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Planning a kitchen reno? Don’t miss this year’s National home show!

What’s better than casually strolling the aisles of The National Home Show at the Enercare Centre in Toronto? Attending the National Home Show with a purpose!

The National Home Show can be an excellent resource for someone planning any type of home improvement project, and it is especially valuable for homeowners who plan to take on a kitchen renovation. That’s why this year we went in with the goal of collecting information and inspiration around kitchen renovations.

Design Inspiration

kitchen reno


The various kitchen design booths offer a great place to not only look at different styles of kitchens and cabinetry styles, but to experience them hands-on. Open the cupboards and pull out the drawers. In fact you may even discover a need for an entirely new space within your kitchen., which is how we felt when we walked through the gorgeous butler’s pantry set up from Perola Kitchens and Interiors.

In addition to the full kitchen setups, you can also find slabs of granite and quartz, the latest in kitchen appliances, hardware, faucets, fixtures and flooring. There was even a smart home set up by Best Buy, displaying the latest in smart kitchen technology by Samsung.

Expert Advice

kitchen reno

The wonderful thing about the National Home Show, is that it’s not just for looking, but also learning. If you’re planning a project in the near future, come prepared with your questions, thoughts and maybe even a picture or two to share. That’s what we did!

Renovation Advice from Contractor Booths

We went to the show armed with the dreams we had of renovating a small kitchen. We had notes and a few pictures of the space we wanted to transform. Then, we set off to search the aisles for different contractors and kitchen specialists.

One thing that we learned right off the bat, is that if you want to be able to get a real dialogue going, try to go when it isn’t extremely busy. If you can go on a weekday morning, you’ll probably have better luck chatting up a renovation pro.

It was very busy at the National Home Show on the day of our visit; however, we were still fortunate enough to find a handful of renovation professionals who were more than willing to answer our questions.

One particularly helpful home improvement professional was John Popp of Alair Homes in Scarborough. We talked to Mr. Popp about the best way to make a small kitchen with limited counter space more functional. He even agreed to look at a few pictures of the space in question.

“You can talk to kitchen designers about rearranging the space,” says Popp. “But the best way to increase the space in your kitchen is to remove a wall.”

In our case, he suggested moving the kitchen into the dining room space and adding a big island where the kitchen wall used to be.

He also had some advice for homeowners who might be afraid of what they might find when removing walls during their reno.

“Better to tear walls down and discover problem areas during your reno, then to have them pop up as surprises later on,” Popp advised.

Advice from Destination Renovation

kitchen reno

Because the show floor can get very busy, it’s best not to count on getting on-the-spot advice from the individual contractors alone. Everyone will offer you a card and ask you to set up a consultation; however, if you need immediate answers, Destination Renovation from BILD (Building Industry and Land Development Association) is the place to go!

Destination Renovation is the designated spot for free advice from a group of local industry professionals. You simply wait in line with your information, pictures and questions and the next available home reno pro will be happy to help you.

During our visit to Destination Renovation, we talked to Mar Dajnko of Bellcon Interiors Limited. In addition to talking to us about how to enlarge our kitchen, he also offered some sound advice on budgeting.

“$60,000 might do a pretty basic kitchen,” Dajnko said. “But when you’re talking about upgrades and making more room, it’ll cost a lot more than that…especially when you want to tear down walls.”

Collect Those Cards

Even if you don’t plan to go to the home show with the goal of talking to any of the professionals, it’s still a very good idea to take their business cards and brochures. Then, review them when you get home. Select the renovator who seems to best suit your needs, and check them out online. Read reviews, request quotes and ask any friends if they’ve used their services for a kitchen reno or other project.

When it comes time to hire someone to help complete your renovation project, you’ll be glad that you’ve taken time to do your homework.

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