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About the Speaker
Laura Grist, Principal Interior Designer, Laura Grist Interior Design
My favorite childhood toy was an apartment block that came with furniture, cabinetry, bathtubs and sinks, and a working elevator… I loved that toy! The only thing I was not happy with was some of the layouts of the rooms. If only I could redesign some of the floor plans I would be set, but how? Fast forward a few years and here I am, enjoying my life as an Interior Designer and getting to live out the dreams of my childhood! How did my dreams come to reality? I went back to school and earned my Interior Design Diploma from The Art Institute of Vancouver and began my practice as a Designer in a firm in Port Moody. Since 2008, I have opened my own studio and have enjoyed helping my clients transform their spaces into a vision of home.
Dan Klassen Owner, Jedan Brothers Contracting
Dan and Jesse Klassen were born and raised in the Lower Mainland. Their experience on a construction site began early in life. What started as a chance to make a few bucks working for the family business grew into a passionate career for both. Early on, quality and efficiency were hammered into their work ethic as critical to success.
After a combined 35 years of experience building homes, Dan and Jesse have a keen attention to detail and a perfectionist approach to finishing projects.
Jedan Brothers Contracting believes in working with certified carpenters/trades and actively invests in upgrading industry relevant education and certifications. Dan and Jesse are passionate about building homes and creating functional, fashionable spaces for families and look forward to bringing their expertise to your new home or renovation.
Check out some images of the award-winning project 'Pen + Ink.'
Check out some images of the award-winning project 'Through the Looking Glass.'
Here's the Full Transcript of this Episode
EPISODE #51 HAVAN Awards: Best Kitchen Renovation
Jennifer-Lee: Mike, we’re back for another episode of HAVAN’s Measure Twice, Cut Once. How are you?
[00:00:07] Mike: I’m fantastic. Always great to be back here at Rami Films, Jennifer Lee. How are you doing today?
[00:00:12] Jennifer-Lee: I’m doing great. And of course, I’ve got more favorite people of mine and yours as well. They are the best partiers at the HAVAN Awards, I have to say as well.
[00:00:21] Jennifer-Lee: We have Laura Grist from Laura Grist Interior Design and Jaden Brothers Contracting. And of course, lovely Dan Claussen, part of the Jaden Brothers duo. Just one. You’re never bring your brother here to talk to us.
[00:00:32] Dan: He’s never been invited.
[00:00:33] Jennifer-Lee: Is he not the talker of the family?
[00:00:37] Dan: No, I think I’m the talker, but yeah, maybe I should bring him next time.
Jennifer-Lee: Oh, it’d be a party with the five of us. We should have. I didn’t even think of that. That’s bad. That’s bad. Maybe next time you want to be the I want to be the center of attention.
[00:00:48] Laura: Yeah. Do you share the awards with him at least?
[00:00:51] Dan: Yes, we do. He took one home this year. Okay.
[00:00:53] Mike: He’s allowed to look at them for one day a week. He gets to take a moment.
[00:00:57] Dan: He got one home. Yeah. We share custody, share. Yeah.
[00:01:00] Mike: Yeah. Either way, it’s great to have both of you back. Of course, for our listeners and viewers who are a little bit newer, we had these two fine folks on in a previous season. Had such a great conversation. We thought let’s keep it going. And there’s very good reason for it. They’ve won a whole bunch of awards. They’ve been nominated for awards. And of course, because Season 6 is all about award winning builders and designers and projects we thought, great, let’s bring the circle complete. We back around, let’s have them back on and let’s get going.
[00:01:25] Jennifer-Lee: We just really want an excuse to have you guys back on. It’s really fun.
[00:01:29] Mike: Can you guys win awards every year, please?
[00:01:31] Dan: We will do our best.
[00:01:33] Mike: Excellent. Welcome back. For those of us who know you, obviously no introductions are required, but for everyone else, Laura, maybe we’ll start with you. You want to tell us a little about yourself, your company and what magical things you do?
[00:01:46] Laura: I’ve got a little boutique interior design firm, which is, we’ve been doing it for about 15 years and our whole firm is about the, our philosophy there is about it’s about families and whether it be our families of our employees or the families we’re working with. We want to make sure that everyone is kind of part of the experience of you know when your house changes. So, when I say families come first for our employees, it means if you need to go off and do sports day with your kid, sure, take the time off, go do sports day, go have a life. Because I think that really leads into how we live in a house too. Everything’s not all perfect. Things are going to be a little all over the place sometimes. And you’ve got to do and go and be with your family sometimes. So, when we’re working with a family, we understand that we’re trying to get as much out of our conversations with them so that in the end we’re delivering something that is perfect for their family as well. So, you know, that’s where we stand as a company and what we do.
[00:02:56] Jennifer-Lee: Do you ever have a Bring Your Kid to Work days?
