Alair Magazine | Edition #2

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Duffey Dream Home Decorates Fort Myers Beach Florida

Considerations for Renovating Historic Homes

Tour Various Trends for the Heart of the Home

U NCOMPROMISING Q U A L I T Y. U NWAVERING SU PPO R T. Kohler’s family of brands offers a full portfolio of products in a wide range of styles and various price points. Two things that do not vary: the quality and support you can expect when you choose to partner with Kohler for your projects. Kohler’s commitment is complete satisfaction for you and your clients as you bring their visions to life. Receive special pricing and product specification support when you contact your dedicated representative. 1-866-545-7776

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ABOUT THIS EDITION Created entirely by our team of Regional Community Managers, Partners and Project Managers, the second edition of ALAIR Magazine spotlights inspiring people, projects and places across North America where Alair™ works, builds and lives. We start our journey in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada where Alair Partner, Jason Zavitz, brings us to his winter playground with tips on what to do, where to go, and where to eat in one of the world’s most beautiful vacation destinations.

CONTRIBUTORS Publisher Adam McCaa

From there we head down south to visit Heather Shuster, Partner in North Georgia, as she shares her wealth of experience working with historic homes, and the considerations that are important to note before remodeling a home to preserve the past.

Managing Editor Natalie Harper Art Direction Chelsea Hamre Production Art Tracey Risser

We go east to Edmonton, Alberta where we check in with our Alair 2021 Project Manager of the Year Award Winner, Cory Symes as he shares what it was like to lead a special renovation for Ronald McDonald House in Alberta’s Capital city.

Digital Manager Jason Clayton Contributors Kristina Matisic Kat Velez Jeanette Miller Julie Herron Carson Louise Mulherin Whitney Brown Jacqueline Tyler Jason Zavitz Jessica Leavitt Heather Shuster Lisa Henderson Natalie Harper Kayla Fagan Nicole Wicks Deon Towle

We leave Georgia to learn more about Tampa Bay, Florida and what makes the city spectacular. Residents have certainly been celebrating several sports championships in recent years, but Tampa also has so much more to offer, and maybe it will inspire your next vacation. Finally, we head a little further south in Florida to tour an amazing 16,000 square foot home in Fort Myers Beach that boasts beach and bay views, and truly makes you want to experience the breathtaking beauty of the area. We hope you enjoy learning more about who we are and what we do, but also hope you find some inspiration in this edition to help you live a little better. Living Better Starts Here™ Natalie Harper Managing Editor

Adam McCaa Publisher AL AIRHOMES.COM









48 4


14 A-DOOR-ABLE ENTRANCES Jessica Leavitt



A FAMILY AFFAIR Julie Herron Carson


35 Lisa Henderson





22 WELCOME TO KIPS BAY Brynn Bagot and Juliana Mitchell






CONFIDENTIAL Kristina Matisic



Jessica Leavitt


28 Nicole Wicks







32 LAURA QUILTY Kristina Matisic


44 PRESERVING THE PAST Heather Shuster and Louise Mulherin









Natalie Harper and Cory Symes




BAY VIEWS and BEACH LIVING Completely Custom 16,000+ Square Foot Duffey Dream Home Decorates Fort Myers Beach, Florida Kat Velez Stunning views, plentiful beaches, and luxurious waterfront homes have made coastal living in Florida an aspiration for many. One of the newest - and possibly most impressive - homes in Fort Myers Beach, Fla. was recently completed by Alair Sanibel. The gorgeous bayfront home of John and Becky Duffey marks a milestone for the builder and boasts the largest indoor living area of any home on the island. It’s creating quite a buzz, and relationships and trust built with homeowners and subcontractors have also earned the builder rave reviews. At 8,482 square feet under air, and 16,539 square feet total, including outdoor living and storage space, the modern contemporary waterfront home is Alair Sanibel’s grandest luxury build to date. “You’re not going to build a ton of 16,000 square foot homes on the islands,” explains Glen Harris, partner at Alair Homes Sanibel. “It’s hard to find enough real estate to build a home of this size.” The Duffeys first discovered Alair in 2018, when Harris and his team installed an elevator in their previous home; also, on Fort Myers Beach. “We had been doing a lot of renovations, but decided we were just never going to get it to where we wanted,” said homeowner John Duffey.

I was standing in the kitchen, looking through the family room at the outdoor space in view, thinking it doesn’t get much better than this.

Wanderlust Photography | LLC

During the renovation process, the Duffeys told Harris their dream was to build a new home on the relaxed and natural bayfront side of the island. It was here that the seeds were planted. “We were waiting for the opportunity to find the right place to build the right home,” said Becky Duffey. “And we’re fortunate that everything fell into place, and Alair was there at the right time. We’ve been very, very happy working with Glen and his team.”



It was only a few months until the Duffeys located and purchased the site of their future home and started mapping its unique layout with Richard Guzman, principal residential designer and founder of R.G. Designs. The Duffeys’ vision was to flip the typical floor plan upside down, placing the living space and the pool on the home’s upper level. “It’s a really neat design, and Alair did a fantastic job making sure it finished out the way it was supposed to be,” explained Guzman. “In Florida, if you can go higher, you’re going to create some cool views. Raising the building gives you a different perspective, and with the pool elevated to the level of the main floor, it also allows for an amazing amount of storage.” said Faith Fix, founder of Freestyle Interiors. To match the couple’s personality, the designers created comfortable gathering spaces around the home, including a large kitchen island for entertaining, and a 300-bottle wine room located just off the wet bar. Alair Sanibel gifted the Duffeys a counter-mounted SIDEBAR liquor dispensing system, something that had impressed them in a friend’s home. Mrs. Duffey approved, and Alair surprised Mr. Duffey by purchasing and installing the system in their custom wet bar.

“Having that pool up at the main living level is certainly unique,” agreed Harris. The project broke ground in November 2019 and took about 20 months to complete. Luxurious and serene, the five-bedroom, seven full bath, two half bath home, boasts nearly as much outdoor entertainment and storage space as it does indoor living space. A massive multi-directional sliding glass door separates the indoor from the outdoor living areas, opening the home and inviting guests to sit back and enjoy an amazing waterfront view through a frameless ultra-clear glass railing to take in the amazing views of Florida’s gulf coast. Illuminated by fire on each side, the elevated infinity pool flows seamlessly into the serene natural surroundings of the bay. Perfectly placed royal palms line the seawall without obstructing the tranquil view. “The Duffeys are a terrific couple with great energy and a nice family who love to entertain,”


The Duffeys’ houseguests are treated to large suites on the first floor, and garages on both the north and south sides of the home. A guest cabana provides a separate, private oasis for friends to enjoy at any time, even while the Duffeys are away. The one bed, one bath suite with full kitchen and laundry is convenient to the outdoor entertaining space, so guests can enjoy the pool, outdoor kitchen, and expansive entertaining space without even entering the Duffeys’ personal home. Custom marble details and tray, vaulted, and tongue and groove ceilings accent many areas throughout the home. Custom engineered flooring and

cabinetry, opal accents and marble in the master bathroom, and highlights of hardwoods including oak, poplar, cypress and mahogany, combined with relaxed coastal decor make the luxurious home posh without feeling stuffy. The end result has exceeded everyone’s expectations. “The entire home looks like a work of art the minute you walk in the door,” added lead designer Michelle Stahl. “It’s a very classy, yet comfortable living space. It’s all cohesive, flowing from room to room; each with a unique color scheme or a different feel to it, all coastal transitional. It’s like the perfect project you visualize in your mind and watch come to life, even better than what you envisioned.” “It’s one I’m really proud of. I see it as a feather in our cap,” said Harris. “A fellow Islander who passed by while boating was so intrigued by the home that he got on his bicycle and rode over to see who was building the house. After walking the project, meeting the Duffeys and hearing about our process, they have since signed with us. We’re now in the planning stage on their 12,00013,000 square foot home just down the road.”

