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!

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