By Erin McCabe
The president of a construction company based in P.E.I. says a new partnership with television personality Paul Lafrance and his show Decked Out will bring some new options to Islanders as far as custom decks go.
Steven Jackson, president of Blackhawk Custom Builders, says his firm was chosen by Lafrance and his company to be the only recommended builders on the Island.
Lafrance is the CEO of his own company, Cutting Edge Designs, and has designed and built over 1,500 decks in southern Ontario. He has since expanded his reach to include all of North America with the help of recommended builders in each province or state to construct the designs.
“They contacted us in the spring of last year and said they wanted to set it up with us — they looked into us and kind of looked at everybody that was in P.E.I., and they decided to go with us,” said Jackson.
He thinks the partnership will be great for the Island as a whole.
“The biggest benefit of it is that it brings something unique to P.E.I.,” says Jackson.
“There are already unique things here like, we provide the exact same thing that Cutting Edge Designs provides but with [Paul Lafrance], it kind of brings in a more national person. It kind of brings in someone who has a large reputation to P.E.I., so it gives people access to like, a different approach and different things.”
Although the P.E.I. company will never be filmed working on one of their decks, as a recommended builder it can submit photos of completed projects to Cutting Edge Designs. These photos could be aired in a slideshow shown at the end of each episode of Decked Out with the name and location of the company.
Blackhawk Custom Builder’s most recent project is a house in New Glasgow. Pictures of the deck haven’t been shown on the show yet, but Jackson hopes they will be shown this season.
Sometimes, Jackson says, clients are under the impression that Paul Lafrance will personally be building their deck. He says they have to understand that Lafrance is a busy man. He has four separate television shows on the HGTV network and also has a company to run.
“It’s like everybody expecting to sit down with the prime minister and have coffee with him at Tim Hortons, it just can’t happen.”
Those at Blackhawk Custom Builders have never even met Lafrance, even though he finalizes all the designs. Jackson doesn’t expect to meet him any time soon.
“Again, it kind of comes back to the realistic thing. It would be cool, it certainly would be, but in reality? I don’t know.”