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preparing for a home reo in Victoria -= MAC Renovations

A home renovation in Victoria is an exciting event that involves your whole family. Whether you’re in the ‘just thinking about it’ stage or in the middle of planning your renovation, there are a few things you can do to ensure you and your family minimize the disruption to your life during your home renovation.

Choose a professional

When it comes to home renovations for homeowners in Victoria, choosing a professional remodeller is one of the most important parts of the process. You want a team who can work with you to design the home of your dreams; explain what needs to be done and how it can be accomplished; oversee all aspects of the project, including the permits, sub-contractors, and appropriate insurances; and have a reputation for doing it right the first time. Fortunately, we know the right crew for you and your project.

Set expectations

Being realistic about your renovation will help you make it through to the other side a bit easier. While your home will look amazing after the renovation is completed, the construction phase will have a variety of crews working on your property and in your home. We work with your neighbours to minimize parking and noise issues, but it’s best that everyone involved understands that life at home will require some temporary concessions. If everyone is aware that tensions might be higher when routines are disrupted, it’s easier to appreciate that you’re in this together, and the end result will be worth the minor inconveniences.

Should I stay or should I go?

Depending on the scale of your renovation, you may want to consider alternate accommodations. While this isn’t an option for everyone, the ability to stay off-site during your renovation might be a more enjoyable experience. Plan a vacation or rent a smaller home for the duration of the renovation. Take an extended camping trip or stay with friends or family. By using smart tools, such as BuilderTrend, you can stay connected to what’s happening on your project, even if you’re not in the same hemisphere. 

Proper Planning

Kitchen Renovation - VIctoria BC - MAC RenovationsIf you’re doing a kitchen renovation, you’ll want to plan for no-cook meals or meals you can whip up in the backyard BBQ. While this is reasonable in the summer months, it might be problematic during the wetter months we have here in Victoria. Take-out every night sounds exciting, but the novelty wears off and the cost adds up quickly. Meal planning and cooking in separate facilities will make it easier and more enjoyable. We’ve had some families do their cooking in their RV: basically camping, but in their own yard, with better WiFi.

While you probably weren’t surprised by the need to plan your meals, another room that will require coordination is the bathroom. If you plan to stay in your home during the renovation, you’ll probably want to schedule your showers and bathroom needs appropriately. You might be down to just one bathroom, and depending on the size of your family, this will require a coordinated scheduled to keep everyone on time.

Pack it Up

Your project manager will tell you this multiple times during the planning stages, but it’s imperative that the space we’re renovating be as empty as possible. If it isn’t, we’ll end up moving it multiple times, which will slow the renovation process to a crawl and isn’t an efficient use of your budget.

Preparing for a home renovation in Victoria BC | MAC Renovations ltd.While we do everything we can to minimize the amount of dust and particulates during the renovation, including extensive protective plastic sheeting, building dust-walls and negative air units, when needed, and floor protection in the rooms we’re walking through or working in, it’s best if you pack everything but the essentials. If possible, move it to a secure storage area. This will give the demolition and renovation crews room to work while helping you and your family feel a little less crowded in your home.

Many of our clients will have a moving crew come in and box everything up so it’s all safely stored and out of the way. 

 

It sounds like a lot of work, but a bit of preparation, planning, and communication will go a long way to ensure your renovation is on time and on budget. In a short while, you’ll be looking back at the renovation as a minor blip in the creation of the home of your dreams for you and your family.

When you’re ready to make your home perfect, contact us to see how we can help.

Ageing-in-place renovation in Victoria BC

Challenge: create separate living areas for a mom and daughter while maintaining the original look and feel of a 1960s home in the Gordon Head community of Victoria, BC.

Ageing-in-place addition home renovation in VictoriaOne of the reasons homeowners in Victoria choose to renovate their home instead of buying something different is the relationship they’ve built with their house. There’s a story behind every nick in the wall, layer of paint, and that loose floorboard that seems to creak louder when you’re trying to be quiet. Instead of buying a new home in a different location, it’s often easier, better, and more cost-effective to improve the space you already love.

Local homeowner Phyllis contracted MAC Renovations to update her split-level home, built in the 60s near the university, to provide separate living spaces for her and her daughter. 

“When my husband passed away, I was faced with the decision to downsize into a condo or update my home,” said Phyllis. “I had a lot of sweat equity in this property, so I chose to stay here with a few changes to give us more living space and ageing-in-place options for when I need them. I contacted a local designer to start the process, and she explained that we needed a team like MAC Renovations.”

The Plan

homeowners and home renovations in victoria, bc

Hands-on homeowners!

“My daughter and I had discussed this project for quite some time, and we even made some full-scale drawings. The goal was to have a home with separate living spaces—we both enjoy our independence—with a shared kitchen and living room. The MAC Renovations team took our drawings and improved them. They made the hallways slightly larger to accommodate a wheelchair and redesigned the bathroom to include hidden supports for safety bars in the future, and a roll-in shower. It turned out that this would make my life much easier sooner than expected, as I had knee replacement surgery when the reno ended and then again just a few months ago. Mobility has been my focus for the past six months, and this renovation made it easy to cope with that.”

Jason Marsh, a MAC Renovations project manager, said, “Phyllis is a wonderful lady; very on top of the project and not afraid to share her thoughts. When we discussed the long-term use of the home, Phyllis said she realizes she’s not going to be there forever and wanted a way for her daughter to keep using the space after she was gone. We designed the addition so the space could generate income as a rentable suite, if needed.”  

Gordon Head ageing-in-place addition Victoria, BC

The Team

Building an addition requires substantial coordination between multiple sub-trades. “It takes a variety of professionals to complete a project at this scale effectively,” explained Jason. “Our crew took care of the structure, and we had local teams come in to install a new furnace and ducting, an on-demand gas water heater and gas fireplace, new oak flooring to tie into the existing, and in-floor heating for the lower level. Elevated Electric took care of the wiring, and Fineline Stucco gave us great surfaces to work with. A secondary project was taken care of by Authentic Landscape Design and Construction: building a raised patio for Phyllis to enjoy her new garden space.” 

