Ottawa Renovates, Spring 2023

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Ottawa Inspiration at your fingertips Complimentary Spring 2023

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4 Ottawa Renovates CONTENTS Ottawa RENOVATES Radon watch 7 12 24 6 Message from the chair 7 A code of conduct 12 "Some day" might be now 18 How will you sell your business? 21 Three award-winning kitchens 24 Living safely 26 ARTful magic (designed and crafted) 28 Green Renovation 31 The best room in the house 34 RenoMark directory The Last Word 38 1283 Algoma Road, Ottawa MARCHANDELECTRIC.COM 613-749-2279 INFO@MARCHANDELECTRIC.COM 21 26

Message from the Chair

It is an honor to introduce myself as the Chair of the Renovators Council for GOHBA. I’m Lindsay Haley, proud dad of five, loving husband of one, third-generation builder/renovator, and the Director of Construction at Amsted Design Build.

Over the past year we have faced new challenges in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic. Many we have conquered as industry leaders, as a strong community, and as a resilient country we call home.

When challenges arise, so do opportunities. One of my favourite sayings is: “Opportunities happen in storms”. We renovators have been through many storms in our careers, but it’s our leadership that guides us. This leadership gives homeowners, partners, the community and our staff the direction they need to be successful.

We now face new and somewhat exciting changes as well as challenges ahead. Supply chains are starting to open up again, construction materials and labour are more available and of course travel and visiting family and friends is almost back to normal.

As we see housing costs drop and interest rates rise, homeowners are feeling anxious. Thoughts of selling homes will likely be put on the back burners, while renovating is prioritized.

For this reason, opportunities are all around us. Renovators are getting caught up after a long labour and materials shortage. Finally, renovation is booming – and possible – again.

If you’ve decided to re-create your home, now’s the time. Just remember to do it with thought and care. That means using a professional – a RenoMark® contractor. Take the necessary steps to ensure your spaces are created with a qualified, practical, budget-mindful approach. You’ll find this will pay dividends for many years to come.

Here’s wishing you a bright spring and summer, and more beautiful spaces at home.


is produced in conjunction with the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association (GOHBA) Renovators’ Council.

Published by 2446769 Ontario Inc.

Publisher: Paul Scissons

Editor: Francie Healy

Design: Francie Healy

Sales: Paul Scissons


Printing: Dollco Print Solutions

Spring 2023

Welcome to the Spring 2023 edition of Ottawa Renovates

We hope it inspires and informs you. We are proud supporters of RenoMark® and the Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association.

Please see our digital edition:

6 Ottawa Renovates
Lindsay Haley is Chair of the GOHBA Renovators' Council and the Director of Construction at Amsted Design Build.. Lindsay Haley GOHBA Renovators' Council

A code of conduct comes first

Renovations are tricky, with everything from hidden structural problems to rising supply costs throwing a wrench into the works.

But if cost and time have you thinking you should hire that friend of a friend who says he can do the work quickly and save you money by making it a cash job, ask yourself if you want to put your home, and possibly your family’s safety, in the hands of a nonprofessional.

Instead, look into hiring a RenoMark® contractor.

Established in 2001 by the Toronto-based Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), RenoMark is now a crossCanada program that identifies professional contractors who have signed on to a code of conduct that protects the homeowner.

The program is delivered in partnership with the Canadian Home Builders’ Association and local home builders’ associations, including the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’

Association (GOHBA).

That code of conduct — which includes providing a two-year warranty on work, carrying at least $2 million in liability insurance and a promise to return homeowners’ calls within two days — isn’t something a cut-rate cash-only renovator bothers with.

And in the wild west that has long been one aspect of the home improvement industry, that person calling themselves a renovator doesn’t have to possess any special qualifications.

“Anyone can call themselves a renovator — get a truck, get a ladder and go out and start renovating,” says Greg Simpson, former chair of GOHBA’s Renovators Council and co-owner of Sunshine Design and Build. RenoMark is

continued next page

7 Ottawa Renovates

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Continued from page 7

“bringing regulation to a fairly unregulated industry.”

Hiring that person with a truck, a ladder and a mile-wide smile can turn into a nightmare. No permits, no insurance, no oversight: the consequences for the homeowner can be frightening, from a dangerously botched wiring job to a jump in your own insurance rate following an on-site accident or property damage. The risks, including the potential dangers of hiring an uninsured contractor, aren’t worth the money you might save by hiring a cheaper but unqualified renovator.

