Monthly Archives: February 2014

Virtual Home Staging & 3D Room Design

2D layout northeast south view

When designing any space it’s important to have a strong visual representation before you proceed. Drawing a basic floor plan is critical to ensuring your best layout. Our new 3D Design Services allow us to fully design a room, from floor plan right down to the exact artwork and area rugs on the floor, to the exact flooring and paint colors! This will give you a wonderful representation of your finished space before you ever start your renovation. As an added bonus we are also able to provide a complete materials/labour estimate to coincide with our design, a fabulous tool to help you budget and plan your renovation!

There has been some real interest in 3D Design and Virtual Home Staging.  This is a simple transition from 3D design. We simply design the same space the way we would for Home Staging purposes. We show off the homes’ best features, and can realistically re-do any flaws in paint, flooring or dated décor! For example, if you have a dated home, many home buyers shy away from a home requiring extensive renovations/repairs. Unfortunately, buyers always presume the cost to be significantly greater than what it actually is.  With our 3D Virtual Home Staging, we can not only give them the full effect and 3D Picture images of a complete new design, we can also provide an actual contractor estimate for all materials and labour costs. We can even include the furniture and décor costs if they really want “that” exact room! 

3D Virtual Home Staging allows you to sell the dream of what a home can become by showing buyers exactly what and how to make it happen! Let’s face it – if they are working with a specific budget (as all buyers do) and they see a home they love but it’s at the top level of their price range, then they see yours and see they can turn that home into the same dream home and still have money left over…. Well sounds like a popular HGTV show to me!!

Virtual Home Staging is not only for the dated home. Vacant homes have always been at a disadvantage for marketing. Buyers really have a challenge visualizing how to layout furniture in many areas or seeing if their furniture would even fit! This is often why vacant homes do not sell as quickly or command the same price as well displayed or staged homes. Virtual Home Staging can easily solve this problem. We can easily provide both floor plans for furniture layout as well as the complete 3D virtual Staging pictures of each room! Complete with beautiful décor and a functional well planned layout – it’s the next best thing to actual staging! If you have a limited budget, it is your best alternative!

Virtual Staging is also an excellent option for revenue or rental properties. Quite often when showing rental properties, they simply do not look as good as when a home owner is selling their own home. The Home Owner is motivated, the tenant is not. Virtual Home Staging can again provide the beautiful pictures of what the space could look like, as well as a full materials and labour quote required to turn it into the exact space on the images! Again, you are no longer selling the existing space – you are now selling what it could be! An added bonus, is they know their costs before they buy!

So the next time someone considers Home Staging but has a limited budget or has a tenant and cannot show the space at its best, consider virtual Home Staging. Whether renovating or selling, 3D Design can easily show you the finished look!

How to Manage a Renovation Project

After BeforeManaging a renovation project takes a lot more than good organizational skills. It also takes a wealth of knowledge and experience for things to run smooth. If you have a loan, you need to come in on time and on budget. Having the right people in place, to do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, is crucial to a project moving along at a healthy pace. It’s equally critical to ensure they have the supplies they require to complete their job. If you, as the home owner, are managing the project, this responsibility falls on you. I cannot count the number of times someone has told me they plan on managing their own renovation. I also cannot count the number of times these same people have come back to tell me it cost them more money and took much more time, and they’d never do it again. 

If your renovation requires a permit, the City usually requires detailed drawings to be submitted well in advance. This requires planning and complete understanding of the timelines involved. Slight deviations from the plans are acceptable, major changes can easily put you back at square one and cause significant delays. That’s why it is so important to have your design, drawings, material selection, and contractors planned in advance. Basically, know what you are doing, and who is responsible for doing what, before you lift the first hammer!

Time is a huge factor in any renovation.  Quite often, many home owners seriously underestimate the amount of time it actually takes to manage a project. The biggest question I’m asked, is “How do I find good contractors?” References! Talk to everyone! One of the biggest distinctions I’ve seen is that when a Project Manager or General Contractor is involved and a problem occurs (problems arise on jobs – it’s how they are handled that determine the success of the project) someone always wants to blame someone else – drywallers wants to blame the framer, painters blame the drywaller, etc…. . For the average home owner, this can become overwhelming. You need to be on site supervising!  How are you to know who is telling the truth, who’s at fault, or what went wrong. Then you have time delays for fixes, and additional costs for someone to make modifications…it can easily add up and eat into your renovation budget and your work day!

When a G.C. or P.M. is involved, they have dealt with this many times and can stop this situation before it starts. Many of their contracts are written in such a way that a sub-trade is responsible for ensuring their work commences, only when the trade before is completed to their requirements. Once they begin, they have deemed the previous work to their standard, and now accept responsibility to the next stage. This applies all the way down the line. G.C. or P.M. will typically hire the same sub-trades job after job, so each is fully aware of the next one’s expectations/requirements for the job to progress smoothly. The G.C. or P.M. is there daily to ensure this occurs. A home owner may be present, but may not be aware of how something should be done. Couple this with independent contractors, who often have never worked together and are unfamiliar with what the next requires, and you have a recipe for disaster! Mix in a contractor who sees the opportunity to take advantage of a home owner and make some extra money, insisting something needs to be removed and done ”right” by his guys, and there go your hard earned renovation dollars …. This is why references are so important. 

I was at a clients a few weeks ago as she was getting quotes from a contractor, before he was even hired, he was “warning” her he was not prepared to accept responsibility for his work because he didn’t do the job before, he’d have to up-charge her to make it “right” if it wasn’t done right, a few red flags???!! A trade can come in and tape and mud drywall, but if it was not installed correctly, chances are the screws will pop, and the seams will crack. If the home owner is managing the project, it’s up to the home owner to ensure the drywall is installed correctly before it taped and mudded. Is your knowledge base adequate to be comfortable doing so and knowing the job is done well before the next trade proceeds??!! This is the risk and responsibility you take when you manage your own project.

Another huge cost is delays or modifications that occurred because of an incomplete design plan. You plan for a shower but not exactly knowing what type. There are countless models that require different plumbing solutions. You decide you want a shower with multiple body jets as well as the overhead rain shower head, but have already roughed in basic plumbing. Then you are paying to re-do the plumbing to accommodate the change in your plans, waiting for new custom materials to come in, etc. This can then delay other trades, and push your entire job back by weeks – leading to delays and additional costs. This is why it is so important to have the plan completed well in advance. You also have the products and their specifications for installation there well in advance so the tradespeople are able to read the specs and complete the work according to manufacturer specifications the first time. You coordinate the work once and pay for it once. It saves a tremendous amount of money and time.

There are always small obstacles to overcome with any major renovation. Even though I am in the business, when it comes to things I have no experience with, I hire a professional. We’re doing renovations in our home. Installing gas inserts in our wood burning fireplaces is part of the overall plan. It’s not my specialty, so we’ve hired this out. I’ve used the company before for my cottage and was very happy with their work. It’s well worth it to me, to know things are done correctly the first time. It’s one part of the overall design plan. Step by step, systematically, all the parts of the design plan will come together perfectly!

Major Color Trends for 2014

Collage Eccentricities fluidity intimacy Moda physicality scuplted simplicity techno colour tribal trends

As a Designer, I am always asked about latest colors trends. A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending a color seminar by Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute and one the leading authorities on color worldwide. It is surprising the diversity of industries that influence the color trends that influence our design choices and ultimately end up in our homes. There are nine distinct themes that influence our color trends for 2014.

Techno Color is influenced by our rapidly emerging and ever changing technology sector. We see vibrant and deep hues, often in reflective surfaces.  Whether in cell phone cases, or iPads, or the multitude of cutting edge electronics, or the latest prototype car, color is a prominent aspect of the new product designs. It includes shades like faceted emerald, turquoise like blue, exuberant orange, strong vital purple, true blue, jet black, and dark citron.

Physicality is influenced by our societies’ dedication to healthy lifestyle. It boasts colors of power and energy tempered by the necessity for calm and introspection. Strong bold hues are tempered against colors that inspire calm and healing. It includes shades of forged iron, a satellite gray, antique moss and gothic olive against herbal lavender, grayed grape, rosy brown, and quiet ephemeral foggy gray.

Sculpted Simplicity gets inspiration from the fine arts. It recognizes how important shape, structure and form are to the environment. Colors in this palette are unassuming, sophisticated and beautifully harmonized together. It includes travertine, anthracite, blanc de blanc, twilight mauve, anodized brown, ethereal gray and silver.

Fluidity has its roots in the bold colors found in islands like the Bahamas. The entertainment industry has recently brought new interest to this vital color palette through popular movies like Casino Royale. The cooling hues of shimmering blue and green waters are in sharp contrast to the multitude of bright colors found both below and above the water, inspire the color palette for fluidity. It includes absinthe green, violet tulle, samoan sun, dewberry purple and orange corals.

Collage can be interpreted as “Old is New”. We’ve all seen the worn finish on everything from furniture to accessories. It focuses on the charming designs that demonstrate ingenuity and resourcefulness. There is something familiar and comfortable and still new and exciting about this collection. It includes tea rose, deep reddish rhubarb, warm pumpkin spice, sheepskin, margarita green, provincial blue, aqua and teal.

Intimacy is one of my personal favorites. It embraces a relationship of colors that are expressed in tints and tones that are both inviting and soft, and yet, softly complimentary. A happy marriage of adaptable warm, cool and neutral tones. Combinations are not quite pastels, but give a subtly of the hint of color. A wonderfully soothing and relaxing combination, perfect for the color scheme of the master bedroom or ensuite spa where you want to get away from it all. It includes gardenia, lotus blossom pink, rose cloud, fawn, café crème, pale lavender, and opal grey.

Moda is all about attention to detail. Its inspiration comes from high fashion. Examples can be found in the Hunger Games “Upper Society” fashions and décor. Combinations can be theatrical or whimsical, but always bold and tasteful!  It includes Red Dahlia, blackberry cordial, wood violet, yellowed amber green, Corsican blue, magenta haze, linden green, and rich gold.

Tribal Trends takes us all back to our roots. Travel has brought diverse cultures into mainstream fashion and décor. Whether artwork or clothing or decor, we always bring something back home from our travels. This palette encompasses many different cultures and can be disarmingly simple or complex and colorful.  It includes bleached sand, kangaroo brown, arabesque burnt orange, goblin blue, curry, peppercorn, rose3 dusted cedar shade, and taupe toned incense.

Eccentricities allows the individual to express him/herself.  It caters to everyone from the young tween slowly establishing their space to the senior who chooses to make a statement.  It’s highly original. You must approach this color palette with a sense of adventure, experimentation and acceptance. Be bold, be fun, be creative! It includes neon green, zesty lemon, nectarine, skydiver blue, fudge sickle brown, strawberry ice, black and white. 

So when I am asked what colors are in, I usually just smile and ask what colors do you like? That should be our starting point. Then our options are only limited by my clients’ desired mood for the space and their sense of adventure. Let’s create the space that makes the statement you wish to make! Our color choices and nearly limitless!!