“As this is a split-level home, we knew that connecting everything for the three floors would be challenging, but the original homebuilder had built a wall cavity that made it possible to run the ducting, plumbing, gas lines, and electrical where we needed it,” said Jason. “The team at Accutemp came up with a creative ducting solution to service each floor, and Decora made adding in-floor heating on top of a concrete slab look easy. As well, they did a great job with the roll-in shower, despite the walls being out of plumb.”   

forming the foundation - home renovation in Victoria BC“The MAC employees were fabulous. They showed up when they said they would, they cleaned up at the end of the day, and they were always easy to get along with,” said Phyllis. “The most I’d done on the house before was painting and small upgrades, so I had no idea about what to look for in terms of materials and design. MAC made suggestions that I followed up on, and I am extremely pleased with their recommendations. For every single aspect of the renovation: painting, plumbing, heating, windows, and all of the crews required to make it work, they were all simply terrific.”

“Another thing that I — and my neighbours — appreciated: MAC informed everyone on our street as to when they would be starting, what time of day they’d be working, and whom to call if there were any problems. Many of my neighbours stopped by to see the project take shape, and I know some of them contacted MAC for their own projects.”

The Results

With the majority of the renovations we do in Victoria, there’s usually a dramatic difference between the start and finish, but the goal for Phyllis’ project was to seamlessly bring more space to her home while maintaining its original look. 

“I’m really happy with this project. We managed to match everything—making a new addition look like it was part of the original home when it was built in the 60s,” said Jason.

Ageing-in-place renovation in Victoria, BC

When asked about her experience working with MAC Renovations, Phyllis shared: “The MAC team is busy and definitely in-demand, but they haven’t grown away from the family-business feel. The way they conduct their business is excellent.” 

We get many compliments for the work we do for families in Greater Victoria, but what Phyllis shared is one of the best. We’re hoping that Phyllis and her daughter enjoy their new space for many, many years.  

Contact us to find out how you can build more usable space into your home.

 

MAC Renovations - energy efficient upgrades for homes in Victoria

Updating your kitchen, building an addition, or converting your basement into a suite are upgrades you can see immediately, and typically appreciate from the moment we finish your renovation, but there are improvements that aren’t as apparent, yet provide substantial value to you and your family every day.

We’ve already shared information about home renovation rebates from companies like BC Hydro and FortisBC, featuring financial incentives to install energy-efficient solutions for homeowners in Victoria and throughout the province. In this article, we go a bit deeper, sharing some of the available upgrades that are easier when done during a renovation.    

Set a baseline

Before planning for any changes to your home’s energy efficiency, it’s important to have a starting point so you can measure the difference made through your renovations. Also, if you’re planning to take advantage of the available rebates, most of them require an energy evaluation, where an energy coach will measure the actual difference made by the upgrades you’ve chosen. Check out CleanBC for information available rebates and Free Energy Coaching Services.

Upgrade Your Windows

Windows are typically the first thing you think of when looking at energy efficiencies in your home. It’s not uncommon to feel a draft around older windows, and this could be from the way they were installed or due to the windows themselves. New tools and best practices eliminate the drafts and cold spaces while providing more flexibility for your home.

Mark Fyffe from VinylTek explains that windows have come a long way from the aluminum-framed, double-glazed windows of the 1980s. “Today’s windows provide a much higher NAFS-rating, which means they are rated for their performance, such as positive and negative air pressure, water penetration, and air infiltration. Good windows are an important part of your thermal envelope: they help you save on your heating and cooling costs, and they improve the view of and from your home.”

“There are a number of rebates available for new windows, and in most cases, they require the application of a specific coating to ensure they meet – or exceed – the required standards,” explained Mark. “With the current rebates, you get a more efficient window for about the same price, which creates better savings on tomorrow’s energy bills.”

Light Up Your World

Lighting is another opportunity to improve energy efficiency in your home. LED lights are an easy conversion, but there are other features that can be built into the design to improve usability and minimize energy consumption. “Installing dimmers gives you the flexibility to adjust your lighting to the level that works best for you, which saves energy, even with the low-wattage LED lights available,” explained Mike McDougall from McLaren Lighting. “Along with dimmers in my house, I have sensors on the lights in my laundry room, so when I walk in or out with a basket of clothes, I don’t have to stop to turn the lights on or off.”

“We’re also seeing a lot of people build in control systems, saving energy by having more control over the lighting in their home. With smart home automation options, such as geofencing, you can have your lights the way you want them, turning on or off as you enter or leave your property, and randomly coming on when you’re on vacation to prevent your home from looking unoccupied.”

Better Insulation For Climate Control

For homes built before 1960 in Victoria, there’s a good chance that the walls were not insulated when the home was built, and up until the early 70s, the insulation required was minimal. 

Corey Mealings, from Knights Insulation, explains, “the thermal envelope around your home is like a balloon – if there’s a hole in it, the air will leak out, and you have to work considerably harder to keep it inflated. Insulation plays a big part in keeping that thermal envelope intact, making it easier to keep the air in your home at the right temperature.”

“Insulation has a history of being an afterthought in the building process – only 20% of homes built before 1980 are considered ‘well-insulated’ – but it’s one of those components that just keeps giving back, long after the initial investment. Whether you go with blown-in cellulose, fibreglass batts, or sprayed in foam, you’ll save energy and have a more comfortable living space.”

Better Thermostats

Micro-managing the temperature in your home is not fun, especially if you have multiple people with different climate preferences. Fortunately, there are smart controllers now that can be used to ensure your home is at the right temperature when everyone is home, while conserving energy when they’re not. Today’s advanced controllers have the ability to learn your heating and cooling habits, and use that with other data, such as the current and predicted weather conditions, then use magical algorithms to determine the stages required to bring your home to the right temperature efficiently.

If you have a heat pump in your home, you’ve probably been told to set it and forget it: it usually takes longer for the internal temperature to reach the preferred level or it might trigger the auxiliary heat, resulting in more energy consumption. With the newer thermostats, they’re able to accommodate for this and offer configurations to give you the best balance of energy savings and comfort in your home.

Smart Appliances

Smart appliances sound amazing: getting a beep from your freezer because “someone” left the door open, again, or never making another wasted trip to the laundry room to see if the washer or dryer is done because they send a message to your phone when the cycle is complete. Self-cleaning ovens are nice, but how great would it be to have a self-cooking oven? And anyone who’s done the sock-swipe after accidentally overfilling their water glass at the fridge will be glad to know there’s a unit that will sense the size of your glass and automagically turn off the water when it’s full. All of these features are available, from one brand or another, for home appliances, and while there might be some energy efficiencies – especially with fridge and freezer doors that are left open – most of them are still in the ‘nicetohave’ stage. But, the future is friendly, and as standards are established we’ll see devices that can control multiple appliances, actually saving energy and ensuring dry socks at all times.

