The Construction Source

All the best, The Editorial Team We will keep adding business units that enhance our offering and separate us from our competition. “ ” Editor From The Dear Reader, Welcome to the latest issue of Construction Source Canada, the magazine that highlights the best in building and building products from across the country. In this edition, we’ve looked at a range of companies and organizations based across Canada, including some of the industry’s leading builders, architects, manufacturers, developers, and property managers. Most of the companies we’ve looked at are longstanding, with industry reputations stretching back at least 20 years. Many of them are family businesses, and have remained so throughout their long histories. A prime example is Ashton Homes, the company gracing our cover. They are a developer and builder of long-lasting, high quality homes in appealing Ontario communities, and they have been building and developing for over 30 years. Their founder and president, Aldo Vercillo, started the company in 1987 and remains involved today. We talked to general manager Jay Gilmour about Aldo, the family values he’s instilled and maintained, and about the company’s massive growth and evolution over the past three decades. We also talked all about the company’s latest project, the Peace Bridge Village in Fort Erie. Another example is Azure Property Group – they are also a familyowned business that has been creating homes and communities for over 30 years, in their case in the Greater Vancouver region. We spoke to owners Navi and Gagan Sivia about that history, about the many projects they are developing now, and about their expertise in guiding projects through the complicated entitlement process. Then there’s AyA Kitchens, one of Canada’s leading manufacturers of high quality, frameless cabinetry. Founder and owner Dave Marcus started the company 23 years ago. Today they employ about 300 people and operate coast-to-coast across Canada as well as into the United States. Dave talked to us about how they achieved that evolution. Mainly, he credits the company’s unique “mass customization approach,” which combines the personalization of a custom kitchen with the value and quality that comes from a 150,000-square-foot state-of-the-art production facility. He also credits their very-close relationships with suppliers – he talked about how AyA looks out for them and how they look out for AyA, and how that mutual support helped AyA power through the worst of the pandemic. For more on those stories – and more like them, about other longstanding industry leaders and family-powered businesses across the building spectrum – just keep reading.

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THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA With over 90,000 senior executive readers, The Construction Source is proud to offer an attractive platform to share you message with the people that matter most - your customers. Whether your objective is to promote a new condo development, attract financial investment in your upcoming projects, or to build brand recognition, we stand ready to help! To find out more about having your company or latest project feature in The Construction Source, please contact our Group Publisher. Jermaine Poulsen e: The Costruction Source Canada 2201 - 250 Yonge St Toronto, Ontario M5B 2L7 E: Group Publisher Jermaine Poulsen General Manager Alexandra Box Operations Manager Shon Washington Head of Editorial Content Tamara Breen Scott Carter Production Manager Vicki Lee Editor Zach Janes Graphic Design Pranim Thapa

MAY 2023 ASHTON HOMES Adding value to communities AZURE PROPERTIES GROUP Developing for success AyA KITCHENS Mass customization METHOD HOMES Beautiful and sustainable DECORRESTORE Respray, reface, replace UP TO KODE Caring about quality SVEMY CONSTRUCTION Exceptional personal attention INDUSTRY INNOVATIONS INCINERATING TOILETS IN THIS ISSUE MAY 2023 SVEMY CONSTRUCTION UP TO KODE DECORRESTORE



THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA Water connection not required Requires little space No odour Easy installation No frost protection needed Secure for children ash to be emptied No waste handling, only and more Bunkies, For Home, Cottages, Shops, 3 - 4 visits per hour High capacity Propane&Electric models ABOUT CINDERELLA ECO GROUP Cinderella Eco Group is a family-owned company located in the north-western coastal community of Midsund in Romsdal, with deep roots in the beautiful Norwegian fjord-landscape. We have more than 20 years’ experience with the Cinderella Incineration Toilet, a water-free, ecological solution for the management of toilet waste. Cinderella, the natural first choice for those who place high demands on quality and functionality. HIGHLIGHTS OF INCINERATION TOILETS:

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Adding value to communities

Ashton Homes is a developer and builder of long-lasting, highquality homes in appealing Ontario communities. Since forming over 30 years ago, they have delivered beautiful developments in Woodstock, Fonthill, Beamsville, Welland, St. Catharines, and Fort Erie, and in all of them they have designed and constructed homes capable of standing the test of time. Currently, they are building out the Peace Bridge Village in Fort Erie, where they are offering customers a diverse selection of designs and configurations, and where – as always – they are building homes that customers will be happy with for years to come.