The Duffeys have experience with both building and remodeling previous homes. They loved Alair’s Client Control™ process, which allowed them to sign off on every supplier, tradesperson, and product involved. They were completely in control from day one, which provided them with far more buying power and great comfort, knowing they had complete authority and clarity of all decisions being made on the project. “With previous contractors, there’s really no incentive for them to push back on costs. If you make any changes, they start price gouging,” explained John. “One of the things I loved with Alair was their system that allowed me to go in and look at everything. Nothing gets done until it’s approved by us.” “This has definitely been at the top of the list of experiences for us,” said Becky. “The whole Alair team was on top of things, start to finish. They caught a lot of details that we would not have caught up front, so we didn’t have to go back and rethink and do over. We couldn’t be happier. I was standing in the kitchen, looking through the family room at the outdoor space in view, thinking it doesn’t get much better than this.




Arlington, Virginia Home Renovation 10

Project: Before Kayla Fagan

After starting down the path with a Design/Build firm, the clients decided to pivot to the transparency and process of Alair Arlington to complete their home renovation and addition.

The existing basement ceiling height was less than 7-feet tall in some areas due to hanging radiator lines. The unsightly steel columns in the basement were unable to be removed, but our team came up with a creative solution to hide them.

Our team added an 876 sq ft back wing to the house, including a screened-in porch and lower deck, and finished the unfinished basement. In a span of four months, we took this 1940s home from dark and cramped to bright and open! We repainted the exterior and replaced the siding with James Hardie Shake on the gables and James Hardie Lap on the lower sides. To complete the exterior transformation, we added custom fir soffits to match the screen porch ceiling. Before: Front

Before: Kitchen

Before: Kitchen

Before: Back

Before: Basement

Before: Dining



We repainted the exterior and replaced the siding with James Hardie Shake on the gables and James Hardie Lap on the lower sides. To complete the exterior transformation, we added custom fir soffits to match the screen porch ceiling. The back wing addition included a lower deck and a screened-in porch - a must-have for the hot and humid Virginia summers!

The original plan was for this porch area to be an upper deck, but after the owners decided to add a screen, we worked with Ame Gold of Ame Gold Design, to make the owners’ vision of a cozy four-seasons living space come true. We knocked down walls to open up the backside of the house in order to reconfigure the kitchen area.

The completely redesigned kitchen includes much-needed storage space with new Shaker cabinets, a large eatin kitchen island, and a built-in bench seating area.


Our clients were looking for a breakfast nook and homework space for their children. The eat-in bench seating area gave them that, plus additional storage. We truly maximized the use of every space in this 5-bedroom, 3 bathroom, 3,800 sq ft home.

This mudroom-breakfast nook combo is a dream space for a busy family! The custom-built storage off the new entryway is perfect for stowing away backpacks, coats, and shoes.

Goodbye, ugly steel columns! Hello, custom entertainment center! We also ripped out the hanging radiator lines and did some rerouting to be able to give their newlyfinished basement a 7’-6” ceiling height. The finished basement space includes a playroom, music room, and additional bedroom.

For the first-floor bathroom update, we were able to keep all the plumbing in the same location but replaced the fixtures, tub and flooring.

We truly maximized the use of every space in this 5-bedroom, 3 bathroom, 3,800 sq ft home.




A-door-able Entrances Jessica Leavitt

Your front door can play a big part in the curb appeal of your home. Not only can it be a focal point for a pop of color, it can also help firmly set your home within its architectural style. It can also be used as a canvas for celebrations with creative solutions

The Lunar New Year, is a celebration for many of Asian descent. Our client recently moved from Hong Kong and is looking forward to welcoming the Year of the Tiger in 2022. This door features sidelights as well as a repurposed historic door from our client’s renovation. The copper eyebrow was hand fabricated by Coastal Roofworks in Savannah, Georgia. Copper was chosen to tie in to the gutters and other accent roofs on the home.



Merry & bright is the inspiration for this door, whether it’s the holiday season or not! With the door being mostly glass, tons of light floods into the house, and you can see through the living space from the porch, which keeps the outdoors ever-present. This front porch features simple columns that provide architectural details and let the stained front door shine. The holographic garland is an easy way to transform the space without taking away from the beautiful greenery that adds a tropical appeal.

This custom door was milled to include a center circle based on a door that the home owner had seen while traveling. Stone Blue, from Farrow + Ball, provides the perfect background to this winter wonderland vignette. With the crisp white siding and trim the pop of cool blue is a welcome sight from the curb.


Starting with classic symmetry, this front door features sidelights, gas lanterns and railings that provide a very calm front entry to this home that’s filled with light and color. Here we have styled for a harvest with traditional fall foliage, feathers, and textural elements. Even the owner’s dogs and chickens wanted to get in on the action, celebrating Thanksgiving.

This front door features beautiful stain and sidelights that make a great entrance to this traditional Lowcountry style home. The board and batten siding give texture to front elevation and the stained ceilings add a natural element that gives this porch its warm feelings. The styling was done with the Lowcountry feel: magnolia leaves, oyster shells and cotton bolls make the entrance feel like it’s time for the holidays, Southern style.

This arch topped double door set gives a sense of whimsy to this traditional front elevation. The sense of scale here may not come across, but these doors are grand with a height of 10 feet in the middle. They provide a grand entrance to this 4,500+ square foot house that includes a theater room. We keep the whimsy with the forest look in the front, a low-key holiday nod without an overt emphasis on holiday. Cypress, juniper and cedar in pots give a forest feel to the front. The blue backdrop and haint blue porch ceiling give depth to the entry way.




Peter & David Michelson

A Family Affair 18

Here at Alair North Georgia, two multigeneration builder families are working together. I think that’s pretty special.

Julie Herron Carson Maybe it’s not true that if you cut Peter or David Michelson, they’ll bleed sawdust. Or that Dale Contant and Sydney Contant Nunes drive matching Father-Daughter pickup trucks. What is true, however, is that building is in the blood for the Michelson brothers of Alair Homes Decatur and the Contant family of Alair Homes Marietta. Both families are multi-generational builders, and share a passion for creating beautiful, functional spaces for families across Greater Atlanta. Peter Michelson, Alair North Georgia regional partner, and Dale Contant, Alair Marietta partner, have also attracted and retained teams of dedicated project managers, skilled craftspeople and adept office staff, including Dale’s wife of nearly 40 years, Keely, who share their passion for homebuilding, and are key members of the Alair North Georgia family. The Michelson’s great-grandfather was a builder in the Boston area, where Peter and David grew up. Their father joined the family’s construction business, and later, David did, too. Peter took a more circuitous route to the profession, alternating carpentry and construction jobs with a stint traveling in Asia and teaching English in Taiwan. After teaching school in Atlanta for several years, he drew on his varied work and educational experience to establish Renewal Design-Build, an Atlanta home remodeling company. A few years later, his brother, David, moved to Atlanta and joined the growing company. They and their team built Renewal Design-Build into one of the area’s premier home renovation companies, earning more than 60 awards for design, craftsmanship and customer service.