Generate Your Own Power

While not technically energy saving, there are options to generate your own power. Solar and wind power generation is getting closer to being viable for homeowners. The technology might not be ready yet, but you can prepare for it by prewiring for external power sources during your renovation. We’ve done this at The Ranch so that when solar is a practical option, we can mount the panels and connect them to the wiring we installed when we built our HQ. Adding new lines during the renovation is far more affordable than adding them after, so if you’re looking at updating your home, consider the future options as well. It could be well worth it.

Designed for Energy Efficiency

As a full-service remodeler, we can incorporate energy efficiency upgrades into your new design: choosing the right spot for new lighting, adding windows to bring in more natural light, and configuring control systems that give you the ability to automate your home. Since we’re changing the walls, spray foam can be added easily and new wiring can be put in to accommodate smart thermostats. By considering these aspects during the design phase, we can maximize flexibility and minimize the installation costs – it’s far easier to do when we’re already in there.

If you’re interested in conserving energy, our design team can help you find the right solutions to fit your home and lifestyle. Give us a call to find out what we can do during your renovation to reduce your carbon footprint, prepare for the future, and help you enjoy your home for as long as you want. 

Challenge: Create an accessible, beautiful basement suite in a 1940s bungalow in the Gorge area of Victoria, BC

If the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a basement suite is a dark, dingy, and spider-filled cavern, decorated with a tube TV and a gaudy flower print camouflaging a couch that someone found on the side of the road, you’ll be happy to know it doesn’t have to be like that. We recently finished a renovation for a homeowner here in Victoria, converting his basement storage space into a sweet suite.  

When we design a renovation in Victoria, our goal is to provide the homeowner with options. When David contacted us to convert his Tillicum-area basement into a secondary suite, we designed a space that could be rented today; provide him with a wheelchair-accessible living space should he need it; serve as an on-site residence for a future caregiver; and down the road, provide his wife with a rental option if he’s no longer here. 

“My wife worked with a colleague who used and recommended MAC Renovations,” shared David. “Being a retired project manager in another field, I initially wanted to be the general contractor myself. In hindsight, and after working with the MAC team who were on site every day, the renovation would not have gone as well as it did.”

The Plan

“I wanted to highlight the architectural features of my home, such as the vintage post and beams and brick chimney, and the MAC Renovations team was able to make that happen while creating an extremely bright and beautiful suite,” said David.

The original basement was one you’ve likely seen in many homes in Victoria: faded wood-veneer wall panelling, chipped floor tiles, and overhead fluorescent lighting with acoustic ceiling tiles. Surface-mounted wires and junction boxes adorned the exposed beams, while dark brown switches decorated the door frames. We were excited to change this dated layout into something David and his wife could love today and in the future. 

Height is often a challenge for basement suites in Victoria, so the first thing we looked at was the available space. The existing basement had sufficient headroom, meeting the provincial code except under one beam, which dropped the space to 6’5”. The beam was structurally important, so we couldn’t remove it, but because David is in a wheelchair, the City of Saanich approved the variance. 

Homes and renovations completed before 1990 are always a candidate for asbestos, and David’s home was no exception. Fortunately, it was only the mortar around the chimney that had asbestos in it, and David was able to have this taken care of before we began. 

A common concern with basement suites is the transfer of noise from the upstairs to the suite. To minimize this, we opted for fibreglass insulation between the joists with resilient channels isolating the drywall from the structure. The results were impressive. “I stopped in early one morning to check on something, trying to be quiet so I didn’t wake David and his wife if they were sleeping,” said Derek Breen, MAC Renovations’ project manager. “I got a text from David later that morning, asking if I was mad at him because I didn’t respond to him. He’d been yelling down to me from the main floor, but due to the soundproofing, I hadn’t heard him at all – so we’re quite happy about that, as will anyone living in the suite.”

David was available throughout the project, providing quick answers to our questions and ensuring we were meeting his high standards, and we made good use of BuilderTrend, the project management software we use to track everything about a project. 

The Team

The basement renovation required multiple sub-trades and specialty crews, all managed and coordinated by MAC Renovations. “We had a fantastic team of professionals on this project,” said Derek. “Everyone working together to build this space for David and his wife.” 

Our internal crew of carpenters did an excellent job of framing everything up, building the walls and room structure to comply with the City of Saanich’s requirements. We added additional blocking in the ceiling to accommodate an overhead hoist that can be added in the future to help David access whatever he needs in the basement from his wheelchair. 

We’ve built strong relationships with local tradespeople, and they provide phenomenal value to every project. Gord Wade of Phil Ballam Plumbing came to the rescue to solve a substantial plumbing problem and to help us through some challenging inspections. “Gord was definitely one of the stars of this show,” said Derek, “bringing his trademark blend of easy-going expertise — he’s always a pleasure to work with and an excellent problem solver for all things plumbing related.”

In the bathroom, Mark Tebbut installed a transition-less, custom-finished concrete floor, so David can easily wheel into the shower without assistance.

We designed a little patio and private courtyard, just for the suite. McDonald Cement Finishing took care of the stamped concrete, with new front steps and a coloured-concrete patio.

Natural lighting is often a challenge in basement suites, and to overcome this we turned to the team at Thermoproof Windows, who delivered quality vinyl windows to let the sunshine in on this project. These sealed-unit vinyl windows helped bring a sharp look to the project, and contribute to the unit’s energy-saving ability.

The kitchen cabinetry was supplied by Pacific Rim Interiors, bringing an impressive level of quality to this essential space.

The Results

Our goal for this project was to make a basement suite as warm and inviting as the main floor of a home – and we did it. 

The new space looks amazing, with a u-shaped kitchen showcasing two-tone cabinets – a rich chestnut for the upper cabinets and a bright white on the lower, with stainless appliances and plenty of workspace on the new countertops, even for someone in a wheelchair. The new windows bring in a ton of natural lighting, and the slide-in range has controls on the front, making it easier for David to access them. The temperature controls on the commercial-style faucet are easy to grasp: a great feature for people with diminished motor control.  

