Houzz Awards “Best of Design” & "Best of Houzz"

Houzz Awards –  Awarded to Paul Lafrance Design of Toronto.

Over 40 Million Monthly Unique Users Nominated Best Home Building, Remodeling and Design Professionals in North America and Around the World for the Houzz Awards 2017.

[Pickering, Canada]February 2, 2017 – Paul Lafrance Design of Pickering, Ontario has won “Best Of Design” on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The whole-home design firm, founded in 1997 by television host Paul Lafrance, was chosen by the more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2016. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award. A “Best Of Houzz 2017” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of  their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

Paul Lafrance Design was born from my dream of creating whole-home transformations that buck the trend. We don’t just think outside of the box, we dismantle it completely! The end result are designs that stand the test of time because each one is unique to the homeowners they were created for,” says founder Paul Lafrance. “We’re honoured that the Houzz community has once again voted us ‘Best of Houzz’!”

 “We’re so pleased to award Best of Houzz 2017 to this incredible group of talented and customer-focused professionals, including Paul Lafrance Design,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “Each of these businesses was singled out for recognition by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts for helping to turn their home improvement dreams into reality.”

 

About Paul Lafrance Design
Paul Lafrance Design, founded as Cutting Edge Construction & Design in 1997, is a home improvement design firm operating in the Greater Toronto Area. To date, they have had a hand in over a thousand projects and show no signs of slowing down. From outdoor living-space design to interior design and custom furniture, they design for homeowners all over the world. For more information, visit www.PaulLafranceDesign.com.

About Houzz
Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit houzz.com.

Techno Metal Post vs Other Deck Footings Paul Lafrance Design Team - Brands We Trust

Techno Metal Post vs Other Deck Footings

I love helping people to revitalize their outdoor living spaces, and transform their back yards into safe havens that will be a relaxing retreat for many years to come.  An important part of that is using a solid foundation that’ll last the test of time, because even the most beautiful deck is only as strong as the foundation beneath it!  That’s why I recommend Techno Metal Post to all my clients.

_DSC4770Here’s a Techno Metal Post in a nutshell: A hollow galvanized steel tube tipped with a thick steel helix that is drilled straight down into the ground.  They’re installed by trained pros using specially designed hydraulic machinery which does the job without ripping up your yard, mixing messy concrete, or creating huge piles of dirt to deal with.

So how does Techno Metal Post compare to other deck footings?  Let’s take a look.

Tradtional concrete footings are tradition for a reason: They work.  But that doesn’t mean they’re efficient or ideal.  Old timey hand-cranked drills work too, but why use them when you have a faster and more efficient alternative?  Even in ideal conditions, concrete footings require that you dig a hole deep enough to safely support your deck structure, then keep water out of it while you wait for the inspector to sign off.  After that, you must haul heavy concrete, mix it up, pour into place, and round the top to ensure water won’t be able to pool on it once it’s dry.  Then, you have to pack up and wait for it to dry, which takes at least a day.  Only then can you drill & place your saddle to start building.  And that’s if the footings are straightforward!  Sometimes you need to use a bell pier, which requires even more time.  All of this can take days to prepare and install, so while concrete looks cheaper than Techno Metal Post on paper, the money you save in materials goes right back out in labour hours (and then some).  Using Techno Metal Post, even my largest projects take less than a day to install footings for, sometimes even less than an hour!  That means I waste no time getting right into framing, leaving me with tighter timeframes and faster builds.

