Real Advice. Real Experts.

Something for nothing and your tips for free.

In the world of home improvement, it’s not often the word free enters the equation. The thirst for complimentary advice from respected experts has become big business, helping to give rise to the popularity of networks like HGTV.

It’s the same sort of knowledge that will be on display as some of the most trusted names in Canada’s home improvement industry will be on hand as part of this year’s Calgary Home + Garden Show. Along with 650 exhibitors, the show will bring HGTV’s Bryan Baeumler and Tommy Smythe along with a host of other personalities to the BMO Centre.

“I think people love to watch shows on HGTV but they also love to hear stories from the personalities themselves,” says show manager Jill Kivett. “They did the Vancouver show and we had Bryan onstage and his wife actually came as well – and they just talked about themselves and their lives and their business. Bryan’s really great at that. He’s really down to earth and they’re also experts at what they do. They’re able to offer really good content.”

In addition to presentations on the main stage from Baeumler, Smythe and other local experts, those in attendance will be able to seek professional help at the Ask the Expert area. A slight change from past shows, where designers have been featured, this year’s show adds even more expertise.

“We’ve done Ask a Designer in the past but we decided to pull all the experts in, which is contractors, renovators and landscapers,” said Kivett. “So if you’re working on a project inside or outside the house, people can bring down their plans and a talk to someone and get a free consultation.”

For Baeumler, childhood summers spent helping build the family cottage have segued into an adulthood spent helping build thousands. With shows like House of Bryan, Leave it to Bryan, Canada’s Handyman Challenge, Deck Wars and HGTV’d, Baeumler has become one of the most recognizable faces in home improvement. Normally more than happy to hand out advice, Baeumler admits there are some situations when being one of Canada’s top renovation experts can get a little uncomfortable.

“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.”

Another personality who will make a return to this year’s show Is Alykhan Velji. For the past 10 years, Velji has been making his mark on the design industry, competing on HGTV’s Designer Superstar Challenge, leading fellow decorators as design team captain on CityTV’s My Rona Home, and appearing as a resident design expert on The Marilyn Denis Show.

For Velji, one of the important factors in putting a presentation together is allowing those in the audience to incorporate new ideas while remaining budget-friendly.

“My presentation at this year’s show is based on design trends that I think you will be seeing for 2014. I will also be teaching people how to incorporate these trends while still keeping their look timeless,” says Velji. “Trends always come and go and it’s great to stay current but sometimes that hits the wallet a little hard. With my tips and tricks, you will learn how to do this in a way that will still keep your look timeless, up to date and on budget.”

Another highlight at this year’s show, and one that showcases a big trend in the housing and renovations industry is the Nu Smart Home. Equipped with “the future’s answer to home automation”, the home allows its occupants to control virtually any aspect of their abode via Smartphone.

“We actually have two houses at the show. One is a modular style cottage from Expert Homes and the second one is a little more concept,” says Kivett. “It’s a west coast style that’s all fully automated from a company called New Automations. So you can see how to turn your home into a smart home, with everything from controlling the blinds from your Smartphone to even wiring up the appliances in your kitchen so you be watching TV and it’ll flash across the screen that your roast is done.”

Along with all the free advice and expertise on display, the Calgary Home + Garden Show has other offerings geared towards those in attendance. In between information sessions, the public can enjoy a snack at Food Truck Alley, featuring some of YYC’s favourite rolling restaurants or a beverage in the show’s beer garden.

And of course, as always, satisfaction is guaranteed – or the cost of admission is free.

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