RenoMe! with FortisBC winner looking forward to end of her reno

Melissa Tolsma of Nanaimo is almost finished the renovation she won during the RenoMe! with FortisBC contest.

Melissa Tolsma of Nanaimo was the winner of last year's Reno Me! with FortisBC contest.



By Melissa Tolsma

When I was awarded the RenoMe! with FortisBC contest grand prize last winter, I committed to writing five blogs about the reno process. This is my fifth blog, and although my blogging will be done, the project isn’t quite wrapped up yet.  The main part of my outdoor space reno, the lovely cedar deck, was ready early in the summer.  I’m hoping that its focal feature, the Solus décor cast concrete fire bowl, will soon be ready to go too.

The deck has certainly enhanced our summer outdoor living.  I like to pad out barefoot first thing in the morning and survey the yard, coffee in hand. The thick decking feels smooth and solid underfoot.  My daughter loves it as a performance space – I’ve enjoyed watching many exuberant ribbon dances, improv commercials, and pet circuses.  We both like to wind down there in the evenings, lying flat on the chunky cedar benches, watching the stars fill the sky.  It doesn’t get much better.

One of the features of the backyard reno that’s been a great bonus is the raised garden bed that was built with leftover cedar from the deck.  It’s now overflowing with late summer bounty.  The beefsteak tomatoes are epic.  Although we haven’t yet hosted our deck launch party, we’ve had a couple of informal gatherings revolving around bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches.

The deck space still needs some finishing touches.  It’s not Houzz-worthy yet; there are aspects of my vision that are still to be realized.  I had hoped to snag some end-of-season patio furniture on sale, but haven’t found what I’m looking for yet.  The broken-concrete path project is well underway, but taking more time than I expected.  What doesn’t, when it comes to home improvements?

I look forward to experiencing the changing seasonal backdrop to our outdoor room.  Right now, the tawny grass, bright pumpkins, and cricket song signal summer’s end.  But with the fire feature, we’ll be able to use the space much more in the colder months.  Down the road, I might cover part of the deck, too, for all-weather dining.  I know we will be enjoying our renovated yard for many years to come.

I am so grateful for the friends, family and co-workers who helped me win the contest with their votes.  Thanks to FortisBC, Black Press, Coast Wholesale Appliance and Solus Décor for their generosity and to Jonker Custom Building for their great work.  Now I need to get busy planning that deck launch party!

Just Posted

Active investigation into reported sexual assault at CFB Esquimalt

An Oct. 5 allegation is being investigated by Canadian Forces National Investigation Service

Banquo Folk Ensemble serenades Sidney

20 years into performing, the ancient music ensemble visits the Peninsula

Saanich mayor won’t tip hand on electoral referendum

Councillor receives support from fellow councillors in favour of PR

Taxis in bus lanes not being considered, Victoria Transit chair says

Susan Brice responds to a cab driver’s request for access to Douglas Street priority lanes

Marijuana-related business requires rezoning in Oak Bay

Council plans to add cannabis laws to priorities list

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

No one wants to guard lives in Sooke

Puzzled community cancelling swim programs due to inability to hire life guards

Threat of extremism posed by proportional representation overstated: academics

As B.C. voters decide on electoral reform, the Vote No side is cautioning that the system would allow extremists to be elected

What now for Calgary, Canada and Olympic Games after 2026 rejection?

Calgary, along with the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., made Canada a player in the international sport community

Sex-misconduct survey excludes vulnerable military members: Survivors’ group

But It’s Just 700 says recent research has shown young military members and those on training are among those most at risk for sexual violence

Many child killers have been placed in Indigenous healing lodges according to stats

As of mid-September, there were 11 offenders in healing lodges who had been convicted of first- or second-degree murder of a minor

Expect no quick end to Canada-wide cannabis shortages, producers warn

Provinces including British Columbia, Alberta have all reported varying degrees of shortages

Teddy the dog abuse case headed for February trial

Pre-trial hearing tomorrow in case that galvanized animal-lovers

Want to buy your first home? Move to Kamloops or Prince George

Kamloops, Prince George, Campbell River and Langford are the only other markets in the study without gaps between required and actual income in owning a home.

Most Read