As the team gets set up in our new location in Saanich, we thought we’d check with Ed McDonald, the founder of MAC Renovations, to get his perspective on the new location and what’s ahead for our home renovation team here in Victoria.
One of the reasons for our reputation as the most trusted renovation company in Victoria is the approach we use on every project – we’re with you through every phase of your renovation. When you choose MAC Renovations, you get the full benefit of our entire team. Decades of experience, education, and enthusiasm working on full-home renovations and one-room remodeling, and everything in between.
We’re a full-service renovation team, which means that we work with you from start to finish on your project, coordinating the trades, taking out permits, organizing suppliers, and the rest of the pieces required to complete your project on time and on budget. We take the stress out of your renovation by choosing the right people and using the right tools. A few years ago, we invested in BuilderTrend, a software solution that enables us to manage every step of your renovation while giving you the ability to monitor the project at anytime, from anywhere.
Home improvements are usually their own reward – creating a formal space to entertain your guests, a private oasis to recharge your batteries, or a casual kitchen to connect with your family – and with the abundance of incentives for energy conservation available, you might be eligible to receive thousands of dollars back to offset the project costs. Here at MAC Renovations, we can help you make informed decisions to choose the right products for your home, and we’ll help you fill out the paperwork to put the rebates back in your wallet.
“When we’re renovating homes in Victoria, we like to look for ways to provide value to our customers,” said Blaise McDonald, Operations Manager at MAC Renovations. “We want our customers to enjoy their space today and many years from now. Through rebate incentives from provincial and federal programs, as well as BC Hydro, FortisBC, and other organizations, we can help you get more without spending more.”
How much is available? According to BC Home Energy Coach, you could be eligible for up to $6750 through the home renovation rebate program from BC Hydro and FortisBC; $2700 from FortisBC in their Connect to Gas program; and a return of 15% – 25% of your mortgage loan insurance premium from Genworth or CMHC. That’s a lot of incentive for work you were already considering.
On top of planning an energy-efficient space, our professional design team can help you choose fixtures, materials, and appliances that fit your style and budget, and may be eligible for a rebate or other incentive.
We like to look forward when we’re designing: planning out your space to be accessible, stylish, and energy efficient. We follow current building codes and recommended guidelines for energy improvements, which can include adding more insulation, eliminating drafts, and upgrading heating sources. This helps us create a comfortable space that costs less to operate while helping you access the lucrative incentives.
Many of the home renovation rebate programs offer additional incentives, especially if you’re considering multiple upgrades. To take full advantage of the incentive program, an energy assessment before the renovation is required. Not all rebates require an assessment. We can recommend local professionals for you to choose from. You’ll then have 36 months to complete the upgrades, and after a follow-up assessment, you can apply for the rebates. In many cases, the cost of the energy assessment includes the cost of the follow-up, and there’s even a rebate to offset the cost of the assessment in the first place.
The provincial government offers assistance for renovations designed to improve accessibility or mobility at home. The program offers a refundable tax credit, up to a maximum of $10,000 in expenses, and can be used to:
The Government of BC website provides a good description of the types of renovations that qualify, as well as those that don’t.
The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Genworth Canada each offer a return of premium program for energy-efficient renovations. They offer tiered savings, with 15% returned for moderate energy savings, and 25% returned for focusing heavily on minimizing your home’s annual energy usage.
There are a few requirements to get the most out of your renovation rebates. For BC Hydro and FortisBC customers, you’ll need at least 12 months of utility billing at your residence, with electricity or natural gas as your primary heating source. People with disabilities and seniors over the age of 65 may qualify for the government incentives. The mortgage insurance folks have clearly defined expectations for eligibility, and we’ll do our best to help where we can.
We’ve developed a few systems to help make the rebate process as easy as possible. We’ll provide you with the rebate application form, with all of the information pre-filled, and a detailed receipt. All you have to do is submit the forms and wait for the rebate cheque to arrive (or have it credited to your account). It’s that easy.
The rebate you get for installing a ductless heat pump, adding more insulation to your walls and attic, and installing an EnerChoice fireplace can give you the flexibility in your budget to splurge on a feature that you thought you might have to give up. Not only is your home more comfortable and energy efficient, but it also looks and feels like you didn’t compromise a thing.