[00:02:58] Laura: Absolutely. Absolutely. When the kids come in, it’s so funny because my grandchildren come in because I am I actually am their kind of childcare sometimes and they’ll come in and they have no idea what I do but they love to come and pull out everything and say I think this goes with that and it’s wow, do I sound like that? Do I look like that? But yeah, when especially when kids are not feeling well too, it’s I have my husband at home too, cause my office is run out of my home and they’ll go up and play with all the toys and come down and have lunch together. It’s like we need to accommodate people in their work. So yeah, bring your kid to work, bring your dog to work. We get a lot of dogs there too. It’s absolutely insane sometimes.
[00:03:45] Jennifer-Lee: I love it. Do you capitalize on any of their ideas that come out?
[00:03:48] Mike: I don’t know if a dog has ever come up with a lot of great design ideas or not, but if you did, good for you.
[00:03:53] Laura: Yeah, no, we keep the dogs we don’t ask them a lot of questions, but, the kids, they just are like more toys, more of this, more of that. It’s, they’re just fun to have around, sometimes they sit on my lap, and they want to use the calculator. It’s go for it. So, I will literally have a kid in my lap playing on the computer and doing my work and answering questions at the same time. And I just think that’s it’s fun and inspiring. And, you get things done, but in a different way.
[00:04:23] Jennifer-Lee: You have got to get them helping you with the design though, get those free ideas.
[00:04:26] Laura: Yeah. I actually did a little we’re going away for Christmas and so I had a little video, and my granddaughter made a little play that she did showing that we’re going for Christmas break, and she was holding all the signs up. She had winter mittens on and everything, and then I pretended it to snow, and she said, Nana, can I do all of your commercials? It’s sure. I, yeah, I don’t Dan, we could do commercials for you too now. Yes, absolutely.
[00:04:50] Dan: Yeah, we were just talking about that.
[00:04:51] Mike: Yeah. Laura, I actually had the opportunity to spend a morning with you and your team a few weeks ago, and I can absolutely concur. The culture you’ve created is amazing. What was interesting is I was sitting around waiting for you guys, and you were collaborating on a project, and it was not about a color or a design or anything else. It was actually about how the client lived in that space and had listened to a team have such a detailed conversation about what seems like such a subtle and mundane detail to the lay person. Yeah. Really speaks to why it’s no surprise you keep winning all these awards. Because of the amount of thought. And for people who don’t sit with designers and builders every day, there’s so much that happens behind the scenes. And it was just really inspiring to watch you guys collaborate in that way and to understand that you’re doing that on such a broad basis for your clients and that’s how you have these wonderful relationships with them.
[00:05:38] Laura: That’s one of the things I love about having more than one designer around is that we all take part in the design. I know that some people say, it’s your name, you should be doing everything. It’s I am only one person, and I am not the entire be all and end all. I need to have some input from people that are not like me. And I specifically go out and try to hire people that aren’t like me. I have me. I don’t need another me. I need you and you and I need your ideas and I need you to bring your flavor and your, your excitement to it. And they are. We’ve got three very different people that are designers in our firm, and we’ve got one that’s just a decorator, and she’s got a completely different aesthetic, but we talk it out. We make sure that all is cohesive, but it’s a really, it’s a funny thing. And that’s why we get such great projects because we’re all like vying for our ideas and they’re all heard for sure.
[00:06:41] Jennifer-Lee: And you love working with Jaden Brothers, which there’s only one of them and they’re unique.
[00:06:48] Dan: And that collaboration makes us look better.
[00:06:52] Jennifer-Lee: Tell us a little bit about you for people that might have not met you.
[00:06:56] Dan: Yeah, no, thanks. So, a little bit of history about me. So, I’ve been in the construction industry my entire life. So, my dad, he’s been in the industry his whole life as well. So, when everybody else was out on summer vacation, going to camp and playing outside, I was working on construction sites. Pushing a broom? Yeah. So, I was pushing brooms.
Jennifer-Lee: Jobsite children. I was there with you, man.
Dan: I was using air tools when I was in grade five. I remember shooting myself in the hand with an air gun when I was in grade five. And my dad looked over and he saw the nail sticking into my hand. And he said we better pull that out. So, we pulled it out. I went over, ran underwater and I was right back at work. So that’s, that was my birth was on a construction site at a young age. And every summer it just kept evolving.
[00:07:36] Laura: This is why we have child protective services.
Dan: Exactly. Yeah.
[00:07:39] Jennifer-Lee: That’s why I was never allowed to use the tools on the job site.
[00:07:43] Dan: So, it turned into a passion. And after high school, I actually went to BCIT and got my carpentry ticket. And then I always actually had a slant towards becoming a firefighter. So, I don’t think I mentioned this last time, but I was actually a firefighter for four years.
Jennifer-Lee: Oh wow.
Dan: And I guess because construction was so in my blood, I actually ended up leaving the fire department and becoming partners with my brother in my mid-twenties and we’ve been partners for 17 years now. So yeah, so that’s where I started and how the whole thing birthed with me and my brother.
