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This is a buyers market! It is more important than ever to have YOUR HOME stand out among the competition. Designing…

Posted by Designing Spacez on Thursday, April 7, 2016

7 Tips for Designing a Kitchen to Make Your Life Easier

7 Tips for Designing a Kitchen to Make Your Life Easier

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home.  It’s a place to enjoy good food with family and friends.

It’s also  one of the busiest rooms in the home.

That’s why when a kitchen is cramped or outdated it can really cause a lot of frustration. We have all been to a family holiday where all the women in the family are bumping elbows trying to hustle and work together to prepare the meal.

The good news is that a kitchen redesign can help you create the perfect space for your family.

Here’s 7 tips for a well-designed kitchen for your home:

  1. Improve Function. A kitchen that worked for your family a few years ago might not work for your family today.  Or perhaps you’ve moved into a home where they kitchen just doesn’t work right for you.

    The most important principle of kitchen design is the triangle:  The sink, stove, and refrigerator are the three greatest areas of activity in the kitchen.  It’s critically important to keep a path that is quick, direct, and without obstacles to and from these locations.

  2. Add Storage. A good plan puts everything you need at your fingertips, exactly where you need it.

    Over time a family accumulates more tools, gadgets, appliances, and pans.  It’s important to have the right spaces to store heavily used items where they are handy.

    This is where a kitchen designer can help.  They can see where your biggest storage needs are and design handy spaces to hold these items.  This creates a space for everything and you can keep everything in its place.

    Plus a designer can add in some spaces to tuck away those “less used” items for big family holiday meals.

  3. Install Convenience. Today there are so many ways to modernize your kitchen for the way you live.

    Wine aficionados can add a wine fridge.  Families with children can place a microwave in the island where it’s easy to each.  Women who bake and entertain a lot can install double ovens.

    The sky is the limit for design options to make your life easier!

  4. Rev up the counter space. There’s nothing worse than a kitchen that lacks counter space.

    You need areas to perform tasks such as prep stations, a coffee area, a place to set groceries when you walk in.  You’ll need counter space near the fridge and the oven.

    Make sure there is adequate space by the kitchen sink for dishes and food prep. Adding an island can add more work space as well.

  5. Make outlets accessible. In today’s world of coffee makers, toaster ovens and juicers it’s nice to have easy access to an outlet.

    One great part of redesigning your kitchen is you can add electrical outlets where you need them. Make sure outlets are available wherever you would plug in small appliances.

  6. Create a desktop space. A built-in desk supports a busy family’s planning needs.

    It provides a place to put the mail, keys, bills and calendar.  Adding a cork board or chalkboard can add some extra functionality for family notices and reminders.

  7. Don’t skimp on cheap cabinets. You need cabinets with a solid finish that will hold up to being cleaned.  Plus you need solid hinges that hold up to the wear and tear of opening/closing cabinet doors.

    It’s worth investing in solid cabinetry that will stand the test of time.

Get ideas from the pros! Consulting with a professional designer can help you plan a space that meets your needs.  They can look at the needs of your family and design a room that fits your lifestyle and tastes.

You wouldn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a new kitchen only to find out you made a mistake.  A pro can ensure that your dream kitchen becomes a reality. If you live in the Calgary area, give us a call for a design or renovation consultation!

6 Pro Tips to De-clutter your home

6 Pro Tips to De-clutter your home

When you look at your home do you see piles of clothes on the floor, stacks of mail on the counter, and toys strewn all over the floor?

Messes make stresses. 

It happens to all of us, whether you are a parent, have a home office, or have just a busy lifestyle.  The truth is stuff we collect many things in life.

If your house is getting out of control, then it’s time to de-clutter.

Here are some tips to help you tackle the clutter and reclaim your space.

Start small with one room or even one space.  This could be as big as the entire back room or as small as organizing your makeup drawer.

With each item ask yourself: “Keep, Toss, Store, Donate, Sell.” And make a separate pile for each.

  1. Keep Items: Ask yourself if you really need it; do you use it on a regular basis? Does it have emotional value?  Have you used it in the past year?

    You might be surprised how much you have that you don’t truly need.  Sort these items into like piles such as clothes, shoes, belts etc.  Find a way to containerize them; you can use simple plastic or cardboard boxes.

