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Finishing touches...but there are a lot of them.

We have been inside and warm since it got cold in November.

One of my favourite things about my job is how my work changes as the project progresses. It starts out rough with footings and foundation.

The framing feels more comfortable with even floors to walk on, although it's heavy.

Then the trades move in and it is problem solving and anticipating future uses. When it is time for finishing it is fun because everything comes flat and as we cut it up and put it in place it becomes a home not just a frame.

Hanging doors, casing windows and doors, hardwood installation, architectural details and cabinets start and more careful measurements and touch is required. Each aspect of the project is so important because it leads to the next. Soon enough the place takes shape.

We've been building for 8 months almost to the day. The painter has been though making his mess with his sprayer. Fireplace has rock on it, rooms have taken shape. I am ready to prep for tiling and soon some tiles will be set.

Contact us to start planning your improvements!

White House progress report.

Thought I better provide an update on our latest custom home.

We have had a gorgeous spring in Calgary and have been building away on our latest custom home.

The sloping lot started to take shape with the energy efficient ICF foundation blocks. The concrete was poured on a cloudless day.

But it wasn't really until the main floor subfloor went on and we backfilled around the house that the lot and house took shape.

Most of our main floor walls are now up showing window and door openings. The very large opening on the front will have an impressive 14' Kolbe folding door system that will open the wall of windows up onto the not yet present deck.

We are now ready for the second floor engineered floor system to be delivered and in a few days we will be able to walk on the second floor! I can hardly wait to see the view from a little higher up.

Contact us now to start discussing your project ideas.

Here we go!

Let the building begin.

After 8+ months grinding through City Hall we now we have made some forward moves.

First step was to have the surveyor come and layout the elevation and basic location of the house on the lot. On April 19 we broke ground. We didn't have much topsoil- we basically have a sand pit and after the top layers are removed- the digging really begins. Because of the sandy soil and due to our intended house location closer to the east property line and the fact that neighbouring property has some structural issues we have had to shore up the east slope for safety and so that we do not undermine the neighbours' house. This shoring has taking a little more than a week of delays and a lot of dough ($).

Kent has been a very skilled excavator operator. He has been patient and actively problem solving. It is quite mesmerizing watching a skilled earth mover. Once the lot has been carved out the surveyor returns to mark out the corner locations for the footings.


Footings are the connection point for every house to the earth. Footings are placed on undisturbed native soil and in this case they have an engineered design. They are placed and designed to support the foundation and they resist any pressures from soil, water and the freeze/ thaw cycle that we have to contend with in Calgary homes.

Contact us to talk about your dream project.


It's no joke...we have permission to build!

After 8 months of grinding through city hall we now have a development permit and all necessary building permits.

We have faced all of the scrutiny that the city planning department could throw at us. No comments at all about the house we intend to build. But we had to make sure the house fits into the overall community plan, respect the privacy of our neighbours, analyze the soil and slope we are building on and prove we are building a house that meets the current building code requirements.

The whole process took about 5+ months longer than we anticipated but now we are good to go! Let the building begin.


Do you believe in magic?

How can an Interior Designer help you on your next project?

What do Interior Designers really do? This question comes up a lot in my building and renovation business. From my perspective, they can be a real help in the process of helping a client realize their own tastes and style without being overwhelmed and bogged down with all of the options available today. They can help prioritize what is important for their clients in the scope of their project.

There are probably as many stories about crazy interior designers as there are about horrible renovation or contractors. Over the last 15+ years I have worked with some really talented and some not so talented designers.

A designer who listens to their client and susses out the salient information will be able to save their client time and money. A good designer will have a plan before the project starts which will help a good contractor organize the ordering and timing of all of the items and colours. This way the client has a team working together for their home improvement. A designed project does not mean an expensive project, but that all of the aspects of the project have been considered and planned for ahead of time. A good designer brings the project together like magic!


When Interior Designers tend to fail is when they have a plan but it is not necessarily what the client wants. They ignore budgets or they don't even discuss them so the client is shocked when the contractor comes up with an estimate. Weak Designers sometimes will try to contract out their own projects with no knowledge of the construction process and often depend on the trades to know what to do and when to do it. It often ends in chaos, with things easily missed or having to be redone because there was no qualified oversight.

As a general contractor I have found that the best combination for my clients is to work together with an talented Interior Designer and Quality Contractor and an Invested Client. I can help the client liaise with the designer, and I can discuss the "how to" with the designer, so that the unique ideas can be realized and work. Together we all have different strengths and working together we can achieve the best quality and best representation of our clients ideas into the reality of their renovated space.

Contact us to get our experienced and talented team of experts to help you with your upcoming project!



10 Things to Ask Your Contractor Before You Start Your Project

Here is a good article from Houzz to get your renovation or build off to a good start and stay positive throughout. Listed are 10 great questions that will set a good foundation for communication throughout your renovation or building process.

Communication between you and your contractor sounds like it should be straightforward... but there can be some miscommunications that could complicate the process.


"The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place."

George Bernard Shaw


Over the years I have found that a common barrier to good communication is our individual expectations. Sometimes there are routine issues that come up for me, but they are not routine for the homeowner. And because they feel routine or normal to me I may not communicate enough of the details that a homeowner might need or be expecting, which can lead to unnecessary worries for my clients. I have tried to learn to anticipate and discuss more events, I am not always successful, but I am trying.

If you find that you are worried, or not expecting something, curious or think something was forgotten, it is important to talk with your contractor ASAP so that you both can talk it through and clear it up right away. Communication is a two way street.

Likely, there is an easy answer.

Contact Us to start discussing what we can do with your ideas...

Exterior fail- what does it really look like?

Have you ever heard of a "leaky condo"? Well it doesn't just happen to condos.

The exterior of a house is a system that is called the building envelope. The building envelope is comprised of everything that is keeping the weather outside of the house, including siding, stucco, windows, doors, chimneys, etc. The details of the building envelope are more complicated when there is a hole in the structure... but admittedly windows and doors are pretty nice to have...

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Getting Permits...permission to build

Here we go...off to the city for permits with our plans!

After all of our planning and all of the work by Nick Flood Design we are ready to apply for permits from the city. It takes hours and hours of time planning, drawing and making most of our decisions before a house ever gets built. All of this advance preparation goes into the planning of a house so that the problems get solved before the wood gets cut. I have to admit that throughout this planning stage my brain gets very busy thinking about how I will actually build it...

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Making Plans...

"Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now" Alan Lakein

We have been working for a few weeks now with Nick Flood Design for our upcoming custom inner city home in Calgary. Nick is great! He listens patiently and he has so many great ideas.

Planning is such an important part of the process. It is much easier to change a line on a page rather than to move a wall.

These plans have not been finalized, but I thought it would be interesting to show the process of developing ideas into a working set of plans that we can then build.

Go to the blogpost to see the latest version of the floorplans...

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Getting started-surveying the possibilities for an inner city, custom Calgary home.

One of the first steps when planning and developing a residential lot in Calgary is to survey the lay of the land and find out what the possibilities are...

Click to see the lay of the land.

On this Calgary inner city property we have quite a significant slope from the back to the front. I am planning for a walk-out basement at the front of this custom home. 

Its going to be tricky to make sure we make this look good because...

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