Basement suites often seem to have a persistent chill, so we went with Dri-core panels and plywood, raising the finished floor off the cold concrete surface; a great solution to mitigate occasional subgrade moisture. Vinyl plank flooring was glued in place, perfectly matching the new cabinets and really tying the room together. 

“This renovation project has given us peace of mind that when I need full-time care, they’ll be nearby to assist me, living in a bright, beautiful, quiet, and well-insulated, self-contained suite,” shared David. 

If you’d like to make your basement a useful space to be proud of, give us a call to find out how we can make it happen. 

Future electrician for the Elevated Electric team?

Every year, we host a summer BBQ to thank our contractors and in-house team members, and their families, for the hard work and dedication they bring to every project. The BBQ is always a ton of fun, and this year was no different. We saw some new faces (some were new contractors, others were brand-new babies!) and old friends. A gaggle of dogs kept the energy up, and we couldn’t have picked better weather – the heat was just right thanks to the slight breeze, even if it meant a bit of searching for wayward frisbees.

Big thanks to Chef John and his team at Moonlight Catering for preparing a tasty meal served by friendly and attentive staff – it’s always a pleasure to work with professionals who clearly enjoy their craft. “One of the things we really love about having the BBQ catered,” said Ed McDonald, “is that it lets us get away from the grill and visit with everyone. Moonlight makes this event delicious and fun.”

Cornhole!

You may have noticed the fancy, regulation-sized cornhole (aka: bean bag toss) boards that were set up for everyone. Ed worked with the MAC carpentry team to build the boards to the American Cornhole Association’s standards, then he varnished them up, picked up some regulation-weight beanbags, and set the boards up at the legal distance. From the way everyone was playing, we might have some serious contenders for a cornhole tournament – maybe next year!

Thank you again to all of the professionals – and their spouses – for helping us make amazing homes for families throughout Victoria. We couldn’t do this without you.

Fun for everyone

Choosing a general contractor in Victoria BC

Whether you’re frustrated by lineups for the bathroom or a lack of entertainment space, or you’re embarrassed by your 1970s kitchen, you’ve probably considered moving to a larger home. But instead of moving – leaving the neighbourhood you love – you should look at renovating to get the space you need in the home you already have. 

Who will do the work?

MAC Renovations general contracting in Victoria, BCWhen it comes to home renovations in Victoria, whether it’s upgrading a kitchen, reconstructing a bathroom, or building an addition to find the space you need, there are options: Do It Yourself, act as your own project manager, or hire a General Contractor to oversee the project. 

No matter how handy you are, DIY tends to be the least appealing. You likely have a full-time job that requires your focus, and while the HGTV design shows make it look easy, they don’t show the whole crew taking care of everything behind the scenes in each 30-minute episode. Another issue with DIY is that you’ll notice every miss-cut and patch job every time you’re in that part of your home. Not because it was a shoddy repair, but because you’ll know what and why it happened. 

You can be your own project manager, coordinating the businesses, sourcing the materials, and ensuring that the crews are working together, completing everything on time, safely, and to the level of quality that you expect – and paid for. You’ll also get to experience the joy of coordinating sub-trades, ensuring everyone knows when they’re supposed to be on site, and that they have appropriate and sufficient insurance so you’re not on the hook should an accident happen. 

A General Contractor drives your projects and provides a single point of accountability. They vet the sub-trades, ensuring they’re professionals with WorkSafe, carry liability insurance, and that they know how to act on your job site. As well, the general contractor is your primary contact, so you have one person in charge who knows what’s happening, when it’s happening, and who will make it happen.

What is a General Contractor?

General contracting experts in Victoria, BC“The main reason to choose a General Contractor for your home renovation is trust,” explained Jason March, Project Manager at MAC Renovation. “With a General Contractor, like MAC Renovations, you have a team with over 35 years of experience renovating homes in Victoria; building relationships with clients and subcontractors and earning a reputation for excellence. When we take on a project, you have a team dedicated to your success.” 

“On any given project, you could have between 5-20 subcontractors working on your home,” explained Jason. “The General Contractor manages the subs to ensure everyone is on-site when they should be, on budget throughout the project, and doing their part to ensure everything is completed to the expected level of excellence.”

Sub-trades

Depending on your renovation project, you’ll probably have some or all of these trades working on your home:

Electricians – moving outlets, installing new fixtures, upgrading wiring (believe it or not, we’re still finding knob-and-tube wiring here in Victoria) and panels, and wiring in new circuits.

Plumbers – if there’s water, there’s a plumbing crew. These folks could be installing new lines, relocating pipes, upgrading connections, or installing new equipment, such as on-demand water heaters or in-floor radiant heating. 

Carpenters – there are few jobs that don’t require a carpenter – whether they’re there for framing up new walls or adding the finishing touches to custom built-ins. 

Concrete experts – These professionals might install new foundations, asphalt driveways, or custom tops for your bathroom, kitchen, our laundry room. 

Masons and Tile Setters – if you’re planning on having any stone or tile work done, you’ll want an experienced mason or tile setter to do it right. Whether it’s new backsplashes in the kitchen, ornate tiling in the new shower, or a stone wall to give your garden privacy and natural beauty, these pros are great with a trowel. 

Roofers and Sheet Metal workers – if you’re expanding your footprint, you’re going to need a new roof and a crew with the ability to tie the new roof to the existing. As well, many of our clients choose to upgrade their roof when they do a home renovation, ensuring their investment is well protected for the next few decades.

Flooring professionals – with the variety of flooring choices available, it’s important to have the right professional complete this essential part of the project. This subcontractor might be needed to install new flooring, repair existing, or bring new detail to complement your new look. 

“And this is just a quick list of the types of subcontractors who might work on your project,” said Jason. “Depending on what we’re renovating, we might bring in cabinetmakers, countertop installers, painters, paperhangers, landscapers, and other skilled professionals we trust to do your project the way it should be done.”

The Power of One

MAC Renovations - Victoria's trusted renovation teamOur clients tell us that when they’re looking back after their renovation, one of the things they liked most about working with a General Contractor was the single point of accountability. If there were any questions, they had someone to call and get an answer quickly. And by using BuilderTrend, they could see the schedule and check the progress pics, right from their tablet, cell, or computer. 

