Category Archives: Home Renovations

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That’s why when a kitchen is cramped or outdated it can really cause a lot of frustration.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!

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!

Choosing the Right Paint Sheen for Your Decorating Project

Paint Rollers

One of the easiest ways to change the feeling of a room is with a new coat of paint.

But with all the choices available, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all the different types of paints available at the home improvement store. Do you select matte, flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, or high gloss?

Generally, the more sheen a paint has, the more durable, shiny, and washable it is.

Here’s some tips to help you determine the right finish of paint for your needs.

Matte or Flat paint is a good choice for low-traffic areas like interior walls and ceilings. This paint finish has a flat, non-reflective finish.

It’s also a good choice for hiding minor surface imperfections like bumps or cracks. It’s ideal for use on new drywall for new construction; however, matte or flat paint needs very careful treatment when you are washing it. It’s important to clean matte surfaces with soft materials and gentle solutions so you don’t damage the paint.

Eggshell has a slight hint of shine to it. This finish resists dirt and grime as well as mildew. It’s good at hiding imperfections and is more washable than a matte finish. It’s a good selection for interior walls.

Satin has a bit more glossy shine than eggshell. It’s well suited for high traffic areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms or children’s bedrooms. It will allow for light scrubbing.

Semi-Gloss features a lot of sheen and is highly resistant to mildew, moisture and wear. This makes it a smart choice for any surface that will require a lot of scrubbing. It also holds up well to moisture, making it a great choice for kitchen or bathrooms.

Glossy has the highest amount of sheen and is the most durable finish. This sheen is an excellent choice for trim, woodwork, molding, doors, and cabinets.

Choosing The Right Paint Sheen By Room:

  • Kitchen: Semi-gloss for kitchen walls is durable and easy to clean. Gloss is a great choice for kitchen cabinets.
  • Dining Room: Eggshell will cover any “dings” from chairs bumping up against the walls.
  • Family Room/Living Room: Satin will handle the high traffic of the busiest room in the home. Satin finishes are easy to wipe clean and very durable.
  • Bedroom: Eggshell works nicely for bedrooms. It holds up well and with a hint of shine. Eggshell has a stylish look to it.
  • Bathroom: Satin is best for bathroom walls while semi-gloss works nicely for trim.

Ready to Tackle Your Next Painting Project?

Hope these tips make it easy for you to choose the right sheen for your room based on the level of activity in the room and how washable that finish is. Happy painting!

What to Consider When Remodeling or Renovating

Remodeling

Are you thinking of remodeling your home? Home renovations not only can update the look of your home, but it adds personality that makes your space feel like home.

Investing in renovations can also increase the value of your home.

So what should you keep in mind when making plans to remodel? Below are some expert tips to simplify the remodeling process.

Are you Remodeling to Stay or to Sell? If you are remodeling to sell, it’s important to find the value of comparative homes in the neighbourhood and the level of amenities they have.

For example if most homes in the neighbourhood feature hardwood floors and granite counter tops and you have laminate counters and vinyl flooring, you should consider upgrading those.

Get the Most Bang from your Renovation Buck. If you are going to spend money on remodeling, spend it in the rooms that add the most value to your home. Typically the kitchen and the master bedroom and bath are the biggest attractions for buyers.

There’s nothing like an updated kitchen and sparkling designer bathroom that says “move-in ready” to buyers.

Finding Your Personal Sense of Style. It is so rewarding to get rid of the carpet, colours, and fixtures in a home that don’t suit you. But what style do you choose? Do you stick to your same choices or try something bold and new?

It’s easy to watch a design show and say “I want that for my room!” But what looks great on TV might not be a fit for your home.

For example an ultra modern design would not fit in a 40’s cottage style home. Plus, you can’t simply shift from Country Chic to Urban Contemporary by painting without changing the furniture to match as well.

Find an inspiration piece with the colours and feel you like and use that to guide your selections. It could be a rug, piece of artwork, favourite furniture piece, or even a scarf.

Don’t try to force a designer magazine picture to work for you; most photos don’t show the regular “stuff of life” like toys, papers, remotes, pet items, etc. A good interior decorator can help you strike the right balance of style that fits your lifestyle.

Function always comes before form!

Creating a Harmonious Look. Sometimes DIY designers get a little crazy trying something new in a room. While that can make for a really unique space, it may look “off” as compared to the rest of the home.

The biggest mistake people make, is they don’t visualize their entire project as a whole.

Sometimes they buy single furniture pieces without truly knowing how it will look together in a room. For example in the kitchen, start with the major items such as cabinets and flooring first.

Next, select your appliances and counter top, followed by tile back splash and cabinet hardware. Then select the lighting. All selections should work from a complementing palette.

Paint Creates Big Impact That Won’t Empty Your Wallet. There’s nothing like a coat of paint to add a fresh feel to a room. A good colour scheme will complement the elements within the home (hardwood, carpet, cabinets, fireplace stone etc.).

You don’t have to settle with boring white, gray, or beige.

If you struggle with choosing a paint colour, hire someone to do a paint consultation. If you are remodeling and plan to stay in the home, you can try some richer colours to add warmth.

But, just because a paint colour looks great in your friend’s house, doesn’t mean it will look great in yours. Base elements like lighting changes everything!

If you are selling, stick to neutral tones that will appeal to most buyers.

Keep Function in Mind. Remodeling can transform a room into an inviting space that  meets your lifestyle needs. Ask yourself how do you plan to use the space? What needs do you have that the room is not meeting for you now? Do you need more space, more light, more storage, a better layout?

