Designer Real Estate {Coote St. Chilliwack}

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links

Hello friends,

I have an idea for a new blog category that I hope you like. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while and ran it past my realtor brother who said he thought it was a great idea (but he’s my brother and thinks all my ideas are great so you can give me your honest opinion). The idea is Designer Real Estate - real estate listings from a designer perspective - what I look for, what I avoid and how to unleash the potential in a home. I have a bit of a real estate obsession so I figure I might as well put it to use. The intent is to encourage a respectful approach to renovations by considering the original style of the house (more on that in this post) and its surroundings. Some older homes are in less than desirable areas of Chilliwack but I’m going to ignore that and focus more on the house itself and hope that as more and more people who care (namely, not investors) buy up in these neighbourhoods we’ll slowly see a change.

I’m starting the series with this listing on Coote St. in Chilliwack. See listing here. This home is really well priced so it may already be off the market… but the principles still apply.

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I briefly thought about working with a hypothetical budget but that just won’t work because there are too many variables. I have no idea if the basement layout works or if this house needs a new furnace or hot water tank or roof etc. It also depends on how much is hired out or if a contractor is hired to oversee construction, what changes are made, and which finishes, materials, appliances, etc. are chosen. But, whatever the budget may be, I want a good reason for every dollar spent.

Let’s get to work. Starting with the exterior, the simple lines of this house are something we’re going to want to embrace. There’s a few ways to do that. One is paint it all out the same colour with a contrasting front door or paint the body and window trim one colour and the fascia another so your eye follows the roof line, which is what we want in this house. If budget allowed us to replace the siding then a horizontal hardie would be the way to go. Whatever we do, vinyl siding is not an option people.

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Our house (by ours I mean the listing) is not nearly as cool at this one, but has the same roof line so work with me. It’s just an example of how to keep everything simple and embrace the roof line.

Let’s move on the interior. Here’s the inspo boards so keep these in mind as we continue. (links to products at the end of the post).

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Design board #1 is the fixed finishes.

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Design board #2 is just style inspiration.

I think you’re going to appreciate my realistic renderings.

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cootestdining

First off, the house needs a fireplace. I’d keep it simple with black brick (see design board) - making it look like it was original to the house. Remember, we like the original house!

One major problem in this house is all the different casings and interior doors. The baseboard can stay but the rest needs to be replaced. Designer tip: never angle flat stock. So that’s gotta go, we also don’t really want to match what’s going on around the front door so that’s also gotta go. In this case I’d do a 2 1/2” mitered flat stock so it works with the baseboard and keeps costs low. If we were going to replace the baseboard as well I’d probably go with the Very Square Scene II line by Metrie.

Another problem here is that half wall thing by the front door. If we keep the floor, we’ll have to redesign something that isn’t quite as offensive. If we replace the floor then that can be ripped out. If the floor is in good condition we could keep it for now to keep costs down… but I really want to change the kitchen layout, don’t you? And that means changing the floor (more on that below).

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cootstkitchen

The cabinets, back splash, appliances and bulkhead will be ripped out. But we’re probably going to have to stick with a 30” fridge because there ain’t no room for a bigger one! If you need more fridge space you can put another one in the basement. Or buy less groceries. You can see a little built-in in the dining room. That could possibly just have the trim removed or replaced with something simpler or replaced altogether with new cabinetry. No matter what the trim that runs down to the floor has got to go.

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Our last house had a similar layout and we tore out the pantry (where that door in the dining room is) and wrapped the cabinetry around from the kitchen into the dining room and it was a game changer. If budget allowed, that is what I would do here, the only problem is we’d have to rearrange the kitchen quite a bit to make it work… possibly change the sink and window location and if budget is tight that could eat away at too much of it. So if rearranging the kitchen was out of the question we can work with the existing layout. New cabinetry to the ceiling, new countertops and subway tile on every remaining wall would totally transform the space.

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Bathroom. Hm. This is a tight one but considering the size of the house, this is not a bad sized vanity. If custom cabinetry fell within the the budget I would replace the existing cabinetry with an 18” deep cabinet (instead of the standard 21”) and do subway tile about 3’ up the wall all around the bathroom (higher in tub/shower area of course). To keep the cost down an Ikea vanity (that’s what my lovely drawing shows) can save the day.

I didn’t bother with pics of the rest but one of the main floor bedrooms needs carpet and that same carpet and all the general finishes in the rest of the house should be brought to the basement.