Dale grew up in Florida, where his father was a contractor. He began spending time on his father’s construction sites when he was just 8 years old, helping out more often as he grew older. He studied drafting in high school and began college with plans to become an architect, but changed his focus to construction. Dale married Keely, and built his first home for his growing family. After moving to Marietta, Ga., Dale founded Sun-Fun Remodeling, Inc., which became Atlanta Design & Build, a well-known and highly successful residential design/build remodeling company. Dale credits much of his success to his father, from whom he inherited a strong work ethic and commitment to “do what you say you’re going to do”. While Keely manages project photo shoots and assists with marketing the company, their daughter Sydney has followed the family tradition of learning from her father. Now an Alair Marietta project manager, Sydney absorbed knowledge and developed an interest in construction during conversations around the dinner table. With a determination to make it on her own, she began her training as a carpenter’s apprentice a decade ago, honing her skills and learning the trade alongside experienced senior project managers. Sydney soon earned the title and assumed responsibilities as a project manager, and subsequently earned her Certified Remodeling Project Manager credentials through the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) coursework and testing. Her commitment to quality was noticed early in her career, when, at age 26, she received Professional Remodeler magazine’s 40 Under 40 Award.



Our business is all about family.


With such a strong passion for building and commitment to family, it’s no surprise the Michelsons and Contants were drawn to the larger family of Alair, since they already shared the same core values: empathy, determination, humility, integrity, discipline, buy-in and no drama. The Michelsons were the first to join Alair, and now operate their company as Alair Homes Decatur. Dale and his team joined soon after, and transitioned their company to Alair Homes Marietta. New partners will soon follow. The transition from independent owners to Alair North Georgia partners has been a smooth one. Although they had not worked together professionally before joining Alair, Dale and David were well acquainted through their NARI leadership roles. David is the current President of NARI Atlanta, and has been involved in creating a NARI Atlanta charitable endeavor, NARI Cares. Dale is a former NARI National president and two-time National Chairman of the Board. The two men have been instrumental in building the local NARI chapter and expanding its influence and recognition as the premier professional organization for remodelers.

“Our business is all about family,” says Peter. “As part of the greater Alair family, we have the privilege of building homes and creating beautiful spaces where families will make their memories. We treat our team members and our clients like family. And, here at Alair North Georgia, two multi-generation builder families are working together. I think that’s pretty special.”




WELCOME TO KIPS BAY Kips Bay Decorator Show House, Dallas Photography courtesy of Stephen Karlisch



Brynn Bagot and Juliana Mitchell Photos by Stephen Karlisch The second annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House Dallas, the most prestigious show house in the United States and the only one of its kind in Texas, welcomed thousands of visitors from September 24 through October 24, 2021, who toured the stunning home and the must-see creative compositions by some of the best interior designers in the country. The 26 designers, architects and landscape designers had only 12 weeks to develop their design; procure furnishings, fixtures, art, appliances and other decor; and transform their assigned room into an exhibition-quality space.

“We were incredibly honored to partner with Yates Desygn on this prestigious, one-of-akind Show House,” Alair Dallas-Fort Worth Partner Lisa Hammel said. “It was definitely a fun challenge, and we are thrilled with how amazing our space turned out. The turnaround time for design and construction was quick, coupled with delayed delivery times for key components due to COVID-19. We could not have completed a project of this magnitude without our dedicated trade and vendor partners who really came together for such a good cause.”

This year’s Show House was a classic Georgian estate located in Dallas’ prominent Old Preston Hollow neighborhood featuring 11,259 square feet of living space sited on 1.44 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds. Re-imagined by noted architect Cole Smith, FAIA, the home has six bedrooms, seven bathrooms and two half baths, a dramatic foyer, multiple living areas, a breakfast room, two full kitchens, sunroom, wine cellar, theater and pool. Alair Dallas partnered with Yates Desygn, a Dallasbased full-service interior design firm, to completely transform a basement nook into a sexy, Prohibitioninspired speakeasy dubbed “Inner Circle”. The walls of the stairwell leading down into the space were covered in sumptuous suede with a handpainted graphic pattern created in collaboration with Ever Atelier. The expansive subterranean room had three distinct areas including a cozy living area, fully functioning kitchen and a game table. The space featured rich materials, including deeply stained paneled walls, solid surfacing from Cambria, matte black fixtures and appliances from Kohler and Signature Kitchen Suite, and an elegant, curved B&B Italia sofa that surrounded the Strike by Chad Dorsey marble fireplace. Wired Custom Lighting created a delicate, custom light fixture hanging in the kitchen, complete with gold chains reminiscent of a flapper’s swinging fringe dress.

We could not have completed a project of this magnitude without our dedicated trade and vendor partners who really came together for such a good cause. 24

All proceeds benefited two Dallas charities – Dwell with Dignity, a non-profit agency dedicated to creating soothing, inspiring homes for families struggling with homelessness and poverty, and The Crystal Charity Ball, whose mission is to aid, support, and make contributions to children’s charities in Dallas County. Funds raised also supported the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, which provides enrichment programs for New York City children.




ALAIR INSPIRED Chatham Artillery



Photos by: Dayshift Nightshift

Jessica Leavitt We don’t claim this to be real but the phrase “packs a punch”, MUST have been referring to this Savannah libation. With brandy, rum, whiskey and sparkling wine, there is no way this won’t keep the party pumping! In the film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, the recipe is simplified to “three parts fruit, seven parts liquor, whatever’s available on both counts.”

Ingredients 8 ripe, yellow lemons 1 ½ cups sugar 1 pint of brandy 1 pint of rum 1 pint of whiskey 2 bottles Champagne (any dry, sparkling wine will do)

Directions Punch has a bit of intrigue and a lot of party power. Great for groups and the crown jewel of a buffet, turn to punch to satisfy your guests. Chatham Artillery Punch is named for the Savannah regiment, in existence since 1776. Rumor has it that George Washington was served the punch by the regiment, when he came to deliver two cannons in 1792. While this is mere speculation and we believe to be a bit of a fish tale, the more widely believed story isn’t much different. The origin is said to have come about in the 1850s. A group of members returned from Macon, Georgia after completing drills and were welcomed back by the Sergeant and the rest of the Chatham Artillery with punch served from a horse bucket.

Grab a glass, give a toast, and imbibe…responsibly. :)

1. The night before you make the punch, thinly peel 8 lemons and muddle with sugar in a jar. The sugar will extract the oils from the lemon peel.

2. The next day...Fill a large bowl with crushed ice and pour in brandy, rum, and whiskey.

3. Juice the lemons until you have about a 1 ½ cups juice, then add to the lemon peel and sugar. Stir to dissolve the remaining sugar.

4. Strain out the lemon peels and pour the lemon juice and sugar into the bowl.

5. Add two bottles of Champagne. 6. Serve chilled.



Alair Marietta: Lake House Whole Remodel Photo Credit: Barbara Brown Photography


Fireplace Roundup Nicole Wicks

Winter is here for many of us, and that means dusting off your winter wardrobe and cozying up at your local coffee shop with your favorite seasonal spiced latte. For those of us in the custom home building and remodeling industry, the changing of the seasons has us thinking about how we can help add warmth to your home. The best solution to this is to add a fireplace. There are few things that beat the intimacy and coziness of spending time around a fireplace with your loved ones after a cool day outside. The first thing you will need to consider is what type of fireplace you will add to your home — electric, gas or wood? All three have unique benefits and considerations you should review before planning your fireplace build or remodel.

