Tag Archives: OD Newsletter

Outdoor living areas becoming more popular – and designers are building some beautiful spaces

Latest News


Outdoor living areas becoming more popular – and designers are building some beautiful spaces

OD_Newsletter_NKBA_1

Designers involved in outdoor living areas are seeing an increase in their volume of outdoor living projects compared to pre-COVID.

OD_Newsletter_NKBA_2

Homeowners are upgrading or creating new outdoor living spaces that include outdoor kitchens, patio/deck areas or screened-in porches/three-season rooms.

OD_Newsletter_NKBA_3

Top homeowner needs for outdoor living areas include an enhanced seating area, outdoor kitchen, fireplace/fire pit and protection from the weather for extended usage.

OD_Newsletter_NKBA_4

SHARE  

Featured Products


How designers impact the health of their clients

Latest News


How designers impact the health of their clients

By Linda Kafka, WELL AP, CLIPP, CAPS

OD_Newsletter_Designers_1

The successful architectural and interior design of today and tomorrow largely depend upon the health and wellness of its users. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the benefits of family and moreover, their health and well-being. And who better is it in the hands of if not architects and designers? To support this, Dr. Claudia Miller from the University of Texas School of Medicine stated, “Architects and designers have a greater ability to improve public health than medical professionals.” Designing for well-being offers a preventative approach to good health that helps offset the need for medical intervention by lowering stress and increasing serotonin.

The urgent need to think about the future begins today. Whether it is about the neuro aesthetics aspect of a space, sensory design, or designing for progressive conditions like dementia. Designers have the potential to think beyond a mere box to solve worldly problems—especially in the present era where the sense of being, thoughtfulness, and wellness are primary. From stepping into the clients’ shoes to understanding their needs, requirements, environment, and community simultaneously—the designer’s role plays quite far beyond.

Health and well-being

There are numerous ways a designer can play with space that can help improve the health and well-being of its users. First and foremost being the incorporation of biophilia and direct connectivity with nature. There is a certain sense of calmness from the natural elements that hit the neuroreceptors of the brain that helps calm down the person. The idea of connecting to nature by spending time in the forest—Shinrin Yoku or forest bathing—has been prescribed by Japanese doctors since the late ’80s. We also know that doctors in Canada have been authorized by their governing body to prescribe trips to museums, art galleries and design centres to reduce stress instead of prescribing pills. Thus, thoughtful, innovative design through the use of natural elements or the use of biomimicry (the design and production of materials, structures, and systems that are modelled on biological entities and processes) can shape how we feel and what we experience within a physical space. Apart from this, focusing on factors such as natural light and playing with the scale and perspective of space can further enhance the appearance.

Universal design is another important aspect that needs utmost attention. Since this concept follows the principles of equality – it offers a solution for everyone on the planet. Whether temporarily disabled or permanently, the designer must look through their eyes to design an empathetic yet sensory space. Moreover, there are certain colours and patterns that intrigue a human brain – for instance, reds have been known to symbolize anger and energy, while blue symbolizes calm and peace. While there is no definitive scientific evidence that colour heals, we do know that colour affects behavior. The colour of a space is just one factor that contributes to a person’s mental health, but it is an important one, says Dr. John Ziesel, author and President of Hearthstone Alzheimer Care. “The designed environment plays a role in learning, remembering, feelings, relating to others and behaviour,” he adds.

Healing and wellness

Diving further into the details, material specifications further help spruce up a space in terms of healing and wellness. Mainly, contribution towards air quality standards and banning materials like asbestos, and reducing exposure to formaldehyde (especially in furniture) may lead to a healthy environment. Abiding by the Public Health standards (whether from Canada or the U.S.) and maintaining minimum requirements in terms of VOC limits for interior paints, coatings, adhesives, sealants, insulation and even flooring used – a designer can help foster a clean and healthy environment.

