Renovating Green for Calgary Residences

Calgary residents renovate their homes for all sorts of reasons, from growing families to kids leaving the nest, adding modern touches or bringing back a sense of historical style. But there’s one thing that almost every Calgary homeowner wants to see as part of their renovation: a commitment to greener materials, greener renovation practices, and greener living in their renovated home.

Green Renovations are Good for Homeowners and Calgary as a Whole

There are plenty of reasons for going green, and all of them are good. There’s the ethical responsibility to preserve—or even improve—our environment for future generations, the satisfaction of reusing resources that someone else discarded or discounted as useless, and the cost savings when a green renovation improves your home’s efficiency and reduces your high-flying Calgary utilities bills.

It’s little surprise, then, that green building and renovating has become all the rage not just in Calgary but across Canada. More homeowners and developers are building green from the ground up, and many others are renovating existing structures with better insulation and other materials to conserve energy, changes in design to maximize sunlight and solar power, and other green touches that help everyone breathe a little easier.

If you’re toying around with a renovation idea, make sure you consider the environmental and efficiency aspects of the project itself and the finished result. The benefits of green building and renovating are easy to see, but getting there can be harder—not every handyman or construction company has a green thumb. Make sure you get the expert advice or assistance you need, and feel good about making Calgary greener for us all!

Interior and Exterior Renovation

Malbec Homes & Renovations is involved in another major renovation in the Calgary area.  The interior and exterior of this home is being renovated, along with a deck and landscaping.   The homeowners had a short timeline for the interior work, and Malbec Homes was able to accommodate the timeline while still ensuring the quality of the project was not compromised.





New Custom Home in Calgary

Malbec Homes & Renovations is just starting a new custom home in Calgary.  Malbec was selected to rebuild this fire damage property.  The custom building project involves starting with the existing foundation but adding to it to allow for a new floor plan layout from the original house.

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Another Major Calgary Renovation Project for Malbec Homes & Renovations

Before Exterior

before exterior

Before Interior

before Kitchen

Malbec Homes & Renovations is hard at work with another major Calgary renovation project.  This project involves large scale renovations to the main and second floor, basement development and exterior work.

Triple Crown Win!


Malbec Homes & Renovations has been awarded the Alberta Awards of Excellence in Housing ‘Best Renovation over $500,000′ for the “Barn House”.  This is Malbec’s third award this year for this truly stunning custom-built home.  This provincial award accompanies the National and Calgary SAM awards that Malbec has received.

Making your basement usable again after the Calgary flood

In one way or another, the floods that swept through Calgary, High River and area affected everyone. Hopefully your home was undamaged; if you weren’t so lucky, you’re now likely facing a basement full of water damage and a renovation project that you aren’t sure where to start. You’re probably saying to yourself, the water’s gone but now what?

While recovering from a flooded basement is a big job, it’s not insurmountable. The best way to tackle it is one step at a time. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Decontamination is essential. Mould in your house is a serious health hazard. That means you should get rid of all flooring, drywall and insulation. Even the insulation in the ceiling should go. Don’t forget to check doors and windows for damage as well.
  2. If the water hit the electrical work, it needs to be replaced – the panel, the switches, everything. Any corrosion can be a fire hazard, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. The same goes for a gas system or any appliances.
  3. Before you start rebuilding, make sure everything is completely dry and bacteria free. Get it tested.
  4. If possible, turn this disaster into an opportunity. Did you have 70s wood paneling that you’ve been meaning to replace for a decade? Now’s the time to turn that cold, dingy basement into a stunning space that everyone will want to enjoy.

These same steps apply for anytime you’re facing renovations after water in your basement, whether it’s there from a sewer back up or a natural disaster.

And we suggest hiring professionals at every stage if possible, from mould removal to renovation. Making your basement livable after a flood is often more than a simple DIY project – your family’s health and safety depends on it being done right.

Going for the Triple Crown!

