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6 hot design ideas for your next home renovation

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6 hot design ideas for your next home renovation

Renovating and regenerating a space, any space, can be incredibly fun and exciting. It can also involve a great deal of challenges, as well as the pressure that comes with managing a project and changing a space that others will use.

If you take some extra time to plan, and use a few simple ideas, getting the right look in a home doesn’t have to be too challenging or expensive. Here is a quick guide to some of the best home design ideas we’ve found to make things a little easier.

Expose materials and structure to add depth and texture to space

You can achieve a fantastic look and give your space an interesting atmosphere and feel by taking things away, rather than adding them.

Exposing a beam or the brickwork along one wall or in an alcove is a great way to add character, depth and texture to a space that may be bland and boxy otherwise.

Integrate fitness and wellbeing into your home’s design

Health, fitness and wellbeing are becoming very popular pastimes that often benefit from having their own space. Fitness equipment in particular often needs a place to “live” in the home.

By using equipment that can be folded away to store, you can have a small home gym that can double as a yoga studio or relaxation centre when the exercise machines have been stowed away.

Use timber cladding and concrete for a modern yet earthy look and feel

A great look for the exterior of a home can be achieved with timber cladding and smooth concrete footings.

Exterior changes can be a lot of work for the home renovator, so you should always consult a professional design service like The Home Design Group, who can help you plan and execute work safely and in accordance with local planning and safety regulations.

Build a large and practical pantry for your kitchen

Kitchen cupboard space is always difficult to arrange, and will often take up a lot of space in a kitchen that could be put to better use.

More and more families are turning to dedicated pantry spaces, giving them plenty of space to store and arrange food, and will often put the fridge there too; making extra space in the kitchen.

Bring the inside out and the outside in

A popular way to add colour to your home is to bring outdoor materials inside, or to make usable living spaces outside.

Some people have used high quality plastic grass, or “astro-turf,” on interior spaces like dining rooms and children’s play areas. To take the inside out, why not have an area outside for cooking and dining when the weather lets you?

Use pivot doors to make a special entrance

Frameless doors that pivot to open, rather than swing on a hinge, make an impressive first impression on anyone entering a home that has one.

Doors that open this way can be very large and heavy, but will pivot effortlessly on their vertical axel to create a huge and welcoming entryway.

Hopefully this quick guide has given you some design ideas for your next home renovation, and you can make a space that is unique, stylish and welcoming for all.

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Plan Ahead: BILD president shares insider tips to ensure your renovation comes up roses

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Plan Ahead: BILD president shares insider tips to ensure your renovation comes up roses

Like thousands of people in the GTA every year, I just had a major renovation completed on my home. It was a great way to make sure that my home meets the changing needs of my family, and that it is updated with features and designs that match our current tastes. In doing so, I experienced first-hand the benefits of using a professional renovation contractor, and putting into practice what the Building and Land Development Association (BILD) and its RenoMark renovators recommend to all their clients.

By following our own recommendations, I didn’t experience any nightmare scenarios that unfortunately, are more common than anyone would like to think. The end result was fabulous, the project was finished on time and on budget, and while most renovations often have some bumps in the road, the process went relatively smoothly.

Here are some of our top tips:

  • Spend the time upfront to have a very clear picture of what you want to achieve. Know your budget, and make a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves. Chances are, as you proceed with your renovation, you will likely have to make some trade-offs between what you want and what you can afford.
  • Choose your renovation contractor carefully. Interview at least three. If you don’t know where to start, you can find a list of RenoMark renovators on the RenoMark.ca website with renovators in your city from coast to coast. The benefit of using a RenoMark member is that they are professionals, they carry all the applicable licenses and insurance coverages (including WSIB). Also, they will always provide a written contract, provide a two-year warranty on their work and continually upgrade their skills with ongoing education provided by the local home builder’s associations (HBA).
  • When interviewing potential renovation contractors, make sure that they understand your vision for the renovation and are able to work with you to fine-tune your project. Ask for references from previous clients and check them! Don’t just be satisfied with pretty pictures and a snazzy brochure. If they are not a RenoMark renovator, ask them to provide evidence of insurance and workers compensation coverage, ask about their warranty coverage and ask if they are members of the local HBA. Insurance and WSIB coverage are important because if the renovator does not have coverage, you, as the homeowner, could be liable in the event of an accident on the job site.
  • Make sure you have a comprehensive written contract with the renovator. This will make sure you get the renovation you want, and protects you in the event something goes wrong. Check our website for tips that outline some of the most common terms and features you will want to make sure are included in your contract.
  • As the renovation progresses, make sure to stay in regular contact with your renovation contractor. Book regular progress meetings. Changes are bound to occur with the project as you are working with an existing, and sometimes older, structure or home. When you do make changes, make sure to document them with your contractor in a change order.