Furthermore, apart from VOCs, designers must keep in mind ample ventilation, humidity control, and even a cleanable environment. Mainly, avoiding the use of wall-to-wall carpeting and only using materials that have hard surfaces with easier cleaning abilities. Another way one can design for wellness is by considering the aspects of sound and light in a building. In the commercial sector, there is a requirement of compliance with local requirements. However, there are no compliances for lighting and sound when it comes to the residential sector. Therefore, it is a must that the designer uses best practices and can draw upon the commercial sector for ideas. In addition, designers should consider ergonomic not only in furnishings but in other design elements such as counter heights, adjustable desks and so on. This can both give long-term benefits to its users. Hence, undoubtedly, a designer has a bigger role to play in impacting the health of their clients. After all, they have the ability to see through the health and wellbeing lens to improve their client’s health.

SHARE  

Featured Products


Kitchen+Bath Canada Expo finalizes fall conference program

Latest News


Kitchen+Bath Canada Expo finalizes fall conference program

OD_newsletter_Planning_meeting_1

Great insights from the industry experts will shape the success of the conference this coming October.

Leaders from the kitchen, bath, stone and lighting industry recently gathered at Improve Canada to discuss the final planning of the Kitchen+Bath Canada 2021 conference program. The meeting consisted of industry experts from interior designers, stone fabricators, lighting and supporting associations such as NKBA-Ontario Chapter, IDC (Interior Designers of Canada) and Illuminating Engineering Society.

OD_newsletter_Planning_meeting_2

The meeting discussed various areas of concern that the experts addressed, which included the need for further education and training for the workforce with more regulated guidelines to ensure the sustainability of a variety of professions in the kitchen and bath industry. Safety and accountability in stone fabrication and lighting were among the key concerns of the industry.

The call for speakers will begin after the second week of August and after the advisory committee, members hold their final meeting to confirm the final session and its related topics.

OD_newsletter_Planning_meeting_3

To become a speaker, visit: kbcexpo.com

Kitchen+Bath Canada | Exhibition and Conference 2021 is scheduled to be held in Toronto Congress Centre from Oct. 27 to 29.

For more information, visit kbcexpo.com

SHARE  

Featured Products


IDC celebrates Indigenous Interior Designers

Latest News


IDC celebrates Indigenous Interior Designers

By IDC staff

IDC_New

 

Wanda Dalla Costa

Wanda Dalla Costa

Founder and Principal of Tawaw Architecture Collective and Professor of Indigenous Architecture at Arizona State University.

Wanda Dalla Costa is a member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation and is the first First Nations woman to become a registered architect in Canada. As a leading specialist in Indigenous design, Wanda has dedicated her career to developing culturally responsive design and built environments that serve as a teaching tool for traditional knowledge. Through her extensive travels, Wanda observed populations that were able to reconcile contemporary architecture and cultural lifeways. Her mission is to build a conversation around those often invisible and life affirming aspects of culture that serve to instill meaning in the built environment.

Linda Makins

Linda Makins

Principal of MAKINSACHANGE Creative Environments Inc.

Linda Makins is the great-granddaughter of Sagamaw Geodol (Chief) Noel Jedore of the Mi’kmaq of Miawpukek First Nation in Conne River, Newfoundland. Her approach to design is not about aesthetic but about correcting imbalances and creating harmony within space. Her relationship with clients, suppliers, and contractors is centered on mutual respect, communication, and kindness. Linda is a past president, current IDC Fellow, and member of the IDC Foundation board.

Tessa Piapot-Christopher

Tessa Piapot Christopher

Intern member of IDC, with a Bachelor of Environmental Design degree from the University of Manitoba

Tessa Piapot-Christopher is a member of Piapot First Nation and currently works for P3Architecture Partnership in Regina, Saskatchewan. She began her career in residential home design and produced award-winning, new-residential home designs. Identifying as Indigenous and Black, Tessa brings a unique perspective to her work. She is passionate about increasing diversity and inclusion within the design community and is committed to working closely with Indigenous communities.

Keshia Caplette

Keshia Caplette

IDC’s Vice-President and Indigenous Task Force Lead

Keshia Caplette is a Métis interior designer with an inclination for healthcare design. With over a decade of experience in the architectural, interior design, and construction industries, she has been involved with projects in various sectors. After undergoing brain surgery in January 2020 to remove a tumor, Keshia’s desire to strengthen the experience of our medical facilities has only expanded. By rethinking and recreating the spaces we surround ourselves with, Keshia believes we can transform our day to day and bring a little bit of light to the world.

