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.”
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.
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?
When 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?
“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.”
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
Our 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As the team gets set up in our new location in Saanich, we thought we’d check with Ed McDonald, the founder of MAC Renovations, to get his perspective on the new location and what’s ahead for our home renovation team here in Victoria.
One of the reasons for our reputation as the most trusted renovation company in Victoria is the approach we use on every project – we’re with you through every phase of your renovation. When you choose MAC Renovations, you get the full benefit of our entire team. Decades of experience, education, and enthusiasm working on full-home renovations and one-room remodeling, and everything in between.
We’re a full-service renovation team, which means that we work with you from start to finish on your project, coordinating the trades, taking out permits, organizing suppliers, and the rest of the pieces required to complete your project on time and on budget. We take the stress out of your renovation by choosing the right people and using the right tools. A few years ago, we invested in BuilderTrend, a software solution that enables us to manage every step of your renovation while giving you the ability to monitor the project at anytime, from anywhere.
Home improvements are usually their own reward – creating a formal space to entertain your guests, a private oasis to recharge your batteries, or a casual kitchen to connect with your family – and with the abundance of incentives for energy conservation available, you might be eligible to receive thousands of dollars back to offset the project costs. Here at MAC Renovations, we can help you make informed decisions to choose the right products for your home, and we’ll help you fill out the paperwork to put the rebates back in your wallet.
“When we’re renovating homes in Victoria, we like to look for ways to provide value to our customers,” said Blaise McDonald, Operations Manager at MAC Renovations. “We want our customers to enjoy their space today and many years from now. Through rebate incentives from provincial and federal programs, as well as BC Hydro, FortisBC, and other organizations, we can help you get more without spending more.”
How much is available? According to BC Home Energy Coach, you could be eligible for up to $6750 through the home renovation rebate program from BC Hydro and FortisBC; $2700 from FortisBC in their Connect to Gas program; and a return of 15% – 25% of your mortgage loan insurance premium from Genworth or CMHC. That’s a lot of incentive for work you were already considering.
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.
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.
The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Genworth Canada each offer a return of premium program for energy-efficient renovations. They offer tiered savings, with 15% returned for moderate energy savings, and 25% returned for focusing heavily on minimizing your home’s annual energy usage.
There are a few requirements to get the most out of your renovation rebates. For BC Hydro and FortisBC customers, you’ll need at least 12 months of utility billing at your residence, with electricity or natural gas as your primary heating source. People with disabilities and seniors over the age of 65 may qualify for the government incentives. The mortgage insurance folks have clearly defined expectations for eligibility, and we’ll do our best to help where we can.
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:
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.
For the 2018 VIBE awards, we are finalists in the following categories:
Renovator of the Year
Best Residential Renovation $200,000 – $300,000
Best Residential Renovation $300,000 and over
Best Single-Family Kitchen Reno under $75,000
Best Single-Family Kitchen Renovation Over $75,000
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.
There are many reasons to consider a home renovation in Victoria – you might be looking for new space to accommodate a growing family; updating your home after the kids have left the nest; building the kitchen of your dreams; or maybe you’re just ready for a change, but really love your current address. Whatever the reason, planning a home renovation is usually an exciting part of the project.
Working with a renovation company that specializes in design-build is a smart way to ensure you’re happy with the design whenever you use your new space. At MAC Renovations, we have a fantastic group of qualified, talented designers ready to bring your dreams to life. We’ve asked them to share some of their thoughts about planning a home renovation here in Victoria.
“The first thing you should do,” shared Alexis Solomon, an experienced and educated design professional, “is build an idea book. Assemble ideas from Houzz, Pinterest, or Instagram, so you have a good selection of the features you’d like to see in your renovation. This will help us understand your tastes and preferences, so we can incorporate your style throughout the design.”
“As a designer,” said Alexis, “We’re aware of trends and fashion, but we look at the overall concept to develop ways to bring your preferences into the design, creating the look and feel that’s right for you and your space, versus simply copying a design from a magazine.”
Terri Willis is a project manager and designer for MAC Renovations, and she shared the process she uses to understand your needs, “I do a walkthrough with my clients to go over the changes they’re looking for. We look at all aspects – from the hinges on the doors to the structure of the walls. Once I have a good sense of what they’re looking for, I’ll go back to the design centre and put it all together.”
As you start planning your renovation, think about how you’ll be using the space in the future. If you’re planning on staying in your current home into your golden years, there are some design concepts, such as Aging in Place, that can be used to ensure you are comfortable in your home as long as possible. If you’re not in your forever home yet, you might want to explore features that will help when it’s time to sell.
Working with a design professional can lead to creative solutions to interesting challenges. “We recently completed a kitchen renovation in Oak Bay, where the existing layout was cramped and had minimal work areas,” said designer Azu Saavedra. “By moving the fridge to a different spot in the room, we were able to add a pantry on each side, giving the spot a built-in look while freeing up space to add more counter space and room. The client uses a walker, so the added space made it easier to work in their new kitchen.”
A skilled designer can also help keep project costs on-budget. “At MAC, we tend to spend more time with the client in the early stages, so we can develop a comprehensive design that everyone can refer to quickly during the construction process,” explained Azu. “Drawing from our experience and education, we can prevent some of the challenges that are common when design is done on-the-fly.”
“Sometimes, people are hesitant to discuss the budget they have in mind for their renovation project,” shared Alexis. “They’re worried we’ll take advantage of them. MAC Renovations has been in business for over 40 years, and that wouldn’t happen if we didn’t treat our clients right. We ask about your budget because some people need to let the budget influence the design, while others prefer to have the design influence the budget. We’re here to help you get the design that works best for you and your home.”
Azu explained, “By choosing quality components and building them strategically into the design, we can make projects with a modest budget look fantastic, and through our connections to the finest retailers and craftspeople, we can deliver design elements that perfectly match your style and taste.”
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.
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.
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
We have many people to thank for the progress at The Ranch, and we’re looking forward to sharing their hard work with you. Join us for our grand opening in a few months to meet our extended MAC Renovations family. Follow us on Facebook to be invited to our upcoming open house.
Victoria, BC, has a national reputation as the ideal place to retire. With our temperate climate, abundance of indoor and outdoor activities, and selection of support services and shopping centres, it’s hard to imagine a place better suited for life after work.
At MAC Renovations, we’ve worked hard to become Victoria’s first choice for all home construction, providing our customers with excellent options that help them stay in the home they love. Instead of downsizing, many local homeowners are looking at innovative solutions that enable them to stay in their home as long as they want. Universal Design – also known as Aging in Place – is the preferred strategy to create a home that accommodates everyone’s needs today and tomorrow.
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.
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.
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.
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!