Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Building the Friendship of Neighbours in Business

Building the Friendship of Neighbours in Business, Mexican Grill, Corso Italia, Toronto, by Olga GoubarPhoto Collage: Building the Friendship of Neighbours in Business
Wo-Built at "Venus Creation in the Neighbourhood" Gathering
Hacienda Mexicano Grill (1353 St. Clair Ave W.), October 21, 2010
2010 @ Olga Goubar,

In the Corso Italia area, there is a community of merchants, residents, schools, visitors who come to see the goings on in this little village and even the construction workers who have been in, around and all over the area breaking and making roads. Merchants in the community have come together by the efforts of Venus Creations to market for one another to help develop more business within the neighbourhood.

However, this group of business operators has become more than just a network marketing organization - they have become friends who show kindness to each other, help one another with their problems and issues and get to know the personalities of the people. To name a few, Sunnyville Grill, RE/MAX Realtor, Amar Flowers, FunClips Coupons, Optometrist, Tiger Dragon Kung Fu, Agio Ristorante, IC Savings, AMS Advertising, Guardian St. Clair Village Pharmacy, Via Espresso, Portuguese Book Store and Venus Creations.

Just west of Davenport on St Clair Avenue, there are two restaurants next door to each other but at virtually opposite ends of the globe and styles of food. Chef Marino at Agio Ristorante creates four-star high style Italian cuisine in our very diverse neighbourhood of casual eateries. And, immediately next door to Agio you find the Mexicano Grill Restaurant where owner-manager Alejandro Rangel serves up a taste of his homeland.

This past Friday, Venus Creations held another of its evening social events where our local merchants meet and get to know about what's on offer in our area and to enjoy the friendship of neighbours in business. In Alejandro's Mexicano Grill, the food is a pleasant surprise for the uninitiated into Mexican food as you will see below.

Once people started to arrive, course after course stated to arrive each surpassing the previous one in flavours, texture and colour. Of course there were homemade nachos and dips that spanned from creamy guacamole to a hot cilantro-pepper dip that left our mouths tingling.

But, the most interesting and interesting looking dish was the carne mole - spiced chocolate beef in a soft tortilla. This was wonderful and not at all what it looked like. This dish looked like wedge shaped slices of tortilla drizzled with chocolate sauce. But, the flavour is rich, beefy, and spicy with a familiar trace of chocolate flavour and aroma. This was brilliant. Don't think of the chocolate so much as a chocolate bar - all sweet and chewy. Instead, image the delicate and complex flavours in an aged glass of port. Now map this complexity into the form of a beef dish and you start to experience this dish.

If for no other reason than to try this mole dish, do make a point of visiting the Mexican Grill for lunch or dinner. You will not be disappointed.
This article was contributed by Ari Berman, a Management Consultant from Toronto, Canada, with a specialization in operations and process change. He has helped companies spanning aircraft builders to soda drink manufacturers to increase their value - finding and improving important details that never got attended to in past. His work in the construction industry includes overseeing commercial construction projects in retail shopping malls across Canada. He can be reached at 647-235-8181 or via e-mail on

By the way, the next gathering with Venus Creations in the Neighbourhood will be at Vivid’s Pizzeria on Wednesday, November 24, 2010 anytime from 6:30 pm. Come to try authentic Italian pizza, to meet and mingle with other local business owners and operators, to help develop more business within the neighbourhood. For reservations call Joe at 416-890-2692.

See you there!

thetravelzine-torontosc: Agio Ristorante
thetravelzine-torontosc: Mexicano Grill
Urbanspoon Toronto: Old Toronto: Corso Italia Restaurants: Caribbean / Greek / Italian / Japanese / Mediterranean / Mexican / Portuguese / Vietnamese Our Neighbourhood, Online
Toronto Corso Italia BIA
Facebook: AMS Advertising
AMS Advertising Inc.: Graphic Design, Web Development, Search Engine Optimization, Email Marketing, Creative Printing, Copy Writing, Social Media Development
Shop on St Clair West: Your Guide to a Mosaic of Different Cultures
Portuguese Book Store
Facebook: Joe Furtado
Venus Creation in the Neighbourhood