[00:08:13] Mike: And how did you guys get connected? Because you guys have been working together as a dynamic duo for quite a long time. You’ve created some amazing results, and you keep underscoring the value of partnerships between great people in this industry. How did you guys get connected in the first place and how do you find synergy in the projects you work on?
[00:08:30] Dan: Our first connection was seven years ago. All right. So, this was a project in Maple Ridge, and I think the designer, I’m sorry, had connected with Marian Patterson and then somehow Marian had contacted me looking for a contractor and that’s how we first met.
[00:08:46] Laura: No, she, you guys were on the job site with a different designer, and she didn’t like her. She just didn’t mesh. So, she phoned me out of the blue and she said can you come? These guys are ready to start work. And I walked in there and Jesse and Dan were there, and Dan doesn’t usually come to the job site.
[00:09:04] Laura: So, I didn’t know that at the time, but I walk in and there’s these two guys and one of their workers was there and the homeowner, and I’m looking around and I’m thinking. Wow, is this an interview or what? Because they were just all staring at me and I said, so what’s the problem? And they went through a few things, and I said, to me, I look at a space very simply and I said, why don’t you just move it over there? And they all went, What a great idea. And I thought, wow, these guys are thick. And then I realized, no, they’re wonderful. I love them. No, and that’s the very first project we did.
[00:09:41] Dan: We’re thick? Okay. Wow. Okay I’ll remember that. I’m going to put that in my back pocket.
Laura: There’s. It’s quite a bit to do when you’re working with someone. We did the material list. We did the plans. They seemed to like us. And then they said, can we just talk about having a partnership? And I was like, absolutely. And it’s funny because from that first time that we met you we just I just love these guys.
[00:10:11] Laura: They’re we work with lots of builders, but we have got such a rhythm now and it’s so seamless that I’m sad because in the beginning when we weren’t, we’re just sad that it’s so seamless.
[00:10:23] Dan: I think that’s something to be happy about.
[00:10:28] Jennifer-Lee: That you’re still together.
[00:10:30] Dan: It’s sad and thick. But?
[00:10:31] Dan: But? Getting better. It’s getting better. We’re progressing. We’re winning awards. Okay.
[00:10:37] Laura: The problem is that we got so good at it, we don’t see them that much. And I miss that. I really miss that. Seeing them because there was always something on the job site. It’s we have to do, but
[00:10:48] Dan: Now we know how you think.
[00:10:49] Laura: We share a brain, and we don’t see each other, so we don’t see each other. So, like I’m telling you, this is one of the things, early in the career, they had just gotten new signs and they had put them out in the front lawns. Those front lawn signs and I love them. I thought I’m going to get a little sign too,
[00:11:06] Dan: because but then you cheaped out on yours though.
Jennifer-Lee: we’re getting the real dirt today.
Dan: It looked like you went to Walmart.
[00:11:12] Laura: No, I did. I did it on my own photocopy and I got two hangers, and I stuck it up the hanger.
[00:11:16] Dan: I think I mentioned that you need to upgrade your signs.
Laura: But you know what they did?
[00:11:20] Laura: I’m shocked you guys are still working the other way. They took my sign, they put it in front of the Johnny on the spot, and it says another project by Laura Gris Interior Design, and they’re all coming around waving on social media. I was like, these guys, I love these guys. If you can’t have a laugh, there’s nothing. So that’s why I miss them. That’s why I miss being around them.
[00:11:42] Dan: But we are, you’re making it out to be a big, sad thing. We see each other still. I was like, do you never talk to each other?
[00:11:47] Mike: It also says a lot that you guys trust each other enough, that you understand each other enough. It is. Everyone can do what they need to do. And at the end, in the middle is the homeowner who can go, OK, I don’t have to worry about anything because they are taking care of it.
[00:12:01] Dan: I guess it’s similar to me and my brother’s relationship. So, my brother is on site way more than I am. And I’m behind the scenes. I do the budgeting, the. sales. I’m like the CFO, the CSO, the CEO.
[00:12:10] Jennifer-Lee: And that’s why you don’t bring them on the podcast behind the scenes.
[00:12:15] Dan: And I trust my brother to be on site making big decisions and that are going to affect the outcome of a huge project. And Laura trusts Jesse, which is, there’s a lot of trust. So that’s. And that’s developed over time. And I think that’s why we can be apart from each other and still create awesome stuff.
[00:12:31] Jennifer-Lee: And that’s something we talk about all the time on this podcast is as the client, you really have to trust your team as well. And so, if we know that you guys have trust with the interior designer and the other people that you work with to make the project come to fruition, that makes us feel better as a homeowner.
[00:12:47] Laura: For sure.
[00:12:47] Dan: Oh yeah, absolutely.
[00:12:49] Mike: And on the subject of team, we are part of a great team here. This podcast doesn’t just happen. It happens because of wonderful guests like you, and it happens because of our wonderful podcast partners. We just take a couple moments to quickly thank them. And then we’re going to get back to this conversation. We’re going to dig a little bit further into the projects themselves.