Give us a call to find out which rebates are currently available. Here are a few that are available as of the time we’re sharing this:
Visit the BC Hydro savings and rebates page for their current offers.
Visit the FortisBC rebates and offers page for their current offers
When it comes to the technical aspects of home construction and renovation, we’ve earned a reputation for excellence because of the approach we use on every project: we build it right, the first time. Every time. You don’t have to take our word for it – we’ve been selected as finalists by the panel of judges for some of the exceptional work we’ve completed here in Victoria over the past year.
Every year, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association hosts a gala evening for members of the construction industry in Victoria and Vancouver Island. The Vancouver Island Building Excellence (VIBE) awards celebrate excellence within the construction industry, and MAC Renovations has been proud to showcase our accomplishments over the past three years.
The MAC Renovations team brings a substantial and diverse amount of experience to each project, from the initial planning stage, through design, project management, construction, and finishing, and every step along the way. We’ve been renovating homes for the people of Greater Victoria for over three decades, and we’re looking forward to sharing our new location with you very soon.
For the 2018 VIBE awards, we are finalists in the following categories:
We’ve been selected as a finalist for Renovator of the Year because we are actively working towards building a better future for our company and our community. We are environmentally responsible and engaged in conservational programs. We are active in the building community, providing input and direction on various boards to plan out the future of construction in Victoria and Vancouver Island. We recognize the importance of development and training, and we’ve created internship programs for students at Camosun College; apprenticeship training and tuition programs for labourers; education allowances for all employees; and master’s certificates for project managers.
We offer intelligent business practices, such as our aging in place approach to design. We embrace innovation within the industry, using 3D modelling to bring clarity and vision to our designs. We are part of the community and happy to support a wide range of charitable organizations and local teams. And we’re pretty good at designing home renovations for our customers in Victoria.
Our entry for the Best Single-Family Bathroom Renovation was for a homeowner looking for a space to relax and destress in the privacy of the master bedroom, with an update to the main bath to make it functional and elegant.
Azucena Saavedra, one of our design professionals, worked with the client on a concept that ensured the renovated space fit within the overall scheme of the home. “We created a walk-through shower area,” shared Azu, “with a ceiling-mounted rain head and a wall-mounted handheld. The walk-through concept is a beautiful, efficient use of the space, and the natural materials – slate tiles with a wood vanity, accented by a pebbled floor – gave the homeowner the spa-like feeling they were looking for.”
The homeowner initially wanted a double sink in the master ensuite, but due to space limitations, they would have had to sacrifice storage to accommodate a double vanity. Instead, we proposed a trough sink that allows two people to use it at the same time while providing a comfortable storage area for necessities.
Little touches, such as sliding barn doors, pendant lights, and niche storage to hold shower supplies, helped bring the form and function together, creating a space to relax and unwind at the end of a hectic day.
“There were a few design challenges that we faced on this project,” said Terri Wills, kitchen and bathroom design specialist at MAC Renovations. “We had to modify the walls in the attic to accommodate the steeply sloped roof, giving us usable space for the new shower and original clawfoot tub.”
The tub itself presented a challenge – it was too big to take out of the space without removing walls or damaging the tub, so we opted to leave it in place and managed to work around it. We even had it reglazed without removing it from the room. With the natural light entering from the new skylights directly above the tub, it’s almost as if you’re bathing al fresco.
The new kitchen is an extravagant departure from the previous incarnation. Stainless appliances and bright white cabinetry, perfectly contrasted by the American Walnut countertop, bring usability and style together for this family. The handmade tiles on the hutch backsplash are gorgeous, and the farmhouse sink, mirrored by a smaller version in the laundry room, provides continuity, functionality, and beauty throughout the space.
“The renovations fit the homeowners perfectly – it was a challenging design, but we’re very pleased with the way everything came together,” said Terri.
Visit our Facebook page to see the album of projects selected as finalists for the 2018 VIBE awards. Leave us a comment to let us know which designs you like best.
To find out what we can do with your next renovation project, contact us to learn more.
