When I was at the launch for the BIY Learning Center I met up with Vicky Sanderson who is developing the decor content for the center. If you’re not familiar with the BIY Learning Center, it offers courses to give people some hands-on learning in many different areas of homeownership. From framing and drywalling to plumbing and minor electrical repairs, these courses are designed to help the homeowner feel more confident about identifying problems that crop up around the house (and fixing the minor ones without the need for a plumber/electrician, etc.).

Vicky Sanderson

In addition to the construction courses, there are also the decor and seminar series which offer hands-on learning in a group setting. This is where Vicky comes in. Vicky has written a column in the Toronto Star for years about the latest in hot home products, home decor and appliances. She has a blog on The Star’s website, On The House, where she discusses the latest in home gadgets. She also writes about kitchen trends in HomeFront magazine. Now, in addition to writing, Vicky is in charge of developing the content for the decor and seminar series.

The courses in the decor section offer students hands-on training in doing things like reupholstering old furniture and learning how to sew soft furnishings such as decorative pillows and drapes. There is also a course on interior design which teaches students colour theory, how to mix fabric with solids and stripes, and plan a room.  Whether you plan on doing the decorating yourself or hiring a professional, the courses are designed to give you the knowledge to understand what the professionals are doing and why.

In addition to developing the course content, Vicky is also running a really interesting Lunch and Learn seminar called Retro Reno. During this seminar she will talk about where are the best places to shop for second hand furniture and even more importantly, how to identify whether a piece is structurally sound.  The seminars are being run on June 24, and July 15th, 2010.

As with all courses taken through the center, you’ll have access to the online content afterwards. As you can imagine, once you’ve taken a course, if you’re not putting the skills to use right away you can forget some of the things you’ve learned. Videos will be available online to help jog your memory of how to do something you might not be sure about. As the center develops there will also be forums where members can ask related questions about skills or materials they might be using. After you’ve taken a course, the backup support you need will be there.

For more information on the BiY Learning Center, see their website.

358 Dufferin Street, Suite 201
Toronto, ON M6K 1Z8
Phone: 647.547.9242 | 1.866.964.7188


BEC Green

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