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Sasen’s community extends far and wide, but in this particular renovation, our community was the St. Timothy’s Anglican church just around the corner. Sasen began this renovation partnering with key members of St. Timothy’s leadership and supported by the members of the church  in order to complete this renovation. The goal of the project was to renovate the kitchen in order to better the food ministry, including the use of the church kitchen by the Food Bank. The rigours of meeting the requirements for a commercial kitchen are certainly, well, rigourous. After many hurdles, we have managed to complete the work. The renovation includes numerous safety measures, and commercial grade kitchen equipment. This space will be suitable for multiple purposes, including the basic tea and coffee and serving food for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, North Burnaby Depot, but will also be available for larger events such as larger dinners, or for as a space for commercial level food preparation.   Throughout this renovation, Peter Reinhardt took on much of the responsibility of managing the work and organizing the trades. Sasen’s community includes a variety of different subtrades, and each renovation takes the cooperation of all trades involved. In this case, we couldn’t have done the work without the help of the church community and are grateful for all the efforts and support of everyone who contributed to the success of the renovation. A ceremony was held marking the official opening of the kitchen. Matthew Senf, Sasen’s principal and priest-in-charge the Rev. Ruth Monette joined in presenting the kitchen to the community. Sasen presented a commemoration signed by our team to remind the church that it was our honour to work on this project. And of course, we enjoyed a cake cutting as well! More on Community: To find out more about the renovation, please jump over and read the article, Investing in a Food Ministry. If you would like to learn more about Sasen’s Community, please take a look at some of our other community involvement. If you or anyone you know might have interested in utilizing St. Timothy’s new kitchen, please contact us and we will put you in touch.
Every client we meet has a goal for their renovation, and frequently the focus is the kitchen. Kitchen designs can tell you a lot about the way the home is used, from style to layout. Not only does each home have a unique style, but that style is often a product of the homeowner’s lifestyle. Is the focus entertaining? A busy family? Relaxing? Working from home? We recently completed a kitchen and living area renovation and we spoke to the homeowner, Heather, about why they wanted to renovate: “We moved in with two young boys and never intended to stay. After living in the home for 16 years and doing only cosmetic changes I thought ‘if I have to look at that dusty rose tile one more day!’ I began to hate it!” So they took the leap! They decided to use Sasen because of a referral. They knew if we were up to the standards of their friends, we would be perfect for their job! We designed the project, focusing on the kitchen. The clients had Houzz images and photos of kitchen designs and knew the general style and aesthetic- modern and light, eliminating the warm tones and moving towards cooler gray. Our cabinet maker met with the clients to choose cabinetry and provided detailed kitchen cabinet drawings. “For the first time, my home aligns with my life. I work hard and am busy and when I come home I want an uncluttered space. This is me.” The clients were able to demo and find homes for the existing cabinets and flooring, allowing less material wastage or disposal costs. In the end, we opened up the kitchen space, re-did the fireplace, changed the front door and installed new flooring and carpet throughout the home. One of the key details was opening up the kitchen to allow a flow of access from the kitchen to the amazing view.  We also turned the formal living room into an everyday family room allowing for less wasted space. “I don’t know why we didn’t think of this before. The kids are older now and they have friends over. They can hang out in the TV room watching the game.” The features of kitchen designs tell you about a family’s lifestyle. We asked what small change had made a big difference to this busy family, with two teenage boys. “I had seen the idea somewhere to make four built-in drawers, one for each family member. Now I just throw the boys’ stuff in a drawer and when they ask ‘where’s my assignment?’ or ‘where’s my wallet?’ they already know the answer!”   “The millworker’s attention to detail was amazing!” While the guys have the TV room, she has her own private relaxing space or as we called it, ‘Heather’s Happy Place.’ We designed the room off the kitchen to become a lounge area, the focal point being a special painting. “Every summer as the kids were growing up we went to Savary Island for three weeks. This was the chill place to reconnect.” The painting of the vacation spot became a relaxing reminder that no matter how busy life gets, you can always go to the happy place. “One rule: No TV in the happy space.” This place is just for relaxing. Overall, the space reflects the people and no matter what the trends, you have to be true to what flow you need out of your home. And it often starts with the kitchen! What kitchen designs reflect your lifestyle?
Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan Photo from: http://www.mayorofvancouver.ca/news/greenest-city-action-plan-updated-2015-2020 In Vancouver on Earth Day, it’s hard not to discuss the goals to become a greener city. Most people in Metro Vancouver are aware that Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan, a plan developed by the City of Vancouver, aims to make Vancouver the greenest city in the world by 2020. The goals are very ambitious, positioning Vancouver as a city that cares about the environment. And Vancouver does! Vancouver culture is focused on the great outdoors, mountains to ocean; working to reduce emissions and improve building practices is a priority for many Metro Vancouver residents. One of the major changes aimed at reducing emissions is the City of Vancouver building code update  which came into effect January 1, 2015. Most of the code changes for both new build and renovation are focused on accessibility, safety and energy. Implementing the codes has been a challenge for the city, home-owners and builders, but overall, moving in a positive direction. How Sasen is adapting for Earth Day: Attending workshops and training Staying up-to-date as part of the GVHBA groups, panels and discussions Practice and implementing new policy changes Sasen is adapting! We have many on-going renovation projects in the City of Vancouver and have adjusted to the code. Our permit process protocols now factor-in the ASHRAE energy check-list. The city-required paperwork is onerous, but Sasen has attended information sessions in order to be prepared for changes and is putting what we know into practice what we have learned through multiple permit submissions. Practice makes permit! Sasen has attended several workshops to stay up-to-date regarding insulation, window requirements and green building practices. The Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association (GVHBA) as a great resource for information regarding changes in both permit and building practices. On Monday, Sasen’s principal, Matthew Senf is attending solar energy training through local Burnaby company, Amray Solar, in order to pick up some tips on renewable energy options. This training will focus on tie-ins to the existing grid, in order to harness solar power and send to an inverter. For more information regarding solar panels, check out Amray’s solar technology FAQ. Whether it’s Earth Day or any day, saving money is great! BC Hydro’s Net Metering Program will credit home owners’ account for the power you produce from a renewable or clean source, such as solar. They will even pay you back if you produce more power with alternative energy! This allows home owners to use hydro as a back-up to your solar energy. If you are looking for solar, it’s something we can build into as part of your renovation. Just in time for Earth Day: Province of BC funding announcement Just in time for Earth Day, the province of British Columbia announced that it would be allocating $1.4 million from the Innovative Clean Energy Fund (ICE) that will be for home owner rebates and industry training.  Both the industry and home-owners will both be able to decrease their impact on the environment. See the Province of BC’s news release  for more information.
Sasen’s 2015 Here at Sasen, we are looking forward to a new year of connecting with our clients and community around creating beautiful homes. We want to take a moment to reflect and appreciate the people and projects we were involved with in Sasen’s 2015, so we put together Sasen’s 2015: A Year in Review.  We started 2015 off by wrapping up projects in North Vancouver and Burnaby. Soon after, Tyler, one of our Project Supervisors accepted the Ovation Award on behalf of Sasen for Best Heritage Renovation. We returned to New Westminster and Vancouver to complete second phases of renovations. Sometimes it’s easier to break up a renovation into different phases, and we are always happy to catch up with past clients! Spring usually brings us into major construction season, but this year we moved into our biggest ever design and permit season yet. Simultaneously our valued crews and subtrades were on the scene at multiple projects in Burnaby, West Vancouver and Vancouver. Connecting with community extends beyond working with our valued clients. This year’s team building event was a volunteer day building the Robson Redux design installation that promotes connecting people to each other and to their city. Things were certainly heating up on Robson, when the Sasen crew spent the summer day helping construct the Porch Parade. We value the collaborative efforts between designers, builders and the community that pull together to bring unique projects with the Robson Redux design challenge. We can’t wait to see what project will hit the street this coming summer! For some R&R, we gathered for the summer BBQ with friends and family. Matt, Sasen Renovation’s principal, and his wife Rosie and their two daughters served up grilled treats and cool drinks on a beautiful summer day.  Sasen’s 2015 Wraps Up: As the weather cooled, our team continued the hard work, stopping briefly to celebrate two finalist nominations for the Georgie Awards.  Powering through house raising, Vancouver’s new permitting rigors, renovations with amazing views and all the in-betweens, time flew by. Before we knew it, Christmas season was upon us. It is our Sasen holiday tradition to join together and enjoy a meal and the company of those who have helped make Sasen’s 2015 a success. Every year, we connect with amazing new clients. 2015 was no different. We have really been blessed with the opportunity to grow our community of discerning home-owners who know the value of not just a house- but a home. Thank you for your patronage and for sharing your homes with us. So far, 2016 is promising to be a productive year. We are looking forward to what this new year has to bring!      
Do you find yourself in the situation where you know what you want, but you can’t quite communicate it?! We have found that it is easiest for all parties involved if you can gather as many pictures of what you are envisioning. We know it can be tough to communicate or describe the details of the features that you are looking to build without knowing the technical lingo to describe it. Describing features with descriptions like “thingy” or  “like rounded ridges” or “handles that you can turn” may generalize the idea, but to be sure that you are building or buying what you want, pictures speak a thousand words, even the technical words! Check us out on Houzz.com. This site is useful in that you can browse through thousands of pictures in their database by room categories or style or however you set the search. Even more useful is the ideabook function, where you can save these pictures and share with your husband and us, your general contractor! How do you like Houzz.com? Was it useful?  
How are you enjoying our new site?  Please give us some feedback, let us know what you think. Share our site with people you know via Facebook! Do you have some ideas for your own renovations that you like to share with us?  You can find our contact info by clicking here. There is no better time than summertime to have renovations done!
Summer is a great time to dream about home ideas.     Pick up a magazine or take a walk around the neighbourhood you love and jot down your ideas.     A classic magazine/show is THIS OLD HOUSE for some ideas.  Click here to view.