A home for your lifestyle

So why should you choose a General Contractor for your home renovation in Victoria? Because you want it finished on time and on budget, with the confidence that everything is safe, secure, and done right so you and your family can enjoy your space for as long as you want.

Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - MAC Renovations Victoria

Check out the work MAC Renovations has done for families in Victoria, and give us a call to find out what we can do for you and your home. 

Kitchen Renovation experts in Victoria, BC

The original kitchen in this modern home was nice, but a bit cramped and dark. To provide the owners with a comfortable space, we removed a secondary pantry and bumped the exterior wall by 2’, for a full U-shaped kitchen and larger island with a workspace and plenty of storage.

To take advantage of the stunning views, we added a window to the short side of the bump-out and moved the French doors to the existing bay. The new space gives a full 48” between countertops, allowing multiple chefs to work in the proper triangle, and by relocating the fridge the family can get what they need without bothering the chef.

If you’d like to see what we can do for your kitchen, give us a call.

While we’ve earned a reputation for doing amazing work inside your home, we’re also pretty talented when it comes to improving your curb appeal and access to your outdoor spaces. In this update, we’ve removed the tired and faded wooden staircase and replaced it with a low-maintenance metal solution with glass panels to create an unobstructed view of the yard. Loving the look of that paver landing, too.


Enjoying the Great Outdoors

The before and after pic for this outdoor living space is quite dramatic, and the new space gives this family an excellent vantage point to enjoy their gorgeous yard, no matter what the weather is. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sanctuary

And this little balcony gives a private space to rest and watch the world go by – imagine sitting here with a cold drink on a hot day, with nothing to do and all day to do it. 

 

fireplace before and after

stairs - before and after

When it comes to kitchen, bathroom, and whole-home renovations in Victoria, we’re awfully proud of the work we do, and we love to share the before-after pics. But what we don’t often share are the smaller features, like the updated fireplaces and staircases, that are in your home but don’t play a starring role. As a full-service remodeler, we make sure to incorporate them into the redesign to achieve the look you’re going for.

This fireplace and these stairs are part of an award-winning kitchen renovation we did a little while ago. 

fireplace before and after

 

Kitchen Renovation Experts - MAC Renovations Victoria

This client wanted to make their home feel friendlier: chasing away the shadows in this gorgeous character home while maintaining the existing footprint and preserving the home’s heritage.

As the family loves to cook and bake, we designed the space to be open and accessible. We relocated appliances, removed a closet and partition wall, and eliminated barriers between the kitchen and dining room. Two farmhouse sinks were installed, and a massive dual-purpose island is perfect for working or entertaining. New cabinets offer plenty of storage space, and the laundry was relocated to the basement and finished to match the kitchen.

Inspiration for your ideabook to create the perfect outdoor living space and take full advantage of our west coast, best coast lifestyle.

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We’re excited to share that we recently won an environmental award from the City of Saanich for the sustainable building practices we used in our new headquarters, The Ranch

Our new location was designed and constructed to meet the level Step 4 requirements – part of the BC building code to create net-zero energy-ready buildings. We built The Ranch with an enclosure-first approach: featuring better insulation, improved airtightness, and optimized solar shading. We have a high-efficiency HVAC system, a 50-year metal roof, and energy-efficient windows. An exterior air barrier, made by SIGA, creates a tighter building seal, resulting in fewer air exchanges and lowered heating and cooling requirements, and the highly efficient heat pump system provides a comfortable environment with minimal energy use. We chose North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS) -rated doors, even though they’re not required in a commercial space, to further improve our building envelope.

The design and building techniques that went into this property changed it from a building that was proven to be cost-prohibitive to operate and maintain, resulting in the failure of several businesses, to a safe, comfortable, high-performance building to house our company for many years to come.

If you’d like to know how we can help you build an energy-efficient home or office, give us a call

 

Many of the homes in Victoria have hidden nooks and crannies that too often become home to the unused and unwanted, but with some design savvy and an open mind, we can make them beautiful and functional. An excellent example is the laundry room we added to this open and empty spot under the stairs. The new space is practical, with plenty of counter area to make doing the laundry a little less onerous, and the bright white cabinetry, gold accents, and whimsical backsplash make the space simply gorgeous. 

Before - After- adding a space for laundry - MAC Renovations

Really proud of the difference we made in this project, opening up this condo to bring in the light and ignite conversations. 

To create a feeling of openness in this modest apartment with an awkward layout, we relocated the existing fireplace, which allowed for a kitchen island to bring dinner guests into the conversation, and by rearranging the layout we were able to create a functional working triangle.

Choosing a large wall oven with a separate gas cooktop allowed for additional storage on the island, and moving the dining room to a spare room provided a formal dining space for the homeowners while freeing up space for a much-needed pantry in the previous eating area.

The original floor plan for this family bathroom featured a separate water closet, a small shower and a large built-in tub. To update the look and meet the needs of the new family, we removed the privacy wall, swapped the location of the toilet and shower, and installed a free-standing tub to complete the open concept in this space.

 

Accessibility and ageing-in-place design concepts were baked into this bathroom renovation. By removing a privacy wall between the toilet and vanity, we were able to find the space to offer a his-and-hers experience, divided by upper cabinetry that offers additional storage within easy reach.

 

From dark and drab to light and bright, this updated kitchen won a VIBE award for Best Single Family Kitchen Renovation over $75,000.

 

At MAC Renovations, we’re pretty big on building effective teams, with everyone working together towards a common goal. After a conversation with Matt Atkinson, defenseman on the Shamrocks Tier 1 Junior B roster, we knew that sponsoring him was the right thing to do: not only to support him on his journey of becoming a professional athlete but also to recognize his understanding of the power of team.

“This is my sixth year of lacrosse,” shared Matt. “I love playing on the Shamrocks because it’s a really good group of guys playing great lacrosse. We’re competitive and we push each other, and I think that’s the key to success in all team sports.”

MAC proudly supports a variety of different teams and players. “We’ve sponsored local kids in football, baseball, hockey, and basketball,” said Blaise McDonald, owner and operations manager at MAC Renovations. “It’s not just about giving back to the community – it’s about making sure the next generation understands the importance of working on a team, where everyone contributes to the goal.”

