Thursday, 24 February 2011

National Home Show - Three More Days to Go!

Green Design and Build Presentation at National Home Show Toronto 2011, by

Wo-Built Inc. and Snider Homes Alliance
Green Design and Build Presentation
at National Home Show Toronto, Feb 18-27, 2011
2011 ©

Here is our Green Design and Build Ideas slide show presentation which we exhibited at our Alliance Partner Snider Homes' booth the National Homeshow in Toronto.

View more presentations from WoBuilt on the SlideShare's platform.

Sandy Snider, Snider Homes  at the National Home Show, Toronto, photo by Olga Goubar, wobuilt.comSandy Snider [on the right] at the Wo-Built's Green Exhibit corner
at the Snider Homes' booth 1006
at the National Home Show at the Exhibition Place, Toronto
Twitpic 2011 @

National Home Show Toronto Wo-Built's Posters, photo by Olga GoubarWo-Built's Posters at the National Home Show.
Twitpic 2011 @

Wo-Built Inc. Snider Homes Alliance, photo collage by Olga GoubarPhoto Collage: Wo-Built Inc. Snider Homes Alliance
at the National Home Show 2011
2011 ©
3 more days to go. We will be sorry when the Homeshow is over. One thing I love doing is talking to people about design and renovations. Above are a few impressions at the Snider Home Booth.

Enjoy and come to visit us at the booth 1006 before it is too late.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

Wo-Built at the Home Show with Green Presentation

National Home Show Toronto 2011 Snider Homes booth, photo by Olga Goubar wobuilt.comSnider Homes Booth 1006 at the National Home Show
one of the most impressive booth at the Toronto show
Photo by Olga Goubar
Twitpic 2011 @

We had the opportunity to be invited to show our green commitment at our friend’s Snider Homes impressive booth #1006 at the National Home Show. The booth is in the shape of a house (20ft by 16ft) and a big hit with the scores of visitors who came in. I watched the house being built in record time in 4 days by Snider Homes’ professional team and the process was remarkable.

As we have mentioned to our reader before we have a strategic partnership with Snider Homes. We bring to the mix our commitment to innovative and green design & build and our social mission to mentor women in construction. For the show we prepared a green presentation.

Enjoy and come to visit us to watch it at the booth!

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

Thursday, 10 February 2011

National Home Show Will Be Here Soon: February 18 - 27

Restore Refresh Renew National Home Show Toronto Canada 2011, collageCollage: National Home Show 2011
Restore, Refresh, and Renew
Credit: National Home Show 2011

ReStore, ReFresh, and ReNew your home at Canada’s largest home show, the 2011 National Home Show presented by RE/MAX. Get help from top celebrity and industry experts, shop the latest products with over 700 retailers, and take home new ideas and solutions for your home at our new Boulevard of Dreams!

Show Information
Dates + Hours
Friday, February 18
11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Saturday, February 19
10:00 am - 9:00 pm
Sunday, February 20
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Monday, February 21 - FAMILY DAY
10:00 am - 9:00 pm
Tuesday,February 22
11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Wednesday, February 23
11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Thursday, February 24
11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Friday,February 25
11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Saturday,February 26
10:00 am - 9:00 pm
Sunday, February 27
10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Location: Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place
100 Princes' Blvd. Toronto, ON
The National Home Show will be here soon – Feb 18th -27th. We will be particularly looking at glass houses, conservatories and green technology. The spring Home Show is always the most interesting one, because companies showcase their new products and ideas, which we will use shamelessly when appropriate.

We are committed to being more green, with emphasis on solar, wind and geothermal components and of course designing the spaces that they take full advantage of their environment. We are going to investigate the notion of the Passive House or Passivhaus in German, a very high standard for energy efficiency in houses. At the National Home Show we will look for ideas that can be used in this context and maybe partners who can help us in our endeavour.

Last year I was part of being an expert at the BILD booth, which unfortunately I won’t be able to do this year, and I had great fun in helping people with their renovation concerns, especially how to find a good contractor.

This year I am looking forward to seeing what they have done for the Model Homes, and apparently there will also be a "Man Cave"; let’s see what the ultimate male fantasy is. We will report back.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built - Innovative Design and Build

The Most Common Question during the National Home Show 2010
How Do I Choose My Contractor?
National Home Show Toronto March 2010: The Most Common Question and Wo-Built Advice: How Do I Choose My ContractorCollage: How Do I Choose My Contractor?
The Most Common Question during the National Home Show 2010
2010 - 2011 @

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Top Reasons to Do Kitchen and Bathroom Renovations

kitchen and bathroom renovation - increase your home property value, by wo-built, general contractor, Toronto, Ontario, CanadaCollage: Planning a Home Renovation? Kitchens & Bathrooms
Are the Best Bet to Increase Your House Property Value!
2011 @
Bathrooms and kitchens - the main areas that will increase your property value (apart from building a home addition).