SHARE  

Featured Products


Your Decor Studio – Increase Upgrade Sales with Your Homebuyers

Latest News


Your Decor Studio – Increase Upgrade Sales with Your Homebuyers

Second in a series of six
OD_newsletter_upgrade_sale_1

Point blank, your design studio exists to drive sales and increase profitability. You may have all the tools you need to succeed, but still aren’t seeing the results you want. This is likely because of one simple factor: the strength of your design consulting team. Having the best products in the industry doesn’t mean anything if you don’t know how to sell them. Influencing your homebuyers by creating desire around the decor sales program and helping them to follow through on their design choices is critical to your success.

Establish amazing customer service

OD_newsletter_upgrade_sale_2

One of the best ways to increase your sales with your homebuyers is to ensure that they will be receiving concierge-level customer service with every interaction. By treating each of your homebuyers with personalized care and attention, it will become clear that you are dedicated to their satisfaction. Consider the following steps to create a culture of top-notch customer service:

  • Authorize trust. By creating a purposeful program (well documented), this clearly identifies the available choices for their home. Provide transparency and always deliver on your promises.
  • Be an excellent listener. A large part of being a good communicator is knowing when to listen. If you aren’t properly listening to your homebuyer, you might miss out on a sales opportunity.
  • Ask the right questions. The best way to guarantee a great customer service experience is to ask specific questions catered to each individual homebuyer. Since every project is different, they should be treated as such.
  • Know your products. By having strong product knowledge, you will be able to explain the benefits behind them and how they will impact the lifestyle of a homebuyer.

Increase your decor sales

OD_newsletter_upgrade_sale_3Establishing an understanding of top-notch customer service comes with knowing how the human brain works and processes its buying decisions. In a design studio setting, the consumer makes purchase decisions initially through emotional desire, and secondly through logical reasoning. Meaning, your design studio consultants should cultivate an education of turning features into desires and encouraging your client to complete that purchase. Smart strategies such as gaining trust and asking thorough questions are a great way to positively influence your clients.

A thorough knowledge of the products you are selling is equally as important. By knowing the options, you are offering inside and out, you are creating an airtight process of turning curious consumers into sales upgrades. Buyers want to know that you care about what you are selling. Your design consultants should create a healthy blend between product knowledge and driving homebuyers to a position of commitment.

Bottom line

Understanding how your homebuyers are influenced is crucial to seeing increased sales and better profitability – it doesn’t have to take years of intense training to achieve success. By giving each homebuyer the attention they deserve, being an expert on your products, and developing methods to drive their desires into commitment, you’ll gain increased profitability through your design studio.

First in the series

Yasmine Goodwin is President of My Design Studio

SHARE  

Featured Products


Four fall home projects

Latest News


Four fall home projects

One of the best things about Canada is the changing seasons. Behind us are the dog days of summer, and ahead are cool evenings, changing colours, cosier clothing and seasonal scents. The arrival of fall brings a new focus, and it’s rooted in the preparation of shelter for the winter that blows in behind it. Let’s break down the best projects to consider for the new season.

Address your envelope

Windows and doors will soon be closing. Fresh air, however, is a year-round need inside all buildings, including your home. Warmer air is soon to be a need as well. This is the perfect time to schedule a furnace inspection and tune-up, duct cleaning, and open up and clean out your ventilation fans and dryer vent to ensure that things are free-flowing and operating as they should. Don’t wait until you need the heat, as then it might be too late. If your home has an HRV or ERV, now would be a good time to begin rerunning it to ensure fresh air exchange to the benefit of your entire family. With the cooler weather, reflect on how the previous winter was at your home. Perhaps an energy audit by a certified adviser, or a top-up of your attic insulation, may help make things more comfortable this year.

on_newsletter_design_build_expert_1

Regular exterior maintenance

The dry summer months will give way to moisture. Eaves troughs, downspouts, window and door caulking, shingles, positive grade sloping and sump pump/backwater valve checks are a must at this time of year, in preparation for the increased moisture for the following three seasons. Make sure everything is operating freely and avoid having to fix a problem in a flood, or when it’s freezing outside. Watch for those frost events that can come up quickly, to cover sensitive plants and shut off hose bibs to avoid freezing.

Foundations

Fall typically marks the end of installing new foundations for additions or custom homes. It’s the perfect time to get them in the ground, allowing you to build over the winter and get ready to move in when the weather is nicer. If you can’t get going now, this also marks the best time to firm up your foundation plans for spring. With summer’s busy schedule out of the way, the kids are back to school, and our desire to get work done can help us set forth our plans and commitments to improve our homes in the coming year. It all starts with a plan – and now is the best time to convert those ideas and dreams into concrete actions.

on_newsletter_design_build_expert_2

The season extending essentials

Pergolas, portable heaters, fire pits and cosy throw blankets, infrared or wood-fired saunas and hot tubs can all help to keep your core warm, allowing you to still enjoy the outdoors in the fall. It is officially cuddle season, too, so snuggle up and soak in the last few days and nights where it is truly comfortable to sit and relax outside. Last year, patio extending products were in record demand, so move quickly if you don’t want to be left out in the cold.

If you want help to design and build your own perfect space, remember there is real value in working with a professional to design and execute it, and professional associations such as the Ontario Association of Architects and renomark.ca, the home of the professional renovator, are great places to start your search.

on_newsletter_design_build_expert_3

Brendan Charters is a Founding Partner at Toronto design-build firm Eurodale Developments Inc., the 2020 BILD Renovator of the Year. eurodale.ca, @eurodalehomes, 416.782.5690

SHARE  

Featured Products


5 tips for turning your backyard into an outdoor oasis

Latest News


5 tips for turning your backyard into an outdoor oasis

The great outdoors is once again becoming a focus for many homeowners. Many seek to maximize every inch of their home and every minute of patio season. This year, it’s an even bigger consideration, as Canadians find themselves spending more time in the comfort and safety of their home. If a backyard makeover is on your to-do list, follow these tips.

Get in the zone

Start the transformation by planning the space. How would you like to use your backyard? For dining or entertaining? Reading and relaxing? Sports and games? As a designer, I approach al fresco spaces like I do their indoor counterparts – striving for an equal balance of comfort, function and style. With this in mind, delineate zones that accommodate the activities you like to engage in, and consider the amount of space you’ll need for each.

From the ground up

When you step outside, the backyard should feel like an extension of the indoors. However, look inside for cues. Is your home contemporary, classic or something in between? Echo your interior aesthetic outside to create a sense of continuity. Then, furnish your various zones from the ground up, starting with flooring. A floor is a transformational element that instantly takes your backyard from lawn to living area. Excellent options include wood, stone or tile that will act as a foundation for any outdoor room. There’s also a fabulous selection of outdoor rugs that are durable enough to weather storms, sun and wear and tear. Durability is an essential factor to consider when shopping for patio furniture, as well. Choose pieces specifically made for outdoor use that can withstand a downpour and the sun’s bleaching effects. Also, ensure your furniture is comfortable.

Landscaping, lighting and accessories

Much like your indoor living areas, your outdoor spaces need some accent pieces to complete the look. Keep in mind the overall atmosphere of your backyard, and enhance it with lighting, accessories and, of course, plants. Lighting plays a crucial role in highlighting the various functional zones, while adding ambience and safety. Since you’re outdoors, the sun acts as your ambient lighting. Be sure to incorporate task lighting where required, such as areas for cooking/barbecue, dining, sitting and bar seating. Illuminate features such as walkways, steps, the entranceway and any other elements that need to remain visible after the sunsets. Then, add accent lighting to bring depth to your design. Focus on trees and plants and any special features, such as a pond, garden gazebo or trellis.

Putting the principles into practice

I transformed this small but sweet urban backyard into a place to rest, relax and indulge! Full disclosure: I own the property and wanted a place to enjoy fine food and wine, gather with family and friends at the custom outdoor dining table, and warm up around a fire pit on late summer and fall evenings. I started by removing the existing deck and planned and prepped for the fire pit – a gas model that would become a focal point of the space. A gas line from the house fed the fire pit, so we dug a trench leading to our spot of choice, and levelled the ground to prepare it for the floor. We chose 24-in., two-cm porcelain pavers in Gray Flow and Ivory Flow, from Euro Tile & Stone. This classic diamond-checkerboard motif is equally functional and aesthetically pleasing, and perfectly suited to the New Mediterranean style I was going for. I love this durable outdoor flooring, which is resistant to salt, pool chemicals, winter frost and the sun’s UV rays. It’s also slip-resistant.

Furnish your space

The furniture I selected has a New Mediterranean, relaxed style – muted earth tones and organic materials. I incorporated a comfortable armless sofa from the West of Main Shoppe custom upholstery line. It’s quickdrying and durable, able to withstand all elements while bringing inspiration from far-off travels right into our own backyard. I also added seating around the fire pit with West of Main’s signature Tulum outdoor chairs, which feature an ergonomic shape, a wood frame and grey netting that adds visual interest, and different texture and contrast against the white sofa. The custom dining table is the star of the show, inspired by a vineyard visit in San Francisco. The unique centre-trough design is a host’s dream, perfect for presenting and serving up a collection of local fine wines.

As a final touch, I accessorized the space with a couple of side tables, some gorgeous textural pillows and throws, and some large potted plants for a relaxed, interior-inspired outdoor living area. The result is a warm, welcoming space that I can really sink into!

Sascha Lafleur is the Co-Founder and Principal Designer at West of Main Design. This international award-winning Ottawa based firm provides complete residential and commercial design services throughout North America. Respected for creating thoughtfully layered, travelled designs that complement their client’s lifestyles. westofmaindesign.com, @westofmain @westofmainshoppe

Photos by West of Main

SHARE  

Featured Products


Why a builder's online decor centre is key to your success

Why a builder’s online decor centre is key to your success

Latest News


Why a builder’s online decor centre is key to your success

The unique challenges we all have faced over the last year due to COVID-19 have made us seriously reconsider our own in-person shopping habits. More than 30 per cent of all retail sales in the last year were online. This is a tremendous increase that shows no signs of slowing down. There is no doubt that online shopping is here to stay. We have grown accustom to researching, investigating and making decisions in the privacy and comfort of our own homes.

While many homebuilders have successfully started to use resources and tools like renderings, visualizers and interactive tours to engage home shoppers before closing on a new home, they continue to be reliant on old school, in-person practices to help homebuyers choose finishes post-purchase.

Easing the process

Historically, the decor process has been known to be the most painful part of the homebuying process and creates fear in even the strongest of builder’s hearts. Specifying the various upgrade options, pricing, product library, samples and documentation needed for a successful decor appointment can be a tremendous job. The buyer primarily reviews their options at their multiple four- to six-hour in person decor appointments. It’s easy to see that the current method for decor selections can be very overwhelming.

New technology in the design space makes the process of selecting finishes simple, interactive, informative, easy to understand and use. Virtual kitchen and bathroom renders allow buyers to see what their new space will look like when they customize their selections in the comfort of their own home. By be able to view the information online, at any time from any location, not only gives the buyer confidence in their decisions, but also drastically cuts down on design centre appointments. Fewer appointments at the decor centre translates to saving the builder both time and money resulting in increases to the bottom line. With the additional benefit of the buyer engaging with your product for a longer period of time, it generally translates to them spending more on upgrades. A win-win solution.

Tangible process

While digital technology is helping to cut back on the use of the traditional design centre, it will still be important to have a physical and inspiring space for buyers to have the option to touch and feel their finishes and interact with a professional consultant. There is something tangible about this process that is incredibly difficult to replicate digitally. The online centre’s role helps to augment the overall experience to the buyer and create efficiencies for the builder.

Online decor centres are now easily accessible. There are various versions that are available with a solution that will fit your requirements and goals. You could be up and running in 30 days or less. If you would like to learn more about how My Design Studio can help you, please contact us at info@my-designstudio.com

About My Design Studio

Yasmine Goodwin is Principal at My Design Studio provides decor management services to builders requiring one stop solution for their decor program.

Whether online virtually or in-person at our 8,000-sq.-ft. centre, it develops solutions that work for home builders and owners.


