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Commercial Renovation – A Yoga Studio

interior yoga studio commercial renovation stettler alberta commercial renovations

Breathing New Life Into a Yoga Studio

yoga studio stettler commercial renovationOne of my favourite things about commercial renovations is the variety of projects and people that I get to work with on a daily basis. Given the wide scope of work – commercial renovations and residential renovations – that we take on and the uniqueness of each project, it seems there is always a new challenge or opportunity just waiting around the corner. Recently, the Homestead Custom Carpentry team was pleased to take on a new commercial renovation project for some esteemed long-term clients of ours in Stettler, Alberta.

A few years back, we had renovated the offices of Central Vision & Hearing, one of the Stettler’s foremost health service providers in Central Alberta. Having kept up a positive relationship over the years, they called us back to develop some unused office space on the second floor of their adjacent building, with hopes of repurposing it into a functioning yoga studio. Excuse me for getting too metaphorical here, but given that the essence of yoga is about finding inner transformation and balance, it seems only fitting that this commercial renovation project would breathe new life into a building that had sat vacant for many years.

As is typical for any commercial renovation project,

demolition was our first step, and involved taking down the walls of several of the individual offices and removing the flooring back to the subfloor, in order to create one large usable space. The ceiling was suspended acoustic tile (also known as T-bar, which I personally love working with as it provides easy access to furnace ductwork and other components), however this created a small challenge in that the ceiling height in a portion of the main room was about 12 inches lower that in the offices, and supported by one of the walls to be removed. This problem was solved by framing in a suspended beam, supported overhead from the ceiling joists. These provided a fastening point for the T-bar molding channel on both sides and a smooth transition between the differing ceiling height levels. ​

The next step was to frame in a wall to partition our newly created main floor space from the rest of the undeveloped office space (as we were only renovating about half of the second floor). We also stripped back the drywall and plywood caps along the window ledges, which were in serious need of some attention. We added a vapor barrier to cover the insulation in the exterior walls, and also set to work preparing the subfloor for new flooring, removing any nails, staples, or glue residue that might get in the way.

As the commercial renovation project was proceeding, our sub-trades were also hard at work – running wire and new lights, hooking up new waterlines, installing and finishing drywall, painting, replacing the ceiling grid, and many other necessary tasks for completing a renovation. A special thanks to Stettler Electric, Action Plumbing & Excavating, and Sun Interiors, for all the excellent work your crews put in – we couldn’t have done it without you

One of the last steps before completion was to install flooring, a “Drop & Done” faux wood vinyl plank provided by Divine Flooring, a local Red Deer flooring renovation partner. I find it a fantastic product, as it’s easy to install, durable, cost-efficient, and if by chance a piece is scratched or damaged, it has the added capability of being able to replace a single plank without needing to take up the whole floor. If you are ever thinking about putting in some new flooring, I would highly recommend this product.
 
Completion of this newly renovated yoga studio wrapped up at the end of May, just in time for Central Vision & Hearing’s new tenants to take possession at the beginning of June, and begin making use of this transformed space. I’m proud to have been a part of this project, and hope we’ll see more like it in the future.

 

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Habitat For Humanity: A Volunteer Experience

Habitat For Humanity: A Volunteer Experience

habitat for humanity red deer home build volunteer team in front of home under constructionWhen our Homestead Custom Carpentry team heard about the opportunity to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity Red Deer team, we were thrilled and immediately wanted to get involved. We have always had a desire to contribute to the City of Red Deer’s development by fighting poverty in our local communities and building hope for those who need a safe home.

The volunteer on-boarding process was straightforward and simple.
Alyson, Habitat’s Volunteer Coordinator, sent us the volunteer agreement forms to fill out along with the information:

  • Days and times available for scheduled shifts
  • Steel-toed boots required
  • PPE supplied (eye wear, hard hats, gloves, safety vets etc)

Our Homestead team chose to arrive on a Thursday: we were greeted by Habitat’s Construction Manager Todd Lamoureux, who gave us an orientation, explained the day’s duties (e.g. siding, painting, and decking) and asked us some questions about our construction experience. Todd was thankful to have Homestead’s Brent Purdie and Mike Wark, who are skilled carpenters, along with a handful of other eager volunteers.
Once we were assigned a task, we set to work. As one of our tasks for the day, we were given the job of installing vinyl siding on the north side of the house. Vinyl is an appealing choice for many homeowners, as it is easy to install, requires virtually zero maintenance, and is quite affordable.

At noon, it was a surprise to be greeted with a delicious catered lunch, served on-site in one of the garages we were constructing.

Homestead Custom Carpentry was not the only local building contractor to volunteer time and skill towards Habitat’s admirable cause. For work beyond the scope of what day-to-day volunteers can handle, other professionals from trades such as plumbing (e.g. Bruin’s Plumbing), electrical, HVAC, metal-working, and drywall finishing also ensured that the finished home was of high quality and met or exceeded building code requirements. Without these individuals and their experience, it would be difficult to complete the project.

