Canadaís newest TV construction hero in jeans and swagger has emerged.
Paul Lafrance, Christian rocker and outdoor living aficionado, storms the solid pine HGTV gates with "Decked Out," a fun and informative series that offers an affordable alternative to cottage living.Lafrance says that the days of driving hours and miles to summer homes is becoming a thing of the past and that experience can be recreated right in our own back yards.
"Decked Out" has found its audience already; itís spun off and sold in the US and locking other international audiences as we speak.
Paul Lafrance Decked Out Premieres on HGTV Canada Thursday April 7 at 10 PM
Monsters and Critics spoke with Lefrance on a perfect deck day.
Monsters and Critics: The deck in the series premiere was immense, the size of a few city blocks. It was $80K in wood alone. What was the final tally?
Paul Lafrance Over $250M is not the average. I think that was the extreme example of what Iím talking about. The times and economics of our lives have changed. The lifestyle and maintenance of cottages are no longer a reality. The homeowners were just tired of the hassles of it and decided to build a resort in their own backyard.
They gave me creative license. We had small army of guys for five weeks so it was a blitz. And it couldnít have been any hotter Ė if we didnít have that pool Ė weíd have been goners. We donít mind working September, October and November when you get more done and youíre not moving like molasses.
Weíre in slow motion when itís hot, but we managed. The cool thing about that, normally we donít like people to be able to see the finished project. Hiding that one from Ken and Cathy for five weeks, a space thatís bigger than their house, there was no way. When they came out, and theyíd been there, the final furnishing, cleaning was done, to still get that emotional moment was wonderful.
M&C: You seem to never to be still.
Paul Lafrance I am a musician before a carpenter so the ability for me to be creative, I bore awfully fast as I have an ADD brain, the need to be constantly creative, constantly switching elements. The crewís always rolling their eyes Ė thatís the fun part, thatís the juice for me. Itís a great play off my guys Joey and Pat and Dave my brothers in law and we've worked for years together, there's not a lot of host envy.
M&C: Will you be showing mini or cheap projects?
Paul Lafrance The original concept that we came up with three years ago was to have these large scale projects but we moved away because it doesnít relate to people.
Look, another huge bodacious house I can't relate to! A wonderful element is that we capture the homes, large and small, and thereís a townhouse where we carry the lumber through the house to the back. Iím just as proud of those projects. It challenges your creativity.
A big canvas is easier, but a limited space is more creatively challenging. Whatever the space, we create an oasis.
M&C: How do decks impact the value of a home?
Paul Lafrance Itís HUGE. Youíll notice we do our projects with low maintenance flooring. Thatís really what impacts flooring, 92% of the project have maintenance free flooring. No one had time to maintain and that's the biggest way it impacts the value.
Who has the time? Iím convinced that in five years Ė only naturalists who refuse to bend to new technology, who find natural things therapeutic will be the exceptions to maintenance free products.
M&C: What is the impact of ďthe deck lifeĒ?
Paul Lafrance Now youíre getting into what really drives me. On the surface I've been doing this stuff for years. Iím a counter-culture guy, I march to the beat of my own drum, in the early days of Cutting Edge my company, I was disheartened and felt that creative projects just added to the rat race, keeping up with the Joneses.
Until a good friend of mine, a Canadian military guy who had tough ordeals; he was a log home builder and artist, but he had view of life pretty rounded but heíd seen things that werenít so pretty.
His outlook became very positive, one day he says to me, he grabbed me by my neck and pulls me in and says ďLet me tell you what youíre telling me what youíre doing. You are creating places of rest in a world that has gone crazyĒ.
On that same point, what changed for at that point is now what I was doing related back to me as a counter-culture guy. Everything moves so fast today all the technical advances, but people have never been so stressed. You feel like a minivan driving down the road far faster than you were meant to go. There has never been a greater need to have a place to escape to and feel separate from your environment.
M&C: Did you need a lot of math skills to do what you do?
Paul Lafrance I wasnít good at school. The fact that me being a counter-culture guy was that my time in school was me clawing at the walls wanting to get out of there. The school systems are on one side and Iím not that guy.
I can see a movie and recite lines to you but not from a book. Iím a visual guy, a designer. The school system doesnít recognise that. I was told I wasnít scholastic that I should be a tradesman, but I was creative and driven. I didnít finish high school.
I love people to know that brains work a different way. I have more people come to say thanks for saying that. The culture says I didnít do well in school, so Iím subpar person. Iíll sit on a soapbox, I didnít finish high school. When you realise things are a game, see it that way suddenly no longer operating out of a place of being trepidatious or being in a certain mould. Iím okay to be who I am. Guys say you should be on a TV show. Donít let the system or model of culture tell you who you are supposed to be.
M&C: Howís the schedule going?
Paul Lafrance We finished episodes for Season 1 in November before snowfall. We start Season 2 in a week. And weíve already shot Deck Wars, a spin off even before Decked Out aired. It was a whole whack of fun. Two do-it-yourselfers against my crew. Iím hosting.
M&C What are your crew and designers, patting you on the rear end?
Paul Lafrance Isnít that hilarious? Football players can pat each other on the butt, but construction guys donít. Theyíre tough guys afraid to make a mistake! So we thought, why not? I know, I freak people out, but I like to think outside the box!