But he has also been working on his own home between these client-projects. And what a project!
Wayne and Carol bought their current home several years ago, in the village of Warkworth, a 90-minute drive east of Toronto. Long before they moved in, Wayne had plans.
“First up”, says Wayne, “was Carol’s garden shed (with the stained glass windows, lighting and power).”
And since Carol is a serious gardener, the front landscaping also needed attention.
And since the house was small, they decided to extend it.
“Now it’s 2014 and the addition is starting to take shape”, Wayne recalls. “The foundation and sub-floor are in place. The walls and trusses are up, and it is beginning to look like we know what we are doing!!…LOL.”
The addition houses a family room and more:
“Well, by late summer 2015, we have a washroom for overnight guests. Carol has an office, and I have completed all mechanical necessities in the main entertainment area, including the fireplace, and have built custom cabinetry throughout.”
Wayne carefully designed every bit of space.
It was the same with the new kitchen.
The original was dark and inconvenient for Carol, who is a great cook. So Wayne decided to build her a much better one, in the adjacent room. He redesigned and built the whole thing from scratch.
That’s Wayne. Where other people might see an insurmountable problem, Wayne sees an exciting challenge.
Carol has a say, of course, in both design and decor.
But she’s quick to point out that “It’s all Wayne”, while praising him for his meticulous work.
And it is meticulous – the kind of work that stands up to close inspection, whether it’s indoors or out.
“Early in the nice weather of 2016”, Wayne says, “WE decided to do a little landscaping before starting work on MY pet project, the garage — better known as ‘the Coach House’.
“As you can see, the landscaping involved the acquisition of a considerable number of fair sized rocks (I FOUND them at the sides of the road, and on the outskirts of farmers fields!!)”
“Some rather larger rocks were used in the landscaping of our new driveway, the one leading to the new ‘Coach House’. I have to admit they were very difficult to get into the back of my SUV!!!”
As their friends know, Wayne gets restless without a project. He completed the kitchen just weeks ago, and returned to the project he started last year: the Coach House, with room for his vintage cars and a guest suite.
The Coach House exterior is now complete, while work continues inside.
My family and I can barely wait to see the finished product.
Meanwhile, we’ve dubbed their much-expanded home “The Shaw Estate”.
But we’re betting that one of these days, I’ll call Carol and she’ll say, once again: “Well, let me tell you…”
A story I wrote 27 years ago to comfort my 4 year-old daughter is about to be published.
Illustrated and designed by well-known blogger Jo Robinson, it’s titled “Myrtle the Purple Turtle”. It’s about a turtle who suddenly realizes she is different from her friends. She doesn’t like it, and tries to change.
The story is about difference, friendship, and overcoming obstacles.
It was inspired by an experience my daughter Lauren had one day when she brought her black doll to her nursery school.
I’d been producing children’s TV shows back then; that may be why I made up this story for Lauren. It immediately became her favourite. Soon she knew it by heart!
In fact, Myrtle’s story was improved each night, in response to Lauren’s questions and her father’s and older sister’s suggestions.
Early this year, egged on by my husband and Chris Graham, the popular British book blogger — and supported by my children — I decided to publish the story in book-form and asked Jo to illustrate it.
So, 27 years later, Myrtle will finally get her time in the sun!
Another interesting development: Lauren, now one of Canada’s brightest lights in digital media, has been helping to shepherd the book to publication, and will oversee its marketing.
Jo, meanwhile, has been working on the illustrations for several months, and is now adding the final design touches to the book.