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Renovating a Functional Home Office

In this day and age, when people are encouraged to set up workspaces at home, it’s only fitting that you designate an area as your office to achieve a semblance of work-life balance. Now that people are working from home, it can be challenging to separate your personal from your office life, which shouldn’t be the case. That said, establishing a specific work area that is not within the space of your normal day-to-day is essential to your professional performance and sanity.

What are the essential elements of a well-planned home office? It should have these four things:

  • Offers a professional background for video calls and meetings
  • Promotes physical, mental, and overall well-being
  • Provides a space that’s conducive for productivity
  • Promotes work-life balance

Here are some ideas to help you plan for the perfect work-from-home space.

Tips on Renovating a Balanced Home Office

How you design your work area will depend mostly on your house’s current surroundings. Whether you’re occupying and converting a space room or remodelling your existing personal space to have a designated work nook, here are the things you should consider to achieve balance.

Working in a Shared Space

Having a shared home office is not unusual, especially since almost everyone in the household is already probably working or studying from home. While this is inevitable, there are creative and practical ways to make a shared location still conducive for getting stuff done. You can set up cubicle-type partitions or assign specific areas in your home office as exclusive for someone to use. This way, you don’t have to be distracted by what the other person is doing.

Managing Noise

If you have a lot of movement in your household, talk to your remodeler about possibly installing noise-reduction accessories in your home office. Put up a door and walls if there aren’t any. This is particularly important if the nature of the job requires you to keep background noise to a minimum. But if you work in an open area and your job doesn’t really need total silence, then you can get a good set of earphones and set up a barrier that will eliminate visual “noise” to save you from getting distracted.

Setting Up Lighting that Supports Productivity

Natural light is the best during the day, so open up your windows, draw the curtains aside, or have your contractor install suitable types of lighting to create an illusion of daytime. LED bulbs are great options for these. The point is to have ample lighting that will not cause eye strain and headaches, allowing you to get to work without any hitches.

Storage and Organization

For your work-from-home area to be truly functional, you need to have not just a mess-free desk but a clutter-free and organized room. By keeping visible clutter to a minimum, you can focus better on your tasks and, generally, have a lighter mood while working. Organize your documents, books, office supplies, and what-not in drawers and shelves. Ask your remodeler for recommendations on maximizing your area so that you have ample space for work-related stuff.

Renovating a Functional Home Office that Promotes Work-Life Balance

Ensuring that your work stays separate from your personal life is a real challenge when your office is home. But you can definitely get around this and make your space work to your advantage by partnering with the right home renovation provider. True Houses is experienced in creating comfortable shared spaces that help you succeed. Our team will work closely with you to achieve pleasant and functional spaces for work and play.

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Common Kitchen Renovation Mistakes to Avoid

Deciding that it’s time for your kitchen to get a makeover is exciting, and you’ll likely have so many design pegs and plans culled from different magazines and home improvement sites. But before you get down to business, do note that not all dream kitchens are functional and feasible kitchens. Homeowners who got too excited about remodelling their kitchens ended up spending more than what they planned or having a finished space that they have no idea how to use.

The first proper step to planning your kitchen is to decide what you or your entire household really needs and then align these practical elements into designs that work with what your existing area has to offer. To shield you from making the same mistakes that have cost other homeowners so much, here are some of the kitchen renovation errors you should learn from.

Renovation Mistakes That Shouldn’t Happen to Your Kitchen

Here’s what you should NOT do when it’s your turn to design and renovate your kitchen.

Forgetting Your Workflow

Renovating your kitchen should be more about functionality; aesthetics should come second. How the parts make up the whole should align with the way you intend to use it. That said, your workflow is paramount to determining your floor plan. If you do a lot of cooking, you know that your stove, sink, prep counter, and fridge will be the busiest areas in the room. Ensure that they are located close to each other to not feel stressed whenever you prepare food.

