The Home Front: Investing in backyard retreats


With housing prices at high levels in many parts of the country, there’s been increased interest in backyard design, says Toronto interior designer Sarah Keenleyside, co-host of HGTV’s new show Backyard Builds. Instead of purchasing vacation homes or cottages — something that just isn’t realistic for many people these days — homeowners are looking at building getaways outback, Keenleyside says.

“To have that retreat in your own backyard is a better way to invest right now is what we’re seeing,” she says.

In Backyard Builds, which airs on Thursdays at 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., Keenleyside and her “total babe” of a co-host, contractor Brian McCourt, design and build creative indoor structures for homeowners in their outdoor spaces. (Season one is focused on backyards, but they have plans to expand this reach.)

Working with budgets that start at $20,000, the pair aim to use every square inch of homeowners’ backyards to make them as useful as possible. One example of this is the “postage stamp”-sized Toronto backyard — roughly 40 by 20 feet — that they turned into a cake decorating studio, soccer pitch and large entertaining deck.

“It blew their minds,” says Keenleyside. “The homeowners were like ‘we did not think there was room for one of these things in this backyard, let alone three’.”

Keenleyside has been working as an interior designer in Toronto (Qanuk Interiors Inc.) for 15 years and says what she loves most about this show is that it’s not about “reinventing the kitchen one more time” or “redoing the bathroom one more way”, but instead creating something “brand new, every time” and travelling down a road neither she nor McCourt have been down.

“I think you discover more surprises in a backyard than you do in a home,” she says. “Like in a home, we’re so used to renovating old …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

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