A Grand Entrance: Making a great first impression

 Curb Appeal….those two famous words used by real estate agents everywhere.  And the truth is there’s something to be said for a beautiful entranceway.  My mind immediately travels to an image of a manicured lawn that showcases a winding front walk leading my eyes to a beautiful front step with cascading blossoms in wrought iron planters on either side of the leaded glass door. A wreath filled with seasonal blooms or greenery typically invades this image…and stone..there is just something about natural stone that lends an instant feeling of strength and timelessness to a home.

When thinking of renovating your front entrance…or building a new home, it is very important for you to think about what you find welcoming.

Everyone’s style is different, we had one client that always wanted a wooden front porch, one that would eventually creak when you walked on it….and yet many other clients wanted nothing to do with wood….low maintance…that spoke comfort to them, after all the last thing they wanted to do was stain a wood porch every few years!  Speaking of front porches the current trend is to have a front porch large enough to put a few chairs and planters on it.

A planter that is well-appointed and matches the style of the home makes a huge impact on your guests.  Little details like trailing vines and wooden brackets takes the ordinary to the next level.

As you begin your project make a list of what you find welcoming in a home.  Define the materials:  wood, stone, brick, cement.  Evaluate what size of porch or entrance way you like.   Think about if you would like to have a covered entrance which gives shelter to you and your guests as you come into your front entry.  Imagine what kinds of flowers and planters that you enjoy…plan them into your project: after all if you always wanted wooden shutters and window boxes you will need a window!

Dream a little about what makes a house a home to you…and incorporate those elements into your design.  Be unique and add little touches that show your personal style.

Photo Credit:  Canadian House and Home

Posted in Decorating, Exterior | Leave a comment

A Grand Entrance: Making a great first impression

 Curb Appeal….those two famous words used by real estate agents everywhere.  And the truth is there’s something to be said for a beautiful entranceway.  My mind immediately travels to an image of a manicured lawn that showcases a winding front walk leading my eyes to a beautiful front step with cascading blossoms in wrought iron planters on either side of the leaded glass door. A wreath filled with seasonal blooms or greenery typically invades this image…and stone..there is just something about natural stone that lends an instant feeling of strength and timelessness to a home. 

When thinking of renovating your front entrance…or building a new home, it is very important for you to think about what you find welcoming. 

Everyone’s style is different, we had one client that always wanted a wooden front porch, one that would eventually creak when you walked on it….and yet many other clients wanted nothing to do with wood….low maintance…that spoke comfort to them, after all the last thing they wanted to do was stain a wood porch every few years!  Speaking of front porches the current trend is to have a front porch large enough to put a few chairs and planters on it. 

A planter that is well-appointed and matches the style of the home makes a huge impact on your guests.  Little details like trailing vines and wooden brackets takes the ordinary to the next level. 

As you begin your project make a list of what you find welcoming in a home.  Define the materials:  wood, stone, brick, cement.  Evaluate what size of porch or entrance way you like.   Think about if you would like to have a covered entrance which gives shelter to you and your guests as you come into your front entry.  Imagine what kinds of flowers and planters that you enjoy…plan them into your project: after all if you always wanted wooden shutters and window boxes you will need a window! 

Dream a little about what makes a house a home to you…and incorporate those elements into your design.  Be unique and add little touches that show your personal style. 

Photo Credit:  Canadian House and Home

Posted in Decorating, Exterior | Leave a comment

Family Room Polyvore

This is a post from our family blog…it is always great to see how a room can come together so take a peek…

Living Room
Living Room by Joanne727 on Polyvore.com

We are in the process of re-doing our family room….I would like this space to be a comfortable place for our family to be able to kick back and relax…watch some movies, play board games and spend time together. I had a few ideas about how to pull together the leather couch and wing backed chairs, but after playing around with this polyvore…I started to be able to really envision this space. I want to incorporate some greenery and I have a few paintings that will pull out some of the blues in the fabric of the chairs….I can’t wait to see the results. I have an idea for the clocks…I am hoping to post what I am going to do…it should be pretty neat….so I will keep you all posted

 

Posted in Decorating, Interior | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Where do I begin?

I think the most common question we get from perspective clients is…where do we begin?  Do I need a plan or blueprint to bring to my builder before I get pricing?  And if I need to have the blueprint before I have a cost estimate…how do I know that I can afford it in the first place.  It is this unknown that can really hinder a project. 

