Tag Archives: features


Condo Market: Colour Your Selection Appointment With Logic

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Condo Market: Colour Your Selection Appointment With Logic

Selecting features and finishes for your new home or condominium is exciting, and can also seem overwhelming. Take wall colour alone – with paint available in every imaginable shade, how do you decide? My advice is that unless you are an interior decorator or designer, pay attention to the suggestions of the design consultants who guide you through your colour selection appointment. Your preferences take precedence, but a good design consultant can rein you in if your wishes go astray. Maybe a bright orange wall in the kitchen seems like a good idea, but think ahead to when you might want to sell. That hue could turn off potential buyers. There is something to be said for timeless appeal when choosing your standard features and upgrades.

The professionals our developers and builders enlist keep up with current trends, understand which shades compliment specific design styles, and offer interesting insights into choosing colours. They also know how you can use colour to make the most of your space. Neutrals and lighter colours can make a compact home or suite seem larger, and using the same colour throughout open concept areas can create a smooth, seamless vista when you walk in.

Be sure to discuss which way your suite faces. Colours look different in the shade than they do in sunlight, and your consultant can advise you on what will work in your rooms. This is especially important if you have massive windows walls, which so many of today’s beautiful homes and suites do.

Now, wall paint colours are only one aspect of selecting items. Remember that your cabinets, appliances, flooring and the like all have to work together. I notice that many builders offer finishing packages in which designers have done the pairing work for you. This may be an excellent way to go, especially for first-time buyers. You know it will look great.

Before you go to your appointment, you would be wise to tour model homes and suites. You will get incredible ideas for what is possible from these beautiful models.

In the end, it’s about balance. Yes, you want to be true to yourself, so if you really want that orange kitchen wall, go for it. You can always repaint it if and when you sell. Keep an open mind, too. Modern colours are different from those of a decade ago. One example is grey: today’s shades are more multidimensional and are being paired with traditional warm colours for a stunning effect.

We know that colour affects our moods, so in a restful place such as your bedroom, stay away from primary shades and go for calming blues or a soft yellow. Do a little research into colour psychology, and you may be surprised at what you learn.

By all means, make the most of your design centre appointment when you buy a new home or condominium. Why not benefit from the advice of experts so that you have surroundings you’ll be comfortable with from the moment you move in?

BARBARA LAWLOR is president and CEO of Baker Real Estate Incorporated and an in-demand columnist and speaker. A member of the Baker team since 1993, she oversees the marketing and sales of condominium developments in the GTA and overseas. Keep current with The Baker Blog at blog.bakerrealestate.com


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Your Kitchen: Today and Tomorrow

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Your Kitchen: Today and Tomorrow

Considering a renovation to improve the value of your home? Two of the best and most common places to start are adding an additional bathroom (which will be the topic of my next column), and upgrading the heart of the home: the kitchen. Here’s my top tips for getting the best of your kitchen renovation in both the long term, and in your everyday enjoyment.

Think Twice:

-Before starting any kitchen reno, it’s important to consider both the short term costs and the possible long term gains. A slick renovation can add value to your home, but if you use materials that aren’t made to last, this value will disappear over time.

-Estimate how long you will live in this space before selling, and use materials that will last at least this long. For example, spending an extra 30% on cabinets now could make the difference between recouping your renovation investment later, or having to upgrade again when buyers only see dinged doors in need of replacement. Better to spend well than spend twice!

Good Basics

-Ultimately, optimizing resale value comes down to good basics rather than lots of superficial details. Kitchens are always a key feature of a home, but overspending on a reno won’t make sense if it doesn’t fit the value of your home. A budget of about 10%-15% of your home’s value usually achieves the best return on investment.

-Consider this when adding luxury features, such as heated floors or high end tile. In a first home, it might make more sense to invest in basics that all homeowners crave at any price point, such as a more storage space or good lighting. Look for: tall upper cabinets, undercabinet lights, quality appliances and hardwearing floors.

Live in the Moment

-Don’t forget the other side of the investment coin, which is the value your reno will add to your every day life! Consider resale, but don’t feel pressure to play everything safe. If you love a bold or trendy look, you can balance it with more timeless fixed elements for the best of both worlds.

-For example, consider using plain white, durable cabinet bases dressed up with fun modern door fronts (such as an exotic wood, which may not still be fashionable in 5 years). Replacing just the doors before selling is a more reasonable cost than fully gutting the kitchen.