    Plus if you shop online, stores like Amazon.com and The Container Store offer every kind of organizer, shelf, or container you can imagine. Clearly label all containers and find an accessible spot for them.

  2. Toss Items.  Get a big garbage bag and be honest about what you need.  Get rid of anything old, broken, empty, or expired.

    If you are de-cluttering a major space you can call to get a waste removal service to haul it away.  Many local cities will take larger pieces in the garbage on certain days.  Check your city website to find out the rules for your site.

  3. Store Items.  There are items you probably need, but don’t use frequently.  These are items you can store.  This can be everything from summer clothes to holiday decorations to fine china.

    Containerize it and find a spot that is out of the way to store them.  There may be a space in a closet, the back of a cabinet or under the bed that is out of the way, but easily accessible.

  4. File any papers.  Creating a filing system with tabs can make it easy to find items quickly. This is a great way to organize bills, documents, coupons, restaurant menus, related project items and more.
  5. Donate Items.  Always donate items when you can.  You can drop items off at Good Will, Salvation Army and other thrift shops.  Other items can be listed at Craigslist or Freecycle.com.

    Plus, you can always post a picture of the item on Facebook and let friends know it’s FREE to anyone who needs it.

  6. Sell Items. Why not turn your unused items into cash?  It’s so easy to make a little extra money selling your items such as by holding a garage sale. Another idea is to sell it online at Craigslist or Ebay.

    Plus, many neighbourhoods are now offering Virtual Garage sale groups on Facebook. Just list the item and everyone in the group will hear about your offerings.

Here’s Further Organizing Tips:

  • Go from Room to Room. De-cluttering one room at a time helps you stay focused and keeps the process from feeling overwhelming.
  • Make De-cluttering Fun! Put on music and enjoy the process.  Dance.  Enlist the help of a friend.  Consider offering yourself a reward like lunch with a friend for completing the project. Plus, having friends can help you decide if you truly need an item.
  • Maintain your space. Once it’s organized, cleaning is so much easier.  Everything has a designated place.  Set aside a little time daily or weekly to sweep thru the house, gather any that has piled up, and to return it where it belongs.

    Keeping your home tidy doesn’t have to be all your job.  Tell your spouse or family members where things go and show them the systems you have created too.  Everyone can work together to keep your home organized.

Need Help?

Call a professional. If your home is out of control and you want to organize your space, an interior designer or organizer is skilled at helping to determine your needs and creating systems to store your items neatly.

They can help you create your dream closet, tackle the toy room, design your dream home office and more. The result is a beautiful, organized home that you can sit back and relax in.

4 Signs it’s Time to Redecorate

Time for a Change

If watching HGTV has you dreaming of a new decor, perhaps your home is in need of an update.

While most experts recommend that you should redecorate your home every 7 years, many of us are overdue for some redecorating. In fact, nearly half (47%) of North Americans haven’t updated their home decor in the past five years.

How do you know if your home is out of date? Here are four reasons to consider updating your home.

  1. Everything is White

    If all the walls are the same colour as when you moved in, it’s time to personalize your space. The white space is a blank canvas.

    Now it’s time to jazz up the place with some colour on the walls. Add furniture and new accessories to make the space truly your own.

  2. Feel Good Factor

    Do you feel bored when you are home? It should be a place that inspires you and renews your spirit.

    If your space isn’t giving you the right energy it may be time to freshen up your space. Choosing a paint colour isn’t just about personal taste — it’s about creating a mood. Soothing, calm colours will help you feel rested while bright colours can be energizing.

  3. So Yesterday

    Styles and trends change, but so do our tastes. A colour scheme that was so chic a few years back, may be dated now. While you may have been a “traditional style” person, you may feel drawn to more contemporary designs now.

    Allow yourself the freedom to engage in different designs that suit your personality.

  4. Lifestyle Changes

    Changes in your life may trigger a need for change. For instance maybe you have taken up an interest in fitness and need a workout room.

    Are you expecting? It’s time to create a nursery for the new bundle on the way. Perhaps the kid’s Power Rangers room is too “young” for them now that they are teens. Are you a newlywed? Your new blended style will reflect both your tastes. Or as a newly divorced person, you may want to indulge in a “uber feminine” style.