[00:13:08] Jennifer-Lee: Measure Twice, Cut Once is grateful to our podcast partners FortisBC, Vicostone Canada Inc, and Trail Appliances. Support from our partners helps us share expert knowledge and resources with families looking to build, design, and renovate the home right for you.
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[00:14:30] Mike: All right. Welcome back. Of course, Season 6 is all about award winning projects and what it takes to win an award, what these awards mean. And what’s really special is you guys were nominated for six awards this year. So, number one, congratulations. And two, you won two. So big, super huge. Congratulations. Two projects we’re going to talk about today Through the Looking Glass and Pen and Ink. So, let’s start with Through the Looking Glass. Laura, can you maybe give us a little bit of background on that project? So, we understand the why it was created and some of the thought that went into creating that project.
[00:15:04] Laura: Yeah, we went into that project with a client that we had already done some work with, and they really liked our work as well as the Jaden brothers.
[00:15:13] Jennifer-Lee: Oh, gosh. See, I got the name right.
[00:15:15] Dan: We’ve only been working together for seven years, and she still doesn’t know. But they’re not on site very much, so they don’t know. Because we’re not on site together, that’s why. That’s why. Okay, carry on.
[00:15:24] Laura: Visit me more, that’s all I can say. Dang it. So anyways so we had, we’d already known the client and the house was in the 90s kind of era and it was really compartmentalized, and they were used, there were rooms that they didn’t even use. It was super dark, and it felt like it was really closed in. They were using darker colours and they had a formal dining room that they said they never used. So, they wanted lots of light and that’s a, that’s a big thing for everyone and a lot of times we can do that through actual just lighting with recessed lighting and things like tha.t But there was an opportunity to do some real lovely natural lighting. So, in order to do that, we decided to take out the windows. I know that’s anti intuitive, but instead we put in these the windows above the cabinets, the upper cabinets, and they brought in the light. We didn’t waste the space because it was a nine-foot ceiling, so we had a little bit more play. And we actually opened up the walls and instead of putting in pony walls or, hiding it, we actually did a glass surround so that you could see from the very front, which had the most light in the house, brought it right through the kitchen and then through the windows above the cabinetry. And we also did a great corner window. We removed the fireplace, which was in an awkward place that really took away their view from the forest and that, and moved it to an interior wall, instead of the exterior kind of glass wall window. And opened up the patio, so that they could get to the patio from both corners of the house, from the family room and the kitchen that came open. As far as their wants, I think we hit all their wants in just doing the natural light as much as we could. So yeah, it was lovely.
[00:17:18] Dan: And the wall you talked about removing, so that, there was a wall that separated the dining room from the kitchen which went straight across and created two separate areas. So, the wall that we took out created one big open concept, which helped to bring the light in from the front and the back. So now when you walk in there, if you were in there before and you walked in afterwards, you wouldn’t believe the difference in the amount of light just from doing that simple thing of taking out a wall. And just allowing the light to come in and then throwing a couple of windows up high and. There you go. We’ve got light.
[00:17:45] Laura: It was beautiful.
[00:17:46] Jennifer-Lee: Oh, I love that. And getting rid of the dining room. I’m so on board with because I grew up with a dining room and it’s we’re not in Downton Abbey. Like we don’t need one.
[00:17:54] Jennifer-Lee: Like I just feel like they’re wasted space because we only ever used it during occasions.
[00:17:59] Dan: Yeah. Yeah. You’ve got 120 square feet that you use once or twice a year. It’s like, why don’t we just make a bigger kitchen, throw a huge Island in there that we can use year-round. And that’s basically what we did at Lenovo is we’ve got it. 10- or 12-foot island in there that kind of comes into where the dining room was.
[00:18:13] Laura: So yeah, it’s like a continent, not an island.
[00:18:16] Dan: Yeah, exactly.
[00:18:17] Mike: So, Laura, I have a question for you. When you’re talking about changing windows and stuff, how do you compensate for that? Can you compensate for using lights inside the house or how do you plan with and manage and balance the light, the outside light and the inside light?
[00:18:29] Laura: The outside light, it’s the preferred kind of light, right? No one wants to go around and be under constant light, that’s not natural. So even though we’re getting really good at getting sunlight in and with the LED lights that we have, cause they have a ton that can mimic, there’s nothing better than being able to look out a window or feel the sun come in or, have we’re part of a whole bigger world than just the kitchen. So, when we can look out and see what’s happening, it makes such a huge difference. It really is something that’s inside us that always seeks to be outside. That wants the trees, which wants the natural sunlight. So, it’s a much, it’s, it’s just what people need.
[00:19:14] Dan: And this home was built right on a greenbelt. So, for them to be able to take advantage of looking out and seeing the trees was awesome.
[00:19:21] Jennifer-Lee: No, did you put any like French doors or anything to open up onto the green belt or?
