Leigh-Ann & Glen – Contractor vs. D.I.Y

Day 1 of the GTA Home & Reno Show 2015 (February 13) kicked off in full swing! Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault and Glen Coyle from “Once Upon a Reno” took over the main stage to help us all decide whether we should use a contractor, or attempt D.I.Y projects in our homes. This was Glen’s first time on stage, and he was fabulous! This interior designer/contractor duo are pure magic to watch when they are together. Both have personalities and smiles that can fill up a room. They offered a ton of fabulous advice and even walked us through a kitchen make over that they had completed on a one-week timeline with a $1000 budget.

When debating on whether or not you should start a D.I.Y project in your own home, Leigh-Ann and Glen say these are 4 things that you need to stop and ask yourself;

  1. What is my experience with this project?
  2. Are you willing to get your hands dirty? You need to be able come home and know that you may still have to work all night to finish the project.
  3. What is the level of difficulty from 1-10?
  4. Is a licensed trade professional required (insurance, liability, permits)?

Once you have weighed out the pros and cons of Contractor vs. D.I.Y, and have decided to take on a project, they offered up a few more pieces of advice to avoid getting in over your head.

#1 Think before you do.
Make sure that you research the project, invest in advice from a pro and set a realistic budget and timeline.

#2 Be realistic.
Be sure to make a game plan. Write down each step/phase of the project, make a list of required materials, calculated an estimated cost for all materials and always add 20% to estimated materials and time (in case you run into any problems).

Leigh-Ann and Glen showed us an example of a kitchen that they renovated with a $1000 budget. The kitchen was given a huge face-lift and looked amazing. Instead of replacing the cupboards, backsplash and countertop, they used 4 Rust-Oleum products to get the job done quickly and inexpensively. Glen stated that he was very skeptical about using these products, but in the end he said he was super impressed at how well they worked, and how great they looked.

For the countertops they used Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformations Kit ($280), for the backsplash they used Rust-Oleum Tile Transformation Kit ($180). For the cabinets they used Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation Kit ($100), and to brighten up the cabinet hardware they used Rust-Oleum Spray Paint ($12).

My favourite piece of advice that they provided was, that if you are updating an item in your house (they gave the example of a laminate counter top), make sure to move up a level. Do not replace the item with the same level product (another laminate counter top). Save the money until you can afford to purchase an upgrade.


If you missed them at the GTA Show, don’t worry! Leigh-Ann and Glen will be taking the stage once again at the National Home Show, taking place from March 13 – 22 at Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place. For more information and to get tickets visit www.nationalhomeshow.com

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