He’s currently in the midst of renovating an old farmhouse with his wife of nine years, Ashley, and he will also be appearing at the 2019 GTA Home & Reno Show in February. Fan favourite Jordan Spear is always ready to share his DIY expertise so you can complete projects around your home. Other than his unparalleled knowledge when it comes to renovations and his willingness to lend a helping hand, how well do you know Jordan? He took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some of our questions so we can all get to know him better.
Toronto Home Shows
Where was the first place you moved into that you called home?
My wife and I purchased an old 1920’s home in an established neighbourhood in old Oshawa.
While the home had been modestly updated, there were a lot of poorly executed renovations and fixes.
What made the house a home, was the character that was present. Thin strip oak flooring, wide trim and tall baseboards, with all the nicks and dings. It had a warmth to it, not a stale feeling like some newer houses have. It was lived in for almost 100 years, and I’m sure has many memories and stories within its walls.
It was also my very first home, and thus, allowed me to hone my renovation skills, be creative, and tackle major projects head on. It was where my DIY and renovation career began.
After the birth of our two boys, Rylan 8 years old and Grayden 6, it became more of a home within an instant.
What attracted you to this particular home?
The house was a typical Edwardian era home, and since it was in need of help, we purchased it for a great price. I could see the potential of the home and knew we could fix it up. The quiet neighbourhood, with large established trees and beautiful homes made the purchase even easier.
Is there one piece in your home that you will take with you wherever you move to?
We have an antique “Hoosier” style baking table cabinet in our kitchen. My parents had one as I was growing up, and although not used for baking, it stored all the dishes and glasses and dining items.
When we moved to our first home, I went on a search for one of my own. I eventually found one online an hour away, but there was a catch. It was completely dismantled for some reason. The seller presented me with the large cardboard box full of boards and assured me all the pieces were there. My wife reluctantly agreed to let me buy it, as the price was 1/3 of the other “assembled” ones we had looked at. That night I got out my clamps and glue, and began to successfully assemble this huge furniture puzzle. The next morning we had our cabinet! It’s still with us, and is the heart of the kitchen, storing cutlery, dinnerware and other kitchen stuff. We’ve had photos taken of our newborn sons on it, and it’s held many slow cookers and coffee makers on its porcelain enamel top. It may move around the home, eventually to be repurposed for something else, but we will never get rid of it.
What’s the latest project you are working on?
Other than restoring an entire farmhouse, we are currently restoring the two level porch or “piazza” on the farmhouse. It’s quite the endeavour, as it still has the original roof section covering the upper level. The columns supporting the second level and roof are two storey brick columns in very poor condition. The largest challenge is removing the columns slowly and methodically, to avoid damaging the rest of the home, or creating a safety issue.
Any tips you can share with those wanting to tackle a large project like this?
Plan and budget for unexpected issues and problems to arise. Newer homes may have fewer issues, but they are not exempt. Old homes are guaranteed to have issues that will set you back or change your course of action. So, be prepared, and don’t be shocked when they arise. Don’t be afraid to ask for help either, whether it be some added muscle, or a different set of eyes. Sometimes a suggestion from another person can change the whole course of a project for the better, be it budget, time, or installation method.
Jordan’s motto he lives by:
Don’t’ be afraid to tackle this yourself.
Almost any type of renovation or project is possible if you arm yourself with the right knowledge and tools and material. You have to curb your anxiety, your fears of failure, and hit it head on. What’s the harm in trying? If you mess up, all you’ve lost is time and maybe a bit money. But you’ve also gained valuable skills that can be fine tuned on the next attempt. Completing a project yourself gives you a great sense of pride and confidence, which will be a driving force on your next project. It also keeps a lot of cash in your pocket, which can be used to purchase better quality project materials or tools. So, pick up that scary tool and try it. Read a book or watch multiple videos online to get a scope of the project. Ask a contractor for some tips or tricks. Sufficiently educated, you can tackle almost any project, and with anything practise makes perfect.
*Disclaimer *Know your limits and be aware of the consequences. If a certain project requires a licensed trade, is way beyond your skill level, or presents a potential health hazard or safety issue, contact a licensed tradesperson to complete the work. Pride and budget should never supersede the safety of yourself and your family.