With the new, slightly tighter Canada's mortgage rules coming in effect March 18, 2011 it may be best to consider renovating the areas that give you the best bang for your buck (so to speak). Kitchen and bathrooms are on the top of the list, while basement renovations are close to the bottom for return on your investment. FYI - the most cost effective renovation measure is painting.

As a guide:

[ V ] A fully loaded kitchen renovation with gutting everything to the studs, new drywall, electrical, plumbing, custom cabinets, new faucets, new flooring, backsplash, countertop and painting can easily cost you in the range of $40,000, more or less.

[ V ] Equally a full bathroom gut and renovation will be easily in the range of $20,000.

[ V ] In addition a reserve fund of 20% should be available for unforeseen circumstances such as asbestos removal, mold issues, structural repairs and design changes.

Even though these costs seem high, they are typical; it is often the finishes that drive up the costs. In our experience compromising on the finishes will lead to disappointment as the second choices rarely will be satisfactory and can lead to buyer’s remorse.

Please consider that just doing a renovation to get the best return on investment is in our opinion the wrong reason for starting a renovation unless of course you are a developer. It takes a very detached attitude to make this kind of renovation profitable. As renovating a home is an emotional decision for the owner, the outcome should be enjoyed for a long time. A renovation should improve comfort, possible enlarge the space and add more attraction. It should also be to the owners’ taste and requirements; not to a potential hypothetical buyer.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

Department of Finance Canada: Backgrounder: Supporting the long-term stability of Canada’s housing market: Mortgage Insurance Mortgage rules may slow home renovations in 2011
CanEquity News, Staff on January 21st, 2011 Top Renovations That Increase Home Value
by Sheila Doris What do you want to get out of your home renovation?
by Martina Ernst Kitchen Upgrade – Plan Yours Today!
by Lonya Miller

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Gardening in Winter? Grow Green Stuff & Feel Less Stressed

It is winter, we just had a snow day and it is freezing cold. I am feeling the winter blues – for me, especially I miss the flowers and plants during the winter months. Hence, one of my favorite places is the Allan Gardens Conservatory at Gerrard & Jarvis. It has lots of green “stuff” in its 6 greenhouses; lovely displays of plants and flowers from around the world. Just visiting there once in a while helps me through the winter blues.

Does this mean having plants actually helps with psychological and physical well-being? I found this interesting article Green Plant Benefits from Green Plants for Green Buildings website that mentions studies showing that human beings are less stressed and more creative when plants are present in our environment. It also outlines the physical benefits of having plants.

So the more plants in winter you grow, the better? I am all for it, but the challenge for growing plants in winter in our northern cold climate is to provide shelter, light and warmth and to make it cost effective. Natural light versus artificial? Capital costs versus maintenance? Vegetation or vegetables?

As a design and build construction company these questions present interesting choices and we are looking at possible solutions, such as living walls for incorporation into our designs. Light pipes that bring daylight into areas with limited windows can also be used to help plants grow. The technology is here, we just need to use it in an innovative fashion. We would like to elevate plants from a nice-to-have to an essential part of the home and we will promote the use of plants to our clients.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

Firm Promotes Women Entering Construction

Collage: Article Sisters Doing It for Themselves
2011 @

We just came accross this article about us:
Sisters doing it for themselves

Published: September 04, 2007 12:37 a.m.
Last modified: March 07, 2008 10:46 a.m.

Firm promotes women entering construction

Wanted: A few good women. After more than a quarter century on Greater Toronto Area construction sites, Elida Huignard realized what was missing was a woman’s touch. So, along with fellow architect Martina Ernst, they’ve launched Wo-Built Inc., a firm dedicated to increasing the number of females in the building trades.

With women now making up just an estimated 2 per cent of workers in the field, they know there’s much work to be done. But since they established the company late last year, they’ve been able to sub-contract some of their home renovation work to females to do painting, tiling, plastering and cabinetry.

By early next year, they hope to have established a training and mentorship scheme that would see women working on job sites get exposure to different trades, hopefully through other women with experience. They’re also looking to establish pre-apprenticeship programs with college and trade groups. “There’s a big opportunity in construction trades for women that is not being used right now,” said Huignard. Among the barriers, she said, is the belief that it’s male-only work and too physical for females.

That’s why finishing work has such great potential, Ernst said. “It’s the work you see, where a woman’s attention to detail and patience are really an asset,” she said.

Rolf Priesnitz, chair of apprenticeship programs at George Brown College, said training for groups under-represented in the skilled trades — such as women, aboriginals, and those who are the first generation in their family to attend post-secondary school — will be increasingly important if Ontario is to combat its looming shortage.

torstar news service