Building lasting homes has been part of Ashton Homes’ philosophy from the start, ever since president and founder Aldo Vercillo started the company in 1987. Aldo had already been in the construction industry for over 20 years, having started as a brick mason and having already built a successful masonry business from the ground up. When he started Ashton Homes, he was ready for a new challenge, and he wanted to put his passion for building high quality homes to good use. To this day, Ashton Homes remains a family business. Aldo’s son Joe has been a member of the leadership team for a while now, and his grandson Daniel has also gotten recently involved. So there are three generations of Vercillo’s under the company banner, all dedicated to maintaining the family’s longstanding industry reputation. Jay Gilmour, meanwhile, is the company’s general manager. He’s been personally working in construction for close to 20 years in various roles and capacities. He joined Ashton Homes about six years ago, with the goal of helping the company venture into a new phase of growth. He says he was drawn to the role primarily because of Aldo himself: “Aldo was the main attraction for me,” Jay recalls. “He had been working in the industry for over 50 years and he had just an absolute wealth of knowledge that I was hoping to tap into.” Over the past few years, Ashton Homes has primarily worked in Fort Erie, in a community they have developed called the Peace Bridge Village. That community MAY 2023


is ideally situated close to the city’s waterfront, local shopping centers, restaurants, services and recreation, and within only two kilometres of the titular Peace Bridge to the United States. Peace Bridge Village is a four phase project consisting of about 240 units, with a mix of single-detached and townhomes. Phase 1 was 74 units, all single-detached. Phase 2 was another 74 units. Phase 3, which is under construction now, will be all townhouses. Phase 4 is coming soon, and is expected to include over 60 units, with a mix of singles and towns. When conceiving and designing any development, Ashton Homes’ goal is to add value to the surrounding community. In the case of the Peace Bridge Village, they placed an emphasis on increasing the walkability of the general neighborhood. For example, they added a path that connects the existing neighborhood to one of the main commercial corridors in the area. Before, there was no such route – “so we thought that might be a nice value add for the people who already live there,” Jay says. As part of the project, Ashton Homes also installed a fairly large pond with surrounding food paths. That feature is now available for the general public to visit and enjoy. Furthermore, the company designed the homes and townhomes to complement the existing community. Jay says that “it was important to us that we didn’t disrupt the local neighborhoods.” “We tried to make sure that our designs would fit into MAY 2023

the existing neighborhood,” he explains. “We want our houses to look nice and be appealing, but we didn’t want to put a modern home next to a traditional colonial style home. We wanted to design it so that when you drive through from one neighborhood into ours it all seems like it fits together.” The market response, Jay says, has been very positive. He says they have been working with local and well-established real estate professionals, and sales have been strong. He credits that success to the project’s seamless fit with the community, but he also credits the quality of the homes they have produced there. That quality, in turn, he credit to the company’s longstanding roster of subcontractors and suppliers – some of whom they have been working with for over 20 years. “We’ve been in business for quite a while, and as a result of being around for so long we’ve had a chance to work with many different trades and suppliers,” Jay says. “Over the years, we’ve been able to identify the best ones. We’ve figured out who takes quality seriously and who doesn’t, and the people that do are the ones we work with.” “We depend on our subcontractors a lot,” he adds. “Their input and tenacity is crucial to the success of our business. They play a massive role in ensuring that things go smoothly and efficiently. Our end-product is a direct reflection of what they’re capable of. They consistently make us look good and we really appreciate that.” “Our quality control comes down to working with people we trust and who know what they’re doing. They are industry professionals. They care about what they do. Again, over the years we’ve been able to filter out the companies that don’t fit that mold, and we’ve held on to the companies that do.” THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

Keep adding value Recently, Ashton Homes finished up Phase 2 of Peace Bridge Village. They are currently working on Phase 3, which is a little bit of a departure for the company because it consists entirely of condo townhouses, and as part of the condo model they will be providing maintenance services. “Maintenance will be somewhat turn key for residents,” Jay says. “They’ll have their snow removal taken care of, their lawns cut, and their gardens groomed. We’re hoping that will appeal to a retiree crowd that doesn’t want to have to worry about that kind of thing.” “And with Fort Erie being a border town next to Buffalo, we certainly think it will appeal to snowbirds who want to be able to go away for the winter without having to worry about the state of their yard when they’re gone.” Looking beyond Peace Bridge Village, Ashton Homes intends MAY 2023

THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA 4299 Queen Street East Brampton, ON L6T 5V4 416.675.6215 to keep capitalizing on that appeal by continuing to work in Fort Erie. According to Jay, they really appreciate the town, they appreciate the character of the people there, and they appreciate the relationships they have built with local subcontractors and suppliers. “We really enjoy working in Fort Erie,” Jay says. “It’s a really nice small town filled with great people. We think that we’ve been able to add some value there, and we hope to find ways to keep adding value.” Moving forward, he adds that the vision is just to add value on a larger scale. He says the company’s goal is to increase their production and also to diversify their dwelling types. Traditionally, they have focused on single-detached products, but they are already branching out with Phase 3 of Peace Bridge Village, and they want to continue branch out even further in the future. “With our upcoming projects we plan on doing some multi-storey work and expanding our portfolio in that way,” Jay says. MAY 2023


