Valentine’s Day Home Remodelling: A Gift That Lasts

Valentine’s Day is only a week away, and many homeowners around the world are feeling somewhat demoralized. We’re still locked out of life, in one way or another. For some, it might be a relief to avoid wandering the jungle of chocolates, flowers, jewellery, perfumes, and all those stuff that we have all seen a million times before. But then again – why skip the celebration? Instead of cluttering the silly little gifts that might never be used, opt for a gift that bears a real and lasting value. Something like a Valentine’s Day home remodelling.

Why Valentine’s Day Home Remodelling

Well, we may think of a reason or two… Let’s say:

  • You are most likely spending more time in your home than ever before. That means some details have become dull or irritating, and some minor issues that you have never been noticing before suddenly turn significant. Even if everything seems perfect, refreshed surroundings open new horizons and do wonders for motivation. 
  • You are single, and all the fuzz about Valentine’s Day is merely annoying. But you do love your home, don’t you? Why not giving it a gift? Yes, any other day is equally good for such an idea. But that “any other day” often stretches to eternity.
  • Your partner really wants an improved kitchen or a new bathroom. 
  • You are single, and really want an improved kitchen or a new bathroom. 

More Reasons for Valentine’s Day Home Remodelling

Why Now?

According to psychologists, when a person feels stagnant, a major change can be the catalyst to get things rolling again. After spending a year on a stagnant planet, we can all benefit from a boost.

Adapting to meet physical or family needs, making a space more contributory to social interaction, or more efficient, all can enhance the quality of life. Projects inspired by emotional or psychological motives bring great results when accomplished to meet some real, practical necessities. 

Even a small refreshment, or a new appliance, gives a couple more reasons to sit, talk, and work together. As a result, they contribute to healthier relationships.

The Gift of a Problem Solved

While it may not be the ultimate romantic Valentine’s Day gift, at least not according to holiday advertising – it boasts a high value that will grow in appreciation as time goes by. Broken features, bad appliances, leaky faucets, squeaky doors… If one or more of such things present a permanent source of stress for your partner, fixing them with a magic wand might just prove to be the most romantic thing you have ever done so far. Not only that it will improve the quality of life for you both – it will also communicate some subliminal messages, such as “I am paying attention – you’re important.” 

Inspiration for Valentine’s Day Home Remodelling Can Be Found Anywhere

Valentine's Day Home Remodeling - Red Wall Paint

Refresh the Walls

A fresh coat of paint is an effortless way to revive the room. Painting them red can bring a lot of fun and count for one of those “do crazy things together” relationship improvement moments. It’s not only a decoration task; it’s an experience and a way to create lasting memories. Also, it’s one of the easiest and cheapest home remodelling tasks. Even if the final result is not what you hoped for – simple repainting will solve that.

Alternatively, you may catch an early bird and opt for a vivid mix of red with Pantone Colour of the Year 2021 Ultimate Gray and Illuminating.

Pantone Color of the Year 2021

Warm-up With Fire

If you don’t own a fireplace, think of building one…or a few. Apart from a living room, as an obvious choice, think of placing one in your bedroom. A fireplace can be just the right addition for the upcoming Valentine’s Day. Perhaps you can’t go out on a date, but with a little effort, your own home can do a perfect hosting job.

Refresh Lighting Fixtures

Nothing affects the mood and overall room atmosphere like lighting, and updating the regular fixtures is a smart move. Low brightness patterns, hidden fixtures, ambient lighting with subdued colours deliver a soothing, restful effect, while high levels of crisp white light promote activity.

A bedroom environment will see a lot of benefits from changing the lighting system. Pick the right lighting solutions that will add some romantic flair, and install dimmers. Diffusing lamp designs with discrete illumination produce a relaxing, quiet, stress-free mood. Besides the amorous dimension, this setting also promotes tranquillity in all senses, which is useful for improved communication. 

Crystal chandeliers are back, and you can utilize them in many ways to add a serious style boost to your home. Try it in the bathroom and turn utility space into a seven-star luxury spa retreat for you and your partner. We’ll be back on this later.

