Thursday, February 16, 2012

Styling Your Custom Built-ins

Large wall to wall, built-in shelves are all the rage now a days. When you have the walls, they can be a smart way to maximize your vertical storage space and organize your things. But sometimes open shelves are an invitation for clutter, disorganization and piles of messes. Large, expansive shelves can be intimidating to fill. Here's some tips on arranging your favourite things and styling the perfect shelf.
- When possible, use a monochromatic colour scheme on the shelf, to create a cohesive, cleaner look. Shelf arrangements look their best when you use one neutral like ivory or black scattered throughout to ground the rest of the your things. Arranged in 3's or 5's in a "Z"-like pattern is a visually interesting merchandising secret.
- Mix up books, magazines, collectibles and personal accessories. Don't be afraid to top artwork or picture frames on stacks of books or magazines.
- Use larger scale objects to fill in space, ensuring that they relate to each other, in terms of size and scale. Group smaller, similar, like objects (eg. a set of small vases) close together on a single shelf. Stand back after placing objects on shelves and do the eye test, or snap a picture, review it and see if anything sticks out as being misplaced or out of scale.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat - a key principle in design is to repeat visual elements, such as line, colour, shape, texture or image. Not only does it unify a space or shelf to give it the designer-look, but it's creates rythm and flow in the space.
- Baskets and storage boxes are not only beautiful but functional. Store smaller items, toys, files, and collectibles inside - using several of the same baskets throughout is another great way to create repition to your overall shelf display.
Play around with the placement of all your accessories and objects. It could take a few days of review until it feels just right. Find a home for everything, and in the end, you'll love the results!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Move or Invest In Your Home

You've contemplated a move, looked over homes on the market, and then re-looked at your current home, and think, maybe it was best to stay put and invest in a home renovation. Before you start,  there are some key considerations you should really sit down and think over before deciding what to renovate in your home. One of the key considerations is resolving functionality issues that need fixing in your current space - do you want to move because your current space doesn't work for you any longer or is it too small? Will a renovation address and resolve the issues? Does your neighbourhood warrant the level of renovation you're planning on investing in? How much should you invest in your home?
Next and probably one of the most important steps is to hire a professional designer or architect. If your renovation is substantial and requires structural changes, hiring a professional or specialist is critical in ensuring you're doing a proper job. Renovation mistakes can be costly, and hiring a designer or architect to properly plan for the entire project from start to finish will save you loads. Carefully research designers and architects you are considering to hire, interview them to ensure your personalities connect well and they hear your wishes and concerns. 
 Next you're ready to hire a contractor. Make sure you check references. Check previous jobs and at least one current project site. Select 2 to 3 contractors that you approve of to be ready for plans to bid on. Once you've nailed down plans for the renovation job, you can ask each to provide their costing.
Now you're ready for the actual design process. Maintain files, samples, and notes for each room you are working on. Insert magazine clippings with specific notes on what you like and dislike. Create your wish lists of likes and dislikes for each room, no matter how small or big the point may be.
Make sure all permits are on hand on site.  Do your homework yourself when it comes to permits, even if the contractor says he will take care of things. Always check with your local building department.
You are now ready for the actual work.  Always ensure you have adequate funds for the renovation and a reserve fund for unforeseen issues or changes in the scope of the project. The larger the project, the more reserve you will need. It does not mean you have to spend it – but you most likely won’t be able to get more once you start the work. 
Patience is key when it comes to any reno, no matter how big or small. Just keep the end in mind and before you know it, you will be enjoying the benefits!