Now that we have a style direction, the real design work begins: Interior layout (wherever there’s changes), elevations, cabinetry and millwork details, the rest of the lighting, plumbing and material specs and the list goes on. It may sounds like a lot of work but I cannot stress enough that the more work you do upfront, the less stressful the construction process will be. So plan plan plan!! (And hire an interior designer!)

Well that was fun. I’m not sure I will approach all the ‘Designer Real Estate’ posts the same way - I guess we’ll see how I’m inspired😜. Even if you’re not in the market for a new home, or planning any major renovations, I hope this was informative and inspirational to you in some way.

As promised, links to design board products below:

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  1. Formica Counter Top - Flat lay application (or Noble Grey Caesarstone if budget allows)

  2. Ikea VEDDINGE door (or custom cabinetry in a similar style)

  3. Handles

  4. Bathroom Wall sconce

  5. Bathroom vanity

  6. Bathroom Floors (it’s a light commercial sheet vinyl, I have it in my house and looove it)

  7. Chandelier

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8. Curtains

9. Floor lamp

10. Sofa

11. Side Table

12. Chairs

13. Rug

14. Table

15. Chairs

16. Clock (I have this and get asked about it allll the time so here it is! - comes with a template to install two different sizes)

If you’re also real estate obsessed and come across a house you think I’d love, send it to me!

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3 Things to Embrace when Renovating on a Budget

  1. The Original Style of the Home

This is a must for every renovation in my opinion. But it is especially important if you’re on a budget because it allows you to seamlessly add some new to your old.

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This is a kitchen I designed a few years ago. The homeowners wanted to renovate as much of the main floor as possible while sticking to their budget. That allowed for new flooring, paint, some lighting, a few minor window/door/wall changes and new cabinetry and appliances. You can see before here.

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2. The General Layout

That doesn’t mean you can’t change it up a bit but the less plumbing, walls, windows, doors, etc. you move the better. In this case we bumped the peninsula into the existing nook creating a larger kitchen area without losing seating because of the overhang. We removed the nook window and added a door in order to allow enough room to extend the kitchen and add a necessary secondary access to the backyard. We also made the opening from the kitchen to the dining room much larger which helped both rooms feel more spacious. So by embracing the layout and making only a few minor changes to it we were able to enlarge two rooms without adding square footage.

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3. Paint

That fireplace was not in the budget to change yet so we did our best to make it disappear. We painted out the entire bump out and mantel the same grey as the base cabinets (BM HC-166 Kendall Charcoal) and the homeowner painted over the gold on the fireplace with heat resistant spray paint. Going back to the first point - Had the client insisted on an ultra modern reno that fireplace would have been a lot harder to ignore because the styles would conflict.

Are you renovating in stages or doing your best to stick to a strict budget? First make a list of your wants/needs, and then remember to embrace the original style, general layout and lots of paint.

Hope that helps! If you have any other suggestions, leave a comment!

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5 Design Trends to Look Forward to in 2019

I’m going to start this post with a bit of a disclaimer: I have a love/hate relationship with design trends but we’re not going to get into that right now, that’s another post for another time. For now I’m just going to post some thoughts on what I think we’re going to see and some examples of how to incorporate it in a timeless way. Also, kudos to me for getting this out before February!

  1. Black Marble

Marble has made a come back over he last few years but I predict this year we’re going to be seeing a lot more black marble. Which is A-OK with me.

black and white marble, traditional home, hallway

Black and White Marble Hallway via Dering Hall - Always a classic.

Black Marble Bathtub, Luxury bathroom, ensuite

Bathroom design via Homes to Love - Those two stones are an unexpected pair but I love the juxtaposition and warmth.

2. Statement Colours & Soft Shapes

I’m lumping these two together because I think that’s how we’ll be seeing them a lot of the time, but they can also be successfully done on their own. We’ve seen an increase in the use of colour over the last few years - In a sea of grey we happily embraced the Sven Grass Green sectional from Article into our hearts and pinterest boards a few years ago. I do believe that will continue but all that boldness will be complimented by curves and soft edges.

pastel colours, soft shapes, article furniture, dining room

The current Article home page is the perfect example.

cb2 remy sofa, soft curves, interior design, cream sofa, cream couch, wood couch

Anyone else madly in love with the soft curves of this new couch from CB2? Please say yes.