For extra Valentine’s flair, try red lighting fixtures. A sassy and red light draws attention and works magic as a visual feature where least expected. Red bedside light shade will inspire and energize, especially as an accent, a light touch of stand-alone colour.

Valentine's Day Home Remodeling - Red accents

Another cheeky way to use red is a vanity light or kitchen ambient lights. Accent red is a great example of breathing life and energy levels into a neutral space. 

Update the Kitchen

Valentine's Day Home Remodeling -kitchen with red counter

If your partner enjoys being a designated house chef, he or she would surely be delighted with an updated kitchen. The good side of this project is that it doesn’t have to break the budget. A Valentine’s Day home remodelling gift can be as simple as refreshed countertops or upgraded appliances. A full kitchen remodelling would also include brand new cabinetry, plumbing, floors, and perhaps changing to a new, more functional layout.

Valentine's Day Home Remodeling - Red Backsplash

Updated appliances can also add more fun to meal preparation and provide you with some quality time together

Turn Bathroom Into a Spa Retreat

Valentine's Day Home Remodeling - Red bathroom accents

If your budget is limited, start from details, such as red Valentine accents. Neutral bathroom colours are a perfect canvas for all sorts of accessorizing. The next step could be updating your faucets and showerhead – it can convey the feeling of having a full remodelling job done. 

A new programmable thermostat will help in maintaining the right temperature during long showers. Support this feature with low-flow showerheads that minimize water waste while retaining the same pressure. Additionally, you may try vapour and steam generator for a bit of extra challenge. Shower benches for relaxing are also a good idea. 

Valentine's Day Home Remodeling - Red faucets

Still, if you’re ready to invest in a serious bathroom remodel, you might just end up feeling like you’re in a brand new home. In a good way, of course.

A luxurious bath is an experience that enhances all kinds of love: to your home, to yourself, to your partner. Spa-like master bathrooms significantly improve the lifestyle, help relaxation and promote better connection with self and others.

Not many things can instantly warm up a romance like a therapeutic whirlpool tub with candles and scents. For additional romantic points, support the whirlpool tub with a sensual dual walk-in shower with body jets.

Valentine's Day Home Remodeling - Red walls

A couple of impressive focal points can elevate the bathroom design to become yours and your partner’s favourite place in the house, a private sanctuary for regular dates. If beautiful views surround your home, consider more opening to outside with ample glass walls or windows. Don’t worry about privacy; a specialized glass will prevent the issues.

If you’re not a fan of modern design, turn the bathroom interior into a fairytale escape, filled with traditional romance and modern glamour, illuminated by a lavish chandelier. 

Luxury-Bathroom-design wallpapers are back
Vancouver architect: Luxury bathroom design

Install an Outdoor Kitchen

The weather will soon be fine, so why not enhance social life with a new outdoor kitchen? This practical and entertaining outdoor space will add a new dimension to all your relationships: with your partner, with your friends, with your home. 

An outdoor kitchen adds a lot of value, not the least to the property itself. You and your partner/family will get extra space to hang out, entertain, and try some new challenges that will bring you more together.

An outdoor kitchen doesn’t have to compete with the regular one. It can be as simple as one small counter space with a grill. But if you want to dress to impress, create a luxury outdoor space with a top-notch cooking station, wet bar, and refrigerator.

When Is the Right Time to Start Valentine’s Day Home Remodelling?

Suppose you are reading this a day before THE day and feel disappointed now. Don’t be. A plan is enough. Make basic preparations, talk to designers and contractors and see what they can do for you. Or call us and check how we can set it all up for you. A ready-made plan can make an ideal Valentine’s day gift. Present your loved one with a list, and spend time talking about ways to make you both fully involved in a process. Step by step, you will be investing in a better and happier future together. Finally, it sounds like a better investment than perfume and a box of chocolates, doesn’t it?

Sources: [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]

When Should a Contractor Join to Start a Renovation Task?