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Renovation Tips: Perfect Finishes

CTV NEWS Do-It-Yourself Getting Perfect Backsplash with Bryan Baeumler, host of HGTV's Disaster DIY, October 16, 2010Screenshot: CTV >> NEWS >>Do-It-Yourself >> Getting the Perfect Backsplash
Bryan Baeumler, the host of HGTV's Disaster DIY, invites Canada AM to his home
and shows what every novice handyman can do - tiling a backsplash.
This morning I watched CTV and Bryan Baeumler, Disaster DIY, gave some good tips about backsplash installation. This got me thinking. Visual effects are important in any room. There are always focal points in a room. If your finishes are not perfect around the focal points the effect can be disappointing.

Here are some points to look out for and some tips:

Tip #1: Windows and doors: If you tile around doors and windows, or have any other decorative finishes make sure the patterns are symmetrical on either side.

Tip # 2: Focal point around shelves: It is not only the shelves which become the focal point, but also the surrounding walls, baseboards etc. Make sure all the finishes in the immediate vicinity are well executed.

Tip # 3: Outside corners: Corners on the outside of shower basins, cabinets or walls will become focal points. Special care is required for these areas.

Tip # 4: Colour schemes: Before you start, have all the colours and materials chosen so you can see the full impact.

Tip # 5: Wood grain patterns: When using woods be cautious about grain patterns and how the finished product will look either raw or stained. Make samples.

Happy home renovation!

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built - Innovative Design and Build

Apartment Therapy
Apartment Therapy Marketplace >> Canada >> Toronto
Wo-Built Inc: Design + Build Construction Company: Professional Versus Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Renovations
by Lonya Miller

Friday, 22 October 2010

Tales from the Renovation Track: Why Customers Should Never Be Their Own General Contractors

Tales from Renovation Track: It Pays to Have General Contractor, by Janice Bell, wobuilt, construction, construction sites, people at work

Collage: It Pays to Have a Good General Contractor
Credits: MS Office ClipArt - mp900399496

Here is the latest installment of Janice Bell’s now famous Tales from the Renovation Track – the series of articles One Woman’s Experiences of Being a Renovator. Now the understanding of why customers should never be their own general contractors.

Part 13 - Why Customers Should Never Be Their Own General Contractors
If you are considering a sizable reno to your existing home or office sometime in the future, I would advise you right now that you should not attempt to be your own general contractor. Why, you may ask? Because there is so much more you should know about renovations and construction than meets the eye. I can tell you first hand, that it is imperative that you do not attempt this if you have little or no construction experience. And, it is particularly true if you have to be at a full time job during said renovations and can only be on the site part of the time.

Your first mistake is not being accessible on site at all times. You might think that because you are available via your cell phone that this is a bit trifling, but a cell phone is simply not good enough. There are always a multitude of decisions to be made on a daily basis as problems may arise at any time, and you can be sure that they will. If you are not familiar with building jargon, you will certainly not understand verbally what the problems are to begin with. You need to be present to make those on-the-fly decisions or you will run the risk of delaying the trades and costing yourself more money and time delays. Sometimes though, the decisions are purely whatever option the customer prefers.

The second mistake, and this is a huge one, is timely coordination between the trades. I will give you an example of a customer/general contractor that I had experience with this year. The flooring guys were ordered in before the drywall on the walls was up. Here was this brand new beautiful oak hardwood floor, but Oh! I can't describe what a pain it was to ensure that the floor did not get marked up while I was drywalling, painting and placing baseboards. This whole process slowed me down considerably and also became a safety hazard as the floor was protected with sheets of 1/8 inch masonite whose edges provided ample opportunity for tripping. And if you get any drywall dust in between the cracks of any type of flooring, it becomes a major job to vacuum it out of there. And yes, you can put plastic down, but then it becomes slippery to walk on, and as a result becomes a safety hazard.

Ill timed coordination is costly too! The same customer ordered me to tear down the ceiling whereupon, once the joists were exposed, it became apparent that squirrels had eaten clean through the bridging between the joists. I was then told to replace all of the bridging. At the same time the in-floor heating contractors came in as a surprise to me and tore out all the bridging I had just put in! After they left, I had to reinstall it, thus costing this customer more in time and money.