    Do you entertain a lot? Maybe it’s time to create more of a new, modern, open concept dining/living room that allows you to feel more connected when you are sharing food and conversation with guests in your home.

    If your son/daughter has left for college, you can use that newly empty room as a hobby room for painting, sewing, scrapbooking, or mediating. Or perhaps you or hubby want to live it up a bit with a new man cave, diva den, or spa bathroom.

Try A Mini-Redesign Refresher

If you don’t have the time or budget for a major design, there are lots of tiny things you can do to make a big impact.

  • Try a new paint colour.
  • Add a few new decorative pillows.
  • Rearrange the furniture.
  • Create a new decorative vignette with vases, pictures, or other accent pieces.
  • Sometimes something as small as a new shower curtain or accent rug can do wonders to freshen up a room.

It’s time: Treat yourself to a design makeover. You SO deserve it!

Our physical surroundings have a huge impact on how we feel. It feels amazing to transform your space into something that is comfortable, classy, and expresses your unique style.

If you feel stuck, hiring an interior decorating professional may be a smart move to save you time, money, and frustration. They are experienced and will work closely with you to create the look you are going for.

Happy decorating!

Low Cost, High-Impact Staging Ideas that Work

Staged Dining Room

Are you looking for affordable ways to spruce up your home to sell fast?

The right home staging can make your home ‘pop’ with potential buyers and bring top offers.

Here are some small things that will make a big difference when staging your home.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS – Curb Appeal

  • Light the way to fast sales! If your porch light looks dated, replace it. Be sure that the bulbs are replaced; often this is the first thing buyers see when they pull up the driveway of your home.
  • Crank up the curb appeal. Take a look at your front door, a new layer of paint can give it wow appeal. Trim the bushes; brighten up your landscaping bricks with a power washer; add fresh pots with flowers on the doorstep; and finally crown with an eye-catching welcome mat.

BIGGER OFFERS ARE AN INSIDE JOB

  • Neutralize. The first impulse when buying a home is to personalize a space. You want to do the opposite to sell your home; look around and try to neutralize the space. Remove family photos; take the kid’s pictures off of the refrigerator; paint over those marks on the door showing how tall your kids are. You want the buyer to envision that it’s move-in ready and they fit right in.
  • Clean up the clutter. Buyers want a feeling of space. Visually do an inspection of your home. Clear off countertops; tidy up the inside of cabinets; clean out the closets; put extra items in storage, donate, sell or toss them.
  • Pour on the elbow grease. Now’s the time to really make your home shine. Scrub baseboards; polish stainless steel; clean, scrub, shine, and make everything sparkle like new.
  • Cash in by dressing up cabinetry. A budget-friendly way to instantly brighten up your kitchen is to paint wood cabinets and add knobs and handles. A new coat of paint can make worn, tired kitchen cabinets look new again.
  • Beautify your bathroom. If your tub or toilet is dingy looking, you’ll turn off buyers fast. An inexpensive way to fix this is with an acrylic tub surround and liner. Clean the grout between tiles and remove debris in drains. This will give a fresh, clean look to the bathroom. Also, if you have bathroom carpet, remove it and replace with new vinyl or ceramic tiles.
  • Light it up. Set the mood with lighting. Make sure there is enough light flowing through the home. This doesn’t mean turning on every light in the home. Instead use floor and table lamps and open curtains to create a soft, warm ambiance.
  • Odors STINK when it comes to selling your home. The biggest culprits include stale air, food, pets, mildew, and smoking. Open windows to air out your home and use air filters to break up and neutralize odors in the air. Products like Febreeze can freshen up curtains or furniture. Then remember to light a softly scented candle on the day of showing. Be cautious about this though, sometimes strong scents can be as big a turn off as bad odors; you might want to consider using an “air sponge” which will neutralize the offensive odor.
  • Add eye candy. When your home is ready, adding little touches like bowls of fresh fruit, a vase of flowers or plants can add warmth and colour to any room.

Finally, consulting with a home stager can provide a wealth of ideas. A home stager can recommend more effective furniture arrangements, paint colours, and tips/tricks to make your home visually appealing.

Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to selling your home fast!