“In general, we’d like to continue to grow,” he adds. “With our experience and our current capacity, we don’t foresee having a problem with that. Fortunately, we’re in Ontario, where it doesn’t appear the demand for housing is going to wane anytime soon.” “We’re involved in residential construction because we have a passion for it,” he concludes. “We find the industry exciting to be a part of. We feel fortunate that we live in a place that allows us to embrace and pursue that passion.” MAY 2023

THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA For more on Ashton Homes, their founding vision, the latest on the Peace Bridge Village, and to get in touch with Jay and the rest of the team, visit

Developing for success, building for tomorrow

Azure Properties Group is a multidisciplinary development company dedicated to responding to the increasing demand for quality housing in the Greater Vancouver region. They have aligned themselves with the housing goals of the provincial and municipal government, by focusing on designing, developing, and building missing middle housing. As a family-owned business that has been creating homes and communities for over 30 years, they understand what neighbourhoods want and deserve – which is “value without sacrificing quality and service,” says Navi Sivia, owner of the company. The company was originally founded in 1990 by Nirmal Sivia, a veteran of the real estate construction industry in the Greater Vancouver Region. Nirmal managed the company for over a decade, building the Azure brand on the quality of single family and subdivision projects. After 30 years of recognition and craftsmanship, Nirmal handed the reins over to his son, Navi, in the early 2000s. Since then, Navi has managed the family business with his wife, Gagan. The daughter of one of the first Indo-Canadian developers in BC, Gagan is one of the few female minority developers in the region. Azure Properties Group is now actively providing multifamily projects in over 10 cities throughout British Columbia.

“We place special emphasis on design, detail, craftsmanship and customer service, which has helped build genuine relationships with our employees, customers, consultants, municipal officials, and competitors alike,” Navi says. “We implement environmentally conscious design principles into all our developments by maximizing open green space, reducing the amount of paved surfaces, and using sustainable building materials and fixtures,” adds Gagan Sivia. “Furthermore, our communities are well-planned around amenities, transportation, and educational and recreational facilities to suit the needs of a diverse population. Over the years, Azure Properties Group has evolved to focus on low-rise multi-family developments. According to Navi, the company has found their “sweet spot” to be threeto-six storey wood frame multifamily developments. Within that niche, he says they can build housing that is more equitable for communities in the Fraser Valley. Their lowrise multi-family developments contain a variety of unit types to accommodate everyone from young renters to families with multiple children. What sets Azure Properties Group apart within that lowrise niche is their expertise in development. They are experts at guiding a project from land acquisition through initial design and planning, development permitting, rezoning, architectural design, and construction. Along the way, they are skilled and experienced at working with relevant municipal stakeholders to align their vision with the MAY 2023


vision of the municipality and community. Once Azure Properties Group guides a project through the entitlement process, they then have the ability to sell their fullypermitted project to a builder – that’s an attractive proposition for builders, Navi explains, “because projects are in short supply and most builders don’t really like the development side of things,” as there’s a lot of risk associated with development, and oftentimes a lot of paperwork and delays and coordination required. “Builders oftentimes prefer to just get digging,” Navi says. “That’s where they feel more comfortable. We can help them with that.” “The entitlement process can be tricky,” Gagan adds. “That’s when you find out what can be done on the land. That’s when you work with the local councillors, mayor, with the planning department. That’s when you really get in the weeds and work through all the technical details. And that’s when Azure Properties Group really shines.” During that process, Azure Properties Group draws on their experience and expertise in architecture, urban planning, and creative urban design – and they work closely and collaboratively with the aforementioned community stakeholders – to come up with a design that maximizes the density and profit of the development, while still being considerate of the city’s vision for the land. Gagan believes that their ability to achieve that balance is what differentiates Azure Properties Group from other developers. MAY 2023

