Category Archives: Save My Reno

All the behind the scenes insight and fun from HGTV Canada’s Save My Reno

Save My Reno: Ken + Elisa’s Family-Friendly Basement

Guys, this is a bittersweet post. Last night was the season finale of Save My Reno on HGTV Canada. *tear*

Every week, I’ve been sharing these recaps and insights and it’s going to be so strange to not have to work on these posts weekly. The good news is I’ll have more time for other types of posts (look for tons of recently-neglected fashion, lifestyle and business advice pieces to come!), the bad news is that this signifies the end of Save My Reno season one.

It’s a strange time, but I’m trying to see it as the beginning rather than the end. Until a hopeful next season, I’ll nostalgically re-read all of my previous Save My Reno posts (nah, I probably won’t… but if you’ve missed them, you should)! Anyhow, on to the FINAL episode:

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Save My Reno: Lainie and Brian’s Eclectic Main Floor Reno

This episode was a wild one.

I don’t know what was in the water, but when all four of us got together, at least one of us couldn’t help but break into song and dance. Between the “D-E-M-O” chant, Lainie and I’s dance-a-thons (there were many), and our cabinet-removal competition (which wasn’t shown, but which Lainie and I won), we were all a little loony.

As far as different-looking goes, this episode definitely wins the award for most dramatic transformation of the season. We not only removed every wall on their main floor, but we flipped the kitchen location completely. Missed this episode? Watch it here!

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Save My Reno: Raj + Riva’s (Not So) Traditional Kitchen

Raj and Riva may have had traditional taste, but the tricks we pulled to keep this project on budget were anything but.

After living with their boring brown kitchen for 11 years, this couple was itching for change. Ironically, the layout wasn’t an issue and they surely had enough cabinets, but they were mostly doors—no drawers or systemized organization. They craved better function, better appliances, a dining area, stone counters, and a backsplash (because they had NONE).

Missed this episode? Watch it on!

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Save My Reno: Rob + Caitlin’s Master Suite

A mattress on the floor, mismatched hand-me-down dressers and no door to the bathroom—but nearly 400 square feet of untapped potential!

Rob and Caitlin’s master retreat was huge but neglected. With four kids and another on the way, they never made time to prioritize their own room which is something that rings true for many families. But call in these two cool cats, and you’ve got a solution (as you can see by our power poses) 😉

This was the only master suite we tackled in the series so demo was a much-needed relief. No cabinets, no appliances, just carpet-removal. And well, okay, tile and wall removal in the bathroom. I also had fun looking for bathroom futures. I’m currently planning my own bathroom remodel, so I got a few ideas in my travels…

Design-wise, I much prefer to chase a feeling rather than a look, and the feeling we wanted to capture in a nutshell was: comfort, luxury, serenity and regal-ness while keeping in mind Rob’s East-coast upbringing and affinity for rustic, cottage vibes. This space had to become a retreat for this couple. After years of only looking out for their kids, they deserved to have a master suite that allowed them to connect, rest and recharge.

On top of the acrylic clawfoot tub we nabbed for a few hundred bucks, another super-cool find was this vintage solid wood door we found at a salvage shop. I personally loved the ware and tear, and the wood tone was soooooo perfect with the purple and mauve colour motif we had going. Continue reading

Save My Reno: Kenny and Lisa’s Rock n’ Roll Kitchen

Right from the get-go, this renovation was nuts (pun intended—you’ll see why at the end of the post)!

The fact that I grew up going to Kenny’s punk shows and moshing to his band Moneen was crazy enough—but that’s only where the fun began. From the cat tree toss and animalistic howling during demo, to Seb and I’s many attempts at drumming (of which Seb was actually amazing and I was not), to me convincing Lisa that red can be a neutral, this project was bananas. (Missed it? Watch the full episode here.)

Needless to say, as a young couple, Kenny and Lisa wanted a cool kitchen—but also one that was functional. They had done some construction and light renovation already (installing their own floors and taking down the wall separating the dining area from the kitchen) but they needed help to get it right and make it function better for their family and for entertaining.

The space itself was one of the largest we worked with on this season, their property backed on to a gorgeous ravine and the flow and layout wasn’t bad. So what exactly were the issues? Well, it was a combination of a dozen little issues that really added up: the aesthetics, quality of finishes, outdated appliances, broken cabinets, faulty island overhang etc. And most importantly, it didn’t speak to Kenny and Lisa’s vibe.

Demo was quick and painless—for us at least. For the cat tree? Not so much. This capture of Lisa and I’s reaction to Kenny is priceless! And there weren’t many surprises in this renovation. Instead we were served drama in the form of Kenny and in the form of some bold choices. Ahem, the blue backsplash! You choose which is bolder 😉

You could literally make 10 other shows with just our bloopers and behind-the-scenes content. In this episode, Seb and I took turns doing everyone else on the crew’s jobs. As you can see, we operated the cameras too which essentially was 5 minutes of us asking each other “Am I in focus?” and “How do I do this?” over and over again. Those things are heavy. Kudos to Colin and Rick on our team who do this everyday with a smile…

On the DIY side of things, it was a no-brainer that our project was going to revolve around music. It took a bit of research, but after finding the parts to make speakers cheap and getting Seb’s help with constructing the box, Lisa and I challenged ourselves to make bluetooth speakers. It really was a edge-of-your-seat project because while it looked cool all along, we had to wait until we had it put together to find out if it worked or not (which it did, PS)!

On the design front, we had a ton of fun with colour but we grounded it all with simpler, neutral elements (such as the mid-tone wood floors and white counters). We installed flat-panel glossy white upper cabinets and contrasted them with a more traditional style in grey below. We also opted for a crazy-saturated blue backsplash which played off the the dining chairs and some decorative touches in the dining nook. Also in the dining nook, we installed a graphic wallpaper which—rather than being distracting—became a cool surprise as you round the corner. And I can’t not mention the red vintage rug and gold pendant lights which nod to the cabinet hardware!

Seeing as we stuck to the same floorpan more or less, we took some other liberties with this kitchen and they paid off big time. Needless to say, Kenny loved his speakers and the both of them were so happy with how the whole space turned out. They not only have room at the counter for guests to sit at, but they have cabinets with “spinny thingies!” as Kenny so aptly put it. Happiness all around. 🙂


Oh, and one more thing. This gorgeous “flower pot” is actually a bull scrotum on a pulley. Yes, you heard right. And with that, I’ll say over and out until next time! 😉

For all of the before and after photos, head to!

Get The Look:

  1. Cage Pendants
  2. Blue Arabesque Backsplash
  3. Art Print
  4. Brass Horse Statue
  5. Blue Wallpaper
  6. Brass Vases
  7. Hand-Knotted Red Wool Rug
  8. Decorative Bowl
  9. Copper Stools