Deck blocks – shaped concrete blocks that sit on top of the ground like feet – are occasionally selected for very small, very low decks.  If your yard is very flat, if your deck will be very small and close to the ground, and if you don’t mind your deck shifting with each freeze-thaw cycle, these can work.  However, their shortcomings are varied and numerous!  Because they sit on top of the ground, blocks have very little shear resistance, and any kind of slope in your yard will cause the structure to tilt over time.  Is your home new?  That’s a potential issue as well, because the recently disturbed soil is more prone to settling beneath the blocks and causing the deck to shift.  Their usage is also very limited, as these blocks simply cannot be safely used for any deck that is more than a step or two above ground level.  In windy areas, a deck supported on blocks can even achieve “lift off” and rise out of the footings!!  Altogether, a deck supported on blocks will not last long enough to pass down to your kids with the house, and its fast deterioration will negatively impact the value of your house if you sell.  Nobody wants to be saddled with a deck that needs to be replaced within a few years.  With Techno Metal Post, these issues simply don’t exist.  The installation technician uses readouts on the machine that tell them when the footing has reached a significant enough depth to support the load of the deck, and once these babies go in, they stay put.  Thanks to the specially designed green sleeve, even frost can’t grab a Techno Metal Post, which protects your deck from frost heave.  This is definitely the foundation you want to turn to if you view your outdoor living space as a long-term investment to be protected.

Ground Spikes are another option for smaller, low-to-the-ground decks.  They consist of a metal spike that is driven into the ground with brute force, such as with a sledgehammer or a jackhammer.  The better quality ones also use a flat plate at the surface which helps to better distribute weight, but they still rely on soil friction and not soil bearing to support the load.  Since they go into the ground, they provide better lateral strength than deck blocks, but are still vulnerable to heaving during the freeze/thaw cycle, and are again quite limited in their application.  You must keep your structure very close to the ground, and it must be freestanding and not attach to the house via a ledger board.  This means more footings and less options! Techno Metal Post is the clear winner here.  No matter how crazy (or tall!) my design gets, the footings will be up to the job .

_DSC4694That’s not all that puts Techno Metal Post in a class all its own.  Each and every installation comes with an engineering certification that guarantees each footing is installed correctly and to the depth required to bear its load.  Plus, Techno Metal Post is 100% CCMC (Canadian Construction Materials Centre) Approved, so you can rest easy knowing that your new deck will be strong and stable for many, many years to come.

Techno Metal Post vs Other Deck Footings

Till next time,
Paul Lafrance.

Paul Lafrance at Jill of All Trades 2016 Conestoga College

The Jill of All Trades 2016 show, held at Conestoga College, Paul Lafrance, host of HGTV’s Decked Out, Disaster Decks and Deck Wars was the keynote speaker during the opening ceremonies. He told the students they have a unique edge over their male counterparts, but they need to use it effectively. Paul continues to encourages all women to pursue their dreams in skilled trades.

Learn more about Paul Lafrance and his upcoming events, contact us today!

Jill of All Trades offers a full day of hands-on workshops led by female mentors designed to help young women develop a better understanding of the potential of skilled trades careers.

Jill of All Trades is open to high school students.

This year’s keynote will be delivered by Paul Lafrance, star of HGTV’S Decked Out, Disaster Decks, Deck Wars, and Canada’s Handyman Challenge.

Additional highlights will include information booths, facility tours, guest speakers and mentorship opportunities.

Time: 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Location: Conestoga College, Cambridge Campus, 850 Fountain St. South

To Register: Please contact Rosanne Hessian at 519-748-5220 ext. 2429.

Message from Paul Lafrance Spring 2016

Message from Paul Lafrance;

Dear ‘fan’mily!

I’m so relieved Spring is finally HERE! As much as I love Christmas time, fireplaces, and the look of the winter sun shining off of trees and fields covered in ice, I’m happy to let it go in favour of warmer weather and being able to run outside without first donning my parka. I wear flip flops in the winter out of sheer rebellion!

At Paul Lafrance Design, we’ve been busily expanding, forging new relationships, and creating crazy projects that I can’t wait for you all to see! We’ve partnered with some truly remarkable companies that are on the cutting edge of the design industry, creating everything from state of the art glass railings, to corkscrew metal footings that replace traditional concrete ones, to incredible wall and ceiling treatments that make my job all that much more fun!

We’ve also formed an alliance with an amazing deck company called, fittingly, The Deck Store. The Deck Store, owned by Terry Fangrad, has got six design centres in Ontario (so far), and offers both stellar workmanship and customer service. We are now working with them, hand-in-hand, to install Paul Lafrance Designs all across the province.