Gagan adds that Azure Properties Group accomplishes these goals through established relationships with architects, engineers, environmental scientists, real estate brokers, consultants and contractors. She says they are “specialists” when it comes to coordinating with all those partners and generating and aligning all the necessary reports. She believes that specialty in development services through collaboration is a core competency of the company. Additionally, Navi holds a dual Master’s in Architecture and Urban Planning, as well as a background in construction management from his undergraduate degree and working within the family business. This depth of design experience and expertise gives Azure Properties Group the ability to develop on sites that present unique technical challenges, the kind of challenges other developers might not want to contend with. Navi says Azure thrives in these situations: “Out here, the perfect sites are hard to get. We typically don’t compete on those sites, because there are a lot of people competing on those sites resulting in companies overpaying for them. What we do differently is we find our own sites. We find sites that probably have a bit more hair on them; they have a few more encumbrances; they have some environmental issues, or topography issues. They are the kind of sites that people who are less technically savvy shy away from.” “We don’t mind those more challenging sites because we can navigate through them, build value, and meet community THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

goals,” Navi continues, “and because they’re the sites that others don’t want to compete on, we can buy land for well below what others are paying for land. Then we can find ways to work collaboratively with the city to get an increased yield. That’s a big advantage for us.” When it comes to working with cities, Gagan adds that they tend to be successful because they don’t take a “contentious” approach: “We want to work alongside the city,” she explains. “We really focus on achieving the city’s goals, not just our own goals. We familiarize ourselves with the local area plans and mandate of council, we talk with neighborhood associations, we find out what their community really needs and wants. We believe that approach earns us a bit more buy-in from city stakeholders. They look to us for innovate solutions because they see that our projects work in their favour as well.” The company also builds relationships with cities and communities by getting personally involved in them. Navi and Gagan are members of the homeless committees in Abbotsford. Gagan is also a professor of finance and volunteers within multiple communities to teach financial literacy to at-risk youth and women. “Having that community focus helps us to get in the room and helps us to be heard when we have a creative solution,” Gagan says. Again, once Azure Properties Group has collaborated with a city and shepherded a project through the entitlement process, they have the option of either selling the constructionMAY 2023


ready project to another builder or building it in-house. These days, Navi estimates that they sell and hand off about a little more than half of their projects. When they do sell a project, Gagan clarifies that “we don’t just exit and leave the room.” “We still have a relationship with all our projects. Because our goal is to make homes and improve the communities in which we work. If we simply left, that would be a lot harder to accomplish. That expertise and collective knowledge which has been approved by council and the community would also be exiting. Therefore, we remain actively involved; we still guide the buyer through the process; we’re still there to help if they have any problems or any challenges arise.” “We stay active for the sake of the community,” she adds. “We’ve built relationships with the community, we’ve made promises about what we’re going to do, so we have to make sure we stand by what we said, and we deliver what we promise. We know that if we don’t, then next time we have a project in that community, they might not be so receptive.” As for the projects that Azure Properties Group builds themselves, as a home builder first, Navi says those tend to be the projects that their team “falls in love with.” Sometimes they are the projects that require very little equity injection because their team has raised the value of the land so much through the design development process. In those cases, Navi says the company’s built out developments stand out due to their specificity and their finished quality. In terms of specificity, Navi explains that each development they design is unique. He reiterates they always talk to community stakeholders first to figure out the needs of the neighborhood they are working in, and then they strive to include amenities and features that address those needs. “We’re not providing a cookie cutter model of housing in any of our projects,” he says. “Every project is designed from complete scratch. Every project is catered to and geared towards the neighborhood its in. As for quality, Navi and Gagan credit that to the calibre of their building partners. Gagan says they have worked hard to build relationships with contractors and subcontractors who care about what they do, and who operate with integrity. She says, “Integrity is super important, because, we work so hard with all our communities, and we don’t want to put those relationships at risk. We need to make sure that the workmanship we deliver is exceptional. We need to make sure that the neighbors are respected along the way. Because we need to be able to do it all again down the line.” MAY 2023

Meeting a need Over the years, Azure Properties Group has delivered a long list of developments of varying sizes and scopes, ranging from projects with four-or-five units to projects with over 200 units. To date have provided +1000 doors in various communities with over 1000 doors coming soon. They have also developed experience with a ranging of project types. Their portfolio includes family homes, luxury homes, rowhomes, townhomes, apartment complexes, mixed-use developments, and more. These days, Azure Properties Group is working hard at adding to their portfolio. Currently, they have a significant number of active developments in communities across Greater Vancouver, including multiple projects in Vancouver itself, as well as West Kelowna, Chilliwack, Mission, New Westminster, Port Moody, Maple Ridge, and Abbotsford. In Abbotsford alone, Navi THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

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estimates they have 700 units on the way. Born and raised in Abbotsford, Navi says that’s where they are developing one of their largest projects to date – a four-building apartment complex at Langdon & Parkview which will include a variety of indoor and outdoor amenity spaces and over 260 residential units. Looking forward, Gagan says Azure Property Group’s goals are to maintain their momentum, and to provide development services to other builders so they can supply more much needed housing to BC. Gagan says they have active projects in 10 cities now, and they intend to grow that number moving forward. In the future, Navi adds that they also want to do more consulting with municipalities to improve processing times and reducing delays for developers and builders. Since they operate in multiple municipalities, they believe they are in a unique position to offer advice to cities and communities: “I think we have a real intimate knowledge and understanding of what happens on the private side that the public side might not be aware of,” Navi says. “We also might have some private sector creativity that could be implemented on the public side. We want to do everything we can to share that knowledge and creativity and hopefully make a difference in the industry.” MAY 2023

THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA For more on Azure Properties Group, their services, their development process, and some of their current and completed projects – and to get in touch with Navi, Gagan, and their team – visit

Mass customization

AyA Kitchens and Baths is one of Canada’s leading manufacturers of high quality, frameless cabinetry. They have achieved that industry leadership by combining old world craftsmanship and attention to detail with hightech manufacturing processes – and by doing everything they can to stay on the cutting edge of design and provide the best service experience possible. “Our mission is to provide our customers with a product that is innovative in design, consistent in quality and competitive in value,” says Dave Marcus, founder and owner of the company. “We strive to develop and maintain a working environment committed to safety, teamwork, advancement and professionalism and to contribute to our community as an environmentally conscious manufacturer, a dependable employer, and a leader in our industry.” One of AyA’s most significant differentiators is that, unlike other kitchen manufacturers, they don’t assemble from stock. Instead, they produce a unique kitchen to the individual specifications of every customer. They take a “mass customization approach,” which Dave says offers “the best of both worlds” – the personalization of a custom kitchen with the value and quality that comes from a 150,000-square-foot state-ofthe-art production facility. When Dave founded AyA Kitchens in 2000, that unique best-of-both-worlds approach was exactly what he had in mind. His vision was to create a company that would be a “game-changer” in the industry. In the early years, that vision propelled the business to rapid MAY 2023


growth and expansion across the country. Today, AyA Kitchens employs about 300 people. They sell all cost-to-coast across Canada as well into the United States. They primarily service the new home construction market and sell to builders, but they also service what they call the “retail market,” where they sell directly to owners doing their own renovations and remodels. Within the GTA, they sell directly to clients, while outside the GTA they work with associates who are typically exclusive distributors of AyA Kitchens. No matter where the client is in the US or Canada, however – and no matter who they are buying from – Dave believes they choose AyA Kitchens for the same reasons. In almost all cases, the company’s main point of difference is their ‘mass customization’ approach, and all the benefits that come with it: “Our product catalogue is much broader and much more robust than any of our competitors,” Dave says. “We offer an incomparable selection of colours, styles and accessories. We also have a deep catalogue of product types – we have basically any and all cabinetry you would look for in a residential application.” AyA Kitchens is a particularly valuable partner for singlefamily custom builders, Dave adds, “because we can do a oneoff home or we can do a really high-end subdivision with 200 or 300 homes, and every home and every customer will get a completely unique product designed and manufactured directly to their specifications.” Other points of difference include AyA Kitchens’ commitment to environmental MAY 2023

commitment to environmental sustainability, as well as their high standard of quality control. On the environmental side, the company continually strives to surpass industry standards and help their customers create healthier environments. Their commitment encompasses everything from recycling, energy and resource conservation, to waste reduction, water-based finishes and sustainable products – including their EVO™ line of cabinetry, which is an affordable alternative to their already low-emission standard line that contains no added urea formaldehyde. As part of their commitment to sustainability, AyA Kitchen utilizes their in-house developed production software to minimize waste in the manufacturing process, and then to reuse and recycle as much of their waste stream as possible. They also use waterbased finishes as opposed to solvent-based finishes, they conserve energy in their manufacturing facility by using LED light bulbs and removing unnecessary lighting, and they offset some of the energy they do consume with a 1000-panel rooftop solar photovoltaic system at their manufacturing facility. The positive impact of those efforts is reflected in the company’s certification from the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association’s (KCMA) Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP). That certification is awarded annually, and manufacturers are required to earn a minimum of 80 out of 110 points based on compliance in five categories, including air quality, product resource management, process resource management, THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

environmental stewardship, and community relations. When it comes to quality control, meanwhile, the company’s commitment is also reflected in industry certification. In fact, in 2004, they were one of the first in their industry to become third party certified by the Woodmark Quality System – which is the first quality management specifically designed for the wood products manufacturing industry. This certification reviews all materials and standard operating procedures and is audited yearly to ensure quality standards are being met. And when it comes to earning that certification and passing those audits, Dave once again credits the company’s own proprietary manufacturing software, which they use to maximize control over all parts of the manufacturing process. He also says they conduct work-in-process quality checks at strategic points throughout the manufacturing cycle, rather than just a final check of a ready-to-go product. That vigilance is important, Dave explains, because when defects are detected earlier in the cycle, reworks can be integrated without causing delays or incomplete shipments. In addition, after their product is installed, AyA Kitchens dispatches a field supervisor within two days to do an inspection. At that stage, their proprietary software continues to come in handy – as the supervisor will conduct the inspection on a tablet running the software, which allows them to review the original order design, take photos of the completed product, record any deficiencies, and if necessary order service parts directly from the field. MAY 2023

