Toronto-based designer and expert contractor Melissa Davis, is known for her appearances, creative design and reno work produced over 8 seasons of HGTV’s Income Property. With nearly 2 decades
experience in design, real estate and construction, she is a preeminent voice in her industry.
Her unique perspective working on projects from the Australian Consulate, Conrad Black’s estate to 500 sq. ft. condos and basement apartments in Oshawa offers a true high design on a budget point of view. She’s passionate about ensuring real estate investors large and small enter the process armed with the arsenal of knowledge needed to recoup maximum return on investment.
Whether you have $1,000 or $1,000,000 she makes sure every dollar is well spent.
You’re known for your residential design work, but you worked in commercial design for 10 years before starting your own firm. How does that experience affect your work now?
The world of commercial design is a highly structured, team-oriented environment. Projects are designed, tendered and managed with a regiment that ensures there simply are no surprises — it’s
a symphony of moving parts coming together with the same end goal. I try to carry over my corporate processes and surround myself with a team that understands we’re stronger together than separate.
You worked with Scott McGillivray on Income Property for eight seasons. What was the typical day at the office in that role?
Crazy! Renovations are a bit of a wild ride to begin with, add in cameras, production schedules, supplier relationships and not least, the insane timelines and budgets. My role was to represent Scott when he wasn’t physically there. I scouted potential
properties for viability; can this be a legal apartment for their budget? I created those famed two options for each episode, then planned, permitted and selected all the finishes through
to staging for the reveal. I was also responsible for ensuring we kept on budget and allocating how to spend those budget dollars to ensure it resulted in the biggest impact possible.
To answer the other question everyone asks me, yes Scott is as lovely as he seems on TV!
You talk a lot about ROI. What would you suggest first time investors spend their renovation budget on first?
Presuming you purchased a property with good infrastructure; working furnace, current electrical and without any immediate issues. Those really need to be addressed first. When it comes to general improvements paint will always be the best bang for the buck. Labour and materials to paint a 2,500 sq. ft. home will run $5,000+ with the material cost only accounting for about
$1,000. This is a place you can save a sizable amount by putting in a bit of sweat equity.
Paint also makes everything look fresh, bright and new and I don’t just mean the walls. With kitchens coming in second for best return on investment, I always suggest trying to save the cabinets opting instead to have them painted. This will run you $1,500 as opposed to $15,000 which in ROI means you can then address the next item on the list!
We know your design firm is as busy as ever. Are there any other projects beyond that you’re working on this year?
I’ve recently partnered with Carpet One Floor and Home. We started talking a few months ago about how I could help make the process of selecting flooring easier for their clients. There are so many options today and as a designer part of what I do for my clients is narrow those down, offering the reason why options X, Y and Z are right for them. Over the next few months the Melissa Davis Signature Collection will be available across Canada in all Carpet One stores.
The program includes everything from engineered flooring, to tile, to broadloom curated into the three design categories most of us can relate to. The store experience will be as though I’m there shopping with you!
Toronto-based designer and expert contractor MELISSA DAVIS, is known for her appearances, creative design and reno work produced for various HGTV shows. With almost two decades of experience in design, architecture and construction, Melissa also held the position Head of The Art Dept and Series Designer on the award-winning lifestyle television series Income Property, on HGTV for
Her private firm Melissa Davis Design is a multi disciplinary design firm offering diverse services for residential, corporate, and retail spaces. Her design work has been profiled nationally and in the US in both TV and various print publications and is a regular columnist for the Toronto Sun and several other GTA design and lifestyle publications. Her firm continues to service clientele throughout Canada in addition to strategic brand collaborations. They specialize in value-adding ROI and resale consultations.