Not Protecting Surrounding Spaces

As you start remodelling the area, also note the other rooms in your home that might be affected by the work being done. Protect surrounding spaces from dust, debris, and paint drippings by setting up plastic sheets and other types of protective barriers. Your contractor should supply these, but you can also set this up yourself with simple plastic sheets and poles.

Forgetting Your Budget

Before your start any kitchen remodelling work, you have to set a budget and commit to staying under it. If you’re going the do-it-yourself route, this is especially important as you can tend to go overboard when you see something pretty while you buy supplies or when you make costly mistakes during the remodelling process. When you plan your budget, note that cabinets typically make up around 30% of the total cost.

Choosing Appliances Last

Decide what appliances you want for your space and THEN create a kitchen design around them. It doesn’t matter if you have those appliances now or plan to purchase them in the future. Be sure that you have the space allocated for them to avoid any problems. You don’t want to set up cabinets and then find that you have to tear them all down because your fridge and dishwasher are too big.

Leaving Spaces Underutilized

Optimize usage of your kitchen space by creating opportunities for storage. The space underneath your cabinets could still be utilized as a toe-kick drawer, or the area above the fridge might still be able to fit an extra shelf for your dry items and server ware.

Not Exploring Outside The Box

There are plenty of creative and practical ways to renovate your kitchen by giving existing elements another purpose. Your spice cabinet, for instance, can double as an ingredient or FIFO note board when you stick a dry-erase sheet on the surface. That white space near your stove can also hold recipes or reminders on near-expiry items that should make their way into your cooking first.

Maximizing Space In Your Kitchen

Renovating a kitchen is all about functionality and optimizing space. While it does feel nice to have a really pretty kitchen, all the visual efforts will be for naught if you have a stressful area to utilize. Worse, you have lots of empty spots where storage shelves should have been.

The worst thing about kitchen renovating mistakes is going at it alone and without any professional guidance. While browsing too many magazines might make you feel like an expert at kitchen design, this overconfidence could cost you in the long run.

If you need help renovating and remodelling your kitchen without breaking the bank, True House can help. Our kitchen design and building specialists are experienced in working with different types and sizes of kitchens. We will work closely with you to ensure that your aesthetic vision is translated to reality in the most practical and affordable ways. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at (647) 277 2776.

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Six Ideas to Improve Form and Function of Your New Custom Home

Building a home is on almost everyone’s checklist. It is one of the most fun daydreams of all the projects a person can imagine customizing. Some people go beyond just dreams to ideas and inspiration boards. People looking for sharing and swapping these ideas and to find out practicality along with pros and cons of each customization can avail themselves to many online forums like Houzz, which allows people to get customization ideas, experience details, and find professionals to help you out.

From scrolling on these forums, these 6 design ideas seem to be of interest to many and are minor changes that bring a sense of customization and beauty to the place.

FORM

Free Space under the Stairs

When making stairs planning is integral or else there is a lot of wasted space under the stairs. Having given it a thought to its use helps create a variety of different ideas depending on your utilization. It can be readily used as a storage room, coat closet, lounging area with a reading nook, or hanging your artwork. It can even be used as a small playroom/nursery for kids or workspace. Scrolling around the internet for different ideas can open up your creative thought to even further various uses of that space.

Multi-Functional Mudroom

Everyone loves a clean and tidy house but with multiple members, it seems a 24-hour job to keep the house look pristine at all times. This is where mudrooms keep handy keeping cleaner out front and organized back at the mudroom. It creates storage spaces for any and everything, coats, laundry, shoes, cleaning supplies.

Another idea that people tend to appreciate on the internet is a spare bathtub and shower outside your mudroom to wash off shoes, kids, or even your mud riddles animals. Just keep a closet of clean clothes and a dirty laundry hamper nearby.

Walk-in Rooms

One thing that looks cool is pocket doors. Imagine a beautiful door that just slides into the wall and opens up a beautiful space. The walk-in rooms can not only provide you with extra space but add a sense of elegance to your house. Walk-in rooms make up for sleek office spaces like this McCandlish Design or sophisticated closet spaces like these from California Closets customized according to clientele needs to name a few different uses. Maybe you desire a reading nook hidden from all or a parlor room, a walk-in room can be the answer to your customization question to look elegant and unique at the same time.

FUNCTION

Outlets, Lighting, Electricity

Electrical outlets are one thing that we never seem to have enough of. When building homes, it seems intelligent to create a plan of which room would require which kind and how many outlets. To save the trouble of looking at muddled messy wiring everywhere it is intelligent to install certain kinds of outlets like charging stations, cable, or telephone outlets. It saves from the ugly visuals of dangling wires from every socket. A wise monetary choice is to remember surge protectors to save from destroyed outlets and wires in case of electric disturbances.

Another intelligent thing to do is remember electric prices and invest in dimmers and timers for your appliances especially fans and outdoor lights. No one wants to pay up extraordinary because someone is an overboard holiday decorator. It also helps if your work hours do not match with the sun hours, timing the lights to turn on would give your place an inhabited feel and look. With electric cars becoming common there are options of putting up a charging station in your garage. GE Watt station is a suggestion for those who want or have electric cars.

On these forums and numerous places online people also recommend ceiling or wall mounted lights (recessed lights) especially in kitchens and living rooms and lights above beds.

 Sound Control

Sound control is something people usually do not put much thought into when building homes. The advantage of controlling sound makes for a more productive home office space and fewer noise complaints from neighbors depending on the need to control sound.

Home Security

Security is one of the basic needs of a human. It should be very important to plan about your security according to your homes. The options vary from standard basic front door locks to a complete security system for the entire home depending on your spending power and general security of your area. For people who want them, there are options of a fully “automated home”. Similarly for other technologies in home security like keyless entry, Schlage is a source where one can look.

So, search and share all these and more if you have any better ideas with your fellow home builders.

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What to expect when building a custom home

One of life’s greatest accomplishments is to build yourself a home to call your very own, built exactly to bring comfort and efficiency to how you like to live your life. Some people consider it a life goal, especially if you have kids. In Canada, building a home is a simple undertaking, it can take anywhere between 6-24 months to build a new home. We will get into the specifics. The major hold-up is some red tape, approvals, and whether or not you’ve asked for something special, like soundproofing, or special materials, etc. built into your home. Here’s what to expect when building a custom home.

What you need to do

There is a laundry list of things you need to do yourself before you can hire someone to take over this task.

Select Lot and Model

For pre-built housing schemes, you have a choice of homes you can construct as well as the lot in which your home will be erect.
The lot will require you to pick a community in which you want to live. That means identifying a dot on the map that will be considered your home. Then you need to pick out the size of your home, its layout, and style. Most housing development projects come with some pre-designed homes; you just need to pick which ones appeal to you most. So, if you want to build a house in Mississauga, then you just need to map out some communities and do some research relating to those communities. Most communities have model homes that you can walk into and experience first-hand.

Now, there is an option available to you that allows you to design a new home from scratch. While some communities prefer that you stick to their prebuilt design, others are more open-minded. In this situation, you might end up paying more and the construction time might well take a year (even 2 depending on the size) and it might cost a bit more, but you get something as unique as your fingerprints.

Depending on where you end up, you can move on to the next step.

Purchase Contract and First Deposit

Once you have selected your home, you need to show the intent of purchase. To do this, you sign on the dotted line and submit an initial deposit, which makes that piece of land the grounds for your new home.

Mortgage Approval

At some point during the home-buying process, you will need to meet with a bank, or mortgage broker to plan out the entire house’s payment. Some people prefer to tour homes first, then consult with a bank, while others prefer it the other way around. This qualifies as a personal choice, but it will need to be done at some point.

Review and Sign Off

Once you have selected your design and have made any customizations you want to the design, you can engage a professional to take care of the execution for you.