At the absolute forefront Over the years, AyA Kitchens has formed long-term relationships with virtually all of their stakeholders – including their clients, their employees, and their suppliers. In terms of clients, Dave says they have formed numerous relationships with builders that have lasted over a decade and some over two decades. With some of their longest standing partners, he says they have completed thousands of homes. As for employees, Dave says the relationships are just as longstanding, and AyA Kitchens takes maintaining those relationships just as seriously as they do with clients. “In business, people are everything,” he explains. “We recognize that. We take really great care of our people and they take great care of us. We’ve built a culture of mutual respect.” “We also do a lot of things outside of the ordinary in THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

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order to attract and keep good people,” he adds. “We have a gym on site. We have a cafeteria on site. In the cafeteria, we subsidized lunches so everyone has access to a two-dollar vegetarian lunch every day. We have a recreational property with a cabin outside of the city that anyone in the company can book out and use for a weekend. Those are just some examples of the things that we do.” As a result, AyA Kitchens has been able to retain a lot of “very long-term employees,” Dave says. He believes that retention is a good indicator of the strength of their company culture, but he believes an even better indicator is the fact that a surprising number of people who left have returned. “Invariably, people leave,” he says. “What I’m really pleased about is that we have a number of very good people who started their careers here, left to check out some other opportunities, but then came back and never left again. We have quite a few middle-to-senior managers who did that. I think that says everything.” Then there are the company’s suppliers – “again, they’re all long-term,” Dave describes. “We not only value those kind of relationships, we do everything we can to protect and maintain them,” Dave says. As an example, he cites the case of a long-term board supplier based in Quebec. At the beginning of the pandemic, AyA Kitchens was deemed essential but their supplier was not. “Immediately, we went to bat THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

for them,” Dave says. “We wrote letters, we got in touch with government officials, and within days the decision was overturned and they were deemed essential.” During the same period, some of the company’s other suppliers similarly went above and beyond for them. As an example of that, Dave cites their long-term supplier Häfele – a global market leader in providing hardware solutions to the kitchen cabinet industry and architectural millwork industry, among other industries. During what Dave calls “the depths of COVID, when steel was hard to get and supply chains were broken and lead times were through the roof,” Häfele air-freighted the company stock at their own expense to make sure AyA Kitchens could stay up and running. Moving forward, Dave says that the company’s goal is to continue fostering those kinds of relationships with suppliers. In collaboration with those partners – and in collaboration with their clients and employees – their goal is also to continue growing the company, and continue refining the mass customization offering that makes them so special. “Our objective is not unfettered growth,” he says. “It’s sustainable growth, and growth within our core competency of mass customization. We’re going to continue to invest and reinvest in new technology, and we are going to offer even more customization than we’ve been able to in the past. I believe that customization is really where nobody can touch us.” “We can do a multi-family project where there are four colour patterns and every unit picks A, B, C or D. We do a lot of those projects. We do that very well. We just have a lot of competitors who can also do that well. But we can also do the very sophisticated, highly customized projects, and we can do them in volume at a very good price. That’s a lot more difficult, and that’s where we really shine – and we’re investing in new technology all the time in order to stay at the absolutely forefront of that market.” MAY 2023

THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA For more on AyA Kitchens, their company, their products, and their latest news – and to get in touch with Dave and his team – visit

Beautiful and sustainable

Method Homes is a Torontobased builder committed to delivering high quality new homes and renovations, and to transforming outdoor spaces into beautiful, functional, and eco-friendly environments. Their professional team is backed by more than 30 years of design and build experience, and they are dedicated to providing personalized attention to every client on every project, from initial consultation to final installation. Along the way, they practice openness and transparency in all their communications, ensuring their clients’ expectations are always understood and realistic, so that that they can exceed those expectations with the finished product. “Our mission is to create beautiful and sustainable spaces that inspire and enhance the lives of our clients,” says Chris Loftus, founder and president of the company. “We are committed to providing exceptional service and delivering innovative and personalized design solutions that exceed our clients’ expectations. Our goal is to build long-term relationships with our clients – relationships based on trust, respect, and a shared commitment to creating beautiful and sustainable environments.” Chris comes from a background in architecture, and he first formed Method Homes in 1999. Over the years since, the company has done a variety of commercial and residential projects, including both renovations and new builds. These days, they primarily focus on the high-end residential sector, though they will do the occasional commercial job “if the project is really interesting MAY 2023