Winner Logo AB

The Alberta Awards of Excellence in Housing finalists have been announced with Malbec Homes & Renovations up for Best Renovation for the “Barn House”.  Malbec has received both a National and Calgary SAM award this year for this truly stunning custom-built home.  Winner will be announced in September at the annual CHBA – Alberta conference in Jasper.

Planning a home addition in Calgary?

Planning a home addition in Calgary?   It is a big undertaking, but a well-planned addition will pay for itself time and time again. Boost your home’s value and extend its square footage with an impactful home addition.

Home additions allow for more space by building up or off of your existing home. Whether you are planning a bonus room over the garage, a mother-in-law/nanny suite, one-room home addition, a second-story add-on, or an outdoor room, ensure that your new addition is a success by considering the following:

  • Start a list asking what problems you want the project to solve (more space) and what goals you want it to achieve (better indoor-outdoor access for entertaining). Once you’ve made the list, rank the improvements in order of priority. Knowing the end result will help your Calgary renovations contractor to plan accordingly for items such as wiring, plumbing, and location.
  • Ensure you understand the legal restrictions of what can be built on your property. Calgary has setback restrictions that govern how close a structure can be built to property lines, height restrictions, building area ratios, and design covenants.
  • Mimicking the style and pitch, or angle, of your home’s original roofline helps an addition fit in with the original structure, whether you’re building up or adding an entryway.
  • Repetition of architectural features is key to a well-designed addition. Otherwise elements can clash, if they’re of two completely different materials or design styles. Carefully consider all building elements on the original structure, including windows, trim, doors, gutters, lighting, and hardware. If the house features double-hung windows, for instance, don’t install swing-out casements in the addition.
  • Concern yourself not only with how the addition will look from the outside, but what the outside will look like as viewed from the inside of the addition. Design, place, and orient yours to take advantage of striking views — and so that it will look good when viewed through the windows of the original house.

In this 2012 Calgary and National SAM Award winning barn renovation project, Malbec added a second storey to a single level structure by building into the trusses.  This increased the square footage by ~40% without increasing the overall building mass or building footprint.

Barn to Custom Home Renovation


What are the most popular finishing materials for Calgary Renovations and Custom Home Building?

Granite and hardwood continue to be #1 choices in our Calgary renovations.  But other things we are seeing for kitchen renovations, bathroom renovations or custom home builds are more painted wood kitchen cabinetry, though stained wood continues to popular also, along with two toned kitchen cabinetry.

Barn doors are becoming more popular for custom renovation projects as they add more interest and visual appeal than the basic passage or pocket door.  They also allow for a wider doorway creating a more open feeling while still allowing a room to be closed off when needed.

Wrought iron and wood railing continue to be the preference.

Popular in lighting is plenty of indirect pot lights for the utilitarian lighting with some really impactful feature fixtures in the dining area and stairwell.  Also, we are seeing more hanging feature lights in the bedrooms rather than the traditional ceiling hungers.  The antique bronze finish is gaining popularity.

Below is one of our most unique staircases.Barn House Stairwell

What are the most popular renovations?

The most popular renovations in Calgary continue to be kitchens and bathrooms.   And the reason the kitchen is one of the most popular renovations is that it increases the resale value for your home.  The kitchen is the heart of the home, where everyone spends a great deal of time with family and friends.  In addition to updating the type and style of cabinetry, homeowners are really looking for the ‘open concept’ kitchen.  This is where the kitchen, dining and living room space are one large room, rather three separate.  This allows homeowners to define the space based on their personal needs, and it makes the main floor area large and open.  Adding a kitchen island is the #1 request when updating the kitchen.   The kitchen is the heart of the home, and the island is the hub of the kitchen.   The island is used for washing, cutting, prepping, holding, serving, leaning, sitting, and more often than not, eating.  Here is one of our amazing kitchens.  Calgary Kitchen Renovations - Barn house kitchen