There are many reasons to consider a home renovation in Victoria – you might be looking for new space to accommodate a growing family; updating your home after the kids have left the nest; building the kitchen of your dreams; or maybe you’re just ready for a change, but really love your current address. Whatever the reason, planning a home renovation is usually an exciting part of the project.
Working with a renovation company that specializes in design-build is a smart way to ensure you’re happy with the design whenever you use your new space. At MAC Renovations, we have a fantastic group of qualified, talented designers ready to bring your dreams to life. We’ve asked them to share some of their thoughts about planning a home renovation here in Victoria.
“The first thing you should do,” shared Alexis Solomon, an experienced and educated design professional, “is build an idea book. Assemble ideas from Houzz, Pinterest, or Instagram, so you have a good selection of the features you’d like to see in your renovation. This will help us understand your tastes and preferences, so we can incorporate your style throughout the design.”
“As a designer,” said Alexis, “We’re aware of trends and fashion, but we look at the overall concept to develop ways to bring your preferences into the design, creating the look and feel that’s right for you and your space, versus simply copying a design from a magazine.”
Terri Willis is a project manager and designer for MAC Renovations, and she shared the process she uses to understand your needs, “I do a walkthrough with my clients to go over the changes they’re looking for. We look at all aspects – from the hinges on the doors to the structure of the walls. Once I have a good sense of what they’re looking for, I’ll go back to the design centre and put it all together.”
As you start planning your renovation, think about how you’ll be using the space in the future. If you’re planning on staying in your current home into your golden years, there are some design concepts, such as Aging in Place, that can be used to ensure you are comfortable in your home as long as possible. If you’re not in your forever home yet, you might want to explore features that will help when it’s time to sell.
Working with a design professional can lead to creative solutions to interesting challenges. “We recently completed a kitchen renovation in Oak Bay, where the existing layout was cramped and had minimal work areas,” said designer Azu Saavedra. “By moving the fridge to a different spot in the room, we were able to add a pantry on each side, giving the spot a built-in look while freeing up space to add more counter space and room. The client uses a walker, so the added space made it easier to work in their new kitchen.”
A skilled designer can also help keep project costs on-budget. “At MAC, we tend to spend more time with the client in the early stages, so we can develop a comprehensive design that everyone can refer to quickly during the construction process,” explained Azu. “Drawing from our experience and education, we can prevent some of the challenges that are common when design is done on-the-fly.”
“Sometimes, people are hesitant to discuss the budget they have in mind for their renovation project,” shared Alexis. “They’re worried we’ll take advantage of them. MAC Renovations has been in business for over 40 years, and that wouldn’t happen if we didn’t treat our clients right. We ask about your budget because some people need to let the budget influence the design, while others prefer to have the design influence the budget. We’re here to help you get the design that works best for you and your home.”
Azu explained, “By choosing quality components and building them strategically into the design, we can make projects with a modest budget look fantastic, and through our connections to the finest retailers and craftspeople, we can deliver design elements that perfectly match your style and taste.”
Our first meeting is to get to know you and your home. What you like, what you’re thinking of, and what’s right for your space.
A thorough material list includes finishes, appliances, cabinet types, hardware, and all of the components that will eventually become part of your new home, with colours and styles that work well together.
This stage is where we put our measurements to work, so the carpenters and tradespeople will know what needs to be done.
After reviewing the design with the construction crew to identify potential challenges, we’ll complete the final design and put together a comprehensive list of materials required; above and beyond the components you’ll see and use.
We’ll join you to pick out the design components we’ve selected for your renovation, or we can give you the shopping list so you can take care of it yourself.
Once we have a complete design, we can work backwards, beginning with the end to ensure every step leads to the final design. You will know when construction will take place, which trades will be on site, and when everything will be finished.
We will be on site regularly, checking in with the construction crew and answering any questions they might have about your build.
Once the job site is cleaned up and the last screw is in place, we’ll walk through your home with you to see how everything has come together.
Designing a home renovation in Victoria should be fun, and we’re here to help you create a comprehensive plan that will improve the look, function, and value of your home. When it’s time to update your space, give us a call so we can show you the benefits of smart design.