Even if it’s just the classic case of the renovator who never bothers finishing the job once he’s been paid most of the money, the homeowner is left holding the bag. After all, if there’s no written contract with a clear scope of work — a requirement for RenoMark members — it’s your word against the renovator’s if you decide to prosecute.

The RenoMark code of conduct also requires members to be properly licensed, hire only subcontractors who have workplace safety and employers’ liability coverage, and maintain a safe and organized work site.

Hiring a RenoMark renovator means you “avoid the issues of the underground and bad renovators… the risk of losing your deposit or money, or of non-code-compliant work,” says Steve Barkhouse, owner of Amsted DesignBuild, which has been a RenoMark member since the program’s inception.

Continued on page 10

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A RenoMark project is a “low-risk, peaceof-mind renovation, which is all that people care about after the reno is complete,” adds Barkhouse.

RenoMark’s website is a valuable resource when contemplating a renovation. Its five-step guide to the renovation process, including advice on establishing project priorities, deciding whether contractors will have access to your bathroom and a reminder that price isn’t everything, is a must even for homeowners who have been through prior renovations.

When selecting a renovator, Simpson suggests three must-dos: Discuss your proposed renovation with at least a couple of renovators and have a standard list of questions so you can compare apples with apples. “Compare the responses — you’re not just having a conversation.”

Request and speak with three references

“and make sure it’s not their mom,” Simpson says. Ask those homeowners pointed questions about how the renovator dealt with project problems and issues.

“No renovation is ever a smooth sail from start to finish. There’s always going to be some kind of issue that comes up, and it’s how you deal with that issue that sets the OK guys apart from the great guys.”

When considering a renovator, ask if they have Workers’ Compensation and liability insurance coverage. And don’t just take their word for it, make sure you actually see the documents, says Simpson.

To find a RenoMark renovator in the Ottawa area, visit or see the Ottawa Renovates RenoMark Directory starting on page 34.

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"Some day" might be NOW

Radon watch

About five years ago my wife and I moved into a brand new bungalow in the middle of a beautiful maple forest. There’s a gorgeous ridge of Canadian shield running through our backyard. Over this ridge wanders a small creek that ebbs and flows with seasonal rainfall. We walk our 2.5 acres regularly, enjoying our private piece of paradise.

As the publisher of Ottawa Renovates magazine, I have had the opportunity to meet, interview and see some of the most interesting people in the renovation industry.

A few years back we introduced a green renovation column providing interesting information on a variety of environmental topics. One of those topics was radon.

And then, in a recent issue of the magazine, we ran a story about a young family who suffered a tragedy that seemed

12 Ottawa Renovates

to point directly at this deadly radioactive gas. It was heartbreaking, and it made me sit up and take notice.

To go back a couple of years: I already had radon in the back of my mind because of an article we ran by Roy Nandram, owner of RND Construction. But at that point my concern about radon was just that, simmering on the back burner. Like so many people, I thought maybe I should look into it some day.

So I added it to my long list of “things-to-do” and there it sat for another year.

I spent time over the first couple of years in our new place finishing up our

new house, adding shelves, painting, decorating and repairing a few popped drywall screws.

One day, during a regular trip to the hardware store, I came across a Rapid Radon

Test Kit. I was curious, so I brought it home, did the test, and sent it to the lab.

To my surprise our home tested at levels of around 400 Bqm3. The guidelines

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Radon watch

Continued from page 13

provided with the kit recommend levels under 200 Bqm3.

Now what? I thought. It wasn’t critical, but I thought it probably needed to be addressed in the near future.

Then I began to research how to test for radon.

I researched test kits, looked up certified radon test companies, and studied testing instruments.

I found a radon tester at Air Things for around $200. I decided I would buy one and do my own study. To my surprise, my wife, who is a regular at our public library, informed me that the exact unit I was going to buy was available to sign out from the library for three weeks at a time. I was surprised but pleased. I signed it out.

Your basement is one of the first places to check for radon. in each location with the furnace running. I was getting readings ranging from 500 Bqm3 to 700 Bqm3.

