When it comes to finding new and innovative features for the home, there is much to be said about the value of browsing.
And that’s just what the return of the Ridge Meadows Home Show will allow thousands to do from April 29 to May 1 at Planet Ice and the Albion Fairgrounds.
Local entrepreneurs will top the list of must-sees, with a number of interesting vendors there with innovative products aimed at simplifying or styling a homeowner’s life.
Check out Matt LaHay, for instance. He is endeavouring to put porch pirates out of business.
This 41-year-old local metal fabricator was subcontracting to build fences and driveway gates for a number of homes in the Lower Mainland. Then, a few clients started asking if he could create stylized mailboxes that could safeguard their Amazon packages from being drenched or stolen.
The light bulb went on, and just six months ago, LaHay designed and started fabricating a steel mailbox that can house 95 per cent of packages being delivered to homes in this era of online shopping.
He uses a levered system similar to Canada Post mailboxes, but LaHay’s delivery bin stays open while the package is being inserted, then safely shuts with a soft-close hydraulic system. Once closed, it prohibits access to the delivered package, except through a locking door at the bottom.
There are, he said, somewhat similar plastic and wooden boxes that are on the market. Most of them are much smaller, and don’t accommodate the average sized package. And, he insists, they’re not as durable as his.
LaHay has created a high-quality enclosed steel box that ensures security from thieves and the weather.
He has only one design, at present, and operating a one-man shop – Cedar Valley Innovations. But, in short order, he anticipates that based on residential and commercial need, demand will soar, and that he will soon be growing the fledgling business.
At present, it takes a few weeks to complete each box – but LaHay personally takes it from order through to delivery and installation, himself.
It’s not cheap, but it’s inexpensive by comparison, he said. LaHay noted the fluctuating cost of steel tends to impacting the price point slightly, but he has been retailing them for about $2,250, and sold them at the recent Tradex home show for a special event price of $1,950.
He currently has a waiting list for eight, and warns buyers that he’s looking at a delay of about two months from order date.
“There’s quite a bit of fabrication involved. But it’s worth it,” LaHay added, noting the boxes are strong, well designed for functionality, sandblasted and painted to prevent rust and offer visual appeal, and above all else developed with security in mind.
The boxes come complete with mounting holes, and he’s installed many around the Lower Mainland, some outside driveway gates, others along garden pathways, and several on porches.
There’s no more soaked or messy packages sitting at the front door, there’s no more boxes thrown over a gate and products broken in the fall. There’s no more theft, he said, anxious to share his idea with the masses at the home show.
Boulders making big statement
A focus on creativity and curbside appeal doesn’t end there.
There’s a Maple Ridge man who can help bring pizzazz to the front yard with a functional, but similarly stunning piece of nature-based art.
Tommy Tourand designs customized landscape boulders for homes and businesses – taking the concept of a home address sign to an all-new level of quality and presence.
“As our name implies, Boulder Designs creates custom boulders that can be made to any size, shape, or colour,” said Tourand, who’s been a Maple Ridge resident since age nine.
Hes always had what he called a strong affection for Mother Nature and that’s been fostered through his passion for getting outdoors, be it dirt biking, mountain biking, or even motorcycle drag racing.
So, it means a lot that he can add to the natural aesthetics of a home or business with his boulders.
Using engineered stone that has the strength and durability to last centuries, he’s created small boulders for a front garden – adding addresses, family names, or personalized sentiments. Many are commissioned by homeowners wanting to bring a more natural look to their front yard or garden. Others are given as house warming gifts for friends or family.
While his focus has been residential in nature, Tourand noted that in his first two years in business he’s also customized several larger commercial monument signs and landscape enhancements for Lower Mainland companies.
He too is excited to share his work at the home show.
Pick Jared’s brain on cabinet inserts
Maple Ridge’s Jared Lapointe will be bringing some ideas for enhanced functionality for the inside of the house to this year’s home show.
Asked about trends in home renovations, the owner of Blue Mountain Kitchens had many suggestions about one of the most lived-in spaces in a house.
No surprise, that’s the kitchen, and there’s been a quest by more and more home owners to upgrade their kitchen space to be more functional, livable, and simultaneously appealing.
The mainstay of the company is cabinetry, and in many cases Lapointe said home owners are surprised to learn it’s just as costly to reface (swapping out the doors) on existing cabinetry versus replacing the cabinet.
“It’s not as cost effective as people think it is,” he said, noting, “We can work in most people’s budgets.”
His team is equipped to handle everything from the bare-bones IKEA style cabinetry on a budget of about $5,000, all the way up to deluxe customized cabinetry costing $20,000.
But that’s not all Lapointe and his seven-member team at Blue Mountain do, and they’re happy to show off their wares and work at the upcoming home show.
On the functional end, he noted there’s been a real surge of interest in the past five or so years, for cabinet inserts – whether added to existing or new cabinetry.
They also offer a variety of “kitchen gadgetry” that helps sort spices and recycling, offers mechanized assists to inserts. There’s also interest in pull outs, roll outs, and customized corner inserts that simplify organizing of everything from pots to food, and other cooking amenities.
A trained interior designer, Lapointe has been in business since 2013, with two showrooms in Maple Ridge, one in Coquitlam, and his manufacturing and storage warehouse in Maple Ridge’s Blue Mountain business park.
Back for his fourth local home show, Lapointe is looking forward to showing off some of the latest kitchen trends, and his company’s interactive, 3-D modelling that will bring the clients and their design ideas alive.
While Blue Mountain Kitchens participates in a number of trade shows, Lapointe said “we always tend to favour the Ridge Meadows Home Show. It’s more community inspired… we like working in our own backyard.”
Variety of vendors cover everything a homeowner needs
These are just a local sampling of close to 300 vendors who will be located inside and outside at this year’s Ridge Meadows Home Show, said sales and events coordinator Deb Bradbury.
There’s so many new and exciting ideas for the home. Visitors are encouraged to give themselves a few hours to tour all the booths, ask questions, and glean ideas for their home.
“Everyone is excited to get back. Our exhibitors are especially excited to get back out there,” she said, referring to the two-year hiatus caused by COVID.
“It’s going to be a great show,” Bradbury promised.
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