With each passing year, technology becomes a bigger part of our lives and now it’s making its way into our homes. Recent improvements in smart home technology has made it possible for homeowners to enjoy their spaces, be eco-friendly, and feel more secure than ever. Home automation is one of the perks of bringing tech into your home. It has the ability to provide convenience and simplicity to just about any aspect of your home life.
What is home automation?
Home automation is the use of technology to control or customize the way various parts of your home function. You could automate everything from your lights and music to more crucial functions in your home such as surveillance. Here’s a quick look at some simple and awesome ways you could incorporate it into your home.
Lighting is arguably the most common use of automation ever since tech started making its way into our homes. We’ve rapidly seen a transition from ordinary incandescent bulbs to the use of LED bulbs and smart lighting. Previously, smart lighting technology would have to be incorporated into a new home during the building process, but nowadays lighting control systems can be installed in already existing homes. Automating the lighting in your home allows you to easily control the mood in your space throughout the day. With the help of remote controls, motion detectors and touchscreens, homeowners are able to dynamically control both interior and exterior lighting systems. Improvements in lighting technology have also made it possible to create lighting profiles for different parts of your home, and program your lights to turn on and off at specific times of the day.
Probably the biggest cause of a high energy bill is an inefficient HVAC system. Often times homeowners forget to adjust their thermostat or turn off the air conditioner before they leave the house. Luckily, smart HVAC systems make it easy to control the temperature and air in your home. With the help of an automated system, you can program your air conditioner and thermostat to shut off and on at different times of the day. You can also control your home’s temperature with the help of smart gadgets. These gadgets use sensor technology to collect useful information like your home’s temperature, or how long it takes for your space to heat up or cool down. They prevent your home’s HVAC system from running longer than it needs to. Smart HVAC systems help create an optimal atmosphere in your home and could save you tons of money in the long run!
Perhaps the most important and beneficial use of home automation is increasing the safety and security of your space and family. Automated security systems provide more intelligent surveillance and are far more protective than traditional surveillance. Smart surveillance can even be integrated with the devices you currently use, such as your phone or laptop. With a smart security system, you can view footage from your security cameras remotely, with any device of your choice, as long as you have access to the internet. This makes securing your home a convenient and easy process. You can also program your doors to lock/unlock automatically when you leave or arrive, or even make use of motion sensors which detect movement in your home when you’re not around. For the safety conscious homeowner, smart surveillance systems make it easy to increase the security of your home.
Thinking of introducing smart home technology into your space? Get in touch with us today!
When remodeling their homes, many often ask “do I really need an interior designer?” It may seem like an unnecessary expense up front, or even a bit frivolous, however, if you are spending time and money on remodeling your house, it may very well be worth it. Here are some reasons why.
1. Save Yourself Some Money
When doing a remodel, paying an interior designer might not seem like it will save you money, but creating a cohesive look in your home can be a daunting task, and costly mistakes can easily be made. For example, do you know with certainty that the paint colour you picked will work with your lighting and furniture choices? Or if you’re shopping for furniture, are you certain that you’ll be just as happy having it in your home as you were seeing it on the showroom floor?
Additionally, a designer will know how to get the best value out of your design budget. They work with you to ensure you understand where every dollar of your money is going. Plus, they have access to resources and know of products that you may not even be aware of. This will save you endless hours of researching and comparing products and prices, which, of course, is valuable when you have other important things to attend to.
2. Increase Your Home’s Future Resale Value
Hiring an interior designer can help boost the appeal of your home when you eventually decide to sell. Their professional touches can add an appealing aesthetic to your home, which translates into an increase in showings. Plus, this increased appeal means your house will sell faster and won’t be sitting on the market for an extended period of time, which means money in your pocket much sooner.
3. Receive Invaluable Professional Guidance
A good designer can help you determine your personal style without pushing their own preferences and style on you. While they may give some nudges to help you think of ideas that you haven’t thought of yourself, they’ll be adaptable in integrating your feedback and personal tastes. Also, they are trained to expand on your vision and bring it to life. A lot of designers also offer 3D modeling or sketch boards to help you visualize what your new space will look like. With that being said, it’s always good to choose someone who takes the time to understand your tastes and your lifestyle. If it doesn’t feel like a good fit when speaking with a prospective interior designer, move on until you find someone you can trust and connect with.