Many a client has spent hours

(read…every spare minute for weeks if not months)

on their blueprints. They have measured the room sizes compared to what they currently have and then envisioned the furniture in each nook and cranny of the blueprint only to have the builder give them a cost estimate that is ‘ridiculously higher’ than they would ever want to spend.  And now these same ones face a delimia…they have already dreamed of living in this house…I mean they can see themselves living, loving and laughing in these very rooms, but it is way out of their budget…and they have already spent a large portion of money on these blueprints…what is a person to do? 

The first place to start in this building process is to have a very good idea of what the bottom dollar is that you want to spend.  We tell our clients to remember that this home, as lovely as it will be needs to fit your families budget…because you will still want to go on vacations together, and save for college, and live life… most importantly you want to be the one to own your home…it is not fun to have your home owning you!  The budget has to be realistic for the build or renovation.  Too many people run out of money at the end of the build because they do not have a good grasp on the actual cost of the project.  We also warn our clients that those seemingly harmless $100 or $200 impulse purchases add up very quickly!  Have a plan and stick to it!

We had one client who had gone through the design process two times,  they approached a builder who gave them a general cost for the build per square foot.  They planned accordingly…they calculated their budget and then figured out how many square feet they should plan on building…they designed their home…they laboured over the room sizes and  they picked colours for the rooms.  With plans in hand they made an appointment with this builder.  They could not wait to meet with him…after all they were finally in a position to build their dream home!  They met with him and told him their plans…and then they waited to find out the price.  Devastation!  They told me they felt like the wind was knocked out of them…it couldn’t be!  They followed his advise, and choose a house plan accordingly..and his price was way more than they were expecting!  They could not afford this house after all.  So back to the drawing board they went…they downsized, and dreamt..with less excitement this time.  Again with prints in hand…butterflies in stomach…they waited for the price…still too expensive…how could this be?  They had listened to him and then shrunk the square footage.  What were they supposed to do now?  They already had purchased the lot…and they felt trapped.

Through a referral of a friend they called us and described their ordeal. We set up an appointment to talk it over.  We talked about what they wanted in a home.  What rooms were most important to them…and we also talked about the budget.  They showed me what they were wanting to build…and they had been told that it was too expensive.  As a builder looking at those plans I gave them a quick look and I immediately knew that there was no way that those houses would fit into their budget…you see besides square footage there are a lot of other things that go into pricing a house or renovation.  Some of these elements bring a greater cost per square foot than you would expect…and that is what was happening.  These people had great taste!  The homes they had designed were beautiful…just not right for their budget.  So we began to draw up the house plan as we talked…we got to know what they wanted for their house.

We were able to design a home that fit into their budget…and the best thing was…they loved it!  You see we think that it is much easier to save money on a project by deciding what our budget dictates…before the build starts.  We do this everyday, when we go to the grocery store if we want to stay in a budget, we make a list of the most important items to the least important…we purchase them in that order…with house building we design them in that order too, after all we want your home to reflect who you are

With our clients as many others have also experienced, they just didn’t know what elements were driving the cost of their home up…in fact we were able to build them a bigger home then they originally thought but with  some of the  features tweaked. 

 

Oh, and the old blueprints…that cost them thousands of dollars…they used them to line their bird-cage!

Posted in Planning and Design | Tagged | 1 Comment

Welcome

We started our company 12 years ago, in the Southern Ontario community of Lakeshore.  We have been very blessed to have had amazing clients throughout these years!   As we would sit with our clients in our first meeting together we would begin to get a feel for the home that they are looking to build.  Sometimes the client would come to this process with plans already drawn and the lot purchased and they were ready to build.  Other times the whole idea was new to them, and they had lots of questions about the how to of building.  How do they pick a plan?  Many times they would ask if we only built from stock plans, or could they ‘design’ their own?  Most of the time at this first meeting we gather information to get a clear picture of what makes a home a home to this new client.  Some of us see country life with front porch swings, and a cape cod look the perfect home, others want a modern stucco home, or the popular style for the last year or so would be the European stucco, stone, and brick combination.  All of these homes are beautiful…and all meet different needs.  Each home only becomes a home once the individual owners put their heart and soul into the design.  With lots of interaction between designer and homeowner the fine details of the house begin to take shape. 

As we look around the table at the end of that first meeting, we have gotten to know our new clients and with the conversation we share details of their life and how they enjoy their home surface.  It is with these conversations that we are able to make their dream home a reality. 

Photo credit:  Canadian House and Home

 

 

Posted in Decorating, Exterior, Getting Started, Interior, Planning and Design | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment