Great Ideas and Essential Advice for that Fall Renovation Project

Michelle Hopkins
September 8, 2015

The kids are back at school and you are finally ready to tackle that big renovation project you’ve been putting off, or maybe you just want to refresh that tired kitchen. Whatever the case, the Greater Vancouver Home Builder’s Association (GVHBA) Fall Home Reno Show on September 19 is offering great free advice, ideas and inspiration to help you get started.

“Our fall home renovation show is exclusively about renovations and design,” says Bob de Wit, CEO of the GVHBA, adding that last year’s fall renovation show saw more than 600 attendees. “We have education seminars all day long, including talks about money and legal issues, permits and how to select the best renovator for you.

“We also have our Ask-a-Pro Expo, which are free one-on-one sessions people can book to get tips and advice from renovators and interior designers.”

The expo offers a wide variety of products, services, and manufacturers, suppliers, contractors who are available to answer any question. Those who have already started planning a renovation are encouraged to bring along their plans for expert analysis. You will also be able to see the latest trends in interior design renovation ideas from industry experts.

Todd Senft, principal of exhibitor reVISION Custom Home Renovations Inc., advises that home owners have to be very cautious before committing to a contractor.

“Before the hammer hits the nail, get everything in writing,” Senft says. “By spending time in pre-planning you will have much smoother construction phase. Remember, it’s like you are in a short term marriage with your contractor, so be sure you understand and trust each other.”

Brent Repin, principal of Artisan Design Build Group, which is also exhibiting at the show, agrees. “Some home renovation television shows give homeowners unrealistic expectations of how long or how much a major home renovation will cost. Many people don’t understand all the steps that are involved in a large renovation,” he says. “Home owners can trust GHVBA members because they are registered, certified and trained professionals.”

Current Trends and Key Advice from the Experts

Brent Repin, principal, Artisan Design Build Group:

  • Open concept inside and out is still all the rage and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
  • Many people are interested in solar panels for more energy efficient homes.
  • Trend is towards replacing windows with triple pane ones. “They typically have about 20 to 30 percent better U-factors than a double pane window.”
  • Proving very useful in renovation projects is a new online system called a Document Management System that allows homeowners to access everything about their project in real time. “They can see when and who will be working on their project that day, look at the budget, and they can leave comments all in one spot.”

Jamie Banfield, principal, Jamie Banfield Designs: 

  • Homeowners are increasingly savvy and understand how they want to use their home, says Jamie Banfield. He recommends homeowners meet with the interior designer to ensure their renovation is optimal for their needs before making an appointment with a contractor. “This makes for a much more seamless process with much less stress.”
  • Kitchens are being planned around the idea that two or three people will be cooking at the same time. “We are seeing many homeowners requesting two stoves, for example, or two separate sinks and two separate cooking stations.”
  • There is a massive draw for spa bathrooms. Everything from aromatherapy diffusers in your shower to steam showers, heated floors, right up to people investing into cryotherapy cold sauna (-110C) – said to be great for pain relief. In addition, speakers in the shower and LED lights that are programmed to change colours – soothing blue at night and red to perk you up for the day ahead – are red hot!
  • Exterior hardware is becoming “nice and beefy.” “For the exterior, the best bang for your renovation buck is your front entrance; paint, replace old windows and your dated light fixtures and hardware. It’s the most impactful and quickest and cheapest way to make a statement.” A big trend is black trim around the windows or rustic beams in fir or hemlock for that West Coast contemporary feel.
  • Stone work is carrying right through from outside into the inside.
  • Hardwood floors are still trending but with wider planks, fewer knots, wire brushed, with a matt or whitewash finish. And concrete floors are garnering momentum, especially in modern home renovations.
  • Renovators are using lots of whitewash in millwork as well. “Connect that with natural stone for a stunning feature,” says Banfield.
  • The newest revolution to hit BC kitchen countertops is Dekton (, which is a blend of raw materials, such as porcelain and quartz. It is sleek and can handle high temperatures. “We are using it inside and out, on floors, countertops, fireplaces and around pools.” 

Todd Senft, principal, reVISION Custom Home Renovations:

  • Putting in basement/secondary suites as mortgage helpers are on the rise.
  • Outdoor living spaces are still in high demand, even in the fall – especially with fire pits and heaters to enjoy during the shoulder season.

The GVHBA’s free Fall Home Reno show is on Saturday, September 19 from 10am to 4pm at the Hard Rock Casino Theatre Vancouver, 2080 United Boulevard, Coquitlam. For more information or to pre-register, visit

Michelle Hopkins
Michelle Hopkins is a Vancouver-based freelance writer with extensive magazine, newspaper and online writing experience in home décor, new home developments, culinary adventures, wine, travel and more. Michelle writes for many notable publications including Real Estate Weekly and other Glacier Media Group publications, Western Living Magazine, Vancouver Magazine, Home Décor & Renovations, to name just a few. Michelle is passionate about anything to do with real estate.