[00:19:25] Dan: Yeah. So, we put in a sliding big wall system. So, it was basically like a sliding glass door that met in the middle, and it can open up this way. I think we ended up with about a 10-foot opening, but there was also glass fixed panels on each side. 16 feet of glass that you could see from sitting in the family room. You could look right outside to the green belt.
Dan: And then we also increased, so, this is, it was a bigger project than just a kitchen. We won an award for actually won the award for the whole project and just the kitchen. But we also did their deck outside off of that 16-foot opening. So, we made it, we increased the size of the deck by about two or three-fold. So, they’ve got a deck that’s about 30 feet by 14 feet now. So, they walk out of this nice big opening onto a big deck looking at a green belt. And that can all be seen from standing in front of the island. So, you can imagine just standing in there prepping for dinner and just being able to look out and see just green. And all that light coming in.
[00:20:19] Jennifer-Lee: And great for parties too, because I love those that’s not the technical term, but like the folding wall of glass is what I’m going to call it. That’s the, see, that’s why I don’t do what you guys do, but I love those opposed to like just a French door. Now you can have that open.
[00:20:33] Laura: People can be on the deck, and they can come in and out and it’s very what’s another living space. Really? It’s not just a patio door anymore. It’s a living space where you can actually sit half in and half out of the house. We’ve actually moved the fireplace to the outside wall so that if you are outside and the fireplace was on, you could still be part of the fireplace. Yeah. It was cool.
[00:20:55] Mike: Dan, I got a question for you. Obviously, when you open up the walls of a house, you never know what you’re going to get. Now, maybe there’s some variables. Was the house built in the 90s or the 1960s? When you got into this project, were there any issues that you found as you got into it that had to be corrected or rectified?
[00:21:11] Dan: There were a few things. I wouldn’t call them major issues. It’s nothing we hadn’t seen before, but because of removing the wall that separated the dining room and the kitchen, we had to relocate some things. There was a heat run that fed upstairs that we had to relocate. And there were also some plumbing lines that had to get relocated. So that’s fairly standard.
[00:21:28] Mike: What kind of budgetary implications would be though? Because when we talk a lot about, okay, if I have a hundred thousand dollars for this project and it’s a hundred-thousand-dollar project, what you described might change those numbers. So how would that have affected the budget and how should people listening or watching this? Yeah. approach a renovation like this in terms of budgetary allotments?
[00:21:47] Dan: Yeah. So, in terms of budget, right off the bat, I always recommend to clients to have a 10 percent contingency. But really at the very beginning of the project, I dive in quite deep and create a fairly detailed budget that accounts for things like this. So, for example, this project had some structural upgrades that have to happen. So, because we took out that wall plus another section of a shorter wall that separated the family room, we had to put in a couple of beams, which we knew was going to happen, but anytime we do structural work or just some things that are hidden behind the walls, I always estimate based on experience and put a time and material allowance on it. So, in advance, the clients already know, okay, there’s going to be something behind those walls. I’m fairly confident. I know what’s behind those walls, but you still need to have a contingency of 10 percent just in case something comes up. Cause we can’t, I can’t come in there on a first meeting and rip the drywall off the walls and expose everything and say, okay, this is what we’re up against. So, it’s just not realistic, but based on our experience, this is what we’re going to be up against.
[00:22:46] Laura: And yeah, I think that’s one thing that you guys are amazing at. And I think it’s, we help in that too, is that when we’re doing a project together Dan and I both have split duties. And so, what we do is all the materials that we can actually get numbers for, we do that in advance of his final budget so that when we’re talking about tile numbers, we’re not talking about a random tile in the air kind of thing. We actually have the tile because we’ve already spec’d it for the client. They’ve already approved it. They know exactly how much that’s going to be. They know exactly how much the plumbing is going to be. So, when we hand that package over to Dan, he’s got, he’s working on real numbers. He’s not working on it; it’s going to be 3 a square foot or 10 a square foot. He knows exactly what they’ve already chosen so that when we get to it, by the end, we’ve got some, you’ve got some really great numbers. So, you’re not pulling it out of the air. You are completely ahead of the game, I think. Yeah.
[00:23:46] Dan: In terms of our process, so I’m glad you brought it up. So, usually the way we start a project, I’ll meet a client typically before Laura even meets them. And I’ll create the initial budget. We’ll develop a rough scope together and I’ll put a budget range on that. And I’ll say, look, I think it’s going to be between X and X based on this scope. And then I’ll create the budget also with different allowance figures cabinetry to flooring, to tile lighting, all those types of things. And then I’ll present that to the client. If they’re comfortable with that, they trust us, they want to move on. And at that point we would typically take a small deposit. Then I dumped that into Laura’s lap and she runs with it. So, I stepped back and now Laura’s meeting with the clients and she’s using what I’ve already created as a bit of a guide. To try to stay on budget. And then there’s a lot of back and forth for several weeks. And once that’s done and we’ve selected all the materials and we’ve got costing on all those materials, then I step back in and work towards giving them a fixed budget. So, for example, like this looking, is it looking through the, what do we call this project?
