If anyone has a blueprint on coast-to-coast home renovation trends, it’s HGTV Canada’s Scott McGillivray. The award-winning host and executive producer of the home-reno series Income Property (and star of All American Handyman and judge on Canada’s Handyman Challenge) spends his working hours helping Canadians make the most of their homes.

With a background in business (he earned a commerce degree before becoming a contractor), Canadians trust McGillivray for ideas on making their homes more enjoyable and their property investments even more valuable. In 2016, the professional merged with the personal for McGillivray, with Moving the McGillivray, an unscripted series following Scott, his wife Sabrina and their two daughters, as they built their dream home from the floor boards up.

Recently, Contractor Advantage caught up with Scott for an insider’s take on what’s hot and what’s trending in home renovations across the country.

Question: What are some of the hottest/current trends across Canada in home renovation?
Some of the most common trends would be furniture inspired cabinetry, so when it comes to kitchens, offices and bathroom, people are re-purposing existing pieces of furniture instead of doing a lot of built-in cabinetry. People may use a large furniture piece to create an island, and put some counter-top on it or perhaps re-purpose a dresser for a bathroom vanity.

Accessibility is also a bit of a “trend” meaning curbless showers, larger doorways and main floor master bedrooms – that type of stuff.

Are any of these more regional than others, and if so, why are they gaining traction in these areas?
No, these are more universal, they are happening across the entire design and renovation space. If you’re looking at things that are a little more specific, you can definitely target certain areas that are more popular with certain trends. For instance, a lot of people are finishing unfinished spaces into additional living space, for example basements, in trendier, more urban areas, less so out in the country because you may not use these spaces but in high-density areas, downtown and even parts of the suburbs finishing those spaces becomes a huge trend– it’s much more affordable than adding an addition or upgrading your home.

Are you surprised by any of the trends? If so, why?
No, I don’t think any of these trends surprise me. We have an aging population so therefore accessibility is important. We have exposure to such an abundance of online and linear content that offer new ideas and trends, there’s a lot of creativity. Millennials love to be creative and to personalize things which is why furniture inspired design might be huge. Then of course when we talk about housing prices, they have gone up so much that it just makes sense finishing off spaces in your house than trying to purchase a whole new place.

Is there a trend or direction that you’re particularly excited about? If so, why?
One trend that excites me is open concept, I like that everyone is sort of moving towards the dismantling the compartmentalization of the past housing stock. I’m really enjoying being creative with structural choices, with allowing us to do open cabinetry and island, learning how to be clever with limited wall space, because open concept really does limit the amount of wall space that you have, but I love how bright and spacious the place feels. I love the way it makes the home feel like a community space for everyone to come together rather than be a place of isolation. Anytime someone wants to go with open concept, I just get really excited because it means that we can really get inventive with the design and do whatever we’d like with it.

What rooms / features of the home are Canadians focused on renovating/investing in and where should they be? Are there any differences 
between the two and/or do you have insight /
advice on what areas to start on?
That’s a bit of a loaded question and you know number 1 is that you should renovate any part of your house that makes your life better. With that in mind, you should also be balancing that with the safety and the efficiency of the home. For example, if your desire is to have an open-concept kitchen well then maybe that’s the right time to update the electrical in the home and upgrade the amount of installations in the home, as well.

So it’s not about telling people you should only pick this or only do that– pick whatever it is that is going to make your life better, but at the same time you should incorporate ways to make your life not only better, but safer and more profitable.

As for what McGillivray suggests Canadians avoid doing, when it comes to home renovations: “Don’t cut corners, and don’t rush into it!”

His other piece of sage advice? He jokes, “I would also caution them not to film the process!”

Photo courtesy of Richard Sibbald