Friday, 26 October 2007

Wo-Built Was Mentioned in the Toronto Star

Attention! Attention! Attention!

Our Pre-apprenticeship training course for women in the finishing trades is almost designed and we are looking for women in the Greater Toronto Area and surrounding areas who want to start a career in the building trades. A curriculum will be published in November. Our training mandate was mentioned in the Toronto Star recently and what a great way to kick off information for the training.

Here is the link:

On Topic - Toronto Training Board eNewsletter
VOLUME 8, August 2007
WOMEN AND EDUCATION | News | Trades program offers lesson on repairing lives
George Brown pilot project turns at-risk women into in-demand skilled tradeswomen
Daniel Girard, Education Reporter
Toronto Star, Aug 27, 2007 04:30 AM

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Thursday, 18 October 2007

Professional Versus Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Renovations

Washroom ready for painting or is it?
Image No: 0303024 from
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As I walk thru the neighborhood I am struck by the flurry of activity that all the renovations are generating. Painting, roof repairs, window installations, and remodeling projects - signs on the lawns advertise what job is being done and by which company. What a great idea to hire a professional renovation team! I am reminded of some personal experiences with do-it-yourself renovations and some of the unpleasant results. Friends have also recounted their horror stories of do-it-yourself projects with even worse outcomes. There have been accounts of bathrooms with no doors and a hole where a window should be; stories of no walls to define the separate rooms and even the absence of ceilings.

One supposed advantage that gets a good number of people on the do-it-yourself bandwagon is the financial savings. But this can turn out to be a major pitfall. I learned the hard way that the drawback of not having the right know-how and experience to do a particular job correctly will certainly reverse this advantage. When we decided on a minor bathroom renovation, a simple toilet installation produced a minor flood. The services of a professional plumber were called for to repair the damage and finish the job as it should have been done in the first place at a substantial price tag. No financial savings here!

Another drawback is the time involved. I can laugh about it now, but the bathroom renovation that took 2 years to finish caused some very short tempers and sorely tested our marriage. Again, the lesson I learned the hard way is that living in a mess for an extended period of time can cause a lot of chaos and aggravation within a household.

The message here is that unless you know what you are doing and really enjoy puttering around with home repairs and renovation projects, a professional renovation team can save time, aggravation and costly mistakes. The cost may be higher but the payback can be substantial in the long run. Peace of mind for a job well done, and the time for personal interests may be well worth the price tag. I know what my choice will be for future projects.
Lonya is a staff writer for Wo-Built Inc.

Image: CMHC "Time for a Change?" poster
"Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has the information you need to plan and carry out your dream renovation. From the planning stages to the final touches, and from replacing doors and windows to giving your bathroom or kitchen a facelift, CMHC can help."
Image Credit:

Home Renovation - Do it Yourself or Hire a Pro? Home Renovations
Portal:Home improvement
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Home improvement
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Friday, 12 October 2007

A Reflection: Now Life’s Events Can Impact on Your Home Design

Our editorial in the August Bloor West SNAP Community Paper
Click on picture to enlarge.

Bloor West SNAP is a monthly source for a captivating view of the many community events, celebrations, business gatherings and general daily life in the communities of Bloor West Village, Swansea Village, High Park, The Kingsway, Roncesvalles Village and the Junction.

A Reflection: Now Life’s Events
Can Impact on Your Home Design

by: Martina Ernst

What do you do when life deals you one of those unexpected curve balls, such as having to care for elderly parents or the return of a daughter after a divorce with grandchildren in tow? Even planned changes such as a new baby’s arrival can play havoc with your living arrangements.

These occurrences are common, however, may not have been in your life plan. When one or both of your parents begin living with you, this brings about huge changes to the comfort level in your household. Short of uprooting the entire family to a new location at enormous expense, all these concerns can be facilitated with the services of a competent professional with good planning expertise.

One of the most important matters is creating boundaries that give everyone a certain degree of independence. Part of the process has to be brainstorming possibilities with your family and then consulting with professionals, i.e. architects, designers and contractors to get the best suggestions to the challenges you facing.

Some points that would facilitate the process to achieve your desired results:

Consider the situation you are facing and needs of everyone involved. Make wish-list.
Discuss the issues with your family and take into account everyone’s needs and opinions. Solutions can range from simple partitioning to elaborate additions. Do you convert the family room to a granny suite or do you consider an extension to your home? Maybe converting two bedrooms into one and considering a chair lift would be the answer. How do you prevent from compromising the resale value by the conversion?
Think about the existing space, budget, and desired lifestyle. How do you keep the cost down and provide the comfort your family deserves?
Visualize the final outcome. What do you want to achieve and what do you ultimately need.
Consult with all professionals involved and make your final decision.
Get started!

Having a specific goal in mind can make communication a lot easier. The construction aspect of the project is the easy part, knowing what you want: priceless.

Martina Ernst is the CEO of Wo-Built Inc, a women-led Design and Build general contractor.

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Tuesday, 9 October 2007

We Are Back!!!!!

Wo-Built's new logo Wo-Built's new logo
Renovation with a Women's Touch
info @

Hello everyone,

Wo-Built Inc had an incredible summer and we made lots of progress in growing our business and developing our training program. Over the coming months we will post articles and notes on the subjects.

We were mentioned in the Toronto Star and had an editorial in the SNAP Bloor West Community Paper. More on this over the next weeks.

We are launching a series called 'Reflections' and we would like to have your contributions. Share your stories and personal thoughts on renovations, your home or the building industry. And we still want to hear from women in the industry about their experience.

Look out: this is going to be an exciting fall season.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc

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We Are Back!!!!!