Fortunately, my overall experience was a very positive one. I worked with a professional and was very happy with the end results. Remember: you wouldn’t hire someone off the street to repair your car; you would go to a licensed mechanic, so why would you risk the biggest investment of your life, your home, to a nonprofessional just to save a few dollars?

David Wilkes is President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), the voice of the home building, land development and professional renovation industry in the GTA.

For the latest industry news and new home data, follow BILD on Twitter, Facebook, BILD’s official blog.


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Rebecca Hay’s three tips for navigating a stressful renovation

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Rebecca Hay’s three tips for navigating a stressful renovation

Renovating doesn’t have to be a stressful and difficult task. Interior designer Rebecca Hay from Rebecca Hay Designs Inc. offers three tips to navigating and handling the stress of a renovation.

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Industry Expert

Now is the time to start planning this year’s renovation

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Now is the time to start planning this year’s renovation

You meant to redo your kitchen and finish your basement last summer, but the warm days came and went and your renovation project remained only an idea. Not to worry, because now is the perfect time to start planning to make your renovation a reality this summer.

With a generous lead time, you can afford to be thorough with every step in the renovation process, increasing your chances of success. The first step is to articulate what goals you want to achieve with your renovation, and develop a clear description of what you want to change. Write down your priorities and items that would be nice to have if your budget allows. Make sure everyone in your home participates in the discussion so you have a complete picture of what is needed.

Photography: bigstock.com
Photography: bigstock.com

Research a reputable renovator

Next, find a professional renovator who will guide you through the process. The good ones get booked up months in advance. You will be putting a lot of trust in this person, so look for a renovator who is a member of BILD’s RenoMark program, which means that they have committed to the RenoMark code of conduct and BILD’s code of ethics. To find a RenoMark renovator, visit renomark.ca.

Price is an important consideration when choosing a renovator, but experience, construction schedule and references are just as crucial. Take the time to check three references to get a good understanding of how the company operates.

Plans & permits

Once you have selected your professional renovator, he or she may bring in a designer or architect, and together you will work through your project outline and create plans and specifications. These will help determine the budget estimate and any building permits and approvals you will need. In some municipalities, obtaining building permits and approvals can take many weeks and even months – another reason it’s good to start the process early.

When you are comfortable with the preliminary design, budget, and timetable, you’re ready to draw up a written contract with your renovator. The contract sets out the precise scope of the work, the price, a schedule of payments, a reasonable timetable for completing the work, product-specific details and a warranty clause. The contract should be reviewed by a lawyer.

Get it in writing

A RenoMark renovator will provide a contract for all projects. Avoid renovators who offer to work without a contract, even if they promise to skip the HST or offer another incentive. They may not be paying workers’ compensation or carry adequate insurance, leaving you at financial risk.

My final piece of advice is to spend some time on RenoMark.ca and read the articles in our Ask a Renovator series – they cover various aspects of renovation in more detail.

Renovating your home is exciting and rewarding. And as you can see, there’s plenty you can do now to prepare for this year’s renovation. By starting early, you will have your renovator team selected, contract signed, and permits and approvals in place by the time renovation season returns.

David Wilkes is president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), the voice of the home building, land development and professional renovation industry in the GTA.

For the latest industry news and new home data, follow BILD on Twitter, Facebook, BILD’s official blog, and bildgta.ca.


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AT HOME WITH MEN AT WORK: Constructive Construction

AT HOME WITH MEN AT WORK: Constructive Construction

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AT HOME WITH MEN AT WORK: Constructive Construction

by Craig Essery
Photography: Bigstock.com

Steps you can take to speed up your home reno project

Remodelling is always a big undertaking. Whether you’re redoing a single room or embarking on a full-home addition project, understanding the renovation process ahead of you and doing your part to prepare for any foreseeable obstacles is sure to save you time and headaches—many headaches.