The MAC sponsorship will help Matt focus on his development in the Shamrocks program. “I’m hoping to be one of the pros in lacrosse, playing in the National Lacrosse League and helping to build support for the sport,” said Matt. “The guys I follow, they’re not necessarily the best in the game, but they are the guys working hard with camps for kids. Giving back to the community is a big thing for me, and I’m looking forward to sharing my love for lacrosse with future athletes across the country. I’m really grateful to MAC Renovations for helping me stay in the game.”

We love Matt’s passion for the game, raw talent, and abundance of team spirit. His star is clearly rising, and we’re happy to be part of his success.

Come out and cheer for Matt Atkinson – #5 – at an upcoming Shamrocks game at the Q Centre in the Westshore.  

Different by Design - home renovation

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a designer or project manager for one of Victoria’s leading renovation teams? We’ve connected with a few of the professionals at MAC Renovations to find out what a typical day is like for them – it’s a tad more complex than what you see in the one-episode renovations on HGTV.

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As a full-service remodelling team in Victoria, BC, we use the best tools, technology, and talent available to make each project perfect. Whether we’re designing a home renovation to add more space for your family, or we’re updating your home to help you enjoy it for as long as you want, it’s our people who make it possible to turn your dream into a reality.

Over the next few months, we’ll feature some of the professionals who take your home renovation project from concept to completion, starting with the pros on our construction team.

Meet the MAC team

What does a typical day look like for a carpenter at MAC Renovations?

Shawn Jacobson, Production Manager

 “With renovations, our construction crew can expect to see a wide variety of tasks and challenges throughout the week,” explained Shawn Jacobson, MAC Renovations production manager and Red Seal carpenter. “Renovations are a different platform than new-build; we regularly find houses that are out of level, spaces that were built to a different – or non-existent – code, including poorly executed DIY projects buried under layers of drywall and old flooring. Our crew has to be able to follow a plan, but they also need to think on their feet to come up with a long-term solution to seamlessly marry the old to the new.”

Adrian Winter, Red Seal carpenter and lead carpenter at MAC, shared, “with home renovations, we often encounter unique engineering challenges that require creative solutions. On a recent project to lift a house, we were separating the chimney from the foundation when a portion of the basement collapsed unevenly. To give it the support it needed, we built a form and poured concrete through the chimney from the second-floor fireplace. There was no other way to get the concrete in there, and this gave us the ability to place beams and columns underneath so we could continue with the lift. Not a typical carpentry technique, but a fun one to figure out.”

What kind of training does MAC offer its carpenters?

Blaise McDonald, Owner/Operations Manager

Blaise McDonald, Owner and Operations Manager, said, “we have a fantastic employee education program and have made a serious commitment to investing in the development of our people. We offer a $1000 training allowance to every employee, per year, to help them develop their skills and further their career. We also pay the tuition for our apprentices, with the time they work applied towards their apprenticeship hours.”

What kind of career path can a carpenter or framer expect with MAC?

Shawn said, “many of our guys have come in green, and we’ve helped them learn to work in and around a job site. They learn the critical importance of clean up and safety, then start being trained to work with the tools in a supervised environment. As they build their experience and demonstrate initiative and competency, they’re assigned more responsibility.”

“If someone on our team comes to us with a training opportunity relevant to the business, we do our best to make that happen,” explained Blaise. “We’ve sent team members through leadership courses, time management seminars, and project management programs where they earn credentials and develop skills and knowledge that improve our ability to serve the homeowners of Victoria.”

How does MAC promote a safe working environment?

“On every jobsite, every person can tell you where the Red Book is – it’s a binder that has everything we need to know about that specific project,” said Shawn. “It covers the scope and the materials being used, as well as the safety aspects: where the shut offs are for water and gas, where the electrical panel is, how to control the alarm, and a hazardous assessment checklist. And on the back of the main door, there’s another document that provides contact numbers and the fastest route to the nearest hospital.”

How is MAC different than other renovation companies in Victoria?

“One of the things that makes us successful is that we have formalized policies and procedures,” said Shawn. “We’re not shooting from the hip – there’s an established way to do things, and this helps us be efficient with time and resources and consistently provide high-quality renovations. With everything written down, our teams know exactly what we expect from them and what they can expect from us. That’s just one thing that has made us Victoria’s leader in residential renovations.”

Whether we’re updating a bathroom or replacing kitchen cabinets, or completing an entire home remodel, when it comes to home renovation there are many aspects that need to be effectively aligned to ensure your project is completed on time, on budget, and to the level of quality you expect from Victoria’s most trusted renovation team. And we keep you connected throughout the process with smart solutions, such as Buildertrend.

Our team of professionals have the experience, education, and creativity to do it well and do it right, bringing you the home you’ve always wanted.

Give us a call to find out how we can help you.

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.

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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.

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MAC makes it easy

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.

Designing for efficiency

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.  

Top ups

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.

Home Renovation Tax Credit for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities

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:

  • Improve access to your home or property
  • Improve mobility within your home or land
  • Reduce risk of harm on your home or land

The Government of BC website provides a good description of the types of renovations that qualify, as well as those that don’t.

Performance-based results

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.

Eligibility

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.

MAC handles the paperwork

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.

Creating an efficient space is important to us, whether we’re building it to help you age in place or creating a spectacular design that takes your breath away every time you see it.

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:

BC Hydro home renovation rebates

Visit the BC Hydro savings and rebates page for their current offers.

 

FortisBC home renovation rebates

 

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.

2017 VIBE Award Winners – MAC Renovations

What is a VIBE award?

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.

A Team of Professionals

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.

Finalists

For the 2018 VIBE awards, we are finalists in the following categories:

  1. Renovator of the Year
  2. Best Residential Renovation $200,000 – $300,000
  3. Best Residential Renovation $300,000 and over
  4. Best Single-Family Kitchen Reno under $75,000
  5. Best Single-Family Kitchen Renovation Over $75,000
  6. Best Single-Family Bathroom Renovation Over $30,000

Victoria’s Renovator of the Year

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.

Sight of Relaxation

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.

 

 

 

 

Vintage Country Charm

Last year, we were invited to update a cute home in Saanich for a busy, energetic family. They’d outgrown the original space and needed a modern look with a more efficient layout.

“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.

Inspiration

“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.”  

Design

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.”

Budget

“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.”

