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Sebastian Clovis’s Savvy Solutions for Common Reno Woes

Sebastian Clovis’s Savvy Solutions for Common Reno Woes

It takes a lot to dissuade Sebastian Clovis, co-host of HGTV’s Save My Reno, from following through on a commitment. Prior to becoming a certified contractor, he was a CFL defensive back, tackling a whole lot more than ambitious home makeovers. Suffice to say, he’s acquired a sense of grit and expertise all us reno rookies can benefit from. So we sat down with him for a few words of wisdom, talking everything from paint mistakes to design don’ts. Here’s what you need to know:


Easy home upgrade most people overlook: Switching out kitchen hardware and re-painting cabinets. “It will completely flip the look of your kitchen without costing a bunch of money. All you really need is a paintbrush and a screwdriver.”

Reno homeowners should never do themselves (aside from electrical): Tiling. “It’s one of those things that, if it goes wrong, it’s already set in place and you have to crack it out. Even if the tile work is only off by an eighth of an inch, that’s all you’ll be able to focus on,” he says. Rule of thumb? “If you’re not sure if you can tile or not, it’s probably best to step away.”

Rookie paint mistake to avoid: Not cutting in along edges properly. Even if you carefully apply painter’s tape, the paint often bleeds through. How to rectify the problem? “Apply your tape, then paint the edge of the tape the colour of whatever is holding it – so if it’s the ceiling, paint the tape the colour of your ceiling to seal it. Then go back across with your new colour.”

Mudding must-do: Strive for perfection. “There were times when I was younger and thought, ‘yah, that’s good enough.’ But there’s no such thing as good enough. The mudding needs to be perfect before you apply the paint – there’s just no jumping the gun on that.”


Best season to renovate: Any season that doesn’t dip into the negative double digits. “That way you’re not tracking mud or snow in and out of the house. Sometimes we’ll also shut off the heat to prevent the ventilation systems from sucking up all the dust and polluting the ducts. That being said, it can still be done! Reno season is all year long.”

Decor piece it’s time to pass up: The vessel sink. “I think this trend is dying now, and it needs to die. When you have a vanity and then a bowl sitting on top of it, it’s just going to get dirty and grimy underneath. I much prefer a nice, clean undermount sink.”

Space where carpeting pays off: Media room. “If you’re putting together a theatre room in your basement, for example, and you want to soundproof it because you’ll have those subwoofers pumping, a nice thick-pile carpet is great to absorb that sound and add to that experience. Carpeting definitely has a place – just don’t spill your pop.”

What football taught you about the reno process: “It’s about being a team player. It’s not necessarily about whether you get along philosophically on personal levels, it’s about can you execute your job. And can I execute my job to make yours easier. Similar to football, it’s all about timing: the framers need to get done so the rough-in guys can come in and do their work, then the flooring experts and so on. If one of those players mess up the timing, it throws the whole team off. And then, we don’t win the championship!”

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