Calling it her most ambitious and extravagant home renovation to date, DIY Mom’s Rebekah Higgs chronicles the transformation of her 1950’s bungalow for the fourth season of her renovation and lifestyle series to premiere nationally on Bell Fibe TV1 beginning on June 17.
And while acknowledging renovations can be challenging at the best of times, Higgs had the added complication of undertaking this one during the pandemic.
Through all the ups and downs, this season will surely put a smile on your face and have you thinking, if she can do it, surely I can too. – Rebekah Higgs
“I never considered waiting because I had sold my house, so I needed to have a home to move into,” says Higgs. “I really felt like everything lined up for me with finding the house in the first place, and being able to buy it right before the Halifax [housing] market exploded.”
After purchasing the house and beginning renovations in September of 2020, Higgs completed the renovation at the height of the pandemic. And like so many others renovating or building during these times, COVID-19 introduced a whole new range of obstacles.
“There were definitely things that held us up and things that cost more and took longer and were more frustrating, but in the end, it all worked out, and now I have a house I’m really happy with it,” says Higgs.
Taking six months to complete, Higgs says one of the biggest challenges she faced was laying the new engineered flooring atop the uneven cement slab the house sat on.
“After spending two days laying it down, we had to pull it all up,” she says. “Then we had to mix all kinds of self-levelling concrete and pour it throughout the house to ensure the slab was smooth enough to handle the engineered hardwood.”
And while in hindsight, Higgs says it might have made sense to bring in professionals to undertake the levelling work, she admits her struggles make for some great television moments.
Rebekah’s advice for anyone looking to tackle their own renovation project:
“Pick up a power tool and give them a try because oftentimes people can be intimidated by them. Stay curious, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to fail.”
Despite the challenges, Higgs is particularly proud of what she could accomplish with a home that she says “was a puzzle for a lot of people.”
“Often, when I find houses sitting on the market for a while, there’s usually a reason why nobody else wants to buy it,” she says. “With this house, it had a lot of hallways and very chopped up rooms. So I’m most proud of organizing and changing the entire layout of the house, so it flows better.”
As a designer, Higgs is also pleased with the mid-century modern makeover she gave the space, including a floor-to-ceiling glass wall and refacing the existing kitchen cabinets rather than replacing them.
“And things like the mid-century modern arches and other touches I was able to do with the help of carpenter Julie,” she adds.
Born and raised in Halifax, Higgs’s first foray into the entertainment business began when she moved to Toronto to pursue a career in music. However, her music career took a back seat after becoming pregnant with daughter Lennon, who, now eight years old, makes frequent appearances in the series.
Moving back to Halifax to raise her daughter, Higgs first took up renovations after fixing up a property she was renting from her father. “That’s when I first started looking for my first house to buy here in Halifax, and used that house for season one and three of my show,” she says.
While a transition from music to renovations and design may seem like a big pivot, Higgs says it isn’t as different as it might appear, giving her the creative fulfillment she seems to thrive on.
“I certainly miss performing and playing in a band and having that type of creative outlet, but interestingly enough, I find video editing and creating a TV show is very similar to creating a piece of music,” she says. “Everything has a beginning, middle and end, and you have to find the threads in the story and make it all connect.”
Finding those threads has served Higgs well, and with four seasons now under her belt, she has already started on season five, which will focus on the outdoor space of her Rockingham property.
“I have the house here that has quite a large outdoor area, huge deck, greenhouses, sheds and all kinds of things that need a lot of work,” she says. “So there’s enough work here to keep me busy for another season, which is great.”
Season four of DIY Mom premieres exclusively for Bell television subscribers on Bell Fibe TV1 and the Fibe TV app on June 17. Check your local listings. Visit bell.ca or diymom.ca for more information.