LAFRANCE TURNS TO INTERIORS
Paul Lafrance has a new indoor renovation program, Custom Built, premiering Feb. 17. His team includes carpenter Kate Campbell, formerly on Mike Holmes’ shows. Patrick Langston speaks to them both about the show.
Former Decked Out host has new gig
Q Paul, why are you switching decks to interior renovations?
A What people don’t realize is I’ve been doing interior renovations as much as exterior for 20 years. I’ve kind of broken open what people can expect from the outside and now I’m taking the outside back in.
Q Most people want a timeless quality to their renovations so they’ll last a while. In one episode in your new series, you hang a canoe from the ceiling. What’s timeless about that?
A When you’re designing or creating a custom piece of furniture, the inspiration is the individual’s story, something that’s connected to them. That’s timeless.
The canoe was a Peterborough canoe and was on the property the clients bought.
She was from Peterborough, and the canoe reminded her of her childhood.
So I said, “Let’s make it a dominant feature of the house, because it’s got a story attached to it, and let’s turn it into the coolest lighting feature you’ve ever seen.”
Q You’re a musician with the band Found in the Fury. Is there a similarity between creating and designing renovations?
A Music is based on emotion: You’re hoping to connect with people, their emotions and story. It’s the same putting up walls and creating a space: The minute there’s a story attached to it, it’s the same as a song.
Q Kate, what was the biggest challenge you faced when you entered the trades 10 years ago?
A Facing the fear of walking onto a job site full of men. I always felt I had to put in an extra effort because I was a woman. That’s changed since working with Paul because he mentored me and I now can be myself. I’ve learned if I make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world.
Q Have you encountered sexism on the job?
A In 10 years I’ve only come across maybe three men who said women shouldn’t be on job sites.
We bring a new dynamic to the job site that men appreciate; women are a lot of the time way more detail-oriented than men and have more of a designer eye. We have physical limitations; I’ll never be able to lift as much as a man, but I’ll work just as hard and people really respect that.
Q You turned down several university scholarships in favour of the trades, so you must be Where do you get intellectual satisfaction now?
A On the job site. You’re always problem solving, being creative, and Paul spurs conversation of the highest intellectual calibre. I really want to break that mould — that you’re not smart enough so as your second option you select the trades. Well, that was my first option, and I’ve never been happier.