Having become synonymous with home renovations in Canada, Bryan Baeumler doesn’t believe he’s put in a hard day’s work unless he gets his hands dirty. The award winning host of HGTV’s Leave It To Bryan recently finished a cottage for his family as part of House of Bryan 2: On The Rocks, Baeumler’s busy schedule will bring him to town as part of the Calgary Home + Garden Show, which takes place Feb. 27 through March 2 at the BMO Centre. CREB®Now spoke with Baeumler about being one of Canada’s top renovation experts.
CREB®Now>> How did you go from a legal career to being a renovations expert?
Baeumler>> I managed to completely dodge the legal career. My plan after University was to move to Vancouver to take a year off, then head to law school, but in that year, I realized that my true passion was building and renovating. Wearing a tie and going to the office isn’t for me!
CREB®Now>> What’s the biggest mistake people make when starting a renovation?
Baeumler>> They underestimate what it’s going to cost, how stressful it can be and how long it’s going to take.
CREB®Now>> What was your first renovation project?
Baeumler>> When I was 10, we built our own cottage on Georgian Bay. My Dad had a framing crew put up the structure, but after that it was a family affair. The first project I did as a selfemployed contractor was patching a door handle hole in a piece of drywall for an elderly lady – I don’t think I even charged her!
CREB®Now>> What’s the biggest renovation challenge you’ve faced?
Baeumler>> We had to completely restructure a 100-yearold home in the east end of Toronto. We couldn’t disturb the main floor of the house, and it was sandwiched between two other houses. We couldn’t fit all the beams and joists in from above so we had to punch holes in the brick to get all the beams in through the front and back of the house. It was pretty challenging, but a lot of fun figuring it all out.
CREB®Now>> Are there any big new trends coming in the renovation industry?
Baeumler>> There are some amazing new products in the works, but open concept design, energy efficiency and natural lighting continue to dominate.
CREB®Now>> What’s your favourite room in your home and why?
Baeumler>> That depends on the day. I really don’t have a favourite room in any of our homes – we design every space to be comfortable and unique. If I had to pick one to live in forever? [I’d probably say] my barn/workshop.
CREB®Now>> What’s one tip you’d give homeowners when hiring a contractor?
Baeumler>> Hire an expert that you trust, and let them do their job. We have a list of like-minded professionals that we work with at www.baeumlerapproved.com.
CREB®Now>> How do you balance what’s right for the project with the demands of the homeowner?
Baeumler>> I have a pretty cut and dry approach to renovating – if you hired me to do it, get out of the way and let me do it. Obviously when it comes to the look and feel, that’s completely up to the homeowner (although I often have input) but when it comes to the mechanics of how it’s built, that’s me and my engineer’s department.
CREB®Now>> Given your occupation, is it tough not to end up critiquing/consulting on the projects of friends and family?
Baeumler>> Definitely. I try my best not to give unsolicited advice, or point out the obvious when I’m at a dinner party. Sometimes I just can’t help laughing and pointing – it can get awkward.
CREB®Now>> What’s the best and worst thing about being a renovations expert?
Baeumler>> The best thing is that I never feel overwhelmed when I have a project to do or an issue to deal with on one of my own properties. To me, building or renovating a house is very simple. The worst is that no matter where I am, everyone has questions or needs advice about their own home, and they always want me to come over and help.
Bryan appears on the State Farm® Main Stage presented by HGTV and CREB®Now, presenting: Save Your Home From Yourself Friday, Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. and Saturday, Mar. 1 at 11 a.m. Visit www.calgaryhgs.com for tickets or for more information.