Architectural Approval

Once your design has been reviewed by an architect, they will make sure that any modifications you’ve suggested (if any) are structurally possible, and if not, they can recommend how it can be made possible.

Foundation

While all homes should be built on a strong foundation, some communities put it down as a requirement. They even prescribe the kind of foundation each house should have. Deciding on this is an important part of picking a new house.

Starting construction

Once that has been taken care of, it is time to get started with the work.

Framing, Roofs, Doors, and Windows

Once the construction crew begins work on your home and has built a frame and roof, it is time to go shopping for doors and windows. Anyone who has spent some time in a new house knows just how much of the design is dictated by the doors and windows. You can choose your furniture, linen, and rugs to complement those choices. At this point, the skeletal structure of your house will have been complete with walls, stairs, roofs, and everything structurally pertinent to the house.

Heating, Plumbing, Electrical, Rough ins, etc.

Here you decide what kind of light fixtures you want, what kind of showerhead, faucets, connections, etc. you’ll need and where. Once the rough-ins have been finalized and decided upon, we can even carry out the insulation process as well (as/when needed).

City inspectors

City inspectors will stop by from time to time to ensure that everyone is compliant and up to code.

Finishing

Now comes the part where the home starts becoming your very own. Your HVAC is installed, your wiring is sorted out, and everything’s coming together. The paint, wallpapers, tiling, even the exterior, which includes sidings, shingles, and everything else in between will be the deciding factor on what your house will end up looking like and we have just one more stage left after this. After this stage, we can start moving on to making the house habitable.

Flooring, Stage 2 Trim Work and Countertops

What kind of floor do you want? What kind of a kitchen are you interested in? Do both of those choices complement each other in some way? How do the visuals of the house flow? When these questions are answered and the solutions installed, your home is nearing completion.

Clean-up & final paint

All the people working on your home will, at this point, wrap up their work, and start cleaning up after themselves. This means removing any scaffolding, frames, tools, tiny nails, or bolts littered around the house, any leftovers from installation, etc. When all that is done, there might be some scuffs and marks left here and there, especially after the electrical
installation, and you will need a final coat of paint.

Final Inspection and Orientation

Now that everything is done, it is time for you to finally move into your lovely new home and start living your life. The city inspector will have signed off on your house as being “up to code”, your architect, builders, and most importantly you are all satisfied with how everything turned out and you are ready to move in.

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Designing Your Dream House: Homeowners Share Six Secrets To Building Your House In Peace

Finally reaching that life stage where you can build your dream house is an exciting prospect, and, surely, you will have plenty of ideas culled from various design inspirations by now. However, along with the giddy feeling of getting started can be the preparation process’s stress, which includes feasibility, execution, and budget. These can be taken off your hands by partnering with a reliable and professional builder who will turn your vision into reality. This way, all you need to do is express your ideas, decide which ones to go with, and then wait for the project to finish.

Designing your dream house doesn’t have to lead to sleepless nights. It should be a happy experience from beginning to completion. Here are six secrets that have worked for other dream house owners.

  1. Your and your family’s needs are your priority.

You’re not the only one living in your dream house. It will most likely be shared with the people you treasure the most, so consulting them is essential. Otherwise, try tracking your family’s lifestyles and living patterns. This way, you can judge which rooms are used the most every day, where the traffic usually experiences bottlenecks, and where the majority enjoy hanging out during downtimes.

  1. Strike a balance between your design vision and your budget.

It’s very easy to get carried away by your vision, especially if you’ve been looking at so many layouts and aesthetic inspirations online and in magazines. The bottom line is to work with what’s realistic and then distribute your budget accordingly among your dream house’s different rooms. You might be too focused on making your living room look lovely that you end up cutting corners when you get to the bedrooms later. As per our experience at True Houses a safe budgeting strategy would be to set aside a buffer of 10 to 15% of your original budget for unforeseen events.

