Advice from homeowners

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 2.13.21 PMThinking about renovating your home? Wondering what it takes to get the results you want, without stress and worry? Who better to ask than people who have already done it? Canadian Home Builders’ Association gathered advice  from homeowners who have completed major renovation projects, including bathroom and kitchen upgrades, additions and whole-house renovations.

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Get gardening in the fall!

T._Apricot_Bty_and_H._Blue_Jacket_verticalThink your gardening days are over? Think again! Fall is the perfect time to plant bulbs that yield spring flowering plants such as daffodils, tulips, hyacinth, crocus and snowdrops. “Fall is one of a gardener’s favourite seasons because it is when you get to plan and create what your garden will look like for the next year,” said Denis Flanagan, Public Relations manager for Landscape Ontario. Here are  some top tips for preparing a garden bed with fall bulbs:
Preparing the bed
When preparing a bed, double digging will help to make a well-drained planting bed. Also, be sure to use top quality bulbs that are now available at Green for Life garden centres.

Condition the soil
Improve soil by adding three inches of peat moss and one inch of composted manure. Then work into depth of 30 cm. Add 1 kg Bonemeal for every 92.9 m2 (1000 sq.ft.).

Plant – the sooner the better!
When planting ensure the pointy end of the bulb is facing upwards. Read the instructions for each bulb to ensure you have the correct planting depth.  Also, add sprinkle of bonemeal to deter squirrels from stealing bulbs for food.  After planting water the area to settle the ground and initiate rooting.

Add 2-5 cm of mulch
Adding mulch will help prevent winter weeds, retain moisture and insulate against sever winter cold and temperature fluctuations.

When choosing bulbs for your garden this fall, keep in mind that for spring 2015 bright and bold colours such as red, orange and yellow will be in style in addition to the traditional white and soft pink.

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Big impact in small spaces

Unknown-2by Jennifer Rudolph

Bathrooms are the most expensive room per square foot to build or renovate in your home. It’s home to a variety of requirements including plumbing, electrical, venting and heating, not to mention a myriad of finishes all living in harmony in one small space.  Although most of these elements meet practical functional needs, don't overlook the opportunity to showcase materials that offer a little bit of indulgence and invoke a feeling of luxury.  After all it is the place where we rejuvenate and reset daily, so why not.

This project was a heritage home and we wanted to maintain it’s architectural history but also give it the feeling that it had evolved over time.  Adding the custom shaker linen cabinet and shaker wainscotting to the walls instilled the traditional heritage to the bones of the space and provided continuity to the shaker detailing throughout the house. The contemporary walnut vanity is a custom piece, and injects a current feel to the traditional canvas of the space.  Floating vanities or vanities with legs visually have less weight, making a small space feel larger.

Walls were painted an ethereal light blue to give a fresh and airy coastal feeling to the bathroom.  The neutral cool palette and white cabinetry and countertops are warmed up by the wood counterparts found in the vanity, mirror and medicine cabinet.  A silver graphic pattern roman shade modernizes the space.  An art collection of three vintage ladies by a local Vancouver artist adds deep rich hues, layering the interest to a light and serene space.

Unknown-4A custom over scaled mirror was installed all the way to the ceiling to add grandeur and expansion to the space.  The custom linen cabinet was also installed to the ceiling taking the eye upward to a colourful art niche and offering as much storage as possible. Extra long porcelain plank tiles were installed with a wood grain mimicking driftwood.

When planning your bathroom design, take inventory and access the current layout.   Ask yourself if the plumbing fixtures are in the ideal location to maximize space. Moving plumbing locations can be expensive, so access wisely and discuss with your designer or contractor the benefits and costs associated.

Good lighting is often underestimated, especially if the square footage is small.  Invest in layering your lighting, choosing different types of lighting for interest.  Wash your walls with recessed lights, which expand space and add sparkle to plumbing fixtures.  Hanging pendants or wall sconces adds functional lighting but also feature the vanity area.  Wire your switches to connect all the lights to a dimmer, leaving an independent switch for the accent lights.  This gives you the flexibility to have ample light or to create a more relaxed  atmosphere leaving you feeling a little more balanced and tranquil at the end of the day.