[00:24:44] Jennifer-Lee: Looking through something.
[00:24:45] Laura: You don’t know the name of your award winner.
[00:24:49] Dan: So, for this project we did have a few allowances. So, everything’s not a fixed price. So, because of the structural upgrades that we did on this project, I still left that as an allowance figure, but it was based on experience and a very educated figure, so I can’t remember off the top of my head what it was. It might’ve been in the 20, 000 ballpark for the structural upgrades. But that’s a time and material allowance based on our experience and what we think we’re going to come up against.
[00:25:13] Jennifer-Lee: I can’t stress it enough. Even coming from a building family, been around it for a long time to the consumer is so important. We talk about this all the time to have a builder that knows what they’re doing. The fact that you are foreseeing the future and you’re accounting for possible things is such an important conversation because sometimes people get a fixed price and then they open the walls up. And they run into things like asbestos that maybe the contractor has not foreseen.
[00:25:39] Jennifer-Lee: And then they’re like, but you told me it was going to cost us. And now I’ve got to do this.
[00:25:43] Dan: And I think part of that is just my upbringing. So, I’ve been around sites from conception to completion. So, because of my experience, that’s why I can be confident in a fixed budget. I think a lot of guys who get into the cost-plus contracts where you don’t necessarily know what the total project cost is going to be until the end, they may not necessarily be just. And what’s going on behind those walls and what’s going to happen because they just don’t have the experience because sometimes, you’ll see nothing against a tile setter, but I know of companies where a tile setter started up a contracting company. Now he’s doing entire projects, but his only experience has been just laying tile, right? So, nothing against him, but he just doesn’t know everything that it takes to put a whole project together. And that’s why I can be confident in a fixed budget is just because of our experience and have seen everything from the ground up. Yeah. And
[00:26:31] Mike: there’s another advantage as well. We spend a lot of time talking about it. Budget. So, the cost of materials and the cost of labor. What we don’t spend a lot of time talking about is the cost of holding a property while there are delays. If you don’t have an integrated planning and design process as you do, there could be delays from permits, or you open up the walls and, oh, we didn’t think there’d be asbestos in this house from the 1940s. What a shock, or whatever the case may be. So, a lot of people aren’t really talking about the implications for your budget in terms of time, just dollars and cents. And that’s a huge one.
[00:27:06] Jennifer-Lee: And just want to mention that on the topic of budget, which is 149, 000 for this kitchen renovation we’re just talking about, but it was the award winner for best kitchen under $150,000. So that’s the one, the winner of this and it’s amazing. And you guys have another great award winner that I want to switch gears and talk about. This is Pen and Ink Best Kitchen Renovation Under $175,000. So, let’s talk about that one. What are some of the challenges? Paint the picture. Challenges?
[00:27:38] Dan: Do you want to paint the picture and I’ll talk about the challenges?
[00:27:42] Mike: Wait, before we do any of this, I have to know, how do you come up with the names for these projects?
Laura: Oh, my lord.
[00:27:48] Dan: That’s why I can’t remember them. Laura comes up with the names. That’s why I can’t remember them because Laura comes up with them. They’re fantastic though.
[00:27:54] Laura: A lot of people, a lot of design companies, or construction companies, they send it off and they have other people that do it. I do I do ours for the awards and all the girls in the office walk around going, what about Fantasy Five? It’s no, we can’t do that.
What about Girdled on a Budget? And I’m like no. Come on, you guys be serious. A lot of Budget. Did you say? Yeah, sure. Why not? Because we hear some of the ones that come out of the thing. It’s like Fish on Fifth. It’s what does fish got to do with it? So, we spent a lot of time going through this. So, I’m a little more artsy fartsy. So, I like Pen and Ink. Do I know what it means? Absolutely not. I just, it sounded good at the time. So yes, that’s where I got it. It sounded good.
[00:28:40] Dan: I like it. So, there’s, I thought that it actually meant something.
Laura: No. It has nothing to do with the project.
[00:28:45] Jennifer-Lee: No, nothing. But through the Looking Glass, I was thinking because of all the glass.
[00:28:49] Laura: That’s what I, that’s what I did.
[00:28:51] Jennifer-Lee: But Pen and Ink though, you were just like,
[00:28:52] Mike: I like it. Client owned a pen store.
[00:28:55] Laura: You know what? It was black and white. So, pen and ink. Oh, okay. So, there is a meaning behind very loosely.
[00:29:01] Dan: Give yourself some credit.
[00:29:03] Jennifer-Lee: I was like, just create the story for the podcast.
[00:29:06] Laura: I was holding a pen. Yeah, no, like the design for that one was a really it was a really large space and it’s really tough when you come into a kitchen that was already fairly nice. You know it was fairly nice. You’re being honest, it was actually nice. Yeah, I have to be honest. And it was fairly nice.
[00:29:24] Dan: Yeah, we go into projects and our guys are ready to do demo and they’re like why are we demolishing this? This place looks fantastic. It’s way better than my house. Yeah,
[00:29:31] Laura: I know. And it’s and sometimes that is tough. But in this particular case, it was not the woman’s style. She had, they had, bought the house. She had lived with it for a lot of years. And she’s but this isn’t me. This isn’t what I want. This is nothing like, I want things that are more, I like to bake. I don’t like this. So, we had some interesting things that we wanted to do. So, we took the time to listen to what she needed. She didn’t want a separate dining room, which she had two tables, ones that were like maybe five feet from each other. One was a dining room table, and one was her kitchen table. And I’m like, I don’t understand why we have two tables that you can literally see. So, we wanted to expand the space because she wanted to have it more of a casual eating area at their Island. So, we love that. And we wanted to have, she just wanted new, more contemporary things. And so, it wasn’t much of a challenge for us, but it was more like getting to stretch our kind of design ideas because she was open. This is favourite clients. If you guys want to be a client. I love it when you’re open, because you know what? We can do great things. So, if you’re not open, don’t come tomorrow. Yeah, if you’re not open, I might not, no.
[00:30:48] Dan: And if your bank account’s quite wide open, that’s good too. Oh, that’s my favorite.
[00:30:51] Laura: No. No, we, it’s Maybe cut that part out. There are a few clients, though, that trust the process. And she was one of them that said, you know what? I’m happy with whatever you want to do. It’s okay. That sounds amazing. So that’s what we did. We were off to the races with that. And you had some challenges.
[00:31:12] Dan: There were some challenges. So, I hate to be caught off guard. So, this one actually did catch me off guard. So, in the existing kitchen, there was a three-foot wall at book end of the cabinetry. And unbeknownst to us until we opened up the drywall, this was actually, the end of that wall was supporting a beam above, so a bit of a mess, but easily done. So anyways, so we exposed everything, we realized there’s a beam there, sitting on the end of this wall that Laura had in her drawings removed. So somehow, we have to support the structure above without creating a point load in that same area. So, we had to support everything. We ended up putting in three different beams, one going perpendicular to two other ones. It ended up costing twenty thousand dollars. So, when we talk about contingencies this was one of those things that triggered a contingency fund.
Jennifer-Lee: And did you have one in place?
Laura: The homeowner had a contingency fund. Yes. Because they had a good contractor. Yes. Exactly. They mentioned that at the beginning, to have a contingency. It doesn’t happen very often, but once in a while, things like this happen. You just never know how stuff is built until we rip the drywall off. And that’s what happened.
[00:32:15] Laura: But to be fair, this doesn’t always happen. And when it does it’s rare, very rare. It’s very rare. And if the person said, came back and said, look, Dan, I’d rather not do that. Yeah. What we do is we pivot, we’re okay with pivoting. We’re okay with, we’re not going to dump the design a hundred percent, but we, people have got to know that if you have a set budget and you say, you know what, I’d rather not do something that extreme. Okay, we’ll make it happen. But the beauty of working with these guys is I don’t get that call very often where they say, I went to the client and they said, we need to keep that in. Yeah. So like problems for designers to work with these guys. I don’t actually hear of the problems. I hear solutions or how we’re going to fix things. But I hear nothing of the problems.
[00:33:06] Dan: They’re so good. And like you said, the clients had a choice. They didn’t have to actually put the new beams in and take that wall out. Laura could have worked with it and made it an awesome space. But they chose to let’s move forward and we want to make it happen.
[00:33:18] Mike: And they created a great space for themselves in the process as well. It’s been phenomenal. It’s just been phenomenal talking to you guys again. Always have such a great time in your head. It’s like seeing a bunch of old friends and learning a bunch of the process. Exactly. We do want to say thank you. A huge thank you. Thanks for leaving her hanging, by the way, ignoring,
[00:33:39] Dan: I thought you were saying high five.
[00:33:41] Jennifer-Lee: to you purposely looking away.
[00:33:44] Dan: Can we redo the whole video on that?
[00:33:46] Mike: No, that was great. That’s cool. We do want to say a huge thank you to you guys for coming in today to share your stories, your background and your philosophies. Love the energy that you guys have working with each other and how you feed on each other’s creativity and energy. So much great conversation we had today and so great to take a deep dive into two. Two award winning projects. A lot of information we cover. There’s a couple lessons I want to hone in on though, because I think they’re really important. The first was on your first project how everything came together. And it came together, and the lesson was that pre planning with the builder, the designer, and the homeowner created results that everybody loved. And on the second Pen and Ink, it was all about contingency. There are things that happen when we open up walls. As a homeowner, it is in our best interest to number one, work with a great builder and design team who can help anticipate as many of these as possible. But hey, we can’t anticipate everything. So, it’s important to have a contingency plan and a contingency budget to get great results.
[00:34:43] Dan: Yes. High five to that. Now we can do it.
[00:34:45] Laura: I would never leave you hanging.
[00:34:48] Dan: Wow.
