Learn to love your home again: hire a professional Ottawa renovator

If your love affair with your home no longer sizzles, it could be time to hire a professional Ottawa renovator. Multi-award-winning ARTium Design Build and its sister company, Just Basements, are celebrating 20 years of turning renovation fantasies into reality, helping homeowners swoon for their homes all over again.

Always eager to answer questions, here’s what the two businesses would like you to know about renovation matchmaking.

The demand for renovations seems to have exploded during the pandemic. Why is that?


Designer Mallory McCarthy answers:

Many of our clients over the past few months have actually been considering a renovation for some time. They love their homes but, as they’ve spent more time there, the frustrations of living in spaces that don’t quite fit their needs have been magnified. And with travel plans on hold, they’re even more eager for a change and may have the extra money to pay for that special renovation.

With so many of us working remotely, home offices are in the spotlight. How does ARTium approach those spaces?


Designer Mandy Eustace answers:

Home offices have definitely moved to the top of clients’ wish lists. The trick is to design a functional space without taking away from the overall home. Modular cabinetry is a great solution when you have only a small corner in a bedroom or family room.

Many people are transforming their large, formal dining area into a family-friendly work space that accommodates both parents and kids. A great way to maximize office space without taking too much square footage from other areas is to select your furniture first and then base the size of the room you’re renovating on that.

A basement is transformed into an award-winning cosy family space.

What about renovating other areas for more family and recreational time?

Project developer Scott Wennick answers:

A silver lining to the pandemic — yes, there is one! — is families valuing their time together in ways they haven’t for generations. At Just Basements, we’re seeing inquiries about a basement renovation for family purposes. It might be a gym so everyone can stay fit, an in-law suite or even a studio apartment for the university student in the house.


Another great use of basements is for a custom bathroom, especially in an older home where above-grade space is limited. Just Basements has been creating design-winning bathroom options in basements for years, and this can be an affordable solution to the age-old “bathroom problem” in busy households.

Homeowners are sometimes uneasy about calling a renovator because they don’t know what to expect. Can you explain ARTium’s process? 

Designer Mallory McCarthy answers:


We start by creating a vision for the project so everyone, including the client, knows exactly where we are headed.

We do this by first understanding the “pain” the homeowners are experiencing — the things that prevent their home from working as well as it could and that get in the way of total love for where they live.

Asking about current use of the space, reviewing the existing layout, visiting the home: It’s all part of our analysis. We also explore how our homeowners would like to live by asking about everything from job requirements to family life and pastimes.


We then share inspirational images of other finished spaces so the homeowners and designer can together determine the overall function and esthetic of the renovated space. This gives us the design vision, which we then transform into a step-by-step planning and implementation process, including selection of materials, permits, construction schedules and milestones, and, of course, a final budget.

Here’s a video explaining the approach ARTium and Just Basements have taken during 20 years in business:


How do you prevent a renovation from going over budget?

Project developer Scott Wennick answers:

Busting the reno budget may be common but it is avoidable. The most common reason for over-budget renovations is lack of planning. Unfortunately, most renovation purchasers ask “When can you start our project?” rather than “When can we start planning our project?”


At ARTium, we follow a strict project development process. We need to understand, design, document and plan every aspect of a project before picking up a hammer.

If you don’t plan, you don’t know what you’re building. If you don’t know what you are building, you can’t know the cost and you will likely go over budget. By planning thoroughly, we can establish the cost accurately.

What should a homeowner do before calling renovators for quotes?


President Norm Lecuyer answers:

Take the time to create a thoughtful wish list. What renovations are you considering and why? Prioritize your projects and prioritize your wish list within a given project. Be prepared to compromise on your wishes and what you’re willing to spend.

When setting your budget, remember a renovation is an investment in your home; if you invest wisely, you’ll reap the benefits. Speak with professionals like Realtors and financial planners about the cost of renovating your home or moving.


Finally, research your renovator, including checking out RenoMark renovators, who have to meet strict performance and ethical standards). Make sure you have a contract with start and end dates and that the company has insurance and is covered by the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board. The right company will guide you and your family through the renovation process and help you love your home again.

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