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.

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!

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Softball BC has renamed its volunteer-of-the-year award in honour of longtime Canada Cup volunteer Zeone Andrijaszyn (inset), who passed away last year. (File photo)
Longtime Canada Cup volunteer honoured by Softball BC

Provincial organization’s volunteer-of-the-year award renamed for Zeone Andrijaszyn

Volunteers from Semiahmoo Secondary joined with members of the Lower Mainland Green Team and the White Rock and South Surrey Naturalists Wednesday to remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park in March. (Contributed photo)
Green Team, South Surrey students mark Earth Day with invasive plant removal

Volunteers to be on site at White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park

A Morgan Creek resident has filed an official complaint against a blueberry farmer in the area. (Google image)
Morgan Creek couple files official noise complaint against blueberry farmer

Pair who recently moved to South Surrey say blasting fans keep them from sleeping

A ambulance drives past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
9 Lower Mainland hospitals to postpone non-urgent surgeries as hospitalizations surge

Record number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals across B.C.

Surrey forest trail, on Surrey Mound. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
OUR VIEW: Surrey should celebrate Earth Day every day, every week

Today – Thursday, April 22 – is Earth Day

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. sees 1,006 more COVID-19 cases Thursday, ‘alarming’ 502 in hospital

Vaccine bookings for people aged 60 and older set to start

Sgt. Frank Jang of IHIT spoke Thursday morning at the press conference about three recent gangland murders, including the killing of UN Gang member Todd Gouwenberg at the Langley Sportsplex on April 21. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Langley man gunned down at Sportsplex was long-time gang member

Todd Gouwenberg was affiliated with the UN Gang, police said

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Shannon Zirnhelt, from left, her son Lockie, 3, Julia Zirnhelt, 13, and Ella Krus, 13, co-founders of Third Planet Crusade are featured in a music video set to air on Earth Day, April 22, 2021. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
VIDEO: B.C.-made music video launched in time for Earth Day 2021

Singer songwriter Shannon Zirnhelt worked with Third Planet Crusade on the project in the Cariboo

Ambulance crews have been busy with a record number of emergency overdose calls this Wednesday, April 21. (BC Emergency Health Services)
B.C. paramedics responded to a record 138 overdose calls in a single day

Wednesday’s calls included 48 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and 51 in Fraser Health

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. COVID-19 hotspots targeted as AstraZeneca vaccine runs low

17,000 appointments booked the first day for people aged 40 and up

(File)
Two injured in rollover crash near Agassiz

One treated for serious, non-life threatening injuries

Most Read