[00:34:50] Jennifer-Lee: You guys are such a great team and that’s why I think your clients love working with you. Obviously, we had a lot of fun today, but when it comes down to it, you guys trust each other. And that’s why you come out with some award winners. Thank you for coming today. But before we go, we always have one last tip, one last tip, just one more piece of gold. I know you gave us a lot, but not a combined answer, but one each.
[00:35:13] Laura: You go first.
[00:35:14] Dan: Me first? Okay, what did I say last time?
Laura: No, you can’t do that. You got to have a new tip.
Dan: A new tip. I don’t know if I said this last time, but you’ve really got to do your homework on who you hire. To me it sounds like common sense, but there are a lot of tools in place to help you do that. The Homebuilders Association is a great place to look if you’re a reputable contractor, you’ll be registered with the Homebuilders Association of Vancouver. If you look there that’ll put you in touch with some great contractors. And then when you dig deeper into those contractors, look for the certifications that they have, make sure they’re licensed builders, make sure they have, as a company, we’re a certified renovation company. So little things like that they mean a lot. And yeah, so that would be my recommendation. My tip.
[00:35:56] Laura: That’s really good. I’m just going to say ditto. No. Probably I think part of the thing that we run up against a lot is that people see too many things on TV. And it’s exacerbating because we just want to do a good job, but we are not TV, it’s a process. And so, what I’d love people to do is just trust us. We have been doing this a long time and we only want the best for our clients. So, if you’re engaged with a good interior designer, and there’s lots out there. I’m not going to say I am the best. I am the best.
Mike: Good plug, ma’am. That’s what we’re here for.
Laura: We’re trying to do it as a collaboration with your thoughts, and then bringing in our little bit of a little bit of a push to make sure you know that you’re getting the best design that you’re, and of course, working with a great contractor is imperative.
[00:37:03] Dan: A great designer.
[00:37:03] Jennifer-Lee: Yes. I actually think you guys would have a great reality TV show. It’d be really fun to watch.
[00:37:09] Laura: Yeah. When they put my sign in that toilet, I might’ve edited that part.
[00:37:15] Mike: That’s the opening shot.
[00:37:17] Dan: That’s the hook right there.
[00:37:18] Jennifer-Lee: One more question before we go. Very important question. Where are they?
[00:37:24] Dan: Mine are in my office up on my desk up at elevated four feet up. Within five feet of me, so it reminds me every morning why we do this. Nice, yeah. Over here, is it in the basement in a box?
[00:37:34] Laura: No, mine, mine are in my refrigerator, so that everyone that comes and goes into my refrigerator has to move one slightly. Oh. And they pull it out. Oh, wow. And put it back. Yeah, of course. Why wouldn’t I put it in my refrigerator?
[00:37:46] Jennifer-Lee: There you go.
[00:37:46] Laura: People know you’re an award winner when you So when, now that I’ve gotten a few from HAVAN, you open it up and
[00:37:52] Mike: it’s… You’re going to need a bigger fridge.
[00:37:56] Laura: We have to start it in the freezer now. Yeah.
[00:37:58] Mike: Our partners at Trail Appliances would be happy to help you out, I’m sure. Hey, you guys have given so much great information, so many great tips, and I want to give a little tip out as well. It has nothing to do with construction or anything. It actually has to do with barbecues specifically. And my tip is this. Do you want to win a barbecue? Anybody want to win a nice barbecue? I do! Alright, so here’s the deal, you already listened to Measure Twice, Cut Once, the podcast from HAVAN, all you have to do is like us, tell your family, tell your friends, even strangers on the street, doesn’t really matter, just tell as many people as you can, and you will be entered for a chance to win a Napoleon Prestige P500 stainless steel natural gas barbecue, valued at $1500, courtesy of our fantastic podcast partners at FortisBC.
[00:38:38] Mike: All you got to do is go to HAVAN.ca/MeasureTwiceCutOnce and you could be entered for a chance to win as well.
[00:38:44] Jennifer-Lee: And when you win that, Mike will come to your house with a rack of ribs.
[00:38:49] Mike: Oh, wow. Sounds like I’m going to have a busy fall.
[00:38:53] Jennifer-Lee: And for notes and links to everything mentioned on today’s episode, including resources shared by Dan and Laura, go to havan.ca/measuretwicecutonce. A big thank you again to Trail Appliances, FortisBC, Vicostone Canada, and Rami Films. And thank you guys so much for joining us.
[00:39:08] Laura: Thanks for having us.
[00:39:10] Dan: Thanks for having us. This has been awesome.
[00:39:12] Jennifer-Lee: Yeah, I’m excited.
[00:39:13] Mike: I could go for some ribs right now. You guys, the third time you come on, you get a special door prize, right?
[00:39:19] Dan: Oh, really? Yeah. Good, we’re back.
[00:39:22] Laura: We’re back, yeah. And we have so much more to talk about what we do.
[00:39:25] Jennifer-Lee: Great. We look forward to it, as always.