SHARE  

Featured Products


Fresh start with seven spring looks to love

7 spring looks to love

Latest News


7 spring looks to love

Soft earthy paint palette

COOL CURRENT 6199-42 by Sico. sico.ca

TRANSCEND (DLX1079-4),

BIG CYPRESS (DLX 1062-5),

MINTY AQUA (DLX1147-3) by Dulux. dulux.ca

Light wood accents

Monarch BED. $1,149. eq3.com

Redonda wood upholstered DINING CHAIR. $579. crateandbarrel.ca

Voxlov dining TABLE in light bamboo. $300. ikea.ca

Coloured sofas

DALU SOFA in hibiscus pink and oak. $1,149. article.com

Fany tufted 3SEATER SOFA in yellow. $499. structube.com

Morabo LOVESEAT in light green and wood. $600. ikea.ca

Natural elements

Rudy VASE. $30. eltemkt.com

Rattan PLANTER with wood stand. $35. homesense.ca

Turquoise druzy KNOB. $20. cb2.ca

The hand-crafted look

Linen throw PILLOW. $59. zarahome.ca

Pink seagrass BASKET. $35. homesense.ca

Stoneware SERVING BOWL. $15. hm.com

Delicate floral print

Mini floral DUVET COVER. $99-$139. zarahome.ca

Statement rugs

Patterned COTTON RUG. $35. hm.com

Colca WOOL RUG. $300-$1,800. westelm.ca

OMA RUG. $500. article.com


SHARE  

Featured Products


NKBA reveals top kitchen and bathroom trends

Latest News


NKBA reveals top kitchen and bathroom trends

A few recent surveys polled various groups working in the kitchen and bathroom trades for their thoughts and trends and the state of the industry.

The NKBA’s 2021 Kitchen & Bath Market Outlook provides a comprehensive review of current kitchen and bath industry conditions and the macroeconomic factors that are expected to impact the industry in 2021.

Key findings include:

  • Residential kitchen and bath remodeling spend is poised for growth in 2021, based on a mix-shift to bigger, more expensive and PRO-heavy interior remodels.
  • Pent-up demand for more PRO-intensive projects is a tailwind for spending growth in 2021.
  • New construction spending is to benefit from the timing of starts in 2020 anticipated to dollarize in 2021.
  • Strong housing starts in the latter half of 2020 and longer build times to favorably impact new construction spending in 2021.
  • Total residential kitchen and bath spending is to increase 16.6 per cent in 2021, from $136 billion to $158.6 billion. This is driven by a 9.9- per-cent increase in kitchen and bath remodeling spending and a 22.3- per-cent increase in kitchen and bath new construction spending.
  • Of the total $158.6 billion in total residential kitchen and bath spending, $68.6 billion represents residential remodeling spending (43 per cent) and $90 billion residential new construction (57 per cent). This represents a two-percentage point mix-shift away from residential remodeling towards new construction spending, driven by faster growth in new construction.
  • The overall dollar spend allocation between residential kitchen spending (48 per cent) and residential bathroom spending (52 per cent) in 2021 is unchanged compared to the 2020 period.

Homeowners indicate the kitchen and bathroom rank two times more important compared to other parts of the home. The pandemic has reinforced this perception, as the kitchen slightly gained status since the pandemic. Due to COVID-19, budgets for kitchen remodels fell faster than all other areas of home improvement, which is a unique backdrop for faster growth in 2021, when the health-risks associated with a PRO inside the home are diminished.

Acceleration in activity

One key learning from the study is that kitchen remodels lead to future bathroom remodels, supporting an acceleration in bathroom remodeling activity. In addition, growth in cabinets, drives more widespread spending to other parts of the kitchen: Product attachment cascades from cabinets to the remodeling of other parts of the kitchen. As COVID-19 behavior diminishes, reverting wallet share to services consumption is not likely to hurt kitchen and bath; desire to save (given economic uncertainty) and health risks are the most influential motivations; higher household precautionary savings is a potential source of financing for an anticipated rebound in 2021 kitchen and bath spending. These factors support a pronounced rebound in overall industry growth, from -5.9 per cent in 2020 to 16.6 per cent in 2021.

Consistent with mix-shift away from less expensive remodels (pent-up COVID-19 related demand), the high price-point for residential kitchen and bath spending is anticipated to lead growth (19.8 per cent), followed by the mid-price point (18.5 per cent), with the low-price point posting strong, but lower rates of growth (9.7 per cent).

nkba.org

SHARE  

Featured Products