Local handyman featured on reality TV show
Nick Jardine sidesteps a drywaller and a carpenter as he makes his way through the renovation chaos of a Beach Grove home to the garage where it’s a little quieter.
Although he and his crew are working around the clock, the Tsawwassen contractor smiles with enthusiasm and energy.
“We live it and breathe it,” he says. “It’s just fantastic, actually, I can’t describe it more than that.”
Jardine is the general contractor for Urban Handyman and the exclusive contractor for the W Network’s reality TV show Love It or List It Vancouver, which debuted on the West Coast in January.
In each episode a couple has to decide whether or not to keep their current home. One host is a real estate agent trying to coax them into a new home, while a designer works on a fixer-upper in a bid to convince them to stay.
That’s where Jardine comes in. For three weeks the cameras follow him and his crew around as they take that existing home and try to implement the designer’s vision, and ultimately win back the hearts of the owners.
And as anybody who has ever had a renovation project knows, three weeks is about two months quicker than it would usually take.
“We expedite that process by having a very tight knit group,” explains Jardine. “We’ve been working together for the past eight or so years.”
Sometimes the challenges are daunting, even for an experienced contractor like Jardine. Not only does the work have to pass all local bylaws and inspections, it also has to wow the owners.
“There are times you just walk in and you shake your head,” he says. “You think, I just don’t know how this is going to turn out.”
Each house presents its own unique challenge. Jardine says no two houses are ever the same.
“I’ve come across houses where I’ve knocked out a wall and literally newspaper falls out and you wonder what was holding it together right through to where you get concrete so thick that you have to chase through.”
Originally from Australia, Jardine has lived and run a business in Tsawwassen for over a decade now. Although the episodes involve houses from all over Metro Vancouver, this latest project is in his own backyard.
“Obviously when we come into the Tsawwassen area, and especially Beach Grove, they were used as summertime homes, so there’s a lot of challenges invariably with that,” he says.
That means the walls have to be made thicker to meet today’s insulation standards and some of the wiring brought up to code.
But it’s those unexpected challenges of the job that Jardine finds so exciting and keeps him going.
“Once you have that passion for the challenges that you are going to come up against it just doesn’t grow old.”