Sarah Gallop of Sarah Gallop Design Inc. envisioned an outdoor space with a natural gas hot tub

RenoMe! with FortisBC names the grand prize winner

One Vancouver Island homeowner has a lot to celebrate this holiday season after winning the RenoMe! with FortisBC contest.

One Vancouver Island homeowner has a lot to celebrate this holiday season after winning the RenoMe! with FortisBC contest.

Melissa Tolsma of Nanaimo won the $10,000 prize for her outdoor space, which she can now put towards the renovation.

“I was leafing through the local paper one day and the ‘RenoMe! with FortisBC’ ad seemed to jump out at me off the page,” Tolsma says. “I couldn’t ignore it. I’m not usually a contest enterer, but I just had this weird feeling ‘you can win this contest’.”

Over 7,000 votes were cast, and Tolsma is very excited.

“I’ve never won anything, really, so this kind of win is unbelievable!” she says. “I don’t think it will really sink in until I see my backyard at the end of the reno process.”

Currently her backyard is only usable in the summer months, so Tolsma is hoping to be able to use her space year-round after the renovation. She and her daughter enjoy spending time outdoors, so the yard was the first place she thought of when she heard about the RenoMe! with FortisBC contest.

“We plan to do lots of outdoor living year-round!” she says. “I’m envisioning plenty of weenie roasts and toe warming on those chilly spring and fall evenings when we would normally have to retreat indoors.”

As part of the contest, Tolsma received a rendering of what her space could look like from Sarah Gallop of Sarah Gallop Design Inc.

Gallop included a hot tub heated by natural gas and an outdoor natural gas fire pit in her design, as well as space for entertaining outside. The design also features several levels to define the different spaces in the yard.

“The space looked disconnected before,” Gallop says. “This gives (Tolsma) different zones in the yard while still being connected.”

Gallop notes that many clients are now asking for natural gas appliances in their homes; a trend that she believes will continue.

“Natural gas brings warmth,” she says. “It obviously brings physical warmth but also a warm ambiance.”

Among the things Tolsma will receive as part of her prize is a gift card from Coast Wholesale Appliances. One person who voted in the RenoMe! with FortisBC contest will win a $500 gift card of their own.

A natural gas barbecue is one of the most popular appliances for a backyard. FortisBC notes that a natural gas barbecue can be extremely convenient for homeowners looking for fuel on demand, as you’ll never have to deal with running out of propane or charcoal. It also allows you to cook with different temperatures at the same time and control the heat more easily. It also burns cleaner than other fuel sources, making it good for the environment as well.

Tolsma also plans to install a fire pit powered by natural gas.

“I can’t wait to have the fire pit installed,” she says. “I see it as the focal point of the outdoor living space that Sarah Gallop has designed. Our house is under 1,000 square feet, so extending the living space outside is going to be awesome.”

“It’s kind of like camping in your own backyard,” says Gallop. “You get the informality of outdoor space with the convenience of natural gas.”

And convenient it is. Natural gas is available at the push of a button, so you no longer need to wait for your fireplace or cooktop to heat up or worry about running out of propane for your outdoor barbecue.

As part of her makeover, Tolsma is also planning to purchase a new patio set as well as some new greenery to accent what she already has.

The second and third place finalists, Gayle Curtis of Maple Ridge and Wendy Frose of Chilliwack, will each receive $2,000 towards their own renovations, for their kitchen and living area respectively.

For more information about natural gas in your home, visit www.fortisbc.com/goodforhomes.

Just Posted

Second person dies following head-on collision in Surrey

Paige Nagata of Abbotsford was in crash on Nov. 4 that also killed Sarah Dhillon

11 years sought for Burnaby man who killed girlfriend with hammer, burned her body

Manslaughter sentencing hearing starts Monday in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack for Ryan Armstrong

PHOTOS: Fraser Valley Eagle Festival

Mission photographer Bob Friesen shares some of his images with the Record

VIDEO: Firefighters believe Mission house blaze started on back patio

Flames could be seen rising from roof of home on Lightbody Court

UPDATE: Maple Ridge homicide victim identified as full-patch member of Hells Angels

Chad John Wilson was one of four men arrested in Spain in 2013 on allegations of smuggling cocaine.

Six students arrested, charged in sex assault probe at Toronto all-boys school

The school’s principal, Greg Reeves, described the video of the alleged sexual assault as ‘horrific’

Laine scores 3 as Jets double Canucks 6-3

Injury-riddled Vancouver side drops sixth in a row

Deportation averted for Putin critic who feared return to Russia

Elena Musikhina, a vocal critic of the Kremlin, has been granted a two-year visitor’s permit in Canada

B.C. to allow Uber-style ride hailing services to operate in late 2019

Fee will be applied to fund options for disabled people

Auditor general takes aim at Liberals’ fighter-jet plan

Suditor general Michael Ferguson is about to release a new report on Canada’s attempts to buy new fighter jets

B.C. couple converts ambulance into a traveling home

The Revelstoke couple plan on touring B.C. ski hills then driving to Mexico

Cyclist defecates, throws own poop at car following B.C. crash

Man defecates in the street before throwing it at a driver locked in her vehicle

Jamie Koe, other curlers kicked out of bonspiel for being too drunk

‘You don’t kick around other players’ bags, it’s disrespectful and we expect better of our players’

Homicide victim found under B.C. bridge identified as Hells Angels member

Chad John Wilson was one of four men arrested in Spain in 2013 on allegations of smuggling cocaine.

Most Read