4. Get the Wow Factor
Have you ever walked into a showhome, seen photos online, or visited a showroom and said ‘wow! how did they do that? This looks fantastic!’? Designers are always the ones behind the vision that make people feel an ineffable sense of awe. They are the ones that bring all the components of a room together beautifully. And rightfully so – they do this all the time! They are trained to think differently and can see the overall picture of a room while knowing the little components that pull it together. With an interior designer, not only will you get good design, you’ll also get an attention to detail that ensures everything fits perfectly and is truly unique to you and your home.
Do you feel like your home could use an update? Whether you’re annoyed with your appliances causing your power bills to soar or you’re tired of looking at outdated pastel walls, 2018 has brought a few renovation trends that will bring your house into this decade and beyond. Here are the 6 most popular trends of this year.
1. Universal Design
Universal design, also known as “aging in place” design, makes it possible for people to stay in their homes well into their golden years. In a home with universal design, you’ll see things like wheelchair-accessible open showers instead of bathtubs. There are often also contrasting colours for easy visual navigation and open concept spaces for ease of movement.
2. Eco-Friendly Materials
In 2018, homeowners are looking for more than a simple energy efficiency sticker. They’re concerned about the sustainability of product development, the life cycle of products, and how they affect air quality in their home.
One of the biggest changes happening this year is in flooring options. Bamboo is becoming increasingly popular because it grows quickly and doesn’t require as much land to grow as other hardwoods do. This makes it a more sustainable option. Cork is another eco-friendly option gaining momentum, and is great for sound absorption.
Water consumption is also important if you plan to create a green living space. Homeowners are replacing their water-guzzling toilets and showers with low-flow options. They’re also planting native species of flowers and trees that are already climatized and therefore don’t require as much external water or pesticides to grow.
Additionally, we’re seeing more people upgrading their windows to eliminate air leaks; reducing heating and cooling costs. There is also an increased demand for plant-based paints with no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to minimize indoor air pollution.
3. Luxury Basements
Basements are no longer the damp, cold storage spaces for forgotten household items. The basement has now become a luxurious getaway for homeowners. We’re seeing more requests to renovate basements to be an additional entertainment space, home gym or music room. Adding an in-law suite is also very popular to accommodate aging parents or multi-generational families.
4. The Connected Home
2018 has become the year of making technology a staple in any home renovation. The goal of new tech, is to streamline your life.
New tech will also save you time and money. Here are a few of the most popular options:
- Install USB plugins in the kitchen to charge your phone as you look up recipes or browse the internet while cooking.
- Get a doorbell equipped with a camera. You’ll save plenty of time not answering the door for solicitors!
- Install programmable lighting and thermostats. Both allow you to save on utility bills while giving you one less thing to worry about every day.
Painting isn’t exactly a major renovation, but it has turned into one of the hottest home renovations of 2018. Homeowners are turning away from neutrals like whites, greys and beiges. Now, they’re painting their walls and cabinets bold statement colours that stand out.
Just look at any paint company’s most popular colour of the year. Benjamin Moore’s colour, Caliente, is a rich red that is sure to make a statement. Dulux’s paint colour of 2018 is the deep hue Black Elegant. Valspar’s is the bold Deep Indigo. It seems that the trend of clean interiors is taking a backseat to a colourful, personalized, and homey feel.
6. A Natural Touch
Like in fashion, the 90’s seems to be making a resurgence when it comes to home renovations. Wooden cabinets are back, but homeowners are most interested in reclaimed wood, or wood with a less polished or finished feel. This is different than what was seen over 25 years ago. You’ll also see the more rustic wood look in furniture, cabinets, and wood ceilings.
Are you looking to update your home with one of 2018’s hottest renovation trends? Schedule a conversation with us today!
Your home is likely the biggest investment you’ll ever make and if you’re looking to sell, you will want that investment to pay off. Luckily, there are many renovations that will boost your home’s value and appeal to potential buyers. To ensure you get the most bang for your buck, here are five renovations that almost entirely pay for themselves in resale value.