With warm weather upon us (did I mention how happy that makes me?) we are getting booked up quickly with new designs for folks all across the country and in the United States. If you’ve ever watched any of my shows (Decked Out, Disaster Decks, Custom Built, etc.) you’ll know that we come up with some pretty spectacular stuff (if I do say so myself!). What you might not have known is that we design custom outdoor living spaces and interior renovations for people internationally. If you’ve ever wondered what we could come up with for your backyard or any room in your house, give us a shout. We’d love to dream up something extraordinary with you.

Your trusted messenger,
Paul Lafrance.

Cabinet Effects – Custom Cabinetry & Woodworking Paul Lafrance Design Team - Brands We Trust

Built-in cabinetry is an essential element to every kitchen and bath renovation. It not only has to hold up to daily use over time but in most cases it’s the face of the design. That’s why Paul prefers to team up with experts like Cabinet Effects when building or renovating custom kitchens and bathrooms.

Cabinet Effects is a custom cabinetry and woodworking company based out of South Western Ontario. They utilize their small but diverse wood shop to build custom cabinets, using high-quality materials and manufacturing techniques that will stand up to everyday use. They are doing their part to protect the environment by using sustainably harvested lumber and only GREENGUARD Certified waterborne stains, undercoats, and lacquers that are a low VOC, HAPS-free formulation that contains no isocyanate or formaldehyde.

When creating a space that is unique to your home and your style, often the generic cabinetry of big box stores falls short and leaves you with the feeling of having settled. When working with Cabinet Effects, you get the personalized touch and expert craftsmanship that comes from a company that values quality and attention to detail. They work with you to create a unique piece/pieces that will suit your lifestyle and complement your design. They also offer a variety of other custom products including; wall units, bars, mantels, bookcases, home offices, and more.

Paul comes up with some outside-of-the-box ideas and the great team at Cabinet Effects is always able to bring them to life. Why settle for generic, when you could have the wow-effect of beautiful custom finishes that will impress for years? Check out the gallery over on the Cabinet Effects website and see all that they have to offer.

Looking for more inspiration for your next renovation? Check out our recommended page and follow our blog for news, promos, and introductions to products and companies that are blowing us away, and if you think you fit into that category, get in touch and tell us all about what you have to offer.

Home Painters Toronto Paul Lafrance Design Team - Brands We Trust

Home Painters Toronto – Brands We Trust

So, you’ve picked the perfect wall colour or finish for your space, but you aren’t sure who to trust to get the job done right? With so many painting contractors to choose, from it can be an overwhelming decision. If you are in the GTA, the choice just got a whole lot easier. Home Painters Toronto has done such great work for Paul, that he is happy to recommend them for this week’s We <3 It Wednesday!

For 25 years, Home Painters Toronto has culminated a reputation in the GTA for their superior interior and exterior painting skills and professionalism in both residential and commercial jobs. They set the bar high with their 100% client satisfaction guarantee and a 2-year guarantee of quality, which is why it’s no surprise that they have racked up thousands of satisfied clients.

Home Painters Toronto is dedicated to remarkable workmanship, a positive work attitude, and professional personable staff. Every employee has passed an extensive criminal background check and are covered by full workers compensation and liability insurance. Home Painters Toronto offers the highest level of service, using a wide range of top-quality products and fair estimates, giving you the peace of mind of knowing that you are getting the best possible value.

We have seen Home Painters Toronto’s excellent work first hand; both straight-forward paint applications and more complex faux-finishes, and we can attest to their skill and professionalism. We would definitely hire them again and urge you to check out the Home Painters Toronto website for more information and an extensive gallery of their work.

For more recommended brands and companies we trust, check out our recommended page! Follow our blog for news, promos, and introductions to products and companies that are blowing us away, and if you think you fit into that category, get in touch and tell us all about what you have to offer.

Owning an Indoor Gas Fireplace 10 Things You Need to Know Before You Buy

Are you on the market to buy an indoor gas fireplace?