and special.” In both sectors, their work can range in value anywhere from $100,000 on the lower end to $3 million on the higher end, with the majority of their projects ranging between $1 million and $2 million. About five years ago, Method Homes introduced a landscaping division to their company. More recently, during the pandemic, they started doing pools. With all those capabilities in-house, they can now clients “a complete frontto-back solution,” Chris says. “If the client likes us on the build, then typically we get the landscaping work as well,” he explains. “That happens a lot.” Geographically, Method Homes primarily works in the core of Toronto. Chris says they have a lot of experience and knowledge regarding the old housing stock of the city, and they do a lot of “really large complex renovations” on those buildings. “That’s the bulk of our work,” he says. “That’s what we’re really good at.” Within that niche, Chris believes that clients choose Method Homes due to their experience. They have a track record spanning almost 25 years now, and in that time they have built a reputation for providing “high quality workmanship” and “high quality service.” When it comes to the service, Chris credits that reputation to the company’s record of being “very transparent” with their customers. “We don’t hide anything from the clients,” he explains. “They know exactly what they are paying for plumbing and electrical. They know exactly what they are paying us. We MAY 2023

typically charge a management fee and that fee doesn’t change as long as the scope stays reasonably the same. That gives clients a real sense of comfort. They know where their money is going.” The company’s transparency is also enabled and enhanced by their use of technology. For example, they use Buildertrend, a popular construction project management software and app. Buildertrend includes a construction customer portal which clients can access from anywhere and which services as a one-stop-shop for project information. They can log in and see the latest updates on their project through progress photos, a view of the project schedule, and budget details. They can also use it to communicate directly with the construction crew. “If the client has questions, all the answers are all there in our online platform,” Chris says. “They can log in and see just about anything that they want.” The quality of the company’s workmanship, meanwhile, is evidenced by their history of having only “very limited warranty issues.” Chris credits that consistency of quality to his team: “Our team is very good and very knowledgeable,” he says. “We have some senior people who have been around for a very long time now, including me. We have a lot of expertise and brainpower on the team, which I think is really critical. We’ve seen pretty much all the problems that can happen on a jobsite and we know from experience how to fix them.” The company’s quality is also powered by their client-centric THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

mindset, which Chris says he tries to instill in every employee: “We don’t take shortcuts,” he says. “That’s important to me. That’s something I’m always pushing on our guys. ‘No shortcuts.’ Our focus should always be on what’s going to make the project last the longest and look the best. That’s what we always want to be working towards.” During the summer, Method Homes employs roughly 40 team members in-house, including a significant number of in-house carpenters, an inhouse paint crew, and a select roster of project managers. On the administration side, the team also includes both of Chris’ sisters – making the company “a bit of a family business,” he says. Because Method Homes employs so many of their team members directly, they are able to control the quality better than a lot of their competitors. They can also respond to issues a lot faster than most competitors, as they don’t have to work around the schedules of their subcontractors as much. “We have a lot of control over when guys are coming and going,” Chris explains. “If we need something, we can make a quick decision. We can pull a guy from here and put him on there so we can get the task done right away.” Of course, Method does have to rely on some subcontractors – and Chris says those relationships also tend to be very longstanding: “We have some key trades who we’ve been working with for over 20 years now,” he says. “For example, I’ve been working with our prime HVAC sub and our prime electrician since I started this company. Our shower glass guy I’ve been working with for 20 years now. We have some guys we really rely on.” At the same time, Chris says that Method Homes is growing, so they have also needed to develop some new relationships: “In the beginning, it was fine to have one company in each category to rely on,” he explains, “but now we’re big enough that those companies might not be large enough to handle all the work that we have to do. So over the past four or five years we’ve been working hard to develop more relationships. That’s been very difficult, but we’ve made a lot of progress.” MAY 2023


Loving a challenge As a recent example of what Method Homes is capable of, Chris cites a heritage building on Parliament Street that the company finished renovating late last year. He calls that building “probably the most distressed building we’ve ever worked on.” The building was originally a large duplex. Method Homes’ mission was to transform it into a mixed-use property, with retail-commercial space on the main floor, commercial space on the second floor, and residential space on the third floor. When they started the project, Chris says they were surprised to learn how distressed the building really was. For example, they learned that the previous owner before their client had started to dig out the basement without doing any engineering or acquiring a permit. As a result, the “whole building began to fall into Parliament Street,” Chris recalls. MAY 2023