Like a mad scientist with a new toy, I proceeded to test three locations in our home: a storage space in the basement; a finished rec room in the basement; and our bedroom.

I did the first test in February for one week

Yikes, I thought.

Then I turned on the air exchange unit and did the experiment again. Much to my surprise, having the air


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exchange unit running reduced the readings by about 60 per cent – still above the recommended level, but better.

I wondered what I should do. Should I contact someone for remediation? And then I started thinking: why was radon not discussed when we built this house five years earlier? Why wasn’t radon mentioned by the builder? So many questions. And no answers anywhere that I could see.

Another year went by. One day I was talking with one of my long-term clients, Emily Singh from Singhko Design Build Remodel. And that’s when I learned about her family’s terrible experience with radon. Her story not only broke my heart but moved me to publish “An Invisible Killer” by Francie Healy in the Fall 2022 edition of Ottawa Renovates.

During our conversation, Emily suggested I talk to Rob Mahoney, owner of Radon Works. I really wanted some answers.

Rob met me for coffee and was a vast source of information and advice. As a result we included him as a contributor to an article in the same issue of Ottawa Renovates (Fall 2022) – “What do we need to know about Radon?”

I told Rob about my own experiment, and asked what he thought I should do.

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What is radon?

Radon is an invisible, odourless, naturally occurring gas found in soil. It seeps into homes through cracks in floors, walls and foundations – access points mainly found in basements. Since radon is naturally occurring, it’s found in just about every home.

However, high concentrations of radon in a home may pose health risks. Health Canada says that people exposed to radon levels in excess of 200 Becquerels per cubic metre (becquerels are a unit of measurement for radioactivity) over long periods of time have a higher risk of developing cancer. –

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Radon watch

Continued from page 15 experiment from the previous year. Interestingly, the results were better with a drop of around 100 Bqms – but still not under the recommended level.

He outlined the steps I should consider. He told me what to look for, where to look, and how to re-test.

Armed with new information and the realization that radon is a serious problem, I began the next chapter of my adventure.

I started again in January this year. Using Rob’s advice, I located and tested various locations in our basement where the slab had sump holes, sewage pumps, water lines and drains. Armed with my borrowed tester, I continued my investigation. It was exactly what Rob had predicted. I found a high reading in every location. A couple of tubes of caulking, sore knees and an hour later, I sealed every crack and crevice I could find. I retested the areas and found a huge drop in the readings in each location.

I decided to rerun my

So where do I go from here? Stay tuned...

I need to perform a longterm test with lab-certified results using a CARST (Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists) service.

I have learned that because of the age of our home (five years) I might have an avenue through Tarion and/or my builder for a possible refund for my remediation.

There’s only one thing I know for sure at this point.

It's time to talk to the experts. I'll be putting in a call to Rob Mahoney at Radon Works.

Actually, two things.

The other is that radon is real. Don’t wait.

16 Ottawa Renovates
An example of radon gas professional radiation detectors testing.

Radon and you

Find out more from the experts

These are some of the professionals who will inform and guide you.

Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (CARST) is an authoritative voice on radon information in Canada. They provide resources about radon and opportunities to learn more about radon research.


RadonWorks is a radon remediation company also dedicated to promoting testing and awareness. A Radon Works installation varies from home to home, but they guarantee that they significantly reduce a home’s radon gas levels.

Visit or see ad, page 27.

Tarion (formerly known as the Ontario New Home Warranty Program) protects new home buyers by making sure they receive the statutory warranty coverage to which they are entitled.


Take Action on Radon is a national initiative funded by Health Canada that provides resources on radon for homeowners, health professionals, contractors and others. Visit

Health Canada is responsible for helping Canadians maintain and improve their health. It offers substantial information about radon, including technical information and action guides.


17 Ottawa Renovates
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Twenty-five years ago I read the book “The E Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It” by Michael E. Gerber. It was a book that changed my business life forever.

If you are in the small group of small business survivors that have endured the many trials and tribulations of a business owner’s life, including managing revenues, staff, clients, banks and work-life balance, you know how difficult it can be.

After running a successful business, you might be asking: “What is the best method to monetize my business?” or in other words, how do I convert the value of my business (that is vulnerable to all stakeholders’ requirements) to personal after-tax income and net worth?

While there is no one way to monetize your business value, there are general pathways to follow that provide an improved outcome in this process.