Alair Aurora Newmarket: Timber Custom Home Photo Credit: Jim Craigmyle



Alair Edmonton Whitecroft Renovation Photo Credit: Merie Prosofsky

Gas Gas fireplaces are my personal favorite! They require no clean up compared to wood, they generate a significant amount of heat, their look is like that of a real wood burning fireplace and they are easy to control using a switch or remote control. To install a gas fireplace in your home you will need to have the power and gas run to the unit itself; not to mention you will need to vent the unit.

Electric Electric fireplaces have come a long way in their performance and even more importantly their style. There is no shortage of options when choosing an electric fireplace for your home. Modern or traditional, both have a wide array of options to make nailing down that perfect fit for your home much easier.

Consider where you want to place your fireplace before deciding to go with gas as you may be limited to where you can install. You will require to run service to the unit and have proper ventilation, they are at a higher price point than electric fireplaces and take up more room. Gas fireplaces would be best suited in a large living area.

Choosing an electric fireplace is the most costeffective option when having one supplied and installed. They do not require any type of venting for the unit itself which helps keep costs down. Electric fireplaces can come in a variety of sizes making them a more practical option for small spaces and apartments. Why not keep things toasty at bedtime with a charming electric bedroom fireplace, or perhaps a non-traditional bathroom fireplace for those who enjoy a long soak in the tub. One thing to keep in mind when contemplating going electric is that it takes more energy to achieve the same level of heat as a wood or gas fireplace.

Alair Winnipeg

Wood Who doesn’t love a natural wood-burning fireplace? There is just something about the crackling sound of a fireplace and the smell of burning wood that you can just not compete with. Let your inner lumber jack shine by cutting your own wood, bringing it in and starting a fire with your own two hands. Sounds good, right?

Alair Houston: Willow Creek Ranch Custom Home Photo Credit: Connie Anderson Photography


Although wood fireplaces bring a whole new level of cute and cozy, they come with their fair share of struggles. They are generally more expensive than gas or electric fireplaces, they often come with higher insurance premiums because of the associated risk of having a live flame in your home, they are usually bigger and require more room, are messy due to the ashes from the fire, and can only be placed in limited locations because they require a full chimney.

Alair Winnipeg: Red Moon Lower Renovation

To summarize, electric fireplaces are cheap and quick, gas fireplaces give you the middle ground between electric and wood when it comes to heat performance, realism, and cost, and finally the wood burning fireplace is for those that just must have a real fire in their home even though it will come with a higher price tag in the short term as well as high maintenance and insurance costs. Enjoy your amazing and cozy winter this season, we hope you trade the fire log channel in for the real deal and keep your TV open for those feel-good movies.

Warm wishes!

Alair Green Bay: Hidden Valley Custom Home Photo Credit: Badger Skytography Interior Designer: Designs of the Interior



Q&A with Laura Quilty


Kristina Matisic

AM: What was it that drew you to Alair?

Laura Quilty, Regional Director for the Alair Vancouver region, has that special combination of people skills and practical, hands on-experience. The mother of two, and soon to be grandmother, started her career as a tradesperson. But it was her ability to relate and connect with those around her that advanced her career. We caught up with Laura while she was making site visits in the Fraser Valley, checking in with her team.

LQ: For me, it’s always about the people. I started with Alair as a project manager. I loved the planning of projects, putting together the whole project on paper first. And then working with the clients to find out what was important to them, the why. Getting to know them as people. Working with the contractors. And working with the team, watching them work together towards a common goal. I loved doing that.

Alair Magazine: Tell us about your work history, and how you got started in this business. Laura Quilty: In college, I studied psychology. And I loved it. I was always excited to get up in the morning and start my studies. But then I had my kids and going to university was no longer an option. When they got a bit older, I started looking at what I could do. I stumbled upon a trades discovery program at BCIT (British Columbia Institute of Technology) and learned about apprenticeships. You could work towards your career and then take six weeks’ worth of training. And after four years, you could end up with a journeyman ticket.

AM: You’re obviously a people person, someone people are drawn to. Why do you think that is? LQ: I think it’s listening. They feel listened to. They don’t feel that I’m there to tell them what they have to do. You’re not there to solve their problems or give them a set of instructions. I think it matters that you’re there just to listen. I think that’s what it’s about.

AM: That’s quite the leap, from psychology to the trades. What attracted you to that? LQ: I’ve always been creative. I’ve always sewn, or knit or crocheted. And when I walked into the shop and they laid that piece of sheet metal on the table in front of me, and we got to make things out of it, turn it into a 3D item, it really appealed to me. Everything made so much sense in the construction of it, and I loved the hands-on aspect. I now hold my trades qualification for sheet metal. That’s a very broad trade, but I focused on duct work. I designed and installed it, and I also worked with stainless steel. AM: Were there a lot of women in that program at the time? LQ: (Laughs) When I got my ticket, my trades qualification, I was the first woman in the staff’s memory who had gotten it. And the staff had been there for about eight years at the time. I never worked with another woman sheet metal worker. AM: Were you accepted? LQ: Usually. Working in construction as a woman is a challenge. But in the position that I’m in now, it’s dropped away. I don’t have that. I think it’s because I’m in a different role. Management is different from being on the tools.

Laura was the recipient of the first ever Alair Ambassador Award for the value “Empathy” at the Alair International Conference and Awards in June 2021 AL AIRHOMES.COM


AM: Being empathetic. LQ: Yes, exactly. It’s so important to be able to relate to where other people are coming from. Truly trying to put yourself in that person’s place, understanding what they’re feeling and why their perspective is the way it is. AM: When you think, “sheet metal” or “construction”, you don’t always think, “empathy”. LQ: True, but a big part of team work is having empathy for your teammates. With that you can understand where the electricians are coming from, what the framers are talking about. You can understand the challenges the labourers are having. It makes you cooperate, it makes you problem-solve together. It’s all about teamwork regardless what aspect of construction you’re working in. It really is. AM: What’s your favourite part of the job now? LQ: I enjoy going to the sites and talking to the project managers and partners. They’re always so excited to share what they’ve done and I love hearing about it. They share what they’re going through, their challenges, and they talk about their clients. I love that and I look forward to those days.


AM: What do you like to do in your spare time, do you still work a lot with your hands? LQ: I’m definitely a knitter, my grandmother is proud of that, as she was knitter. I’m always making things, working with my hands. I can’t just sit and do nothing. If I’m sitting on the couch, I have to be busy, either crocheting or knitting. When the kids were younger we would bake all the time, muffins and cookies. The kids say that’s what they remember the most growing up. AM: Any specialties? LQ: I do make my grandmother’s shortbread cookies every Christmas and everyone in the family gets a container to take home. It’s tradition! Get the Recipe on Instagram!

Having a Blast Supporting a

“Great” Cause

“This year, our pumpkins flew once again at distances over 450 meters,” Hopewell further states, “We are already in the works to make this event better than ever and are challenging business to bring THEIR pumpkin tossing apparatus to the event next year!”