The MAC Renovation Design process

1.      Initial consultation

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.

2.      Develop a colour palette and material list

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.

3.      Draft preliminary space plans and scope of work

This stage is where we put our measurements to work, so the carpenters and tradespeople will know what needs to be done.

4.      Refine final drawings, material specifications

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.

5.      Shopping

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.

6.      Devise a work schedule

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.

7.      Inspect and review the work in progress

We will be on site regularly, checking in with the construction crew and answering any questions they might have about your build.

8.      Final reveal

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.

Join us for the grand opening of The Ranch – our new location on West Saanich Road – to meet the talented team behind MAC Renovations. Follow us on Facebook to be invited to our upcoming open house.

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.

Working with the MAC Team

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.

Perfection through Processes

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.

Local Partnerships

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

Windsor plywood and Thermoproof – Quality doors offer an invitation to your home while delivering security and privacy

 

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.

 

Remodeling for Retirement

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.

Aging in Place

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.

Now You’re Cooking

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:

  • Improving wheelchair access for washing up by creating an open space (hidden by cabinet fronts) below the sink
  • Installing microwave drawers so you don’t have to reach up to access hot food or drinks
  • Choosing pull-out shelves to make it easier to reach your pots and pans
  • Using pull-down shelves for upper cabinets to bring everything to you
  • Positioning smart appliances built on Universal Design principles
  • Configuring countertops with multiple levels so everyone has a reachable workspace
  • Smart lighting to ensure you can see what you’re doing, wherever you are

Independence with Privacy

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.

Painless Passage

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.

Movin’ on Up

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.

Low Maintenance, High Curb Appeal

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.

Adapting for the Future

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.

MAC Renovations – Universal Design at its Best

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’ve been proud to call the home comfort center on Viewfield in Esquimalt our home base for the past thirty years, but with only 1200 sq. ft. and a team that keeps expanding to meet the needs of the renovation market in Victoria, we’ve simply outgrown this space and realized we needed something new.

 

Location, Location, Location

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.

Renovating the Ranch

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.

Building to a Higher Standard

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.

Designed for Design

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.

Part of the Community

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.

Stop by in 2018

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.

Kathy Funfer, sitting, loves how her new round kitchen peninsula, topped with blue pearl granite, allows guests and family members to interact while meals are prepared.

Spandex,  leg warmers, acid wash jeans — all 80s fashions that definitely left an impression. The equivalent in kitchen finishes of the time might be vinyl tile, oak-trimmed cabinets, and laminate countertops that the Funfer’s had in their kitchen. Being hobby musicians, Kathy and Dennis Funfer may have an appreciation for 80s music, but they certainly didn’t want to be reminded of the era every time they stepped into their kitchen. After 20 years, it was time for a change.

Kathy first expressed her desire for change to Terri, one of MAC’s kitchen/bath designers, at a Homeshow booth. “We just hit it off,” says Kathy, a former librarian. “Terri was as excited about our kitchen’s potential as I was. And of the three companies we had bid on the project, she was the only one to come out in person and visit with us.”

The collaboration led to a mixing of ideas on everything from the floor tile selection to paint colours. “Both my husband and I are decisive people — we know what we want,” says Kathy, smiling. “I was leaning towards a blue paint to match the floor and counters, but Terri talked us out of it. She urged us to go with gray, and I’m glad we did. It gives a much classier and more contemporary look.”

The highlight of the kitchen is an angled kitchen peninsula that ends in a circular countertop, an ingenious design that allows room for three chairs in a relatively small floor space. In fact, the whole kitchen is a marvel in space planning, enabling, says Kathy, three cooks to maneuver at once. “Myself, my husband and my oldest daughter can move around without bumping into one another.”

Kathy and her family also love the way the natural and artificial light mixes in the kitchen. To keep the budget manageable, Kathy and Terri agreed that the existing track lighting was sufficient for the floor space, while custom-made, battery-powered led lights are used under the cabinets to brighten spot areas. Meanwhile, large, South-facing windows behind the peninsula bathe the range and cooking area in natural light.

Numerous little innovations like the custom pull-out spice rack next to the induction heat stove are a life-saver, says Kathy. Around the corner, every cook’s dream is the custom storage pantry for pots and pans. Magnetic strips allow quick access to cast iron and stainless steel pans (a mandatory for the induction range).

Kathy and her family, who all love to cook, lived in the house while the reno went on. Evidently, it wasn’t as disruptive as expected, with MAC making sure all the subcontractors were efficient and cleaned up after themselves. “We cooked out on the BBQ, and we used a bar fridge in the garage, and the sink was down in the laundry room. It was a challenge to coordinate everything, but MAC was flexible. We didn’t go out for dinner once, and yet we still managed to eat well.”

 

 


Sandra Wiles sits in her eat-in kitchen, one of three major renovation projects MAC has done for her family since 2010.

In 2010, Sandra Wiles moved back home to Victoria’s Cadboro Bay to take care of her father after her mom passed away. Her parents had purchased an unassuming two-level home built in 1983, and had made only a few updates to what she calls the previous owner’s “Whitehouse” style.

“Everything was white. From the siding to kitchen cabinets to the wall-to-wall carpet. It was not me at all,” says the former librarian.

While browsing through a local magazine, Sandra saw an ad from MAC. She immediately connected with the style of the bathroom photos in the ad. She combined this with her growing ideabook on Houzz, which she later shared with her MAC designer. The Scandinavian modern style was what she had grown up and fallen in love with because of its subdued, simple aesthetic.

“I prefer to let the artwork be the focal point, rather than the finishings. I had lived in Arizona for years, and was bombarded with over-the-top home decor. There, you don’t just buy a chair, you purchase a throne.”


Sandra shows one of the photos from Houzz that guided her kitchen design discussion with MAC.

Mac’s first project for the Wiles was an update to the ground floor office and laundry rooms. New environmentally-friendly bamboo flooring was added throughout, as were new shelves to display Sandra’s large collection of books. In the laundry area, an old closet housing the washer and dryer was moved to the outside wall, and built-in shelves and drawers were added to store Sandra’s prints and artwork. The space gives Sandra plenty of room to do her art, which ranges from gallery-quality paintings to pottery to wood crafts.