While working with many business owners, we have identified many questions that should be reviewed before monetizing or selling a business. I’d like to share them.

Why are you selling?

Is it because:

• There’s a market opportunity to maximize a sale price to a third party?

• You want to transfer your business to the next generation (and does the next generation want it?)

• It’s time…there are other things to do?

• You’re fed up frustrated, exhausted?

• You need to fund your retirement?

• There are health reasons?

How will you value your business?

There are multiple ways to do this. However, even a valuation completed by a Chartered Business Valuator will note that the value of any business is what a knowledgeable third party would be willing to pay for the business, or in short, what will the market be willing to pay.

There are many impacts to valuation, including:

• a unique value proposition or product that has strong market potential (mostly technology- based)

• emerging industry or established industry and barriers to entry and/or exit

• proven sales volumes and growth trajectory

• consistent “normalized” profits with continued earnings growth

• a proven management team (in addition to

18 Ottawa Renovates

existing shareholders) that demonstrates the business values are based on corporate goodwill and not personal goodwill.

Sale transaction and tax considerations

• Is this a domestic or international buyer?

• Is this a private or public company buyer?

• Is this a share sale or asset sale with tax impact to your net sale price?

If a share sale:

• Use capital gains exemption or exemptions with family members

• Know if your shares qualify for the exemption over the past 24 months. If an asset sale, give consideration to :

• credit facilities and discharge of personal guarantees

• employee severances

• leases and contract.

Also consider:

• earn-out requirements

• vendor take-back requirements

• guarantees

• a requirement to be retained as an executive (can you be an employee of your own firm?).

Use advisors

Depending on the complexity and value of the transaction, you must surround yourself with experts in the area of:

• Accounting/Finance – how to complete the due diligence that will be required in the optimal manner.

• Tax: It is critical to optimize your AFTER TAX monetization value, not just your pretax sale value. Sometimes this takes time to prepare for the transaction.

• Legal: A lawyer specializing in corporate/ security law is required to ensure that all legal aspects of the transaction are examined including representation and warranties, etc.

An investment banker or broker may be needed depending on the method of “auctioning” your company and obtaining the best market penetration.

Some post-exit considerations

What is your next purpose after the business? (Remember, if you retire at age 65, there are approximately 10,000 days for you to fill based on average mortality.)

How will you allocate proceeds to family members over your lifetime or estate in the most tax effective manner? How will you achieve balance?

How will you enjoy life to the fullest?

And finally

The monetizing of your corporate value is a key event that takes time to plan and orchestrate carefully. Hiring your leadership team of advisors is critical to ensure that your pre-sale checklist is marked off to ensure the best after-tax value with optimal sale condition.

Call us for a coffee to discuss your desires and dreams in this important area of your business life cycle.

Richard Kluska, CIM® is CEO, Director of Family Office, IP Private Wealth.

For more information:

Financial planning services are provided through IP Financial Planning Inc. Investment Management services are provided through IP Investment Counsel Inc., a Portfolio Manager and Exempt Market Dealer registered in the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta.

The information and guidance provided herein is for general information purposes and may not be applicable to the reader or, in their circumstances.

19 Ottawa Renovates

Modern European Meets Farmhouse

3 Award winning kitchens

Three different kitchens with three different personalities by Potvin Kitchens and Cabinetry are the proud winners of the 2022 Greater Ottawa Homebuilders Association Housing Design Awards.

“Modern European Meets Farmhouse” has magnificent wooden beams in the ceiling, shaker-style doors, three subtle colour tones, a butcher-block island; a custom hood fan enclosure, and matching wooden shelves. Stainless steel and black appliances, puck lights under the upper cabinets and shelves, white quartz countertop on white cabinets, and a multicoloured backsplash bring everything together in a harmony of style.

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Trendy and Classy is bright with personality. It's bold, fun, and OH-so-fashionable.

Trendy & Classy

It's exactly that.

Big, bold, classic and yet decidedly modern, this kitchen is set in a U-shaped style with a custom detail island and accent custom hood fan.

It has a drop-ceiling design, multi-coloured floor tiles and a brick-style blacksplash.

It features built-in black stainless-steel appliances, unique cabinetry design, flat door style with custom detail-work in greige and dark wood tones and matte black edge pulls; tall and deep pantry cabinets, counter-to-ceiling upper cabinets and a custom built-in microwave installation.

22 Ottawa Renovates

As Good as Pinot Noir is perfect for sipping a nice glass of wine at the end of a long day.

As Good as Pinot Noir

With unique accent elements and highquality finishes, this kitchen has elegant contrast for a rich design.

It has matte black cabinetry along with natural oak wood cabinets and two bold, contrasting quartz tops.

The main highlight of this kitchen is a custom hood fan cabinet with levelled strip design.

A hidden butler’s pantry and walk-in pantry serve as additional storage.

Kitchens to come home to.

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Living safely

Sometimes the question is about a mother, or father, or grandparent, or mobility-challenged child.

The answer is a tough one, because our current building codes (provincial and federal), along with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, do not require private residential dwellings to be accessible.

There is a common thread running through housing development across Canada. It goes like this: fit as many dwelling types as possible into as small an area as possible. Use as little land as you can and get more out of it.

Most housing developers don’t think about the needs of people with disabilities. There is a general assumption that everyone living in the spaces they design are “able” and can safely access all areas of the home.

Of course that’s not true. And in the end, many people have housing that is simply not accessible or safe.

If you’ve ever been a parent pushing a stroller with a sleeping child or someone who has just undergone a hip or knee replacement, you know the frustrations of trying to navigate your way into a building. But when that

building is your home and the challenge is not temporary but permanent, in every corner of your life, it can be profoundly miserable as well as unsafe.

According to Statistics Canada, about 22% of Canadians aged 15 or over – about 6.2 million people – have one or more disabilities. That number is expected to rise substantially in the next five to 10 years with an aging population.

Many of these have lived in unsafe conditions for years because of the shortage of accessible housing. In new residential developments, few homes are accessible. When they are, few can afford them.

The Ontario Building Code has regulations mandating accessibility in apartment buildings, but not detached houses, townhouses or rooming houses with fewer than eight people.

Ideal housing has open-plan designs with wider passageways and doorways. It has things like smooth floors, reachable storage and work surfaces. It has bedrooms, kitchens

24 Ottawa Renovates
Everyday, it seems, I am asked the same question: “Where can I find a home that is suitable for my situation – one that won’t break the bank?”
Continued next page ADVERTORIAL

and living rooms that allow a wheelchair to turn around easily. It has thoughtfully-placed railings throughout. It has large enough showers, with no threshold, for a seat or wheelchair.

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We provide industry-leading assessments that accurately determine the factors that limit your accessibility, and provide safe, costeffective solutions. We work with occupational therapists, personal injury lawyers, social workers, adjusters, case managers, funding agencies, product providers, architects and engineers.

We help you make it happen. Call us.

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25 Ottawa Renovates
Accessibility is beautiful.
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Ourteam was asked to work our magic, and we did. The homeowners and their family had long anticipated this project, and they were delighted with the results.

It was a big project, and given its scope, it required the expertise of engineers, designers, and carpenters.

It began when our clients felt that the function and aesthetics of their home needed some serious updating. They wanted contemporary spaces with modern amenities.

We all worked with the homeowners to develop an overall design and construction plan for the whole home.

26 Ottawa Renovates
Artfully designed Exquisitely crafted

Our team’s ability to work closely with one another throughout design and construction made a wish list come to life exactly as the homeowners wanted.

It became a place they truly love –a house that is customized to its unique character and location, and to the family who calls it home.

27 Ottawa Renovates

Upgrade your windows and doors

The Government of Canada is supporting retrofit and efficiency upgrades as part of the Emissions Reduction Plan on the road to a prosperous and clean net-zero future.

Beginning in January 2023, qualified homeowners will be able to receive up to $10,000 for retrofits. Enbridge Gas and the Government of Canada’s Greener Homes Grant have partnered to provide rebates towards eligible retrofits such as home insulation, windows and doors, heat pumps, and renewable energy systems.

This new program, called Home Efficiency Rebate Plus (HER+), offered through NRCan and Enbridge Gas, offers enhanced incentives to complete home efficiency upgrades in Ontario, regardless of your heating fuel type or whether you are a customer of Enbridge Gas.

The first step to determine which upgrades are right for your home is an initial home energy assessment with a licensed Registered Energy Advisor. You will be reimbursed up to $600 toward the assessment.

To learn more about the rebates for which you may be eligible, visit

One of the incentives has to do with windows and doors.

Heat Loss

Windows and doors can account for up to 25 per cent of your home’s heat loss. Even though windows and doors can be repaired or retrofitted with caulking and weatherstripping, at times the better decision is a total window and frame replacement with new highperformance ENERGY STAR certified windows.

Replacing your doors, windows and sliding glass doors with ENERGY STAR certified models will make your home more comfortable while saving energy. Properly installed energy-efficient windows reduce drafts, increase the temperature of the interior side of the window, and reduce condensation. Total window and frame replacements with new, highperformance ENERGY STAR certified windows or sliding doors is eligible for a grant of up to $250 per rough opening, up to a maximum of $5,000. Replacing hinged doors, with or without sidelights or transoms with ENERGY STAR certified models, is eligible for $125 per door.

Energy-efficient windows encompass double, triple or quadruple-glazing, low-emissivity (low-E) glass, inert gas such as argon or krypton in the sealed unit, low conductivity or warm-edge spacer bars, insulated frames and sashes and good airtightness.

Selecting high-performance windows for your home

Traditionally, a window was simply an opening in a wall, roof, or door that allowed light, sound, and air to enter or leave and so you could see outside. Today’s

Continued on page 30

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windows are complex architectural features that provide protection against wind, rain, and snow; insulation in the exterior envelope (winter and summer); a visual connection to the exterior; ventilation when required; solar heat gain in the winter to reduce heating costs; a decrease of solar heat gain in the summer to lower cooling costs; egress in some cases; and protection against bugs and intruders.

The terminology

When you are dealing with the energy efficiency of windows, you will need to understand the most important terminology:

U-Factor is a measure of how well a window can prevent heat from escaping from the inside of your home. U-factor is measured as a range of 0.20 to 1.20 BTU/hr x ft² x °F. (or metric equivalent). The lower the U-factor, the better the product insulates.

SHGC: The solar heat gain coefficient is the ability of the glass to absorb energy from

the sun. High SHGC helps reduce energy consumption in the winter but could cause overheating in the summer. Low SHGC helps to reduce cooling costs. It is obviously important to determine which windows should have low or high SHGC. The range for SHGC is 0.25 to 0.80. In general, look for lower numbers.

Other factors to investigate are condensation resistance, air leakage, visible transmission, and type of frames and hardware.

ER: Energy rating is a value given to a window based on independent testing. It takes into account U value, air leakage and SHGC ranges from 0-0.50. The higher the number, the more energy efficient the window. More information is available at and

Consider meeting with an industry professional to plan and cost the best course of action for your home.


Planning a kitchen or bathroom renovation? An exterior renovation? A custom home?

Let our team transform your vision into a design and get your project off on the right foot.

We will produce 2D drawings and 3D renderings that meet Ontario Building Code standards…everything you need to move forward.

But not only drawings. Our project management team will look after all stages of your project through to final inspections.

Call for a FREE consultation.

30 Ottawa Renovates
Roy Nandram is President of RND Construction Ltd.

Survey says:

The best room in the house

What do you really love about your kitchen? From my unscientific survey of some friends and family, I know that people have some very strong opinions about this room.

Your kitchen is, as they say, the heart of your home. It’s often the first place you head for when you wake up in the morning. It’s there waiting for you whether you’re feeling cheerful or tired or fed up or excited about greeting the day. It’s where you might make cookies for grandchildren or rustle up a big pot of soup on a cold day.

It’s usually the place where you have that first comfort of the morning: coffee.

And so it wasn’t surprising to me that my unscientific survey revealed the best part of a kitchen is a place to make coffee. My interviewees said they were in love with café-

espresso machines. One of them has four of them (which, to tell you the truth, I thought was overdoing things a little). My brotherin-law is so enamoured with a particular espresso machine (La Spaziale Vivaldi) that his whole kitchen is designed with the La Spaziale as the centrepiece.

A wine fridge came in second in my subjects’ opinion. They talked about a variety of sizes with features such as triple zones to keep your reds, whites and other beverages at optimum temperatures. Of course, the aesthetics have to be just so in order to make an appealing display. I told them about a Dacor wine dispenser from Universal Appliances in Ottawa, which my company has used for several clients. It keeps each of four open bottles at the correct temperature and fresh

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Continued from page 31

for up to 60 days.