This is the continuation of last week’s conversation about “Where to Start a Renovation”
A contractor’s job is to materialize the architect’s design. Larger projects may employ one general contractor and several subcontractors for specialized tasks. When you hire a contractor at this stage, his/her job will include removing and installing walls, light fixtures, staircases, flooring, countertops, and more. Their expertise will secure a successful design implementation and a quality final result.

If you start your renovation with a contractor, he will rely on you to conduct the process and navigate him through your vision and goals. That means the typical responsibilities of an architect/ designer will be yours to bear. It may undoubtedly seem tempting, like a convenient way to save some money. But then again, are you sure you know what you’re up to? Every obstacle, challenge, and delay will come with a price tag. Moreover, expect the unexpected. In some situations, neither you nor your contractor will be able to come up with a solution. 

contemporary designer surrey
Contemporary Designer Surrey

Using a contractor in place of an architect or a building designer can make sense only up to a certain point. It’s acceptable when the remodeling is a small, prevalently cosmetic task that costs less than 5% of your home’s value.

Otherwise, all projects that involve significant structural changes should start with an architect’s/ or a building designer and eventually an engineer’s expert input, that will continue throughout every stage. You probably don’t want to risk any legal, financial, and safety consequences. Thus, when researching the initial cost of your remodelling, calculate the hazards too. 

Also, don’t forget that many architects have their own contractors, and that connection can greatly affect the final price

Word of Caution Before You Hire Anyone to Start a Renovation Project

Before you hire anyone, make sure to perform thorough research. Ask around for recommendations from friends and family. Inquire about all kinds of experiences they have had during the contract. That way, you will get some valuable insights that will help you recognize possible red flags and handle the issues more conveniently.

In general, it’s recommendable to look for an established company with a trackable record and a good reputation. Find out everything about their credentials, particularly qualifications and licensing. Check out if the license is valid and not expired, or worse—suspended in the meantime.

Make a list of prospective candidates and meticulously check each one. Look through their websites, google their names and details, find ratings, read reviews, and search for any traces of officially filed complaints. It’s a good idea to google names+keywords like “cheat,” “scam,” “fraud,” or “rip-off.”

Red Flags

Now, we don’t advocate paranoia, and for sure it’s impossible to predict everything. However, some warning signs should be a reason to check the person/company more thoroughly. 

Missing pieces of information, like full contact details (including a physical address) on the website, are not such a good sign. If a company asks for a substantial advance payment, or presses you into making haste decisions, run away. Also, beware of contractors who accept only cash, suggest a loan from someone he guarantees for, or offer any kind of “special demonstration price, only today.”

The biggest red flag is if you are asked to sign something even before you hire. That is particularly common with fraudulent contractors. They will answer your inquiry with an estimation or “authorization” that will turn to be as binding as an actual contract.

For many reasons, these situations rarely happen with architects. You are free to choose how you want to start a renovation, but be careful. Avoid any offers that include shortcuts, sideways, and alternatives methods. There is a possibility that you’ll be lucky and hit the jackpot; however, with such a lottery, there’s a great chance to lose.

burnaby architect
Burnaby Architect

Right Steps and Wise Choices Will Save You the Most

Red flags may leave you with a feeling that finding an honest contractor is hard. However, there are many ethical professionals in the business, and if you take the right steps from the start, you will not face many issues. 

The cheap, fraudulent work is usually conducted by individuals who have never really learned their trade or took a deep interest in it. They had joined the industry with the idea of making fast money out of it. The contractor of this class will offer you plenty of promises, “secrets,” and unique opportunities to renovate for cheap. Trust the established professionals, hire an architect from the start, and save more than just money in the long run.

By Aryo Falakrou (My Home Designer)

Should I Remodel During Covid-19?

Many people think of renovating their homes as an opportunity to solve an immediate issue. Often it means adapting the space over the garage to get an extra room or adding a foyer to get a better entrance. Some people believe that a simple expansion of 500 sq. ft. to gain more space can make life easier. The truth is, to truly help the clients, we first have to listen carefully and find out what bothers them. Instead of focusing on the end solution the client has come up with, and try to resolve that, we rather go deep to the issues that they really want to solve. If our clients decide to remodel during Covid-19, we have a double responsibility to help them achieve the best results while avoiding any issues or inconveniences.

Can you imagine a patient who suffers from ear pain and has the doctor advise him to change the shoes? It makes more sense than it seems because a wrong shoe can affect your nerves which can, in return, affect your ear. Instead of giving the patient a pain killer to solve the immediate issue, the doctor actually investigates the issue and solves it from the source.

That’s exactly what we do with our clients. We look at the whole picture and help them unveil the best living and working space that matches their unique lifestyle. After all, we are all unique in our ways of living, so our lifestyle represents our unique personality and character. Our home should reflect our uniqueness and we must not be shy to express it. 

Consult us to talk about your lifestyle. Together, we can find out the best way to help you achieve a better version of yourself.

Objectives of Renovation

  1. Expecting newcomer in your life
  2. Envious of friends and neighbours
  3. Mental and physical health
  4. Bored with your existing house
  5. Status
  6. Adding value to the house
  7. Adding extra income 
  8. A family member moving in
  9. Seniorizing your house
  10. Selling your house
  11. Adding privacy and security in your house
  12. Making the house more sustainable and energy-efficient
  13. A need to open a home office within your house
  14. A wish to build a mancave 
  15. Rejuvenating your kitchen
  16. Buying a new house and wanting to customize it to your needs

We design houses for people who are ready to reward themselves, and that determines the three key categories of clients:

1. Couples with very young children (one partner is always in finance).

2. Couples with young teens that have outgrown their home.

3. Couples/singles whose kids are out of the house. They either deferred updating/expanding their house until they were through financing their kid’s education, or they are “downsizing.”

I help people to redesign their lifestyle by understanding their life and designing an ideal house for them according to their taste.

surrey modern architect
surrey modern architect

Remodel During Covid-19: Yes or No?

The world is in slow motion, and nothing seems certain. It’s undoubtedly hard to plan too far ahead. However, it’s still possible to get something good out of the situation, and that includes all the extra time on our hands. The ongoing circumstances that nobody wanted still bear an excellent opportunity to do something we seemingly never have enough time to do properly. For instance, few would consider going for a home remodel during Covid-19. Then again, perhaps they should rethink it. 

remodel during covid
New bathroom in the attic? Why not!

Naturally, the first question to arise is if dealing with such an enterprise is a good idea under current circumstances. The decision is not nearly insensible, as it might sound at first. Still, as with anything, there are both pros and cons.

Slow Times: A Chance for Proper Remodeling Plans

This stay-at-home period offers you a chance to devote to the entire project with higher attention to detail.

You probably have more than enough time now to plan or review the existing blueprint for every room carefully. Revisit the planned layout and double-check for loopholes, recalculate the cost breakdown of different aspects involved. Research new interior trends and discover some fresh ideas. Go slowly—if your existing plans and wishes have been based on any impulsive decisions, this is the moment to bust them.

The economy is, unfortunately, unstable at the moment. However, at the same time, the situation presents a chance to use the abundant offer of various sales. You may significantly lower your project’s cost or benefit from a more upscale purchase within the same projected budget. Suppose you had your eye on some fancy piece of furniture or a professional kitchen appliance. In that case, this might be your chance to finally get it.

House and money
Remodel during Covid-19 can save you money

Remodelling can be expensive, and discounts are welcome wherever possible. In other words, if there’s no significant obstacle insight, why turn a blind eye towards an attractive opportunity? 

It’s also easier to compare offers and prices when showrooms offer plenty of virtual tours. You can even use Zoom and similar platforms to hold a meeting with a designer or a contractor.

Covid-19 Interrupting Ongoing Renovation

In case your remodelling project had started before the pandemic, you have probably already acquired most of the resources and have the plans developed. Apart from the risk of running short of a specific material, this situation bears certain advantages. Unless another lockdown interrupts all plans again, you have no reason to doubt or look back. Even in case of a shortage, your order will be considered a priority in the chain of supply, compared to the ones just made. 

You might be surprised to learn that the home improvement industry is continuing to thrive in many parts of the world, despite the pandemic. Many countries list remodelling companies as essential services. That means they can continue to work even throughout some stages of the lockdown. Most companies are also adapting and continually innovating their business model to fit the circumstances and requirements. 

richmond kitchen designer
Richmond kitchen designer

Finding the right contractor in this period could prove more comfortable than you think. It’s logical to presume there were some cancellations. In the best case, you’ll end up with a remodelling company able to focus exclusively on your home. Also, few contractors will want to delay more than necessary, most likely they’ll work twice as hard to complete the work fast.

Hire an Architect

Even if your initial plan did not involve an architect, this might be a perfect time to hire one. Surely, renovation projects can be done without an architect in order to save money. However, in many cases, the final result turns out to be more costly. Without professional guidance and surveillance, it’s easy to go vastly over-budget and still end up with plenty of annoying failures. What seems trivial at the start, may later reveal just how much it affects daily life. 

Vancouver addition Project
Vancouver Addition Project

An architect does a lot more than coming up with a floor plan. Your architect is also your advocate within the industry. He can take many issues off your back to handle them with more convenience. Think reviewing payments with the contractor, control if the specified materials are actually being used, and supervise to ensure you get what you agreed on.

Most homeowners are not experienced enough to spot subtle differences between the cheap stuff and the natural materials they pay for. A contractor can be honest, but mistakes happen. That is one of the crucial points where paying an architect can actually save you money in the long run.

Renovation during COVID
Renovation

There’s a difference between a young professional freshly out of school and a licensed, experienced architect familiar with the industry pros and cons. In many cases, paperwork is crucial for a project’s success, and you need an architect well-versed in dealing with specific codes, regulations, and approvals from the city. Choosing to remodel during Covid-19 gives you a chance to get even a high-end architect, usually over busy and unavailable. 

Improve Air Circulation

The pandemic outburst made us all revisit our choices, including the relation to hygiene, health, and germs in our environment. While professionals have already been coming up with improved ways to ventilate public spaces, remodelling during Covid-19 presents an opportunity to do the same in your home. 

It goes without saying that the project of such a scale requires you to move out for a while. Depending on your location and circumstances, a pandemic may or may not be the best time for that. Hopefully, you can have a chance to change the environment a little and use providers like Airbnb for a home away from home. Apart from the fact that every change is welcome once in a while, you will also lower the health risks by staying away from the site. If you have hired an architect, he can take over the entire supervising job, and keep you involved remotely. 

Cons of Remodel During Covid-19

Depending on your location and current circumstances, you may have to pay additional costs for certain safety measures and building protection. Alternatively, you can search for a remodelling company that has it all included in the price. 

Your contractor will probably try to finish the task as soon as possible. However, it’s still possible to experience delays and interruptions due to the “higher force,” so arm yourself with an additional load of patience. It’s a wise move to also have at least 20% over the initial budget prepared for any unexpected issues.

burnaby Renovation, remodel during covid
Burnaby renovation

Although the home improvement industry is seemingly working fine, managing to keep all the popular stock items, there can always be exceptions. The items you have ordered may suddenly run short or go out of stock, so try always to have a Plan B at hand. It is also possible that products may suddenly become pricier, as higher demand can lead to a higher cost.

Don’t fall into the trap of impulsive decisions and spending too much at this stage. Considering the state of the economy, it’s safe to say that the future is somewhat unpredictable. Therefore it might not be a good idea to use your credit card or take a loan to finance your project.

So, Should You Remodel During Covid-19?

Pandemic has undoubtedly slowed down the life we know, but it hasn’t destroyed it. Worldwide, the governments and the people are fighting to keep it on and work towards containing and eventually eliminating the source of problems. 

The times are hard; however, there is still space for some profitable remodelling decisions as well. If you are able to deal with the cons, the benefits can be significant. With all precautions taken, if you have your budget sorted out, by all means, go ahead. 

By Aryo Falakrou (My Home Designer)

Renovate an Old House vs Building a New One

Renovate an Old House vs Building a New One

Sometimes we may be faced with deciding to keep an existing home or tearing it down and starting over. Is it worth keeping an old house and remodelling or renovating it or should you tear it down and start over?

How do you assess whether or not to renovate/remodel or tear down and build new?

It is important to get your architect, designer or engineer involved right at the beginning, even your realtor if you are considering purchasing an older house. You also need to find out what your local municipality requires when it comes to heritage houses.

If you already own the house and want to renovate, you may have an idea of what will need to be replaced and any restrictions that the City and/or the historical society has. However, if you are looking to buy an older house, you should be very thorough in the assessment of it.

Those who are thinking about acquiring an older house should enlist the help of their realtor to assist in finding out if the house has been registered with the local heritage society and what their requirements or restrictions are for remodeling and renovating. You don’t want to purchase an older house only to find out that you cannot put in a stand-up shower with modern fixtures next to the claw foot bathtub.

Other things to consider when thinking about purchasing an older house are: how old is the house? When was the electrical wiring last updated; has it ever been updated? How current is the existing plumbing? If you upgrade the plumbing (not just the fixtures), will the City require you to upgrade your sewer and water connections at street level? How much will that cost? What about insulation, windows, the roof and the foundation? When you purchase the house, these last items should be given first priority before anything else.

Remember, in the city of Vancouver there would be necessary to apply for permit for any upgrade in the house. If the house has older wiring and plumbing it is highly recommended to have it upgraded. Usually during the upgrade, the trades need to open the drywalls and run the new lines. Most important of all, you have to make sure the old house does not contain any asbestos. That can be determined by a certified contractor.

I had a client who was planing to do a minor renovation in their new bought home and after the asbestos test result came positive, they end up to remove the drywall from the entire house and upgrade their insulation as well.

I had another client who couldn’t make up her mind if it’s benificial for her to renovate or re-built.

Renovating might cost over $200,000 less (it depends on the each house and extend of renovation) compare to re-building, but if you ever thinking of re-selling the house, the title on the house will never changes as the date is built. It will consider an old house with a major renovation which might effect on your asking price determination.

Concrete meant to serve 100 years and if you buy a 50 year old house, it’s foundation passed it’s half of it’s lifetime. Spending $400K to $600K to renovate an existing house might be good for environment to re-use some of existing material and the style of the house, but at the same time you have check the economic feasibility of new built vs. renovation.

In summary, some things to consider if renovating are:

  • When was the house built?
  • Is your house designated heritage?
  • What is your budget and are you prepared to go over budget if needed to meet industry standards, municipal and heritage requirements?
  • Is there any asbestos in the house and how much does it cost to remove it if there is any
  • Will the electrical wiring need to be upgraded?
  • Will the plumbing need to be upgraded? Will that require new sewer/water connections?
  • Do the windows need to be replaced to get a better insulation value and how much that would cost?
  • Will the walls need to be deepened to accommodate thicker insulation?
  • Where will you stay; in the house or somewhere else? What is the cost of staying somewhere else?
  • Do you have children and/or animals that will be affected by being in the house or displaced during renovation?

modern bathroom designer

modern bathroom designer

And some things to consider if building new:

  • What is your budget? Is your budget flexible?
  • What are the building requirements for your local municipality?
  • How long is it going to take?
  • Where are you going to live while the house if being built? How much will that cost?
  • Are you going to use the house as an income property (rent it out) or live in it?
  • How long do you expect to live in the house when you are finished?

Check out the following blog posts on Myhomedesigner.com about renovations in Vancouver:

What You Should Know and Do Before Renovating Your House In Vancouver and

What You Should Know and Do Before Renovating Your House In Vancouver – Part 2

Here are some documents you can download to help with your decision-making process:

Design Team Meeting – Renovations

Design Team Meeting – New Home

Deciding whether to renovate an existing house or to tear it down and start over is when you definitely should seek the advice of experts. Myhomedesigner.com Ltd. is experienced in dealing with both renovations as well as new or re-built homes and has extensive experience in investment in real estate which can help you to make an inform decision. We are ready to answer your questions; contact us by filling out the form on our website or call 604-929-6696.

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