You are not alone. Indoor gas fireplaces are now listed as one of the top amenities for homeowners who want to give their safe havens that extra special touch – a nice blend of coziness and warmth. In fact, according to the National Association of Home Builders, indoor gas fireplaces come in second behind decks, outdoor patios and porches. They look nice, are great on the energy-efficiency front and homeowners enjoy them since they are less messy than wood fireplaces.

Sure, there was once a time when indoor gas fireplaces were expensive and a luxury only richer folks could enjoy. However, times have changed – you can now get one without breaking the bank. In fact, indoor gas fireplaces retail for as little as $400.

Paul Lafrance, CEO of Cutting Edge Construction and Design and HGTV star of Disaster Decks, Decked Out and Custom Built, gave HOSS 10 factors homeowners need to consider before purchasing an indoor gas fireplace.

Decide why you want one. “This is a very important question every homeowner needs to ask before making their purchase,” explains Lafrance. “Do you want to buy one for heating purposes? Or do you want one to enhance the look and feel of a room? Or perhaps it’s a combination of both? Once you know exactly what you want your fireplace for, then this will quickly narrow your search.”

Know it should only heat one room. “Some people who are on the hunt for a gas fireplace want one to heat more than one room in order to save on heating costs, but this is a real no-no,” says Lafrance. “When you try and save on heating costs this way, it means that the room your fireplace is in will be overheated and you will instead end up keeping it off most of the time.”

Utilize new technology. When it comes to heating efficiency, Lafrance suggests homeowners use a thermostat-controlled, self-modulated fireplace. “This technology allows your fireplace to go up and down while maintaining the right room temperature you want,” he says.

Take your time. Lafrance indicates that there are many styles of indoor gas fireplaces: standard, island, peninsula, island, see-thru, open-end/corner and contemporary. “Pick a style that suits the room you are working with,” he says. “Shop around and see what’s out there, and once you discover that perfect fireplace, then you will know that it’s just right for your space.”

Match the trim with your home decor. Once you know what kind of indoor gas fireplace you want, the next step is to select the styles of trim available. “Trim is important as it accents both your fireplace and the theme of your room,” says Lafrance.

Turn it off. It is one thing to see your fireplace turned on, and it’s another to see it when it’s off, says Lafrance. “When it’s turned off, does it still look like it brings life to your room? This is a question you need to ask yourself before selecting your indoor fireplace.”

Decide on the fan. Lafrance says that the most efficient fireplaces do not have a fan to move hot air around a room. “Fans do not really improve heating up a room, and they tend to be noisy, so keep this in mind,” he says. “If you do have a fan included with your fireplace, then make sure it has its own control (up, down and off) and use when needed.”

Give your logs room to breathe. “When picking a log set, make sure it looks right for your room, and more importantly ensure there is good enough space around the log set so that the unit’s valve won’t overheat,” says Lafrance, adding, “Log sets are not the only option for gas fireplaces anymore and there are many other different options that will also give you that contemporary look.”

Decide on switch, remote or thermostat. Knowing how you will operate your fireplace is also an important question you need to ask yourself, according to Lafrance. “Will you control it through a wall switch, a thermostat or through a remote control?” There are many options, but knowing which one to go with first will also help you in selecting the right fireplace,” he says.

Know the BTU (British Thermal Units) calculation. Lafrance indicates that anyone who wants to purchase an indoor gas fireplace needs to know how much heat it will let off. “You need to know the right BTU calculation that suits your room,” he says. “You don’t want a small room to have too much heat, and you don’t want a big room to not have enough heat. In order to know the BTU calculation for your fireplace and how energy-efficient it will be for your space, consult with a professional,” says Lafrance. “A classic mistake homeowners make is buying based on flame height impressiveness, and this is what will leave you stripped down in your ‘Underoos’ within 10 minutes of turning your fireplace on if you don’t understand BTUs.”

Want to ask the Paul Lafrance Team a burning question? Contact us today!

Western Retail Lumber Association Buying Show 2016 Western Retail Lumber Association in Calgary

Western Retail Lumber Association Buying Show 2016

Hey Alberta ‘fan’mily,

Paul is coming to Calgary later this month for the Western Retail Lumber Association 2016 Buying Show!