Throughout the day, it was exciting to get to know and work alongside the eventual owners of the houses themselves. We were also delighted for Todd to inform us that, because of Canada’s 150th birthday year, Habitat for Humanity has set out to build 150 homes in their goal to end the cycle of poverty, and help provide families with affordable housing in our local communities.

Overall, the experience as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity Red Deer team was inspirational, fun, and one that you can’t miss! We hope to volunteer again soon!

You can read more about the experience HERE.

See Habitat For Humanity Red Deer‘s Twitter and Facebook activity here and maybe you could help too!

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A Red Deer Carpenter’s Story

A Red Deer Carpenter Story

red deer home builder carpenter working outdoors wearing cap and white shirtI remember very clearly when I first began learning carpentry, and started the journey it would take me on in the years to come. I had just graduated from university, was recently married and new to the area, and I felt I was at a crossroads as to what the next step in my career would be. Despite my best efforts, local jobs for Political Science graduates in the Red Deer area seemed to be in short supply, and frankly, I didn’t fancy a job as a government analyst or political party staffer. Thus, I found myself retooling my resumé, and seeking out connections in the local construction and renovation industry.

Back then, the economy was still pretty hot on the last housing boom, and it wasn’t long before I found a Journeyman willing to take me on as an carpentry apprentice, working as part of a fast-paced production framing crew. Our company had recently won a large contract to build about a dozen multiplex townhouse units in southeast Red Deer, and the project was expected to take around 3 years to complete.

I quickly discovered that production residential house framing was unlike anything I’d ever done before in my life. The work was almost exclusively outside, year-round in all kinds of weather, labour-intensive, and with a schedule that required strict efficiency, tight quality standards, and a fast learning curve. As the new guy, it took me a little while to find my place on the construction crew. I made my fair share of mistakes, like anyone learning anything new does, but it wasn’t until later on that I discovered that this was just part of the learning process, and I learned not to beat myself up too much for it. Over time I gradually improved in my skills, and began to appreciate seeing the transformation of the build site, from what began as nothing more than an empty field with a hole in the ground, to a series full-fledged homes with dozens of guys working on site in different roles.

Framing multiplexes had some funny moments – like the time I got my boots stuck in ankle-deep mud while building a roof on the ground, and my boss refused to get me out until he’d snapped some pictures of me struggling. We also had some not-so-funny moments – like the time I spent the afternoon in the ER after a run in with the nail gun. Overall, the experience was a challenging, but incredibly useful one for me, and I now look upon my first year and a half spent framing as my “trial by fire” into the world of construction.

While learning on the job provided me with valuable hands-on experience, my time attending Carpentry school at Red Deer College supplemented my education with many of the technical aspects I needed to know, and helped round out my skill-set as a carpenter. In Alberta, the apprenticeship program is structured that every year, you spend 10 months working on the job, and two months attending technical training, and you must attain a required number of experience hours and pass a competency exam (the dreaded “TQ”), to be recognized at the next level. As Carpentry is one of, if not the most varied of all the trades, the sheer amount of material learned is surprising to many seeing it for the first time – alongside framing (or “rough carpentry” as it is known), prospective carpenters learn skills in surveying, layout, concrete forming, demolition, blueprint interpretation and design, building science and structure, fine finishing, and many other areas. With each progressive year, the subject matter grows more complex, until at the end of the 4-year program, apprentice carpenters are confident in the many required skill areas demanded of them on the job. It’s a point of pride that Alberta turns out some of the most highly skilled Journeyman Carpenters in the world.

Following my first year of Carpentry technical training, I was offered a position with a radically different company, Homestead Custom Carpentry, led by owner, Brent Purdie. “Homestead” specializes in upper-scale renovations and project management, and works directly with homeowner clients to help them realize the potential of their homes, and make their remodeling dreams a reality. I quickly found that while I had enjoyed framing (most of the time), getting into renovations provided a thrill of a different kind, allowing me to understand the greater picture behind home renovation projects, as I got to be a part of the custom process all the way from conception to completion. It also allowed me to develop a greater independence and confidence in my work, and to learn that many times in many places, there’s more than one right way of accomplishing a task.

One of the things I have come to appreciate most about working with Homestead is that integrity is the driving value that defines how the company operates. As a strong Christian, I would say that my faith is the underlying principle defining how I live my life, and since I know the same is true for Brent, I can be confident in knowing that all of Homestead’s interactions with clients, business partners, and the community at large are honest, truthful, and quality-driven. As Colossians 3:23 points out, “Whatever you do, do it willingly, as if working for the Lord, rather than for men.” To find and work for a company that makes a point out of not cutting corners, providing honest quotes, and looking out for a client’s best interests, even at a potential loss of revenue, is a rare thing that I am glad for, and one that has taught me that in both life and business, there are things that are much more important than making a profit.

I am now finishing up the last year of my Carpentry apprenticeship, and still glad to be working for Homestead. Recently, I began taking some courses on project management, in hopes of obtaining my Project Management Professional (PMP) designation, following the completion of my Journeyman Carpenter’s ticket. I’ve had the opportunity to work on some fantastic projects, meet some wonderful people, and learn a lot during the last several years, and I’m excited for what the future may hold.