Accessorize for Success

-Once you’ve planned out your budget for the key basics, put the rest of your budget into non-committal items or pieces you can remove. After all, personalizing with accessories means you can take the look you love with you!

-This can include small items like cabinet knobs and pulls, or more substantial pieces like a great faucet or even pendant lights—this is a smart area to try trendier finishes like copper, brass, or coloured enamel. Any of these can be taken into a new home and replaced with a more plain option if your realtor suggests they don’t suit your market.

Good Basics Part 2

Here’s a few more go-tos for a designer look that stands the test of time.

-White subway tile: it makes a beautiful and classic backsplash without a huge investment, and people will be able to imagine if fitting with their own style.

-A great dining table: In an eat-in kitchen, a beautiful tabletop will feel add to the look of the finishes, but you’ll be able to take it with you when you go. (It’s a smart place to add some must-have marble.)

-Use whatever wild and wonderful shade of paint you love, and plan at the time of your renovation to set aside a little money for a repainting later. No matter what paint you choose now, there will be a more in-demand colour in the future that you can apply to inspire a sale.

Quick Bites

  1. Invest in quality materials that will hold up until after you sell, or your renovation budget will be wasted in the long term.
  2. Budget approximately 10-15% of your home’s value for a kitchen renovation with a good return on investment.
  3. Focus on great basics like tall, durable upper cabinets with plenty of storage before luxury details.
  4. Personalize a space with moveable pieces like knobs or faucets and you’ll be able to reset the look for resale and take your favourites with you.
  5. Try plain white subway tile for a classic backsplash and a marble top dining table to bring in luxury you won’t have to leave behind


About the author:  Yanic Simard is principal designer at Toronto Interior Design Group and TV design expert on Cityline.
*Article courtesy of EiEiHome


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Condo Market

Condo Market : Upgrades Can Work For You In More Ways Than One!

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Condo Market : Upgrades Can Work For You In More Ways Than One!

When purchasing a new condominium, or any new home for that matter, you have the advantage of being able to select your features, finishes and upgrades.

How wonderful it is to ensure that your surroundings reflect your personality and aesthetic preferences! Your choices certainly enhance your lifestyle. Even if you plan to live in your new home or condo for many years, however, remember that it is also one of the largest financial investments you will make in your lifetime. When you pick out features, finishes and upgrades, think about what will bring in the best return-on-investment when you sell someday. All things being equal, something like hardwood flooring, granite countertops or crown moulding could be the deciding factor for potential purchasers.

Of course, today’s new condominiums come with standard features that are of such high quality and beauty that many buyers are happy with them. In fact, our typical roster of standards is far above what builders in the United States offer. Those who opt to upgrade would do well to think about their effect on future value. Upgrading at the time of purchase rather than waiting and doing it in a few years enables you to factor your choices into your mortgage now, while rates are still incredibly low. In addition, you eliminate the mess and hassle of renovating in the future.

It is of the utmost importance to be well prepared for your colour selection appointment, which is one of the most exciting steps in your new condo purchase journey. Bring in photos of décor elements you love, as well as fabric swatches and accessories you intend to use, and ask your décor consultant to guide you through the possibilities of making these work in your suite. Keep an open mind as well – your consultant knows the products and understands what will complement your chosen design.

Usually, upgrades have to be paid for at the appointment, so go in with your chequebook ready and choose carefully. Most people know that historically, kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. Upgrades in those two areas are most likely to bring you a substantial return-on-investment. The scope of upgrades available in many condos today includes wine fridges, quiet self-closing drawers, paneled appliances for a furniture look (nice in an open-concept area), cabinetry with glass fronts, pasta taps, under-counter valance lighting, stainless steel appliances and extended islands. In your bathroom(s), you may have the options of luxurious marble flooring, soaker tubs, rainwater showerheads, unique vanities and more. Think, too, about environmentally friendly upgrades such as natural stone countertops.

Of course, all of this depends on your budget. You want your living spaces to be both beautiful and practical, and you also want the most for your condominium dollar. A few upgrades may be the way to go for comfort now and resale value later on. Give it some thought, do some research and ask your decor consultant for some advice.

BARBARA LAWLOR is president and CEO of Baker Real Estate Incorporated and an in-demand columnist and speaker. A member of the Baker team since 1993, she oversees the marketing and sales of condominium developments in the GTA and overseas. Keep current with The Baker Blog at blog.bakerrealestate.com


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