Things are moving along nicely at the Ranch, the future headquarters of the MAC Renovations team. The new space will give us plenty of room for our growing team, and the Design Centre is a convenient spot to see and feel the quality materials available for your renovation.
One of the reasons we’ve become Victoria’s Trusted Contractors for home renovations is the strong relationships we’ve created with our trades and subcontractors. We’ve built connections with local professionals over the past few decades, and together we’ve remodelled, reconstructed, and rebuilt many of the homes and neighbourhoods of Greater Victoria.
Since many of the projects we take on do not require whole-house construction, it’s not unusual for our client families to be at home during some or all of the renovation, which is why we require our contractors and trades to be properly ‘house-trained’.
House-trained means taking pride in their work and clearly caring for the products and materials. It’s maintaining a clean jobsite, a respectful atmosphere, and a professional attitude. It’s little things, like cleaning as we go, and big ones, such as using negative-air units to control dust during demolition and construction. Our crews understand it is a privilege to work with our clients, and together we strive to minimize disruption while maintaining a safe environment. We’re guests in your home, so we – and the people we work with – behave like good guests.
We’ve been doing home renovations in Greater Victoria for over thirty years, and in that time, we’ve developed systems and practices to ensure every project is done well and done right. Clear communication is essential for safety and success, and to help with this, we have created a document that everyone on the project can refer to as needed. The document contains information that’s important to your specific renovation: the locations of the electrical panel, water and gas shutoffs, and lockbox information, as well as potential hazards to be aware of. There’s also information about the nearest hospital, the after-hours emergency contact information for the MAC team, and the locations of the muster station, first aid kit, and fire extinguisher. The document is taped to the front door on every project, so every person, every time, knows where to find it.
In addition to the Emergency Sheet, every project comes with a Red Book: a complete listing of everything required for your project. The Red Book goes beyond the Emergency Call Sheet – for example, as well as including the name of the nearest hospital, it outlines the fastest route to get you there. It has a full calendar for your project (which you can also find online through BuilderTrend, the software we use to keep you informed on the progress of your renovation), a habitat assessment, and the contact information for your project manager.
Between the Red Book, BuilderTrend, and the Emergency Sheet, every person on the extended MAC renovations team knows where everything is, who is responsible for each aspect of the project, and when they should – and shouldn’t – be on site.
The Ranch has been designed by Western Interior Design and our in-house interior design experts; , and the work is being completed by the same teams we use for jobs throughout Greater Victoria. The next time you visit the Ranch, you’ll be able to experience the craftsmanship of the local tradespeople in our Design Centre, touching and seeing the quality materials and construction techniques they will use to bring perfection to your renovation.
Here are some of the local teams that we like to work with:
Capital City Drywall – Every masterpiece needs a blank canvas, and this local team provides the personalized and attentive care we expect
Creative Brushworks – Professional painters use colours and texture to bring the design together
Decora Tile – Intricate designs and artful accents that bring beauty to your renovation
Island Energy – With the right HVAC strategy, you can ensure your home is comfortable year-round
Knights Insulation – Minimizing noise and maximizing comfort, you’ll be amazed at the insulation options available
Mclaren Lighting – Spotlights, LEDs, and custom creations that look amazing, even when turned off
Mike McDonald – Concrete slabs provide strength and support for your home, even if you never see them
Parker Glass – Check out these shower doors that look and work great
Phil Ballam Plumbing – Local professionals who deliver smart solutions for our creative designs
Precision Marble Bath & Shower – Visit our Design Centre to see this spectacular marble shower space
Price’s Alarms – Security systems provide peace of mind without being intrusive
Slegg Lumber – We’ve developed strong relationships with local suppliers to ensure we have access to excellent materials at fair prices
Splashes Bath & Kitchen – Fixtures enhance the design, without sacrificing style or functionality
Tedford Overhead Doors – Excellent solutions to keep the people and contents of your home and yard safe and secure
Thomas and Birch – Cabinets contribute texture, style, and colour to your renovation, as well as smart storage
Vancouver Island Polished Concrete – The natural features of your home are enhanced by the strength and beauty of a perfectly polished floor
Vargas Contracting Exterior – HardiePlank and trim is a great external solution for our west coast climate
Victoria Gutter Installation – Effective, intelligent gutter systems to keep your home and property dry year-round
VinylTek – ENERGY STAR windows provide beauty and elegance with security and style
We have many people to thank for the progress at The Ranch, and we’re looking forward to sharing their hard work with you. Join us for our grand opening in a few months to meet our extended MAC Renovations family. Follow us on Facebook to be invited to our upcoming open house.