All these can be changed with proper planning before you begin your project.

Saving Money with Smart Choices. There are many affordable ways to save money on renovations. If the cabinetry in the kitchen can be painted, re-surfaced or re-stained it can modernize the whole kitchen and save thousands of dollars.

Other small kitchen updates like a tile back-splash or a new counter top can add a big wow factor yet are very affordable.

Same holds true in the bathroom. Often a tub can be re-glazed, rather than replaced at a fraction of the cost. If the glass shower doors are dingy, replacement doors make the bathroom look fresh and new.

Leave Some Buffer Money in Your Budget. Detailed planning can help you create a budget and timeline that makes the remodeling project go smoothly.

But once renovation begins you may be surprised by something you find structurally that needs fixed. By leaving yourself some wiggle room you can handle any “bumps” that occur during the process.

For instance you may decide to change the oak baseboard in your home to an updated 4″ white. But how is that going to affect the casing around your doors and windows? You may be surprised to find out it doesn’t match and those need to be replaced or painted white as well.

Or you may plan to knock out a wall only to discover that wall has a supporting beam that is critical to the home.

Surviving the Remodel. How long will the remodel take? How will your family “function” in the home while certain rooms are under remodeling? What will you do with your children and pets to keep them safe and out of the way?

Will you have to move out during part of the renovation? Is it better to do this project in the spring or summer? Is there a certain order that projects need to be done first? These are questions that consulting with an interior designer can help you to answer.

Expert Advice Can Save Time, Money, & Headaches. Remodeling your home is a major undertaking. That’s why consulting with an interior designer will take the stress out of remodeling and prevent some costly mistakes.

Experience has taught them how to plan, be able to implement basic design principles, and how to make the process go smoothly.

Before starting a project, it is smart to seek the advice of a pro to determine your personal style, talk about goals, your needs for the space, and your budget.

An interior designer can help you make selections that improve function, add beauty, and increase the value of your home. Plus, they have connections to skilled contractors and resources for getting quality materials and the best rates.

If you dream it, an interior designer can help you create it. Hope these tips help you create a space you love!

Renovating or remodeling can make a huge impact on your home’s value and on how much you love to live there so if you need help with your renovating needs and live in the Calgary area, give us a call for a free consultation!

Home Remodelling Projects That Pay Off

Hone remodelling with paint swatches and tools

Thinking of upgrading your home? If you are looking to sell, home renovation can help your home to sell quickly and for top dollar.

But what home improvement projects will deliver the best return on your investment?

Here’s a look at some inexpensive home renovations that will add the most value to your home.

  • Update the kitchen with latest designs and technology
    A modern kitchen will catch the eye of prospective buyers. An upgraded kitchen will greatly increase the value of your home and its appeal.

    If you don’t have a big budget, you can still upgrade the look of your kitchen with a few inexpensive fixes by adding new faucets, cabinet doors and handles.  Ditch the old light fixtures and add new energy efficient ones.

    Such renovations do not cost too much and will increase the property’s value tremendously. If you have a larger budget, cabinet makeovers and re-facing can transform the space. Add some new countertops and that old kitchen will have new spark.

  • Appliance facelift
    Home appliances that are defective or do not match give a bad impression and bring down your home’s value.

    If the appliances do not match or are very old, it is time to give them a facelift by ordering new ones. Potential buyers will be attracted and appealed by new appliance faces simply because the conditions imply functionality.

    Match appliances like microwaves, dishwashers and conditioners to produce a cohesive-looking environment. Most of the time, appliance facelifts are quite inexpensive and can be accomplished using simple rearrangement and replacement of external components.

  • Re-grouting the baths and toilets
    Bathrooms are the next evaluation space after kitchens and many people will immediately make their buying decisions based on the condition of the bathroom.

    Simple renovations such as changing toilet seats and new pedestal sinks can go a long way in increasing value with the least amount of effort and expenses. Change old bathroom floors that have become discoloured and install easy-to-clean vinyl tiles instead.

    The advantage of floor renovations is that you do not necessarily need to remove the old one. You can just install the new plan on top of the old one. Other bathroom renovations that add value to your home include shower surrounds and prefabricated tubs. While they seem expensive, they can still be achieved using cost-effective installations that will achieve maximum longevity.

  • Front yard makeovers
    The front yard is the first thing a buyer sees when they pull up to your home. So it’s worth spending time to improve your curb appeal.

    Simple renovations like paved walkways and coloured planters will give the front yard a fresh new look that delights prospective buyers.

  • HVAC and Furnace replacements
    Buyers usually breathe a sigh of relief whenever they see a new furnace and HVAC system.

    Replacing air conditioners and furnaces with new energy efficient models will enhance indoor comfort. A house with old inefficient HVAC systems will give the impression of poor maintenance and buyers may question the condition of other appliances in your home.

    Installing new furnaces and air conditioners adds peace of mind for buys and increases your homes value.

  • Storage and space
    Women love big closets.  Unfortunately, many older houses may lack sufficient closet storage and this can be a deal breaker for some buyers.

    Add self-adjusted laminate and wire closets systems to entry closets, bathroom and pantries. There are many closet expansion designs to choose from and some companies offer online templates from measuring and designing new closets.

    You can add extra space and increase a home’s value with a few installations.

You don’t need to spend a fortune to makeover your home,  With a few clever renovations you can add instant buy appeal to your home!  Have fun with your project!

If you live in the Calgary area, Jackie and I would be happy to discuss your home remodelling needs!