To stop that from happening, “a massive chunk of concrete” had been poured under the building, about six feet deep, 12 feet wide, and 40 feet long. When Method Homes came along, one of the first things they had to do was underpin the building, which meant “slowly chunking out bits of concrete to underpin the front wall.” There were other issues, too. “The party walls were a mess on both sides,” Chris says, “the neighbors had done all sorts of not-cool stuff. Every time we opened up something there was more structural work to do to try to stabilize the place.” The two party walls needed a lot of work, but Method Homes did eventually get them stabilized. Then, with the help of their shoring engineer, they built a series of “massive shoring towers” to hold up the roof, and then bit-by-bit took out the wood structure inside and replaced it with a steel structure. By doing that, they were able to honour the heritage requirements and keep the front façade and the roof the same. “It was a pretty technically complex bit of work,” Chris says. “Now it’s done and it’s more or less a brand new house, but you wouldn’t know it looking at it from the front. It still looks like the 1872 building it is.” Moving forward, Method Homes’ vision is to continue working on challenging and interesting projects like that one. They don’t necessarily have to be that difficult, Chris concedes – “There were times when we looked at that project and thought ‘Oh my God, this is insane,’” he admits – but he says the company generally enjoys being challenged and THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

trying new things. “Fortunately, we have some customers right now who are committed to doing some really interesting stuff, not just your straightforward vanilla builds,” he says. “That’s fun for us. That’s why we love coming to work in the morning.” In particular, the company hopes to do more environmentally sustainable builds. One of their senior project managers is now a certified Net Zero designer and builder, so they are well positioned to win those jobs when they come up. They already have one customer who is “quite committed” to achieving Net Zero, and they are excited about working with him now. Lastly, Method Homes is also interested in continued growth. According to Chris, the company has “definitely been growing” over the last five years, and they have spent a lot of time building infrastructure and adding equipment in order to manage that growth. Chris says they intend to continue that investment. “I feel like we’re well set up to continue growing,” he concludes. “We definitely want to get larger. We don’t necessarily want to have a lot more employees, but we do want to grow our sales. We want to keep growing for the next three-to-four years, and then we’ll see where we’re at and figure out the next steps.” MAY 2023

THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA For more on Method Homes, their mission, their services, and their past projects – and to contact Chris and his team today – visit

Respray, reface, replace

Decorrestore is a family-owned Ontario company that offers homeowners and design professionals a new kitchen renovation alternative. For more than 10 years, they have proudly served the Mississauga through Niagara markets, providing specialty kitchen remodelling services for a fraction of the cost of typical remodelling projects. About two years ago, they greatly enhanced their service offering by introducing their new Decorrestore Design Centre, which features the largest selection of Caesarstone in the Golden Horseshoe. “Our design centre was created to offer a space for designers, contractors, architects, builders, home decorators, stagers – truly any professional in the design industry – to meet with their clients and collaborate on their unique design needs,” explains Ally Young, Vice President, Business Development. “This brand-new design centre offers communal meeting space and features a large wall takeover highlighting floor-to-ceiling slabs of Caesarstone’s most recent and popular styles. This allows all clients to visualize their Caesarstone selection much easier and provides a truly immersive experience.” Decorrestore was originally founded in 2011 by brothers Dennis and Rick Tosello, who came from extensive backgrounds in the home renovation and real estate markets. Today, the company is owned and operated by Dennis and Karen Tosello. Ally – who is Rick’s and Karen’s daughter, and who comes from an extensive background in corporate marketing – joined the family business about two years ago. These days, Decorrestore MAY 2023


has two showrooms, one in Hamilton (220 Nebo Rd.) and one in Burlington (1163 King Rd.). As previously mentioned, they also have a Design Centre, located two doors over from their showroom in Hamilton. Over the past five years, Decorrestore has also expanded their cabinetmaking capabilities. When the company started, they mainly focused on respraying and refacing cabinetry to smooth ‘manufacturer-quality’ finishes, but now they also have a cabinetmaking shop in-house, which has been very beneficial: “That allows us a lot of flexibility on projects,” Ally explains. “We can create a lot of customized pieces at very quick turnarounds. We’re not ordering cabinet boxes and then waiting for them to get here, which can take weeks. We can make a piece and then deliver it to site same day.” Equipped with that cabinetmaking capability, Decorrestore now offers clients three service lines, which they call: respray, reface, and replace. Respraying is when they take existing cabinetry, sand it down, and professionally respray it – that’s their most affordable service line, and also their most sustainable from an environmental perspective as it involves reusing existing materials. Refacing is when they keep existing cabinet boxes and supply brand new doors. And replacing is exactly what it sounds like – they do fully custom renovations with full tear-outs and redesigns. With all three of these service lines, not just the high end ones, Decorrestore also offers carpentry modifications. According to Ally, that’s a big part of what sets the company MAY 2023