ground up or just enjoy seeing what other people do with their space, the Young Life Home Design and Renovation Tour has all those bases covered this year.

The 26th annual fundraiser for Young Life Victoria, happening April 30 and May 1, features 12 finished projects in Langford, Colwood, View Royal, Saanich, Victoria and Oak Bay.

They range from a kitchen and dining room upgrade in a Songhees waterfront townhouse to a completely remodeled 1950s home in Oak Bay that went from 1,100 square feet to more than 3,400 sq.ft.

Ed McDonald of MAC Renovations, whose company’s work is featured in the townhome renovation and in a complete home transformation project in Saanich on the tour, has been supporting the fundraiser for six or seven years. He said it’s a good way for people to see fresh ideas and bounce questions off representatives of the builders.

The question of whether to renovate or move into something different is one he often helps his clients answer. He gave as an example a couple who hired MAC to do their renovations.

“Their motivation was, they had a young family and they liked the area, plus it was going to cost them at least $15,000 to move with real estate fees and taxes,” he says.

Even modest renos can easily run higher than that, but homeowners need to weigh various options, such as how long they plan on staying put, before embarking on a renovation project, McDonald says.

“If you’re going to put that much money into it, it’s going to be something you’re not going to turn around and sell a couple years later.”

While some homeowners leave the upgrades for the next owner in this hot real estate market, McDonald cringes when he sees “home handyman” renos done by people hoping that will get them more for their home. “When I see that happen, I don’t see a quality reno put in there at all. And some owner ends up inheriting (the problems).”

Also on this year’s tour, Chris Bowness, co-owner of Alair Homes Victoria, gets to show off his family’s brand-new, newly moved into Colwood home perched high on Triangle Mountain.

Built by his own company, the home provides versatility with the ability to host offices for two family businesses, as well as being constructed with the option of having a legal income suite. A fusion of classic and West Coast styles, it’s a great example of the kind of work Alair does, Bowness says.

“Whether (tour attendees have) heard of us or not, I think we’re happy to put one of our show pieces of work onto the tour,” he says. “Having people be able to look at a finished product and have a bit of information about what we do, we can show people how we accommodate the lifestyle vision of the owner-occupant.”

Young Life Home Tour spokesperson Bill Okell says it’s good to see the event expand back to 12 homes from 10 last year. The organization works with the Canadian Home Builders Association on the Island to get leads on contractors, and their clients, who are interested in having their special projects be part of the tour.

One such standout stop on the tour is the Home of the Raging Bull. This remodeled Beach Drive house not only had a West Coast post-and-beam style injected into it, the formerly dark and damp garage has been converted into a custom showroom-like space for the owner to house his collection of sports cars.

“That’s what really makes the tour for us is having something special, something unique like that,” Okell says.

While the tour will undoubtedly attract many women as always, a feature such as the “garage” is something sure to appeal to the men in the crowd, he says.

Admission passports for the Young Life Home Design and Renovation Tour are $25, available in advance at merchants including Cloverdale Paint, Capital Iron, Rona Langford, Castle Building Supplies and Lumberworld.

A full list and more information can be found at

Q: How do you find the right renovator?

Finding the right contractor to renovate your home can be the difference between being happy and having a headache.

To start with, for any job large or small, consider getting three estimates and don’t be shy about asking for a detailed written estimate on exactly what they will be doing.

This helps you see the proper comparables in terms of labour and materials and give you a good idea of what the three different renovators offer. It can also give you a sense of the level of detail and work ethic they put into an estimate which can be a reflection of their abilities as a contractor.

In this day and age, another consideration is that skilled contractors are in high demand and many are very busy. Quite often we look for quotes that are fast and cheap and in this day and age, that is usually a good formula for a bad job.

If you want to pay and wait for fast food, can you expect filet mignon?

Finally, be organized. If you are looking months ahead, it improves the chances of getting who you want, and the job you want, because many of the best can be booked months ahead and nobody likes to be rushed.



» 887 / 1,413 — NEW LISTINGS / TOTAL, APRIL 2015


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