A third mistake is trying to hurry things along a little too much. The same customer had ordered another tradesperson in to jack up the floor of the house. Now, this was a considerable amount, perhaps 2 inches or so. Normally, this is usually done no more than 1/8 inch per day at the fastest rate, but this customer was in such a big hurry that he ordered the fellow to jack it up all at once. Now, this request cracked all the lathe and plaster on the walls above the portion being jacked to the point where some of the lathe itself broke in two. After fixing this, I was told that I was too slow because the customer had gone on a website and found out that most drywall was done in three coats. I had to explain that this was not new drywall, but old plaster of which the lathe had to be repaired first and required more than three coats in some areas.

Trying to help doesn't make things easier either. The same customer, again, came in late one night and decided he was going to get the job done faster by sanding the dried mud of new drywall. I had put the third coat on already, and it just needed feathering at the edges. Not knowing there is a slight bow out over drywall joints, the customer proceeded to sand it flat, and re-exposed the paper tape which I then had to put two more coats on to fix. Again, more work, more time and more money.

Finally, naive customers are not aware of all the little details that go into finishing a job. The most common mistakes they make are not allowing enough offset from a sink backsplash to the faucets, so that your hands cannot get around them. Another common mistake is placing electrical boxes too close to doorways and then choosing wide casement which then has to have an ugly cutout to fit around them.

And one final thing to remember is that if you are the general contractor and something major goes wrong, you do not have the liability insurance to cover the repairs.

It pays to have a good general contractor!

Happy Renovations.

Janice Bell
Bell Renovating
2010 © Janice Bell

Tales from the Renovation Track: One Woman’s Experiences of Being a Renovator
Part 1: All in All
Part 2: Weld on Fire
Part 3: They Were Nailed
Part 4: It Pays to Be Honest
Part 5: Rural Renos
Part 6: Messy Is Costly
Part 7: Door Hell
Part 8: Just Where Do I Stop?
Part 9: Dressing for the Trades
Part 10: Very Painterly
Part 11a: Tricks of the Trade: Recaulking bathtubs / Placing peel and stick tiles
Part 11b: Tricks of the Trade: Wheelbarrows / Cutting a plastic pipe
Part 11c: Tricks of the Trade: Drywall mud / Admixtures
Part 12: When Common Sense Should Prevail
Part 13: Why Customers Should Never Be Their Own General Contractors
tinyurl: janicereno

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Wo-Built Signs a Partnership Agreement with Snider Homes

Collage: Working Together: Snider Homes, Wo-Built Inc. Design & Build Construction Company, Toronto ON Canada, by wobuilt ogCollage: Working Together
2010 © Snider Homes, Wo-Built Inc.

We would like to share exciting news with all of you. Wo-Built Inc just signed a partnership agreement with Snider Homes. You may know them as S.M. Snider Interiors and Exteriors, a company that has been providing quality renovations for over 31 years and you might have seen their motto "We work from the heart, not the pocket book".

We have been looking for a long time to partner with a company to be able to push our community efforts into a higher gear. It was important for us to find a company that has the same high ethical and community values we have and we believe we have found the right fit.

As we have indicated in previous postings we finance our social mission through our projects, we provide mentoring for women on our sites and for us to be able to help more women we need to be able to design and build more large scale projects. We now have access to resources on an ongoing basis to match larger projects and therefore are able to train and mentor more women to be successful in the trades.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build
About Snider Homes:
Snider Homes - formerly known as S.M. Snider Interiors and Exteriors - Kitchens, Bathrooms, Basements, Additions - Based in Toronto and the GTA - Contracting company offering renovations for your home and business. Oakville renovations. Forest Hill renovations. Markham renovations. North York renovations. Richmond Hill renovations.

About Wo-Built Inc.:
Wo-Built Inc, a Design and Build general contractor in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Our mission is to be the leading quality building company that is sought after for its innovative design and construction and is recognized for using the projects as a means to helping women, the community and the environment.