Team Alair had a blast on November 6th, along with some local businesses, to raise funds for the Nanaimo Child Development Centre. Alair Homes was delighted to bring back the second annual Great Pumpkin Toss event to engage the community and give back. “In addition to home-building, of course, Alair is incredibly dedicated to community-building: we care about the communities we serve and strive to have a positive impact on our neighborhoods.” Alair Homes Chief Operating Officer - Stu Hopewell was enthusiastic about the return of this family-friendly event. “Those who have taken part in our Great Nanaimo Toy Drive and 2020 Hub City Soap Box Derby are well aware of Alair’s flair for creative initiatives to fundraise for meaningful charities, and the Great Pumpkin Toss is no exception,” states Hopewell. Community members will recall the inaugural Great Pumpkin Toss Event of 2019, where local businesses and individuals gathered alongside all of us at Alair Homes, VMAC and Nanaimo Science (formerly NS3) to test their various pumpkin tossing devices. This idea was initially crafted by the Alair Homes team, as a way to bring the community together and creatively dispose of leftover jack-o’lanterns. “The results were outstanding and quite hilarious, with some pumpkins soaring over 50 meters and many others bursting into orange smithereens.

The event supported the Nanaimo Child Development Centre. This community-based, not-for-profit organization has been providing individualized services for children with developmental needs, from birth to age 19, since 1967. NCDC’s services include support, assessment, and therapeutic services that reach nearly 1900 children and families in Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Lantzville, Gabriola Island, and Protection Island areas every year. We’re proud to support Nanaimo Child Development Centre with all donations from this event. Special thanks go out to event partners, and sponsors for making this a successful day VMAC, Layzell Dreger and Associates, Rogers Trucking & Landscaping, Meat Craft Butchery, Glassen Farms, Nanaimo Science, Tim Hortons and the East Wellington Fire Department. Watch for notifications for next years’ event -

and get your family ready for fun!



Alair Homes Regina Laura Ann Photography



CONFIDENTIAL Kristina Matisic

The busiest room in the house can also be the most fun to build and design. The kitchen is a place to explore trends, express your personality, and create the perfect blend of form and function. But maneuvering through the breadth of choices and decisions can be overwhelming. To help you navigate your next kitchen build or renovation, we’re sharing a few of our favorite enduring “trends’’ in kitchen design.

Mix Textures and Materials Today’s modern kitchens blend wood, steel, upholstery, and ceramics to create a rich tapestry that’s both modern and inviting. Alair Homes Vancouver Jamie Banfield Design Photo: Janis Nicolay



Streamline the Space

Play with Color

Minimalist kitchens skip hardware, like knobs and handles, and go with touch-to-open drawers.

From cabinets to backsplashes to flooring and appliances, color has made a comeback.

Alair Homes Maple Ridge Design: Arden Interiors Photo: Martin Knowles

Alair Homes North Arlington BraePark Design Christy Kosnic Photography

Alair Homes Delta Madelaine Sloback Design Photo: Janis Nicolay

If you’re afraid to commit, switch out accessories to introduce splashes of color. Alair Homes Decatur Photo: Jeff Herr

Just Add Gold Adding gold hardware or fixtures is a relatively inexpensive way to upgrade your kitchen. (Plus, green and gold is a winning combination in both fashion and design this season.)


Think Island Time

Clear the Clutter

Gathering in the kitchen is a given. Big entertainers should plan ahead and invest in a large island with ample seating.

Open shelving is still on trend, but clutter definitely isn’t. The best kitchens include plenty of storage space and cabinetry to keep surfaces tidy.

Alair Homes Clemson Photo: Aaron Hogsed

Alair Homes Regina Photo: Makewell Creative

Alair Homes Forest Hill Designer: Shirley Meisels for MHouse Architect: Sandra F Smith Architects Photo: Jules Lee

Alair Homes Edmonton Photo: Karey Wood

Bring the Drama

Remember the Follow-Through

But if you think a white kitchen can be boring, think again. This modern white space brings the drama with a movie still from the 1951 cult classic, “The Day The Earth Stood Still”.

If your home is open-concept, don’t forget about flow: Ensure the kitchen design works within the rest of the space. Think complement, not copy.



Wine Time,


Alair Homes Aurora Newmarket Architect Custom Cadd Photo: Jim Craigmyle

Alair Homes Plano Amanda Tepper Design Photo: Versatile Imaging

Kristina Matisic

Not every beverage deserves its own space, let alone its own room. But today’s wine collections are garnering prime real estate in the home. Modern cellars are frequently as much about storage as they are about artistically integrating the collection into the decor. We talked to Andrew Cornell from Iconic Wines of BC for tips about starting, growing, and displaying your wine stash. Cornell says to start with the wines that speak to you. Choose a selection of quality driven, unique wines in different vintages and bottle sizes. For an added touch, find a few bottles signed by the winemaker. If you don’t have the space for a designated room, the next best thing is to invest in a wine fridge. A crawl space or consistently cold, dark area of the house will also work.

Alair Homes Plano Amanda Tepper Design Photo: Versatile Imaging

From dedicated cellars to hidden doorways, the sky’s the limit when it comes to design. One Alair client decided on this passion pairing - shoes and wine! For eclectic or large-scale rooms, consider working with a designer who specializes in bespoke wine cellar design. When it comes to storage, lay the bottles on their side so the wine maintains contact with the cork. A tip that can translate into artful displays. If you’re constructing your own, wine wall pegs can help create a sleek and minimalist wall-mounted storage system.


Alair Homes Edmonton Photo: Merle Prosofsky

No matter the configuration, the key to a wine storage is temperature regulation. As a general rule, wine should be stored at 11 to 14 degree Celsius or 52 to 57 degrees Fahrenheit. Higher temperatures can age wine more quickly. Your builder should ensure the space is wellinsulated with a good vapor barrier. If it’s too dry, consider adding a humidifier.

Alair Homes Edmonton Photo: Cheryl Silsbe Photography

Cornell says not all wines benefit from cellar aging. He suggests looking to your favorite restaurants to see what they lay down and for how long. When it comes to shining a light on your collection, sunlight can be damaging (hence the dark bottles). Consider the lighting accordingly and look for wine-room friendly options. To score the best vintages, Cornell suggests having a wine expert on speed dial. And consider joining a wine club to receive members only exclusive limited releases.

But most importantly, enjoy the space, the collecting journey, and of course, the wine!



Photo: Destination BC/ Leanna Rathkelly

THE ULTIMATE INSIDER’S GUIDE TO WHISTLER Jason Zavitz You have arrived in Whistler for the first time and snowflakes are falling, the size of golf balls! Tomorrow there will be an estimated 30cm (12 inches) of fresh powder. Wanting to make the most of your stay, you are ready for an action-packed day. But where should you start?!

Let this agenda be your guide and you’ll have an experience that you will never forget. 6 am

7 am: Get in line.

Photo: Jeff Boyce

Time to get up! Get up earlier if you can. Powder is a finite resource so there is no time to hit the snooze button.


As a first-timer, head over to the Whistler Gondola. While the argument as to which mountain is better, Whistler or Blackcomb, is on-going, Whistler tends to be easier to navigate for the first-timers. If you have time, grab a coffee and a pastry at PureBread while you wait for the lifts to open.

Not hitting the slopes? Head to the legendary Southside Diner and enjoy their famous B.E.L.T.C.H. (Bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato, cheddar, and ham) sandwich.

8 - 8:30 am

Photo: Jesse Paris

Lifts open. Hooray! Since you were such an early bird, you get first dibs on the runs. Warm up your legs with a cruise down Whiskey Jack, perfect run for beginners to intermediates.

Local’s Tip


7 pm

Top Five Things to Do Beside Skiing

Keeping your goggles on your face or in your jacket can help keep them from fogging up.