Victoria, BC, has a national reputation as the ideal place to retire. With our temperate climate, abundance of indoor and outdoor activities, and selection of support services and shopping centres, it’s hard to imagine a place better suited for life after work.
At MAC Renovations, we’ve worked hard to become Victoria’s first choice for all home construction, providing our customers with excellent options that help them stay in the home they love. Instead of downsizing, many local homeowners are looking at innovative solutions that enable them to stay in their home as long as they want. Universal Design – also known as Aging in Place – is the preferred strategy to create a home that accommodates everyone’s needs today and tomorrow.
When we’re creating a building plan to incorporate Universal Design into your home, we bring in an occupational therapist to identify the key areas you might face in the years to come. Their medical knowledge, combined with our building expertise, helps us create a plan that ensures you and your family can enjoy your home for as long as possible.
Self-care Activities of Daily Living (ADL) are the tasks and functions regularly completed without assistance. There are six primary ADLs considered in Universal Design: eating, dressing, grooming, showering or bathing, toileting, and functional mobility, and an effective renovation plan should address all of them.
The kitchen is the heart of the home – it’s where you know exactly where everything is and how it all works. Smart features for your kitchen renovation can ensure it looks great and provides improved accessibility to everyone.
Some of the approaches we’ve used to bring beauty to accessibility include:
The bathroom has always been one of our most private spaces, and there are many things we can do to maintain your independence without sacrificing style: matching your needs with your design preferences. We’ve installed wheelchair-friendly basins; full-height vanities so you don’t have to stoop to use the sink; taller commodes; no-lip, no-slip showers with built-in benches so you can bathe safely and comfortably; and decorative grab bars that are aesthetic instead of industrial.
We look at every step in your typical day and then factor that into the design. This gives us smart but uncommon features – such as moving the shower controls so you can adjust the temperature before you get in, or installing low profile transitions to make it easier to manoeuvre a wheelchair between rooms without help. A little planning today can provide a world of convenience – and accessibility – down the road.
When designing a renovation with accessibility in mind, it’s important to plan things to the smallest detail. Doors and hallways should be wide enough for wheelchairs and mobility devices to pass through easily, and doorknobs can be replaced by levers, making them more comfortable to open without sacrificing design. In the kitchen we can install D-shaped handles that are convenient, and pull-out work surfaces that are functional and stylish. Offsetting the drain on a countertop vanity makes it easier for a person in a wheelchair to use the sink, and planning straight runs for stairways makes adding a stair- or platform-lift much easier if and when it’s needed.
For clients with a multi-level home, a private elevator improves access to each level without forgoing style. Lifts can be retrofitted into an existing space, via a closet or unused room, or designed into a renovation, matching your taste and décor while improving access in your home.
There are many things that can be done to ensure your outdoor living space looks great with a minimum of maintenance, no matter the season. By choosing composite deck materials over cedar boards, you eliminate the need to repaint or re-stain every few years. The initial cost might be a bit higher, but the durability and ease of use are substantial. Choosing a concrete board product, like Hardie Trim, instead of traditional comb-face to finish your windows is another way to maintain a great look without much effort.
If you like to show off your holiday spirit, we can install permanent LED holiday lights that look good year-round and can be programmed by your smartphone. If the thought of climbing a ladder as an octogenarian is keeping you up at night, you can rest easy and decorate for the holidays with the flick of a switch.
A plan built on Universal Design helps you build in features you might not need today but may require down the road. Most of our Aging in Place renovations are for changes expected in 10 – 15 years, and in many cases, the features can be hidden until they’re needed. Grab bars are a common way to provide support in the bathroom for toileting or showering, so we install additional blocking to allow for a quick and easy installation of grab bars when you feel you need them – not before – and without retiling your bathroom.
