Downsizing 101 and basement plans

That’s right! We are downsizing and have purchased a new builder home that will be ready in a little over a year.

It’s a long time to wait, but it gives us plenty of time to get our ducks in a row such as, disposing and donating many items and it gives me lots of time to play with the exact design and decor I want for this new chapter in our lives.

QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN DOWNSIZING

So if you are thinking of moving in the same direction or even if you are purchasing a condo or a smaller already on the market home, here’s some things to keep in mind.

Think about how you live or about how you want to live. Ask yourselves these questions.

How much space is needed for entertaining family and friends?

How many bedrooms or home offices are necessary?

Parking requirements

Ease of maintenance

Take the time to think about this and what your priorities will be for the next few years (we like to use 10 years in our plans). Write them down and compare them with your spouse or partner. It is so much easier to have a priority/dream list when you are out there looking for your next home.

For us, even though we are downsizing, we wanted a bungalow with a double car garage, space for two home offices, a guest room and an open plan for entertaining.

The layout we went with is approximately 1600 square feet without the basement. It has a very open layout with the kitchen, living room and dining room as one large room. This works well for us and when our large family comes to visit. There are two bedrooms and den in our plan and we will be converting the second bedroom to a second den. Click here to see our main floor plan from my previous post.

BASEMENT PLANS

Now onto the basement plans. This model’s basement comes partially finished with a family room and we will be completing it with a guest bedroom, exercise room and a full bath. This will give us lots of room to entertain and host family events.

 

Basement downsizing

 

We will leave the family room (or games room as it is called on the plan) will stay as it is. But we will be adding a gas fireplace centered on the back wall.

Bedroom #2 will be our exercise room and bedroom #1 will be our guest room, right beside the bathroom (which we are also keeping as per the plan). This gives us quite a bit of space for storage in the back room.

We want the family room to have a large seating area with a projector for movie watching. I also wanted a table with four chairs for games and hobbies as well as a large contemporary shelving unit for books and other items. I think we are bringing our pool table with us so that will take up a good chunk of the space.  It’s a little challenging to design as there is a post right centered about 8′ from the fireplace. I’ll be sharing a few of the design options in a later post.

One thing to mention about basements is that there needs to be alot of light. So make sure you think of that at this early stage. Our builder has placed quite a few pot lights in the space so I will be concentrating on supplemental lighting exactly where we need it.

So again, think about how you need the space to function and write your priority list. It’s a must!

NEXT STEPS AND WHEN TO HIRE A DESIGNER OR DECORATOR

Once you’ve signed on the dotted line for a newly build home, keep in mind that the questions and decisions will be coming at you fast and furious. It can be quite overwhelming.

Many major decisions need to be made quickly, so now is the time to hire a decorator or designer. They can walk you through these steps and give you some guidelines on where to spend and where to save. I’ve already made quite a few decisions, you can read some of them here.

Once you’ve decided on your new home and it’s layout, it’s time to look at your current furniture and ask these questions.

What will fit?

What do you need?

What can be multi purpose?

What can be reupholstered, repaired or painted?

I literally listed all my current furniture and then measured everything. I also thought about how it could be used (not only where it is used now). Keep an open mind about this. Lots of items can be repurposed. Downsizing can be liberating and fun!

Next post, I’ll be talking about exterior finishes and how to coordinate them.

 

 

 

 

How decluttering can help you redecorate your home for free

Photo credit: Melissa Kew Photography

Photo credit: Melissa Kew Photography

So what do you do if your budget is tight but you’d love to give your home a fresh update for Spring? You may not realize it, but there is a way to revive and refresh all the rooms in your house – without spending a cent. Do you think it’s impossible to redecorate for free? Well, just keep reading and I’ll tell you how.

Take a look around the house for all of the accessories and artwork you own – including art work, sculptures, vases, candles, picture frames, even plants. Gather them all up and place them all on your kitchen table, this is now your own little decor shop.

Look at everything on your table with new eyes, as if you are seeing it for the first time. Just because that piece of art has always hung over the fireplace does not mean it wouldn’t look even better in the foyer. Or maybe the frame just needs a quick spray paint to be perfect over your bed. Perhaps that red vase that faded into the background in the family room will make your powder room pop.

Keep going, item by item and room by room, until you have redone your entire house. This is the perfect job for a weekend so take your time and it’ll definitely be worthwhile in the end.