11:30 am:

Whistler Mountain is huge and some lifts take longer to open than others. Here’s your chance for more amazing fresh tracks. Head to Peak Chair or Harmony Chair and listen to the bombs detonating as ski patrol clears your next run of avalanches.

Local’s Tip


Heading in for lunch can be a day-wrecker as a full stomach can make you feel sluggish. Locals bring snacks to enjoy while on the lift or in the line instead. Stick a banana bread in your pocket from one of the Whistler/Blackcomb cafes.

Scandinave Spa Bearfoot Bistro, Photo: Tourism Whistler/ Mike Crane

Whistler has many amazing world-class restaurants. Celebrate the day by having dinner and sabering some champagne at the Bearfoot Bistro. As an aperitif, you can visit their ice room and enjoy sub-zero temperatures and shots of vodka. Locals out for date night or intimate dinners flock to 21 Steps. Great food and atmosphere. For larger gatherings and parties, book one of the private tatami rooms at Sushi Village, a longtime favorite.

Local’s Tip


Whistler restaurants can be extremely busy with long wait times. Book reservations where possible BEFORE you get to Whistler.

3 pm

Bar Orso, Photo: Tourism Whistler/ Mike Crane

Photo: Tourism Whistler/ Mike Crane

What a day of skiing! It is time for everyone’s favorite, Après! Head to Duhb Lihn Gate for some live music, nachos, and libations of your choosing. You’ve earned it. Or see if you can catch The Hairfarmers, Whistler’s most successful bar band.

9:30 pm:

Relax in the peace and quiet (seriously, you’re not allowed to talk) as you are surrounded by nature. Dip in both the hot and cold pools to rejuvenate your body and soothe your sore muscles. Additional spa treatments are available.

Snowmobile Tour

Get a true backcountry experience by signing up for a sled tour. Or, take your snowmobile to the top of Blackcomb for a fondue dining experience like no other.


A must-do for any family enjoying time off of the slopes. Travel down cables under the canopy of mature spruce, fir, and cedar trees for an adrenaline-filled experience.


As the host of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler is now home to one of the world’s fastest tracks. See how you compare to Olympians as you twist and turn down the ramped up, frozen water slide.


No guide or passes needed for this activity. Pick your route or destination and get walking.

Whistler has a very happening night life, with a ton of drinking and dancing options. Bar Oso is a great spot for a drink (or dinner.) Garfinkels is a local institution.

11 pm

Photo: Ziptrek Encounters

Local’s Tip


My favorite meal in all of Whistler! Head to Pasta Lupino for the Chicken Parm and pasta. Ask for a splash of the alfredo sauce to make the tomato sauce more creamy.

4 pm:

Soak your sore muscles in the hotel hot tub. When it comes to hotel recommendations The Fairmont Chateau Whistler is still considered the grand dame of the village. For a unique, more economical experience, try the Pangea Pod Hotel, Canada’s first pod hotel.

Photo: Tourism Whistler/ Mike Crane

Scandinave Spa, Photo: Joem Rohde

This one is definitely on our #AlairLovesLocal list!

Time to hit the sack and get ready to start it all over again! AL AIRHOMES.COM


Preserving the Past

Heather Shuster & Louise Mulherin

Owning a historic home is a dream come true for many homeowners, but renovating that home can bring its own challenges. It’s important to find the balance between maintaining the home’s special character while also making it practical for modern-day living. Historic homes are generally defined as dating before 1950, although some 1960s homes have started to receive historic recognition. Historic homes can be a one off in a neighborhood developed at a later date or part of an overall neighborhood with a number of homes of the same style and character, which may include historic designation of the particular area. 44

“It’s critical that homeowners understand any rules or restrictions in place, even down to approval of exterior paint colors, that impact their home before they launch into the design phase for a renovation,” said Heather Shuster, Alair Homes Decatur partner and chair of the DeKalb County Historic Preservation Commission, in metro Atlanta, Ga. “The goal is to present designs that fall within the prescribed guidelines and still meet your desired outcome for your home. Fighting with the idea that your home is your property and you should be able to do whatever you want just doesn’t work in a designated historic district.”

There are three key considerations when renovating a historic home, according to Shuster: preservation, restoration and renovation.

Restoration comes with the

Preservation is the common approach

understanding that some items and structures are no longer functioning and must be replaced. These updates may also require specialized sourcing for materials and custom tools and specialty trade workers. However, restoration allows enough flexibility to choose replacement materials and techniques that are as close to the original as possible.

for homes designed by a well-known architect, those that were inhabited by a significant person or homes that performed a special purpose. Very few homes pursue complete preservation as this is the most custom and costly means to update a home if the goal is to keep as much existing material as possible. Challenges include sourcing of original materials or using antiquated types of work that require very specialized tools and highly skilled labor.

A total renovation of a historic home includes the removal of existing materials and replacement with commonly available new materials using standard labor, vendors and trades working in the field today. A homeowner may wish to still work within the style of the existing home, but there is more flexibility to use readily available materials and design closer to today’s standards for form and function.



It is very common in a historic neighborhood for a home to be treated more like restoration on the exterior and renovation on the interior. Though it is rarely a hard line between the different approaches, the scope depends on the homeowner’s personal vision around design and function. “Very few personal residences go the route of full-on preservation,” Shuster added. “It’s often not practical from a budget or functional perspective.” Designated historic homes and neighborhoods (specific districts defined by county or city jurisdictions) typically are only focused on maintaining the exterior character of the neighborhood or home. Homeowners can therefore make any changes they want on the interior to reflect personal style preferences. Some historic guidelines will focus only on the front facade or areas visible from the street while others will focus on all four sides of a property.

a consideration, homeowners need to be clear on what is required -- especially for materials and design. As a result, for many people these requirements become too limiting either because of cost or the potential loss of freedom to create a home that works for them. Homeowners who are attracted to historic homes generally want to maintain the special character that first drew their attention. When the renovation process is a collaboration between the homeowner, architecture and design partners and the skilled craftspeople executing the vision from initial design through construction, the end result can be a treasure.

Some historic home renovations may be eligible for federal tax credits, and if that’s

Tips for designated historic neighborhood projects: 1. Know the guidelines: Rules set by the historic districts are there for you to follow as your

template for design and materials choice. Be prepared with documented examples from existing homes in the area when asking for an exception.

2. Be a partner: The board or commission that reviews your proposal is generally comprised

of appointed citizens who help maintain the character of your neighborhood. Approach this group in the spirit of collaboration and expect some give and take to find the right design.

3. Know your home: What style is it? What age? What are the characteristics that make it

special? Work with a designer or architect who understands the qualities that the historic commission cares about and who will be a good representative for you in discussions with the board.

4. Build an expert team: Hire a team with depth of understanding and experience working

on historic homes and with the right tradespeople to execute the unique work that will be required to transform your home.


Team Alair Returns to the Ice for Hockey Helps the Homeless Jacqueline Tyler On Dec. 10, 2021, after more than a year off the ice due to the current global pandemic, Team Alair was thrilled to once again lace up their skates against the fight to end homelessness.

As builders who take great joy and purpose in bringing our clients’ dream homes to life, we believe it is equally as important to give back to those not as fortunate to have a roof over their heads.