1. Replace your garage door
Replacing your garage door is the best renovation for overall return on investment. You’ll not only recoup up to 98% of the cost, but it’ll greatly increase your home’s curbside appeal. Be sure to choose a garage door that can withstand Hamilton’s varying temperatures and weather conditions to get the most out of your investment.
2. Fix your flooring
Flooring makes a big impact, and can be a make-or-break for many potential buyers. Take a look at your carpet – is it stained or frayed? If you have hardwood, is it scratched from years of pets roaming around? Also check if any tiles are cracked or if any linoleum is peeling. Regardless of whether it’s true or not, the buyer is likely to assume your house hasn’t been well maintained if the flooring is in rough shape.
When it comes to flooring, hardwood proves to be the best return on investment adding up to 2.5% on to your home’s sale price, but it can be pricey to add to every room in the house. If you’re looking for a less costly solution to appeal to buyers, opt for hardwood in public areas like the living room and hallways, and install new carpet in the bedrooms.
3. Give your kitchen a makeover
Many buyers still consider the kitchen to be the heart of the home, and therefore the most important room in the house. So it’s no surprise that giving your kitchen a makeover will appeal to potential buyers.
You don’t have to completely gut your kitchen to increase your home’s value. In fact, high end kitchen remodels have a lower return on investment than mid-range remodels. This is because it’s easier to recoup the cost of lower ticket items like appliances and an updated backsplash than it is for custom cabinetry. Also, neutral paint colours have been shown to be the most appealing when selling your home.
4. Upgrade the bathroom
Home buyers are typically looking for clean and modern bathrooms. The cheapest upgrade options are lighting fixtures and sink hardware. Though, if your bathrooms haven’t been renovated in over 20 years, it may be time for a more extensive remodel like a new bathroom vanity, sink and tub.
If you have multiple baths and are looking to prioritize what you renovate, master baths and powder rooms are the best places to start since the homeowners will be primarily using the former, and guests will be using the latter. Secondary baths like those found in the basement, hold less weight to buyers. And as with kitchens, buyers have been shown to overwhelmingly prefer neutral paint colours.
5. Don’t forget the outside of your house!
Buyers often make their decision whether or not they’ll buy before they even enter your house, so make sure to consider how the exterior of your home looks. For your front yard, there are a number of cheap and easy options to boost curb appeal, like keeping the grass cut, adding a few colourful flowers and trimming overgrown bushes. If your siding is still in good shape, consider adding a fresh coat of paint.
In your backyard, low maintenance gardens and a tree or two can go a long way – buyers value having privacy and some shade. In fact, mature trees can add up to 20% on the sale price of the home.
Are you ready to start renovating your house to attract buyers and boost your home sale price? Schedule a conversation with us today!
Renovating your kitchen can be exciting – after many months (or years!) of imagining and planning, you’ve decided to move forward with building your dream kitchen. However, even when everything goes smoothly during construction, it can feel like a nightmare when your regular routine is disrupted. Your house is a construction zone, there will be noise and dust, and you won’t have access to all your usual amenities. To help you through this, we’ve made a list of 6 tips to help you survive your kitchen renovation with ease.
While it’s inconvenient to not have access to everything in your kitchen, a lot can be done with just two electric burners. Think stir fries, pastas, breakfast foods, and one-pot dinner recipes. If possible, renovate your kitchen during the summer months so you can use your barbeque, and set up near a sink for easy cleaning if you can. And on those days where you just can’t face cooking a meal in your makeshift kitchen, have easy snacks on hand. Dried fruit, trail mix, and classic peanut butter and jam can be filling!
Buy paper plates and plastic utensils
Altering how you eat can be challenging enough, especially when there are dishes to wash by hand in a limited space. For easy cleanup, you can buy a pack of 100 paper plates for under $6 and a set of 120 plastic forks, knives, and spoons for under $20. And if the thought of throwing out that much waste doesn’t sit right, there are also compostable options that are made from recycled materials to minimize environmental impact.
Create a budget for eating out more often
While you can certainly make do with a makeshift kitchen, it’s understandable if you get sick of stir fries and pastas. Also, it’s nice to sometimes get away from the mess of a renovation. While eating out may not be a regular part of your family budget, it may likely become a bigger portion of your expenses when you don’t have access to a kitchen. So before your renovation even begins, anticipate how many times per week you’ll go out, multiplied by the timeline of the remodel to keep your budget in check.