  1. Build a home that is both stylish and liveable.

You want your dream house to look like how you envisioned it to be, but style should not be at the cost of comfort. Your and your family’s lifestyle is important. Do you enjoy casual and laid-back activities? Your dream home should have spaces that allow you to have these. Do you like entertaining guests frequently? Then you might want to set aside an area for visitors without compromising the rest of your family’s privacy. Do you have lots of stuff for hobbies and sports? Then you might want to have an additional room for these tools.

  1. Be as clear as you can be with what you want with your builder.

Changing your mind can be expensive. That’s why it is important to be as straightforward as possible with your contractor before the project begins. This way, the building professional can provide guidance on your vision’s feasibility based on the space, the availability of materials, the type of neighbourhood you are in, and your budget limitations. Don’t hesitate to be upfront about your financial constraints. True Houses team of expert builders has worked with many clients in achieving their dream homes, so we understand how important the planning process is emotionally.

  1. Prepare for contingencies and accept the inevitable.

So you have set aside a buffer for contingencies, but that doesn’t mean you should use it. When building your dream home (or any house for that matter) you inevitably run against issues that might push your spending higher. There are many factors why a building project can become expensive midway, including the cost and availability of materials during a specific season.

  1. Trust the process.

By working with a home builder with a solid track record, there’s really no reason to keep worrying about the small stuff. Professional builders have a streamlined system that will help make the transition a lot less stressful on your part. Discuss your design aspirations with your team, set your budget ceiling, state what you like and don’t like, and then trust that the project will move forward as it is in professional hands. Feel free to ask questions as they come up but leave the dirty work to the pros.

You deserve to kick back and relax after a long time of preparing to build your dream house. Taking these six secrets to heart will help you get through the project seamlessly and with a lot fewer worries.

Are you interested in finding out more about building your dream house? Get in touch with us for a free consultation at 6474240111

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What Is Custom Home?

What is a Custom Home, and What Are The Differences Between Production and Custom Homes?

When it comes to the decision of finally owning your own home, the first big question to ask is what type of home construction process you are willing to work with. There are three basic types of homes in the building industry to select from: a custom home, a semi-custom home, and a spec or production home. These differ in terms of the owner’s level of involvement in the design and construction phases and the price.

Each of these homes has its advantages and disadvantages. Suppose you want to own a house that’s ready to use and do not really want to go into the nitty-gritty of conceptualizing the floor plan, interior and exterior visuals, and related compliance paperwork. In that case, a production home is the best for you. If you are looking for a house that already has a pre-designed structure and foundation but want a say in its layout and aesthetic, then you can go for a semi-custom package. However, if you have a specific design in mind and want to be totally involved in the entire process and have the budget to turn your vision into something tangible, building a custom home is a great choice.

Custom Home

What is a custom home? The simplest explanation is that a customized home project involves an owner’s direct collaboration with a preferred architect and contractor. The process starts from scratch at the planning and conceptualization stage and ends at the structure’s finish and turnover.

In between, you will need to deal with zoning requirements, foundational preparations, utility works, land titling (if necessary), and related concerns. If you want your home to be designed in a specific way that meets your lifestyle goals and are prepared to spend to get what you envisioned, then this is perfect for you.

Here are some of the responsibilities that you will have when you choose to build a customized home to give you an idea.

  1. Building materials and finishes: these include the types and brands of concrete, wood, brick, metal, etc., lighting styles, colors, wattage, plumbing fixtures, types and brands of paint, and energy efficiency efforts, among others.
  2. The entire home plan and floor plan: these include the types of doors, windows, walls (movable and non-movable), closets, ceiling heights and vaults, and more.
  3. Your home’s exterior: these include the sidings, shakes, stones, bricks and other types of materials you might want for outside your house, as well as where they will be battened down.
  4. Zoning and construction permits and limitations: these include whatever laws govern your area regarding owning a home, how elaborate you can legally go in terms of height and materials used, any property fees that need to be paid before and after construction, etc.