As the official volunteer sponsor of the York Tournament, raising $12,013 for a total contribution of $15,013 to go towards Blue Door and 360Kids, the day meant so much more than the event itself. It was a day where our Partners could connect with those directly involved in the cause as they safely gathered in person at the brand-new Magna Centre in Newmarket, ON. Together, they celebrated the funds raised and the difference made. Despite restrictions, the Hockey Helps the Homeless (HHTH) team continued to host a well-organized tournament that served up lots of fun and action from hockey legends like Brad Boyes, Shayne Corson, Georges Laraque and Keith Acton. Since 2018, Alair Homes Ontario has participated in tournaments across the York and Barrie regions having Alair Winnipeg and Edmonton join the mission in 2019. Over the last four years, and at least 11 tournaments, we’ve collectively donated more than $150,000 through sponsorship and fundraising contributions, and volunteered more than 200 hours.





Explore What’s Hot in Tampa Bay, Florida Jeanette Miller

As Florida’s largest open-water estuary, Tampa Bay connects Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater with the Gulf of Mexico. With year-round sunshine, miles of majestic waterfront and white sand beaches, family entertainment, championship sports teams and a pirate-loving culture – Bay Area visitors and residents can have an adventure every day of the year. Here is what is hot in Tampa Bay!

A Rich and Unruly History From early exploration by Ponce de León in the 15th century to plundering pirates, Tampa Bay has a rich and colorful history. Tourism took root in 1891 when Henry B. Plant constructed a luxurious hotel and visitors have been lured to the area ever since. The distinctive Moorishstyle minarets of the original hotel continue to be an iconic feature on the Tampa skyline. Seeking prosperity in this emerging city, Cuban immigrant Don Vicente Ybor came to Tampa and started a cigar factory. Today, visitors stroll through the historic brick paved streets of Ybor City and sip on café con leche, eat an authentic Cuban sandwich or even smoke a hand-rolled cigar. If you are in the area during late January, history comes to life when Tampa is invaded by legendary pirate José Gaspar and his scurvy krewe as they sail their pirate ship into downtown with cannons blazing. The Gasparilla Invasion began more than 115 years ago and kicks off a series of pirate-themed events including parades, an art show and music festival.

Photo Credit: Charlyne Loveridge Photography

Photo Credit: Visit Tampa Bay



A City of Champions Sports fans in the Tampa Bay area have had plenty to cheer about in recent years. The nickname “Champa Bay” is well earned with back-to-back Stanley Cup wins for the Lightning in 2020 and 2021, a Buccaneers triumph in Super Bowl LV, and an American League pennant for the Rays in 2020. Combined with championship golf courses and Spring Training, sports lovers score big with year-round action.

“The Lightning, the Bucs, the Rays and the Rowdies championship sports teams literally in our backyard make Tampa a truly amazing city to live in if you are a sports fan,” said Simon Amesbury, Partner, Alair South Tampa. “And if you are not, you are likely to become one by living here. Sports unite both sides of the Bay.”

Photo Credit: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Photo Credit: Visit Tampa Bay

Amazing Adventures for the Entire Family People of all ages love visiting Tampa Bay – and many return to make it their home. WalletHub listed Tampa as one of the ten fastest-growing cities in the U.S. in 2020. The area’s growing economy, driven by the technology, healthcare, finance, tourism and construction industries, is attracting corporations and individuals to this region, and new homes are being built at record pace. From the eclectic historic bungalows in Hyde Park to the luxurious waterfront mansions of Davis Islands, each home in these South Tampa neighborhoods has unique character. Residents and visitors alike discover the beauty of Bayshore Boulevard, one of the longest sidewalks in the U.S., stretching 4.5 miles. The century-old path attracts walkers, runners, cyclists and rollerbladers and those just hoping to spot an inquisitive dolphin while enjoying the waterfront path.

Photo C

Tampa boasts plenty more waterfront fun. The Tampa Riverwalk links downtown Tampa’s top attractions along a 2.6-mile waterfront walkway. Jump on and off the TECO Line Streetcar or The Pirate Water Taxi to visit Sparkman Wharf or the historic Armature Works for a taste of local cuisine, craft beer and cocktails. Across the bay, the communities of St. Pete Beach and Clearwater Beach are popular for those seeking a waterfront oasis along the Gulf of Mexico. Also west of the bay are the pristine beaches of Honeymoon Island and Fort DeSoto Park. Photo Credit: Keir Magoulas


Photo C

Photo Credit: Keir Magoulas & Visit Tampa Bay

“What we celebrate most about this area is the diversity of neighborhoods, each with its own sense of community and identity,” said Amesbury. “One commonality is the Tampa Bay lifestyle which is all about outdoor living, championship sports and healthy work-life balance.”

Credit: Keir Magoulas

Credit: Keir Magoulas & Visit Tampa Bay

Photo Credit: Pedro Castellano

Photo Credit: Keir Magoulas

Location: Clearwater Pier



Working with the Next Generation

... there aren’t enough people entering the industry. And it’s in every aspect of construction. 52

Kristina Matisic

Ask anyone in the building industry what one of their biggest challenges is and they’ll say finding skilled trades and project managers to join their team. There has been a steady decline in new apprenticeships since 2014. With older tradespeople retiring and fewer young people interested in entering the field, construction as a whole is facing a serious labor shortage. “It’s a big big problem,” says Alair Homes Charlotte partner, Duane Johns. “Talk to your electricians and plumbers and ask them why they’re struggling to grow their business. Because there aren’t enough people entering the industry. And it’s in every aspect of construction.” A recent report from Associated Builders and Contractors of America found that the US was in need of almost a half a million construction workers this year in order to keep up with demand. It’s a problem that Alair Homes Charlotte and Alair Homes High Country are taking steps to address. In January 2021, the two offices launched the Alair Next Generation initiative, designed to educate and mentor high school and college aged youth about long-term career opportunities in construction and the trades. “Over the last 20 years or so, construction has not been a very interesting or exciting path for young people to choose. When I was growing up, higher education got pushed upon everyone. You have to go to college. You have to get a four year degree. If not, you’re kind of looked upon as though you’re somewhat of a failure in society. I think that mindset has to change,” says Duane. The Alair team is now partnering with local high schools, universities, and youth organizations like TradeUp and TheRoc, a non-profit geared towards educating youth towards a technical education and

construction career opportunities. Among the initiatives, internship opportunities at Alair Homes, giving youth a firsthand look at what it means to be on the tools. Malakahi Tyson, one of the first through the program, joined the Alair Homes Charlotte team for a summer internship. With an interest in carpentry, Kahi worked alongside project managers and carpenters, getting hands-on experience with demolitions and rough-in. “Kahi worked with us for about 6 weeks, just to introduce him to the industry. Hopefully he’ll go back and have a stronger interest in construction and want to continue. It could turn into a future job opportunity with us or maybe another direction in the industry. It’s a win/win either way because we’ve helped introduce a younger person to construction,” says Duane. AL AIRHOMES.COM


Duane recently spoke at a NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) roundtable, explaining the initiative as a way to ignite interest amongst other builders and remodelers. The group explored ideas like shared internships to give youth experiences in many facets of the business. “It’s been great, it’s been fun. The guys are great, goofy of course. And I’ve been learning to use all the tools I didn’t get to use before,” says Malakahi. At Alair Homes High Country, Eli recently completed his own summer internship which was facilitated through the local Trade-Up program. It enables students to earn college credits and opportunities to attend the trade school of their choice. “I learned a lot about trim work. I knew what it was, but I didn’t know the ins and outs of it,” says Eli. “Getting the on-site experience, that’s the best thing for me.” In addition to working directly with youth, the two Alair offices are also talking to their local Home Builders Association and various market partners about ways to incentivize people into joining the industry. “The response has been amazing, both from the student side but also from the industry side. People want this,” says Alair Regional Community Manager Whitney Brown. “We just started this in January and it was a small idea to solve a very large industry problem. But the more we do and the more we promote, we find we have so much interest.”