PLAN SMART

Arguably, the most important stage in the reno process is the planning phase. As a homeowner ready to commit to renovating, it’s crucial that you have a clear vision of what you want to get out of your renovation, and that you do your research before hiring a contractor. Start with making a list of what it is that bothers you about your current home; take your time with this and really consider what you want to achieve from the renovation. Do you need more space? Do you want an open-concept layout? Do you need to plan for a growing family? Decide what features are, and are not, negotiable. Next, do your research before hiring anyone. You want to understand the process that’s ahead of you, and handpick the best company for the job based on what’s required for your home. Remember that experience brings efficiency, so it’s important to find a contractor who has plenty of experience working in your neighbourhood with your type of house. For projects requiring substantial design and project coordination, consider hiring a Design-Build company to service the job from start to finish. Design-Build companies tend to have all the trades and services you will need either vetted or in-house, making the process more efficient.

BE TRANSPARENT WITH FINANCES

Although it may seem like a given to have your finances fully in order before signing with your contractor, it’s more common than you’d expect for projects to come to a complete halt, after construction has already begun, due to a lack of finances. Being transparent and clear with your contractor and design partners, in terms of what your main objectives are, and what you’re willing to invest in order to achieve them, is extremely important. Transparency will give your contractor the information they need to ensure that your expectations are realistic for your budget.

MAKE TEMPORARY LIVING ARRANGEMENTS

Relocating your living quarters, be it to an entirely new location or just a different part of your house, is inevitable during a renovation. Talk with your contractor to determine the best plan of action and work together to make the best of that decision. If you decide to fully move out during construction, push the contractor to shorten the timeline slightly; if you decide to relocate to a different part of the house, determine where the best area is that won’t cause delays and jeopardize the project schedule.

AVOID MID-PROJECT CHANGES

Contractors provide homeowners with a project schedule prior to beginning any work on the home. After the design phase has been completed, your contractor will generally provide you with an updated schedule for the upcoming construction phase; however, any changes that are made after exiting the design phase will result in increased costs and an extension in the project timeline. Avoid mid-project changes and don’t exit the conceptual design phase until you’re 100 per cent sure you’re happy with the plans.

BE REALISTIC

Aside from cost, the main hesitation people have for remodelling their home is time. They envision themselves being victim to uncomfortable living conditions for months, or years, on end; and, while living conditions during a major reno varies from project to project, homeowners are right to be concerned about the lengthy period of time they’ll be subjected to these conditions. It almost always takes longer than expected to complete a renovation, so that’s why thorough planning and having realistic expectations will help mitigate the delays and frustrations that are bound to happen along the way. Depending on the size of the renovation, a typical home in Toronto will take a full year to complete from conceptual design to move in; and if it requires attention from the Committee of Adjustments, add another three to six months.

Specializing in home additions and major home renovations in old-Toronto neighbourhoods, Men At Work Design Build provides integrated engineering, design and professional construction services to help solve home space problems for Toronto families.

Craig Essery is a Renovation Consultant at the award-winning, two-time winner of the BILD Renovator of the Year award, 2012 & 2017, design-build firm.


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INDUSTRY EXPERT: The Waiting Game

INDUSTRY EXPERT: The Waiting Game

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INDUSTRY EXPERT: The Waiting Game

by David Wilkes

Looking to renovate? Getting permits and approval may take longer than the work itself

Your family is growing and you need more space. You have two options. You can sell your house and move into a bigger home, or you can renovate your home and add more living space. You love your neighbourhood and do not want to move, so you decide to renovate.

Your first inclination may be to focus on the latest trends and finishes, but before you do that, your time is much better invested in getting the necessary approvals and permits. In some cities in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), that can take months for a smaller renovation and up to a year for more ambitious projects.

Photography: bigstock.com
Photography: bigstock.com

REALITY BITES

Many homeowners are under the mistaken impression that it is as simple as filing your plans and obtaining your permit—a week or two and on to swinging hammers. The reality can be quite different. When planning a major renovation or custom-home build, the approval and permitting times can stretch for months, and may include multiple steps of getting approvals for variances to existing zoning requirements, setback regulations and obtaining approvals from other municipal departments like Urban Forestry. If re-zoning through the Committee of Adjustment is required, the entire process can take well up to a year.

Layered onto this, many municipalities are failing to meet The Ontario Building Code’s timeframes of just issuing a building permit in 10 business days, delaying renovation projects and adding unnecessary costs to projects. In 2017, in the City of Toronto, nearly half of all residential building permits were not issued within the required legislated timeframe.

RENO RED TAPE

The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) reviewed 6,011 City of Toronto permits and the average timeframe for issuing these permits was 31.4 calendar days. That is two to two-and-a-half times the provincially mandated maximum. It is important to note that this review included thousands of applications from very basic and quick permits, to permits with values of over $100,000; the issuing of these permits took an average of 45 days or six weeks.

Further delays in the process come from a lack of access to inspectors and inspection delays that can tangle homeowners up in even more red tape. Your dream renovation has now become a bureaucratic nightmare. The permit and approval system needs a good renovation itself.

PROPOSED SOLUTIONS

BILD wants to put the customer first so they can enjoy their newly renovated or custom-built home sooner rather than later. Based on our members’ experience, we wrote the Service Standard of Excellence document to provide practical guidance to municipalities on how to speed up approvals and make the process more efficient.

We are asking cities to commit to a reasonable turnaround time for renovation permit applications, we are proposing the implementation of a one-window permitting, web-based portal that makes the application process smoother and transparent, and we are calling for improved service by building inspectors similar to the standards expected for Internet and telephone providers.

As we get closer to the 2018 Municipal Elections this fall, we will be meeting with councillors and mayors across the GTA to ask them to adopt the measures outlined in the Service Standards of Excellence and get them to provide building and renovation approvals and permits in line with the provincially mandated requirements.

David Wilkes is president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), the voice of the home building, land development and professional renovation industry in the GTA.

For the latest industry news and new home data, follow BILD on Twitter, Facebook, BILD’s official blog, and bildgta.ca.


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Industry Expert: Prepare to Succeed

Industry Expert: Prepare to Succeed

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Industry Expert: Prepare to Succeed

by Bryan Tuckey

Preparation is key to managing disruptions during renovation

Almost every renovation project will come with some disruption to the homeowner, but there are a number of things that you can do to minimize the disarray.

Some people don’t want to live in an active construction site and opt to vacate their homes and live elsewhere for part of, or the duration of their renovation. However, for most people, living elsewhere for several months is not financially viable, so they must find ways to live in a home under renovation.

Planning ahead and preparing your home, your stuff, your family and yourself, are important steps you can take to minimize the disruption.

As part of the overall planning of your renovation project, work with your renovator to devise a project plan that best accommodates you and your family, and always be sure to work with a professional RenoMark renovator.

BILD created the RenoMark program in 2001 to help homeowners differentiate professional renovators from underground contractors. RenoMark renovators abide by a Code of Conduct, which includes providing written contracts that carry at least $2 million in liability insurance and offer a minimum of two years warranty on all work. You can find a RenoMark professional at renomark.ca.

Photography: bigstock.com
Photography: bigstock.com

Talk to your renovator about your household’s daily schedule, any vacations that you have planned, or any special circumstances that need to be accommodated so that they can be factored into the work plan and schedule for your project. That way, particularly disruptive or messy parts of the project, such as refinishing hardwood floors, can be arranged for when you are away or can make alternate, short-term living arrangements. And busy on-site work times can be aligned with your family’s schedule so crews won’t be hammering away while you are trying to feed your kids breakfast.

Make sure you discuss which parts of your house will be impacted by your renovation project. Depending on factors like plumbing and wiring, your renovator and work crews may need access to more than just the immediate area being renovated.

Clean out the areas that will be impacted by the renovation and consider temporarily removing valuables such as art, from other parts of your home that could be impacted by vibration. Depending on the scale of your project, you might want to rent storage space nearby, or bring in a portable storage container. If you are storing things in boxes, be sure to label the boxes with an inventory. That way when you need something, you can find it.

Make a plan for how you will live in your home while it is under construction. Kitchen renovations can be especially challenging. Figure out where your temporary “kitchen” will be and what you need to make it work for your family.

Plan and stock up on meals that can be easily prepared in your temporary kitchen. Look at how you might be able to utilize your small appliances and your BBQ when you don’t have access to your oven. You will likely be without running water in your short-term kitchen, so make sure you consider how you will clean up after food preparation and wash dishes.

When you encounter trying moments, and you probably will at some point when you are living in a home under construction, just think about how great your remastered space will be or what it will be like to cook in your new kitchen.

Bryan Tuckey is president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association and a land-use planner who has worked for municipal, regional and provincial governments.

Follow him on Twitter @bildgta, facebook.com/bildgta, and bildblogs.ca.



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eNewsletter - April 2017

Inside a Condo Interior Design Project

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Inside a Condo Interior Design Project

Renovating a condo after you’ve bought it and before you move in is a common exercise.

Putting some personality and personal touches into your new home sometimes requires having a condo interior design team help you with that project, which is like the icing on the cake.

Kandy Outdoor Flooring Toronto recently had the opportunity to work with High Street Design on a condo upgrade project in Toronto’s Thompson Residences, located in the trendy Bathurst and King Streets neighbourhood. Here’s the Q&A Kelly from Kandy did with Sarah Broderick of High Street Designs on the project.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about the Thompson Residences? Who lives there, what “feel” is there in the building? In the neighbourhood?

A: The Thomson Residences is a higher-end building with lots of urban professionals. The neighbourhood is fun and eclectic. It’s in the heart of King Street West with lots of bars and restaurants steps away, including the Thompson Hotel rooftop bar, patio and restaurants.

Q: What problem was the customer looking to solve? What was the objective for the project?

A: It was a new condo. It had a large but cold urban patio with a ton of potential. The clients were downsizing from a home in the suburbs. They have a cottage they love in Muskoka and wanted to warm up their outdoor oasis downtown and add some pizazz to the interior. Kandy’s real wood deck tiles offered the perfect solution. It’s warm, natural and softer to the touch than the concrete below.

Q: What did the space look like before you got started? How would you describe the decor and the state of the suite in general?

A: The balcony was a blank slate of concrete with black siding on either side complete with black framed glass railings. It is approximately 6-feet deep by 26- feet wide. Inside it was a typical new white-washed condo with beech coloured engineered hardwood flooring. The kitchen had white cabinets and stainless steel appliances. It was a great blank slate for us to work with.

Q: Describe the consultation process with the client. How did you help him see and buy into the vision you had for the design?

A: The owners of this penthouse were a dream to work with. They were extremely trusting of our vision and process. We talked about the plan for the suite and of course the balcony. I’d already chosen Kandy Outdoor Flooring as the best option aesthetically and they agreed. Kandy’s product and design stood out from the rest as being much higher end, especially when we saw it in person. We debated natural wood over manufactured or composite. Although slightly more high maintenance, the look and feel of the wood was hard to beat and helped us accomplish the urban oasis we were striving for. Kandy also sold us on their product support and maintenance package. Well worth it to extend the life and many aesthetic benefits of real wood.

Q: What did your condo interior design entail? What were you changing? What were you replacing? What was going to stay? What were you buying, both new and antique or retro?

A: The condo design can be described as curated and eclectic. It’s a real mix of high-end furniture and finishes to accomplish a traditional meets contemporary style. We sourced unique pieces from a lot of different suppliers to appear as though the homeowners had collected them over time, like their extensive artwork collection. The entire design and gallery-like colour palette was envisioned to complement and enhance their unique artwork. Everything was repainted. We added wall-to-wall trim in the foyer and staircase, all new lighting, furniture, rugs and accessories. We upgraded some of the cabinetry. The homeowners are big wine connoisseurs so one of the biggest challenges was fitting their 250 bottle wine fridge up the condo’s narrow stairs. It was fun designing around their art collection.

It was important that the outside terrace complement the curated design inside while still blending with the building’s urban surroundings and exterior. We chose a mix of outdoor furniture from different suppliers, including Andrew Richard Design and Jardin de Ville. The concrete pebble coffee table was another fun and practical find from West Elm. On the balcony there are three zones: a BBQ area for food prep, a six to eight person dining area complete with benches, and a lounge area with a loveseat sofa, coffee table and two chairs that double as extra seating when hosting people for dinner. We added planters and greenery, too, to warm up the space.

highstreetdesign.ca

kandyoutdoorflooring.com


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