He’ll be appearing at the Regal Ideas booth (#205) on Friday January 22nd.

Come on out to the show and say hi or contact us today!

Thank you to everyone who attended the 2016 Buying Show. We look forward to seeing you next year.

Contact Liz Kovach to book or for more 2019 Buying Show information at 1-800-661-0253 or LKovach@wrla.org.

Show and registration information will be updated to the website as details are confirmed.

Please keep checking the Yardstick, the Toolbox, and the WRLA website for more information.

WRLA Membership and Attendance lists are for Member Use Only and are avaialable upon request.
WRLA Member information is not distributed or sold to non-WRLA Members.

Galley Workstations – The Galley Collection® Paul Lafrance Design Team - Brands We Trust

Galley Workstations – Brands We Trust

The sink is the “hub” of the kitchen, but is it so often overlooked when renovating one of the most important rooms in the house. Why settle for a single-use sink when you could reinvent your kitchen with a Galley Workstations from The Galley. Paul chose one of the Galley Workstations for his own kitchen and would suggest them to anyone.

The Galley was created by a passionate kitchen designer and family cook who saw the potential in a workstation where all the prepping, serving, entertaining, and cleaning up could happen. Starting with a prototype in his own kitchen, Roger Shollmier (Inventor & Chief Designer) made that idea into a reality. The Galley Collection® is now available in 6 lengths to suit any size indoor or outdoor kitchen.

So much more than a sink, The Galley is a super-functional kitchen workstation. Every Galley Workstations comes with a well-appointed culinary kit that is available in your choice of white or black restaurant-quality resin, or Natural Bamboo. Culinary kits are comprised of cutting boards, colanders, bowls, and drain racks that fit into The Galley’s dual-tier system. They also offer an impressive selection of additional accessories to suit your every need, like the Condiment Serving Board, the Bottom Sink Divider and the Upper-tier Garnish Board to name a few.

So, if you are looking for a super-functional, smart and stylish focal point to amp up your kitchen, or you want to streamline your prep and cook time, check out The Galley website and pick the Galley Workstations that works best for you.

Be sure to come back next week for another ‘We <3 It!’ Wednesday. We will have more exceptional products and services coming your way. For our past favs check our recommended page for the best in the business. As always, if you have a product or service that you think we might like get in touch and tell us all about it.

Soothing Company Paul Lafrance Design Team - Brands We Trust

Soothing Company – Brands We Trust

After a long day nothing soothes the body and mind like the sound of a crackling fire, or the cascade of water as it falls. Unfortunately, both can be hard to come by at home, especially in the cold winter months. Which is why Paul likes to utilize the amazing water and fire features available from The Soothing Company in his designs.

Operating out of Camas, Washington, The Soothing Company has everything you need to create a relaxing environment both outside and inside of your home. They carry a large line of fountains, fireplaces, bean bag chairs, hammocks, outdoor art, and many other fine home and garden decor items.

Want to bring the ambience of water to your outdoor oasis? The Soothing Company has a great selection of outdoor water features, water walls, fountains and various other types available to choose from. But why stop there? While water walls are usually only associated with the outdoors, it doesn’t have to be that way with The Soothing Company’s vast range of beautifully crafted indoor waterfalls and water features. A unique and stunning option for an indoor water feature carried by The Soothing Company are the Art Wall Fountains. An Art Wall Fountain is a beautiful hand-painted masterpiece that provides a colorful landscape for a waterfall to flow down.

The Soothing Company also has a huge selection of indoor and outdoor fire features to add to the atmosphere of your room or outdoor space, and that is really only the tip of the iceberg of what they have to offer. The Soothing Company has every base covered when it comes to creating a relaxing and inviting space to call your own.

To bring that essential element of calm to your next reno or update, drop by The Soothing Company website and be amazed at how relaxing life could be. We will be back next week with another ‘We <3 It!’ Wednesday with more great products and companies to share with you.

Can wait that long? Head on over to our recommended page for the best in the business. We are always on the look-out for new products and services, so if you have one you think we might like, get in touch and tell us all about it!

Beard Approved Logo