My survey participants told me people also like a lifter for heavy appliances, touch faucets, sparkling water dispensers, great storage and soft-close hardware on cabinets (“Important when you want to have a nap,” one of them told me.)

They offered more opinions. They liked walk-in pantries with deep shelves and deeper drawers. Lighting under cabinets and counters. Good organization. Room to move.

They liked lots of natural light: big windows where you could love the outdoors but be warm or cool where you could look out to see children playing, or birds chattering; clouds gathering, the lights of the city, or the changing seasons.

They liked good appliances (not just espresso machines). They liked optimal finishes for longevity but also for simple, quick cleaning.

They all talked about great sinks that are beautiful as well as functional, where you can

32 Ottawa Renovates
They liked pantries with deep shelves and great storage.

wash a big pot or scrub potatoes with equal ease.

They also liked tough, durable, and stylish counters. Some liked quartz. Some liked granite. Some liked butcher block. They were looking for clean, strong, long-lasting work surfaces able to weather just about anything.

They said open spaces, entertaining areas and generous islands were important in a

up with seven siblings, and when we were younger we’d spend our days going from school to sports practices to friends’ houses (bless my mom – she was a busy woman!) It was at the end of the day when we all came together to our table in the kitchen to sit with each other and spend some time with the family.

Those were some of the best memories I have. I still dream of a dessert my mom made up one year that she called “Taste of Summer”. After every slice, my uncle Mike and I kept telling mom “we didn't taste summer yet!”, insisting we needed another piece to keep trying to taste summer.

I guess it’s why I think the kitchen is the best part of any house, or should be.

My survey participants agree.

33 Ottawa Renovates
A kitchen: where kids and adults can be messy together.
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The Last Word

Why staying might be better

Overthe last few years we’ve noticed a couple of trends coming to the forefront. One is staying in place; the second is muti-generational living. In fact, the two trends often interlink as one.

Staying in place is interesting because it could mean different things – from not doing anything with your home (except for basic upkeep) to making small or substantial changes.

It’s the substantial changes that seem to be trending. Baby boomers happen to be the biggest demographic influencer. With financial aspects to consider, like moving-related expenses, they have an incentive to stay in place. Add other incentives like enjoying their neighbours and neighbourhood, or larger properties with mature trees and landscaping, or the proximity to family and amenities, or a fear of crowded living in a pandemic era – and you can see why staying in place seems like a good idea.

Often homes simply get “tired”. Things wear out; things become dated. Maybe you never had time to do renovations you really needed because of the sacrifices you’ve made. Staying in place is an opportunity to get exactly what you need, and with the latest up-to-date finishes.

Staying in place can also imply “aging in place”. Regardless of the reason, however, designs should consider a holistic outlook. This can be simple things like wider doorways, seamless one-level flooring, accessible showers, curbless showers, stairs that can accommodate future lifts. It can even be design considerations for future elevators or a flex design where one can live on the main level if need be.

Furthermore, local organizations like *ROSSS (Rural Ottawa South Support services – offer transportation, meal services, even services like Uber Eats that make living in place more manageable if mobility becomes challenged.

Cultural preferences, housing markets, economics (including health care) are the main drivers for multigenerational living. And from our experience, caring for an aging parent or parents tops the list.

Tips for multi-generational designing:

• Your designer must listen to, understand and respect everyone’s needs. Even furnishing a space can have vast differences of opinion. An experienced designer can help.

• Not only is practical design important (noise and temperature are just two examples), but emotional boundaries are important too – it’s important to have any difficult conversations up front and to establish ground rules for decision making.

• Multi-generational living can take on a lot of different forms – for example, carriage homes or garden suites; garage conversions; lofts above garages; basement renovations; main or second level accommodations. A qualified architect/designer RenoMark® remodeler can help guide you if you are considering multigenerational living or staying in place.

Whether you choose to stay in place or be part of multigenerational living, there are plenty of good options for loving where you live.

Herb Lagois is the founder of Lagois Design-Build-Renovate.

* Help Lagois Design-Build-Renovate support a local charity with the Motorcycle Ride for ROSSS, June 17 2023. For details, please contact

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39 Ottawa Renovates