124_1 I thought, given the fact it's Friday, a long weekend, and I'm a bit home bound today, I might as well use this time to do a healthy update.


The first, and probably(who am I kidding) biggest news, is the show.  I will be the season three design host of HGTV's Marriage Under Construction.  I've been going through the motions with the production company for the past few months and step by step got the job!  This is great news on a whole bunch of levels.  The couple and house this season are more my speed than years past.  There will be a pretty substantial construction and renovation element and I'm excited to share some of the past 13 years with all the viewers.  I have a few tricks up my pretty silk sleeve...

I will try to leave the arts and crafts out, and offer more do-it-yourself projects from a design and architectural perspective.

I'm also really excited to make green choices when ever possible.  The couple, whom I will just call the MUC client from now on, have expressed a keen interest too.  I may be calling on some of you for a bit of help in the sourcing and solutions in areas I've not ventured before.

I met the team this week and it's a really great bunch.  Everyone gets on well and it feels like all are tops at their game.  The contractor knew his way around the tool box, and had great hair to boot.  A win win me thinks.

Out and About

The UK designer Tom Dixon is in town right now.  He's launching his new collections and Klaus Nienkamper Jr. hosted a slew of parties and such to help.  I took one of my designers with me yesterday and caught the lunch time talk by Tom at the KLAUS store.  His humble, here is my stuff, approach is refreshing and fitting for the no nonsense styling of his collection.

The day of Tom continued with a 6:30 presentation at the Spoke Club followed by a private dinner.  Klaus thinks I'm funny so he lets me sit at the big kids table.  If Dan Pink is right about us creatives ruling this decade, then last night I sat at THE proverbial round table of the new age.  Among the 20 or so guests were, The Nienkamper crew, originals and Junior, Design Agent Anwar Meckhayech, Suzanne Dima and hubby 3rd uncle principal Arriz Hassem, Globe writer and self proclaimed party-hopper, Shinan Govani, Azure Magazine writer, the funny construction guy Ken, the too-my-right pro conversationalist Thomas Baron von Hahn and his wife Globe and Mail columnist Karen von Hahn.  There was a nice fella who is an industrial designer for Blackberry, oh right, my date for the night MTV maven the lovely miss Jessica Edwards who spent the post dinner hours charming Tom Dixon and co. with her tales of country girl antics and the odd brake into a dance of some sort.

We asked Tom if he always wanted to be a furniture designer.  I felt a bit bad, as he had been ushered about the after party for hours shaking germy hand after hand and answering the same types of questions....but, we were curious and it was late.  As it turns out he was for a short time in a band.  He was replaced by a fella who went on to be the base guitar for Pink Floyd.  For the best it would seem.  He said he had allot of free time in the day with that gig, so he'd build stuff for himself.  Then he sold one, then another, and here we are.

The thing you have to give Tom credit for is the purity.  He keeps true to his vision and the line does not get watered down by guest designers and such.  Everything to carry his name, is indeed something he feels represents it.

Right then, on to the work

We have a few larger jobs in the shop right now.  One home in particular is on MacPherson, and is a massive renovation with two story addition on back.  The designs have been approved and we're working on the permit and construction drawings now.  Luckily the old owner had already applied for permit beforehand so we're able to get going with demolition in the next few weeks under that permit.  The couple is brilliant to work with.  They've been through a renovation or two and understand the process.  Decisions are made quickly and there is a real understanding that to keep within budget some compromises have to be reached.  We were able to get the addition in on budget, and they've decided to permit the garage now, but wait to build it when the funds replenish. 

We want to dig down the basement to gain an extra 2' of headroom.  This can be a really expensive exercise.  To dig down and underpin is in the 50-60k range.  A great alternative, that not many realize they can do, is to "bench" it instead.  Benching is a poured concrete structure the perimeter of the dug out area.  Generally for every inch you dig down, you have to come out.  So, for  an additional 2' of headroom, we have to have a 2' deep x 2' height concrete bench.  This sounds like a pretty undesirable solution but keep in mind we can frame on top which will take 6" or so, and then that 18" could have a bookcase, or even an upholstered cushion.  I've seen some pretty amazing design elements created from the bench.  The most important point is that it's about half the cost. 

Other Stuff

I'm writing for WOMAN.ca allot more now.   I write about design, green living and sometimes just about being a mom and owning a business.  Give it a visit and set up a profile.  It's a force right now, building at a remarkable rate.

Ok, I have to run - I have to pick up some drawings!  Have a safe long weekend.