Pros of Having a Custom Home

  1. Original and unique design

With a custom-built home, you give your house your personal touch from the very beginning. Unlike buying a pre-built structure, you won’t need to make renovations here and there when you move in. Everything will be just as you wanted it the moment you step foot into your new house. Your priorities become part of the initial design and are ready to be enjoyed from day one.

  1. Minimal cost of maintenance

As mentioned, because your customized home is built precisely to your liking and standards, any renovation and maintenance work will be minimal. You don’t need to worry about the plumbing, the walls, the roof, and other concerns. If there would be something that needs fixing after you move in, it would likely still be covered by your architect or contractor’s warranty and will be treated as a back-job (with no additional costs).

  1. Less competition

Mortgage rates for home sellers are low, so finding an existing house to purchase can be challenging. When you build a home from scratch, you won’t have to concern yourself with the threat of housing costs going up because of the competition.

  1. Potentially higher energy efficiency

Building from the ground up means you can also take liberties when installing energy-efficient systems and appliances. Most pre-built houses do not have these in their packages. This way, you can drastically reduce your maintenance and upkeep expenses in the long run.

Cons of Having a Custom Home

  1. Lack of housing-ready landscaping

Some custom home owners have to deal property sites or neighborhoods that have immature landscaping. Often, you will have to cut down mature trees just to clear a space. There is a work-around for this, though, as you can tell your architect to design a house in a way that will preserve the property’s natural landscape.

  1. Cost

Constructing a new house will cost more than pre-built structures, but rest assured that this extra expense will be worth your investment. In the long run, your home’s resale value becomes more significant than a ready-made house in the same area.

  1. Time

Building a house from scratch means more time spent on the construction phase, and you will likely wait a few months before you can move in. With a pre-built house with a stock floor plan, you can move in immediately after buying it.

  1. Location

It’s quite challenging to look for an unused property closer to key amenities in your town or city. Most of the lots that are ready for custom-built housing nowadays are located in the outskirts.

Construction Process

Building a custom home comes with many challenges, so it’s crucial that you have the right (and best) professionals on your team to see the project through smoothly from start to completion and turnover. You start with hiring the right architect and builder to turn your vision into reality and do so within your set budget. If you are set on a bare area, you might need first to have utilities set up and work done on the land so that it’s ready for building a structure. You will also need to find out about the zoning limitations in your location.

Production Home

What is a production home? This is pre-built home with a pre-determined bill of materials and layout, so that all you need to do is move in and enjoy it. Usually, it is part of a community of similar other houses and offers limited options for personalization. Some new homeowners prefer production housing because they do not want to be bothered by the building process’s small details. It is a practical and quick way to own a house, and it is cheaper than a custom house.

Pros of a Production Home

  1. Home and land are typically offered as a package, and all the necessary utilities and paperwork are already taken care of.
  2. You still have a range of housing plans to select from, so you won’t have the exact same house as the one next to you.
  3. Buying a pre-built house is cheaper compared to building one from scratch. This is mostly because the property developer is purchasing materials in bulk and is privileged with lower expenses. However, you might eventually spend more IF you do want renovations in the future.

Cons of a Production Home

Customization options are limited. While you can select from a menu of housing designs and plans, as well as decide which colors to use, the layout and sizing of spaces will most likely be set. If you want to make a few changes before the house is actually finished, you might be allowed to have a few. This is a big deal for many homeowners, who will probably want a space that is built according to their lifestyle and preferences.

Construction Process

When you purchase a production home, your property will likely be part of a master-planned community. This means you will be given several options, ranging from a house that’s still on the pre-building stage or a ready-to-occupy property. All the paperwork needed will be taken care of by the developer, and all you need to do is sign and make sure that requirements are complete and submitted on time.

Conclusion

In the end, the decision between buying a custom home and a production home depends on how much of your time and resources you are willing to invest in the building process. If you want a house that you can immediately enjoy, then a production or semi-custom home is the way to go. However, if you want a home that truly reflects your unique tastes, then a custom-built house is best.