Keep in mind that when it comes to decorating, less really is more. That means you don’t have to find a home for all the pieces. Inevitably, there will be leftovers that just don’t seem to ‘fit’ anywhere – at least for now. If you love some of the unused items, store them until you redecorate again, and if you don’t, then it’s time to say goodbye. You can give find them a new home or donate them, just don’t keep them around taking up your precious space.

Now with less items around you’ll definitely spend less time vacuuming and dusting and just think you did it all without spending a cent plus you’ll feel great giving some much appreciated things away for someone else to enjoy.

Lisa

The 7 essential steps to decluttering and what you should not do.

Organization and decluttering Clutter…it’s our society’s nemesis. Everyone has their horror stories, relatives or friends’ relatives that hoarded until it was a health hazard. And we’ve all seen at least one episode of Hoarders on HGTV. Scary stuff.  But realistically, most of us have at least one area of our home that could do with a good decluttering session. Spring is the perfect time of year to tackle one or more decluttering projects.

So, let’s take it step by step so it’s not so frightening.

  1. First of all, don’t do your entire home, just do one small area to start. Then once you see how great it functions and looks you’ll be all in to tackle a bigger space. I’d suggest an entry, closet or even a medicine cabinet**. If you are feeling totally overwhelmed then just set a time limit, like 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes will give you enough time to tackle a junk drawer, medicine cabinet or cupboard. Once you see how great it feels, you can move on to spaces that require more time, perhaps an hour to do a closet. For this exercise, I’m going to use an entry closet as an example.
  2. Gather all your supplies first. You’ll need 4-5 boxes, one each for Keep, Relocation (for those items that have a home somewhere else), Donation, Trash and Recycle. Then grab the vacuum and any other cleaning supplies that you may need.
  3. Remove everything out of the closet and give it a good cleaning while its empty. You may want to even paint it, while you’re at it or perhaps not.
  4. So now you sort. Look at each item and decide where it’s going or if it’s going back in the closet. When I’m doing this I like to think about the last time I used or wore the item. If it’s been forever, then let it go. It may help you to think of all the people that could use this item, so go ahead and donate it. One key to remember is once the boxes are filled and ready to go, bring them immediately to where they need to go. DO NOT let them linger in your home, that just defeats the purpose of the decluttering session. I put the garbage and recycling out immediately. Donation or giveaway items get put in my car right away, so that I drop them off the next time I’m out and about.
  5. Once you’ve got done to the small keep pile, decide how you want to put it back into the closet. This is where you may need to purchase a few baskets or bins. But waiting till now, will make sure you only buy what you need. Pairs of gloves, hats and other small items stay organized in a basket.  If you have many pairs of shoes and boots, perhaps a boot/shoe rack will be necessary and this often helps to decide exactly how many pairs are needed versus what we can store. Out of season clothing and footwear can potentially be stored in a guest room or basement closet.
  6. Hooks or over the door racks are also great for adding usable space to a closet. Purses, scarves, shopping bags, leashes, etc. can be hung here for a quick getaway.
  7. Keep it up.  So now that it’s all organized, remember that you may need to spend a few minutes each day putting things away. Don’t let all that hard work decluttering go to waste.

** If you are decluttering a medicine cabinet, keep in mind that most drug stores will take back expired medications so that they don’t end up in the landfill or water system.

Lisa

The 6 questions you need to answer before you start designing your space

6 questions you need to answer before you start designing your space.

When I’m starting a client’s decorating or renovation project, function always comes before form. What I mean by that, is the function of the space has to be determined before we get to the layout or furnishings. The foundation has to be solid so that we can move ahead with the pretty. You wouldn’t spend money on having fabulous wallpaper installed when the wall is crumbling…right? Even the prettiest room has to function properly.

So on my first client visit I ask these 6 questions:

1. What do you use the room for?

All rooms have a purpose, perhaps even many purposes. If you need a room to function as a family room and as a home office, then that will determine how the layout gets decided and what furnishings are needed.

2. How many people will be using the room?

A dining room that sits 12 will be set up differently than one that sits 4. So think about the number of people using the room on a daily basis and perhaps those special occasions when you’ll need to accommodate a larger group.

3. Are there young children and pets that will be using the room?

Of course, if you have pets and young children that live or visit your home  you’ll need some adjustments for them and likely for your piece of mind. In this case, think easy care fabrics, hard floors (like hardwood and tile) and washable throw pillows.