“The response has been amazing, both from the student side but also from the industry side. People want this,” 54

As for those looking to launch similar initiatives in their own backyard, the Carolinas team suggests contacting the local HBA and youth organizations to see what programs are already in place and how best to support them. “The idea isn’t just to find warm bodies. It’s about mentoring and education and finding people who want to make this their career and are in it for the long term,” says Whitney. Duane adds that Alair is in a unique position to help.

“First and foremost, we collectively have a ton of knowledge and experience. We have to get that out to the younger generation. Most of us at Alair have the opportunity to be a mentor. Look in and around your

community. Are there smaller trade programs going on at the high school level? Are there apprenticeship programs? There are many ways to get involved.”

Scandi-inspired Simplicity

A Renovation by Alair Homes Delta Kristina Matisic This 1970s home in Delta, British Columbia was representative of its time: small rooms, little storage, and even less light. The Alair Delta team was brought in to update the kitchen, living room, and split-level downstairs area. But about a month in, COVID hit. Plus, the family of three needed to continue living in the home for the duration of the renovation. The reno team was forced to navigate uncertain times and new protocols while still staying on schedule and on budget.

While the roof had been replaced the year before, moisture was found in the attic an issue that helped spur the renovation. The culprit? Inadequate ventilation. The reno team had to address this first, before the damage could progress.



The kitchen was in serious need of a makeover. The old layout was cramped and featured limited countertop and cabinet space. The two sides walls were demolished and everything else removed and replaced, including the window and the proverbial kitchen sink.


Removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room created an open and light-filled great room. Durable luxury vinyl plank flooring was added throughout. The doors off the dining room are original but repainted. A built-in banquette bench was added to the dining area, a streamlined solution for additional seating and storage.

The new kitchen features custom maple slab cabinets in a cardamom stain up top and white (Chantilly Lace) painted cabinets below. The new large quartz-topped peninsula triples the countertop area and provides additional storage space.

One bold new addition to the kitchen - the backsplash, in beautiful blue continental subway tile. It makes for a striking pairing with the color of the cabinetry.

The arched doorway leading down to the rec room was reshaped, creating a more angular, modern look. The fireplace was replaced with a simple gas burning model. It features porcelain tile and a minimalist maple mantle, in the same finish as the kitchen cabinets.


In true ‘70s fashion, the living room had an old retro pony wall with narrow shelving above. Impractical and dangerous!

The combination darkened the room and definitely had to go.

Updating the pony wall also meant more light in the entrance way. Custom wrought iron railings, a matching pendant light, and a glass-paned front door all make for a bright and inviting foyer.

The home’s old layout featured just one bathroom. The new pony wall was lowered and the living room window replaced. The entire home was finished with a few fresh coats of white paint, a sure-fire way to brighten any interior.

A powder room was added to the lower level, featuring the same blue subway tile found in the kitchen. The floor is a glazed square porcelain tile. A vanity found on Wayfair completes the space.



The previous downstairs configuration included a pantry/storage room and a laundry room. Both were small and impractical. The reno team combined the two areas and added build-in storage millwork. The area now also serves as a mudroom. The rest of the downstairs was made into a family room, giving the couple’s daughter and the family dog more room to move and play. Pendant lighting was added throughout, providing balance to the space. The result is a fresh, modern, and functional home with more room and more light.

The perfect place for this family of three to live, thrive, and enjoy.


Sponsored Reno SPOTLIGHT

Ronald McDonald House, Edmonton Project Manager Cory Symes led an all-star team in one of the most special renovations this year— new family suites for Ronald McDonald House Charities Alberta and their Edmonton House. The 2021 Alair International Awards Project Manager of the Year award-winner shares what made this project so challenging, and yet so special. Q. Tell us about the renovation and the challenges you faced doing this type of renovation during a pandemic? We renovated two existing staff/manager suites on two floors to convert them into three family suites. The pandemic caused us a number of challenges on this renovation compared to a normal renovation, as we had to be 100% compliant working in a large home temporarily housing many families who were visiting their children in the hospital. We had to completely quarantine the renovation area from the rest of the building, and access for our trade partners was very limiting. We also could only have one trade partner working in the space at a time, so some delays were experienced as a result, but the safety of the staff and families was top priority. Q. As a father of young twin girls, helping families in the community has been something important for you to do. What made this project special for you? Well, this one hit home for me. We had a very complicated pregnancy with our twins, and due to a breakthrough in medical research in the early 2000s, thankfully our girls are with us today. Prior to that time, they would not have made it. We had to be flown to Toronto for an emergency in-ureteral laser surgery and it was a success. The reason I share this story is that in our experience, housing was the last thing on our minds at the time. We had more urgent worries and concerns, and luckily we had a place to stay. The families visiting a Ronald McDonald House

are dealing with much larger issues and complications and the RMH really takes those concerns away, and helps put and nice, safe roof over the families’ heads. This is the one thing they should not have to worry about, which helps them focus on their children and other priorities. There is so much special support that happens here, and I felt absolutely humbled to be a part of it. Q. This sponsored renovation was truly a team effort from the Edmonton construction community. What would you like to say to all the trade and construction partners who helped, or contributed to this special renovation? Honestly, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for all your hard work, and dedication. We all know that it wasn’t the easiest of renos, but you all chipped in and together we are now able to help more families in a time of need. Q. Is there one element of the project that is especially meaningful for you - either from a logistics standpoint, or something that you were able to do with your PM expertise to make sure it went as smoothly as possible? I think it was from the relationships that I have built over the years with the trade partners in the community. When I approached them to support this project, not one of them turned us down; they all stepped up and I was honored to be a part of it. To me that’s what it is all about.

Alair would like to thank our construction partners for helping to offset the renovation costs by more than $102,000! • Cedar Tree Flooring Inc. • Complete Power Solutions • Count On Us Janitorial Services • Downright Demolition Ltd • Finesse Finishing Ltd • Ideal Drywall • Boss Design

• Live Wire Electric Inc. • Loyal Exteriors •R ichfield Plumbing & Heating Ltd. • Superior Cabinets • Urban Granite Ltd •W eiss Johnson Plumbing & Mechanical AL AIRHOMES.COM


Living Better Starts Here™ is not solely our company tagline but also our creed. To genuinely live better, we must first make the choice to do so. Living better does not just happen. It must come from a personal desire to be better, to do better, and the determination and humility to work daily to become the best possible versions of ourselves. It means we practice empathy in all our interactions by striving to see the other point of view. It requires we hold steadfast to untethered discipline that keeps us focused through challenges large and small and to maintain a commitment of integrity in all our personal and business pursuits. It calls us to support and encourage one another to wrap our organization in a tapestry of strength, and flexibility and avoid drama at all costs. It needs us to believe in and to buy-in to Alair’s mission that our focus is on the human experience, not the products and services, and to never speak in any way that would denigrate or degrade what others have worked so hard to achieve. It asks us to acknowledge that while change is often difficult, if we are to harness innovation, change is a necessity for growth and survival. Ultimately, it is only through this commitment to personal excellence, that together we find truth and meaning in the words, Living Better Starts Here™


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