An Interview with a Top Calgary Renovator: Angelo Safakas

1. What got you started into home renovation?

Construction and watching others take ideas on paper and create places we can live in. Peoples living requirement and needs and how we all are different with what we want. Through the years the evolution of what was at one time concepts of the future in living, now are everyday reality and functionality.


2. Why home renovation instead of building?

To fully understand building, I feel that I must be able to take something old and transform it into something by updating the layout and functionality. To fully understand this you must be adaptive and work effectively with cost constraints. To be a versatile and effective builder you must understand the renovations side inside out and the best way in improving the home using different materials, technologies and costs at all levels. Gaining all those skill sets makes you a very versatile builder. Being able to change things and constantly improve. This is the key building blocks of a good home builder.


3. What is your favourite stage of a home renovation?

My most favorite is the 3D modeling - taking dreams into virtual reality, giving clients the feeling of living in the home, and planning its functionally and detailed style. Being able to modify and adapt the floor plan also to maximize the daily functionality at the most cost-effective point in the design stage.


4. Why Kitchens, Bathrooms, and Basements?

The three spaces consist of the most used spaces in 95% of the homes today. In maintaining the homes appeal, these spaces are constantly requiring some kind of updating for lifestyle requirements. Kitchens, Bathrooms, and Basements hold the most value when a home is up for resale.


5. In your opinion, what reasons should someone renovate their home?

Mostly when you renovate your home you add value to the property, update your present and future lifestyle requirements, and are more likely to have higher resale value than someone that does not renovate.


6. What's the difference between you and a handyman?

A full spectrum renovator like me improves the home by extensively altering the floor plan layout, and enhancing the property by design modernizing and improving the home to a higher caliber of finishes. We often change the structure mostly to an open concept layout. Qualifications and requiring a higher level of understanding and building practices expertise – is a must.

A handyman is a jack of all trades master of none. Not having the design, remodeling or total building expertise that is required to complete a high-end remodeling job is the biggest difference. Work is done on the cheap to a lesser quality and understanding resulting in a substandard repair most of the time.


7. What is your specialty? How can someone tell it was a 'homefix' job?

Understanding where the customer is coming from, having extensive experience to guide them through the different stages. HomeFix understands what value is, what is just hype, and where there is the best ROI for short and long term value gain. The quality of products used and building practices required to make for long-lasting homes – no short cuts. Over all, the end result being the best, it can be for the price point offered.


8. Do you see yourself retiring anytime soon?

I have no plans of retiring. Renovating and building is not a job but something I love to do. A job is 9 to 5. Enjoying what you do is a hobby where hours are not counted just the enjoyment you get in doing the project and seeing its final results. The smiles on people's faces when saying"I cannot believe this is my home". Being tasked "how did you know that was what I wanted?" This is what keeps me coming back.

No one can walk away from something they love to do! Also interacting with people is the best feeling of recognition in my talents. When the client gives you the keys to their home, what more can you ask for.


9. What experience do you have that makes you a better choice than the competition?

Through the many years of observing my competition, most are cutting costs by simplify cutting corners and using cheaper products. They are hiring the cheapest trades they can find, not the most qualified to do the job right. I see all too often things that are being done 2 and 3 times over.

The company’s that I respect and walk amongst have a track record of quality and speciality in their field. These companies are 'people and process,' which have tested time values with 25 to 35 years in the business. They are not competition, but friends in the industry as there are very few of us that hold high standards.


10. What projects do you not accept, if any?

The projects we will not do are ones that we cannot add value at a cost effective price, projects which clients wants done on the cheap, cheap and look fabulous. We will also not start projects that other renovators started and walked away from without removing everything and starting over with a new project and all new materials. For obvious reasons!