For the second project, MAC replaced the stairs in the front foyer. The bamboo flooring was carried from the entrance way up the stairs, replacing wall-to-wall white carpet. The previously non-compliant railings were brought up-to-height with some handsome metal balusters topped by an oak handrail. Today the lower and upper floors tie together seamlessly, and the entrance feels warm, airy and light, more in tune with Sandra’s tastes.

After living in the space for a few years, Sandra finally felt ready to tackle the biggest project of all — the kitchen. “You have to understand that prior to the other renos, I was a first-timer at this renovation thing,” she says. She had some trepidation, because it was a much bigger project than the last two. “But with MAC I felt confident once we talked it through. I asked a million questions, and Blaise, Jennifer and Ed all came out to visit me at different times. It was wonderful to know I was in good hands.”


The kitchen features maple cabinets, environite countertops (made with recycled glass), and gloss white appliances.

“One of the things I love most about MAC was they didn’t try to change my mind as much as tell me what would work and what would not, what was safe, and what was not safe. Jennifer saved me so much time. I told her the look I wanted and she brought three samples back to me, and we made the decision right there. It was easy.”

She was relieved by the highly organized nature of the renovation. “The first day of the project you get to meet everyone who is going to be working on your job (including subcontractors) and they get an introduction to the house and all the emergency shutoffs for water, gas, etc. You may not see that person again for 8 weeks, but at least you have met them so there are no surprises.”

I appreciate that I can call one person at MAC, and have any questions answered. Of course Blaise and Jennifer, my designer, is dropping by all the time to check up on everybody. You also see the MAC project manager everyday.

The kitchen layout remained essentially the same, but the doors were widened and some poorly supported walls were shored up. The old white melamine cabinets were replaced by new maple ones and extended to the to the ceiling. Built-in seating was added to the corner to take advantage of some bright windows, and a new white enamel fridge, custom-ordered from Europe, was added to match the existing appliances.

A focal point in the space is the quartz-like countertop. It’s made from Environite, a resin-based material interspersed with tiny specks of recycled glass. The company that makes it is locally based, and so “The glass is probably from our own recycle bin,” says Sandra, smiling. New large-scale natural tile replaced the old pinky white trivet-sized tiles, giving the room a unifying look and feel.

 



Laura & Dan Whitehorne talk about their home renovation adventure.

Dan and Laura Whitehorne bought their 1916, one-bedroom heritage home in Victoria’s Oaklands neighbourhood in early 2013. Every room had a different type of flooring, ranging from linoleum to laminate. To go upstairs you had to first go down. To get to the back yard, you had to go for a 10-minute tour through the house before exiting a side door. There was no dining room. And, like many house of the era, walled in spaces made the home very dark. In short, the house was a maze of past DIY projects that made the home feel disjointed and dysfunctional.

“We knew what we were in for when we bought this space, but once we had our daughter Ella, it started to feel claustrophobic,” says Laura, who works for the government. Getting rid of the wall between the living area and the kitchen became a priority. “But we are also on a tight budget, so we weren’t sure how it would play out.”

After getting some names of contractors from their home inspector, Sandra went on MAC’s website and filled out the contact form. Within hours, Ed, the founder, phoned her. They arranged a meeting and Sandra explained what they wanted to do.

“We had other contractors visit, and all wanted to get us to start designing new plans, do a whole bunch of new things. Ed was different. He listened to us, and kept it simple. Remove the wall, keep the lines clean and simple. That’s it. We didn’t want anything intricate. It was exactly what we were looking for.”

“We liked Ed, personally,” says Dan, a cabinetmaker. “He offered a lot of options without telling us what to do.” Laura adds that Ed’s team’s experience was key for her. “It was clear that Ed had the experience. My dad, who has done tonnes of renovations, came over to kind of vet what Ed was saying. He got a good feeling from Ed too.”


Laura, Dan and Ella standing in front of the transformed space that is their living room, kitchen and dining area.

The Whitehorne’s also wanted the work done before year end. It was already late September. MAC’s size allowed them to quickly pull together a team and commit to finishing everything within six weeks.

The work started with the wall removal. Previously the couple’s only seating option was a tiny 4-person table in the kitchen. This limited the entertaining they could do, as anyone else would have to sit at the couch in the living room.

While the MAC team was putting in a beam to support the roof, they noticed a sagging section, and realized the beam they had planned to do was no longer sufficient. The roof needed additional support. Laura said this was the first of several change orders, which were made easier by the online BuilderTrend project tracking software that MAC uses.

“I was on maternity leave at the time, and we were living in the house while the renos went on,” says Laura. “It was great to be able to log in in the morning and see what was going to happen that day, whether it was an electrician coming in or a carpenter. I could then take Ella out for the afternoon if the work was going to be to loud.”


The new dining area flows into a outdoor deck, which also gives access to the back yard.

Another surprise was when an oil tank was discovered in the side yard while they were excavating to build a deck. “Our hearts sank when we heard that, because we had heard so many nightmares about underground oil tanks and how expensive the clean up was,” says Laura. “But it turned out to be filled with water and the soil tested negative for contamination. Mac coordinated all the inspectors — fire department, hazmat, tank removal — and it was all done in a half day. it was amazing. We really felt we dodged a bullet on that one.”

The house today bears no resemblance to the dark disjointed home they moved into. The open floor plan is contemporary and offers space for entertaining and easy access to the BBQ, deck and backyard. Light floods the entire space, and there is a natural flow between the rooms thanks to the new flooring and paint.

“The functionality of this space has really transformed our lives,” says Dan. Laura points out that their already saving for their next project, which involves updating a couple new bathrooms. “We would hire MAC again in a second.”

The other day I was with my friend when he picked up his toddler from daycare. I asked her how her day went, and she joyfully blurted out that her daycare teacher had to “execute” a hamster that morning. Now I’m not necessarily the world’s biggest hamster lover, but I was pretty shocked. Even more disturbing was the way she was smirking — like hamster execution was something cool.

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Welcome to the new Mac Renovations website! We teamed up with the crew at The Sign Pad and McNamara Communications to put together a website that reflects what our clients are looking for. Being one of Victoria’s oldest and most trusted renovations companies, we’ve heard and seen it all. We wanted a site that allowed us to help our clients make informed decisions before they started a renovation. By having the right information before you start, you can save both time and money. With our new site we’ve got all the information you nee do to kick start your project, be it large or small!

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