Protect your valuables from dust
While we do our very best to minimize dust in your home during the renovation process, we can’t eliminate all dust and it can travel through the vents. Be sure to cover up your furniture and other valuable items to keep your home as dust-proof as possible.
Order as much as possible before the job starts
One of the frustrations that many people fear during a remodel is a delay in the timeline. The construction phase of a kitchen renovation takes an average of 6 weeks, sometimes longer depending on the extent of the remodel. Don’t forget the complete timeline – it can take weeks or months to plan and order supplies before construction even starts. Things like faucets, cabinets, handles, and lighting fixtures can take weeks to arrive, so it’s best to have these items on hand once the remodeling begins to minimize delays in construction.
Remember the big picture
While the noise, dust, and inconvenience can be frustrating, just remember that this a very short period of time in the grand scheme of home ownership. The temporary hassles of a kitchen renovation will be a blip on the radar when you look back on those times from your beautiful new kitchen!
If you are ready to remodel your kitchen, or have questions about the kitchen remodel process, schedule a conversation with us today!
Kitchens are the heart of the home and the centre of your family’s day to day living. But when you start to notice that it’s not as functional as it could be, or it has simply become outdated, it may be tempting to take a sledgehammer to everything in sight.
There are so many variables that go into planning a kitchen remodel and you need to truly understand how you would like to live, work and entertain in a new kitchen. So, before you pick up that sledgehammer, here are five questions to ask yourself to make sure you get the kitchen of your dreams.
#1. What bothers you about your kitchen?
Is there a cabinet and drawer that can’t be opened at the same time? Does the refrigerator door open away from your work area? Is your dishwasher too far from the sink? Not enough storage space?
If this is the case, you have a functionality problem. Luckily, there is a concept called the kitchen work triangle that makes it easy to understand how to get an efficient kitchen layout. Here are the principles:
- Each “side” of the triangle (e.g., the distance between the sink and fridge) should measure between 4 and 9 feet, and the three sides of the triangle should not exceed 26 feet in total.
- The work triangle should not cut through an island or peninsula by more than 1 foot.
- If the kitchen has only one sink, it should be placed between or across from the cooking surface, preparation area, or refrigerator.
- No major traffic patterns should cross through the triangle.
If your kitchen is perfectly functional and you feel like it just needs to be updated, what exactly needs to be updated? Would refinishing the cabinets give your kitchen the look you want? Or would you have to completely change the cabinets, flooring and countertops?
Decide if there’s anything in your kitchen you’d like to keep – this will be easier on your wallet too!
#2. What are your must haves?
Some people are entertainers who enjoy gathering their friends and family together for happy hour and appetizers and then moving to a big dinner table. If this is you, perhaps installing a kitchen island with comfortable bar stools and extending the dining space is important.
If you’re big into preparing everything from scratch and have all sorts of kitchenware, your kitchen remodel would prioritize storage so your dutch oven and canning supplies don’t take over your counterspace.
Maybe you’re the type that sees the kitchen as just a means to an end for cooking a simple meal with as little hassle as possible. If this is you, look into lighting options and personal touches like a pop of colour in the backsplash to make your space more appealing.
#3. What is my style?
Interior design can be tricky. Once you decide what design style suits you (e.g., traditional, contemporary, mid-century modern, etc.), you’ll need to determine what colours, textures, and materials best suit that style to pull the look together. Hiring an interior designer can take a lot of the guesswork out of this step!
#4. How much do you want to budget for your kitchen remodel?
A kitchen remodel can cost in the low five-figures for a small kitchen or a kitchen refresh, while a full gut and replace with new appliances and high quality materials can cost well over $50,000.
While you may have an extensive wishlist for your kitchen remodel, it may have to be pared back to fit within your budget. To get an idea of how much you should budget, check out this Ontario Contractor’s guide.
#5. How long are you planning to live in your house?
A lot of people ask us how remodeling will affect future resale value. While this is great to think about, you should remodel for your needs if you plan to stay in your home long-term. If you are simply looking to update your kitchen before putting it on the market in 12-24 months, consider what is selling in your area and use neutral colours.
If you are ready to remodel your kitchen, or have questions about the kitchen remodel process, schedule a conversation with us today!