4. Are there any allergies to be aware of?

This is something that is often missed but critical if you or a family member has environmental allergies. Those goose down feather pillows may cause needless suffering and that paint should be low VOC.

5. What is the feeling or mood you want the room to convey?

The answer to this question, shows me the direction to go in design wise. If you say you want it to feel like a hug, then I’m thinking mid-tone warm colours, lots of soft textiles and larger “sink-in” sofas and chairs.  If you want it to feel like a fresh breeze, then light toned cooler colours and clean minimal furnishings are what I’d be suggesting.

6. How long do you plan to stay in your home?

This is the big budget question. If you are in your forever home then you can decorate to your tastes exactly and also you will likely feel comfortable with a larger budget. If you are thinking you’ll move within 10 years than perhaps temper the design to appeal to a larger audience and the budget will likely be a little stricter.

Answer these questions and it’ll lead you in the right direction to set up your floor plan, the style and type of furniture you need and what your budget range should be.

Lisa

A new phase – What do you want your home to be?

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

A new phase begins. What do you want your home to be?

So now that the kids have left or about to, how do you want or need your home to function? This is the key to making your home work for you and your partner. Think about how you want to live. 

What are your goals? 

For example, do you want to entertain or travel more, start or continue a hobby, or just get out from under the clutter?

What path would you like to go down? 

More entertaining?

If entertaining is key to you, then perhaps an open concept kitchen/dining/living area will allow you to host those larger groups more easily.  Perhaps removing some walls (once an expert has determined this is doable), will make this a reality. 

Maybe you need a guest room or bathroom for out of town family and friends, then it is time to redo a few rooms to suit grown ups.

Want to travel more?

Than how about making your home more maintenance friendly. Easy care and durable finishes are a must. Declutter spaces for easy cleaning and installing internet capable thermostats and alarm systems will give you peace of mind travels. Perhaps you want to travel so much that a condo may be the ideal move for you. No yard or exterior to maintain may just be the ticket….pun intended.

Planning on playing?

Perhaps continuing with or starting a new hobby is exactly what you want to do in the next phase. Think about changing up that extra room or space into an art studio, music, craft, sewing or even a theatre room, so you can indulge your inner movie critic. Rooms DO NOT have to stay as they are advertised on your floorplan.

Or do you just need a refresh? 

Something to make your home feel shiny, fresh and new! 

Decluttering of course, is almost always necessary. First, check with the kids about everything they may want or need. Than be pretty ruthless about this, you DO NOT want six storage units full of stuff that no one wants and that you are paying monthly fees on.  Those units should be for temporary use only. Such as if you’re moving and want to store some furniture while you are staging your home or you are keeping items for a university student to use when they get their own home (hopefully sooner than later).

I know grandparents stuff can be sentimental or valuable, if so keep the best pieces that you love and can incorporate into your home, but not the entire dining room set that you don’t care for or have the room for. That chandelier that is priceless and unique can be the focal point in a contemporary room. A mix of design styles makes your home personal and interesting so don’t be afraid to challenge the norm. Breaking rules can be just the thing. That chandelier could be a showstopper in your master bedroom or bath. It doesn’t have to be in the dining room.

Paint or new flooring can also go along way to revamp a home. If you have worn and stained carpet, install hardwood. It is timeless, especially a mid-toned brown one with medium sized planks. Think of a french chateau with those beautiful hardwood floors, they never date. A stunning herringbone pattern will be cherished forever. Just choose what you love and not what you see everywhere, because that is likely a trend.

If hardwood is not your style, then a stone such as marble, slate or granite is another classic choice. If these are too pricey, then a great faux stone tile can also work. Typically porcelain tile is more durable than ceramic, but always ask your tile supplier about the durability of your selection and make sure you tell him/her where it is going. What is durable for a busy hallway versus a hardly used powder room can be vastly different.

Keep grout in mind as well for ease of maintenance, ideally it should be mid toned as well and now there are many stain and water resistant versions on the market. They are costly but well worth the investment.

Paint should always be chosen last on a project, yes dead last. There are millions of paint colours available but not millions of sofa or drapery fabric or tile choices. And also keep in mind paint should always complement your fixtures so DO NOT ignore the pinky beige carpet or tile (if you are keeping it) or you may end up highlighting it instead of working with it.

So think about what your goals are for your home and then you can start making your Reclaim your Home plan. 

I’ll be posting more in depth information on all of these options in the next few weeks so keep checking back. 

Lisa