We can plan spaces to allow for wheelchair access – entry ramps and wider corridors and doorways – when needed. We include this in the initial design to provide a cohesive, welcoming, and stylish look that fits your life, no matter what stage you’re at.
The goal of every renovation is to ensure the right balance between function and form, and this is true of Universal Design, too. Creating a space that accommodates everyone is what we do best, and we’re looking forward to helping you enjoy your home in Victoria for as long as possible.
While we often think of Universal Design for retirees and parents, it’s also a smart approach to ensure your home is accessible for people with developmental disabilities and special needs.
We’ve become the Island’s preferred team for Universal Design because we take a holistic approach that addresses your current and future needs, creating a plan that looks great today and makes it easier for you to enjoy your home in your golden years.
If you have questions or would like to know how your home can grow with you and your family, please contact us to learn more.
We looked at quite a few spots throughout the region to find our new home. Downtown Victoria has gorgeous office spaces, but lacked the parking we need for the team as well as our customers. Langford offers great value and plenty of room, but since we service all of the communities of Greater Victoria, we wanted something a bit more central. Finally, in March of 2017, we closed a deal on the Ranch at 5285 West Saanich Road Victoria, BC (where Prospect Lake Road meets West Saanich). It ticked all of our must-have boxes, and with a bit of work, we knew this could be the right place for the next few decades.
When it comes to real estate in Victoria, you’re usually faced with a tough choice: choose the perfect location and fix up the building to suit your needs, or accept your dream home regardless of its location. A flawless home in the ideal location is a bit of a unicorn. There were many things we loved about the Ranch, but after years of neglect – the building has been empty for the past four years – it was obvious that changes were needed to make this the right space for our team. We evicted the rats and racoons, rolled up our sleeves, and started the renovation process.
Like all renovations, we started this project with a plan. Our goal was to maintain the recognizable profile the community was already comfortable with, while incorporating advanced building techniques to help us be more energy efficient. We entered the details into our project planner, BuilderTrend, and developed a strategy to transform this space.
When renovating in Victoria, there’s a chance you’ll find a surprise or two during the process. We are experts in the Victoria renovation market, but we’re still surprised with what’s hidden behind the drywall. We’ve seen DIY electrical that’s one surge away from a sparky mishap; mystery pipes that have no beginning nor end; and hidden oil tanks threatening to leach their contents into the garden.
Due to the years of neglect, multiple renovations, and outdated approaches, we soon determined that it was smarter to tear down the old structure and rebuild on the previous footprint.
Energy efficiency is an important design consideration for renovations and new construction in Victoria, and we’ve planned our new building with this in mind. We’ve upgraded the existing heating system, insulated the concrete slab and walls, interior and exterior. We’ve installed energy-efficient windows and doors to minimize air changes and maximize our energy efficiency, and we’ve pre-planned for solar panels, so we can install them when the technology catches up to the installation best-practices for our region.
One of the new features we’re looking forward to sharing is our interior design and product selection room, where we’ll be showcasing a great selection of products and styles. We’re a design-build company, and soon you’ll be able to stop in to see and feel the materials to get a solid idea of what it could look like in your space.
MAC Renovations has been an active part of the Greater Victoria community for thirty-seven years, and while we’ve moved to a new community, our commitment to helping our neighbours hasn’t changed. We’ve designed our new space to fit in perfectly with the residences and businesses nearby, and we’ll continue to donate our talent and financial support to the local causes we believe in. We support local sports teams, we’re members of the associations that keep your homes safe and secure, and we’re proud supporters of Habitat for Humanity and ReStore.
We’ll be holding an open house to officially meet our new neighbours in late spring or early summer – once we’ve had a chance to get everyone moved in and adjusted to the new space.
We’d love to hear your stories about the Ranch – did you have your first date here when it was the Roadhouse Bar and Grill, or maybe you worked in the kitchen when it was El Rancho? Whatever your connection with the Ranch’s interesting history, we’d love to hear about it. Visit our Facebook page and tell us your story.