3. Black Kitchens

Or maybe I’m just hoping because my kitchen is black. But then Karin Bohn did a black kitchen in her own reno and if Karin did it, it’s cool.

karin bohn, black kitchen, designer kitchen

Isn’t it?

black kitchen, black and white kitchen, modern kitchen, marble countertops

Truth is, there’s actually not a lot of black kitchen’s I like, they usually seem cold or overly glam or just too black but I love this one above (via Homeadore) for it’s warmth, perfect asymmetry, and great use of natural materials.

I also like (love!) my own kitchen but I’m not a photographer and I cannot get a picture without a ton of glare. But my daughter took this beauty - so it gives you an idea. Just ignore the mess, my un-styled shelves and the colour inconsistency. And my severed third arm. This picture also explains how Isaac always gets way more steps in a day than I do.

Jennifer Leigh Design, Family kitchen,
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Found these two on instagram… sorry for the terrible quality. First one before back splash, shelves and appliances and the other of our coffee bar. The back splash reflects soo much light in pictures… and I don’t know how to make it stop!

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4. Mixed Metals

This may be controversial (as controversial as design opinions can get) since I read somewhere last year that mixed metals were on their way out. But I disagree. I actually think we’re gonna see a more refined and skillful mixing of metals. Canadian company, Aquabrass, is definitely counting it with their incredible selection of finishes and they’re new Marmo collection.

aquabrass marmo, faucet, marble fauct, mixed metal faucet

Basically everything lovely wrapped into one faucet.

aquabrass faucet, marble, marble faucet

5. Traditional over Modern

Ok, so I’m not sure if this is just wishful thinking but we’ve seen an increase in a sort of mainstream modern I guess you could call it and I’m ready to say goodbye. Don’t get me wrong, I loooove me a well done modern home (see below) and to be honest, I’m offended by about 90% of new construction (at least in the Fraser Valley) but modern done wrong seems to be the top offender right now.

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Su Casa, Sucasa, Young house, modern house, modern home

1: via Dwell 2: Our local talent: Su Casa

If this was the type of modern we were seeing I would say keep it coming!

So there you have it - trends that aren’t “trendy” which means you won’t be sick of your choices 5, 10, 20 years down the road. And if you’re not sick of your choices, you won’t change things, and went you don’t change things you save money and the environment. Win win.

If you’re building new or renovating and aren’t sure how to make it timeless, find a designer you trust can, and in the long run that decision could save you thousands.

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My Bemz Sofa Cover

Happy New Year!

It’s been awhile. I definitely planned to blog a lot more than I have been but I also did not plan on having any design work. So between a few nice little jobs and homeschooling I’ve neglected the blog. But not today! Today I have to share my new couch cover with you.

Here she is:

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We bought this sofa used about 6 years ago. We were quite happy with the find because we both liked the IKEA Kramfors shape but then one day it was discontinued so when we found one on craigslist we snatched it up and bought a yellow cover for it on ebay.

IKEA + Kramfors + Yellow + Sofa + Sectional + Slipcover

Fast forward 5 years, we get a cat and the cat destroys it. It was already faded and nearing the end of it’s life so it wasn’t all the devastating, however, I was quite nervous to get anything new fearing the cat would destroy it again. I was also annoyed with/embarrassed by my couch situation so after ruling out the option of an entirely new couch I ordered a few Bemz Samples to get the legitimate dreaming started.

Bemz Samples 1
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There are a few options for custom IKEA covers but I was sold on Bemz from the moment I got my first samples in the mail last Summer. Anyone else a sucker for good packaging?

At that point they had a sale on certain covers so I only ordered those. Later I ordered the Simply Velvet in Deep Navy Blue and fell in love. Plus we noticed the cat seemed to keep his paws off our velvet furniture so that seemed to be the safest choice.

Bemz Deep Navy Blue Simply Velvet Sample

I threw around the idea of painting the base of the sofa gold but decided on matte black.

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IKEA Kramfors Bemz Simply Velvet Cover

Now we just need a coffee table and maybe a cow hide rug in brown tones to layer on the striped rug? And a new chair or two, maybe something that doesn’t have springs poking out the side? That green one is just so comfy I’m not sure I can ever give it up.

Back to the Bemz cover. I’m giving it a 9/10. The quality of sewing is great, the cushions fit like a glove, but the back pieces are a tad loose. However, they’re 198% better than I could do myself, plus they’re finished - something else I have trouble with when I start my own project. So if you have an IKEA couch you’re thinking of recovering - do it! And do it with Bemz. (FYI this is not sponsored I just really love my Bemz cover and I think you would too.)

And that old yellow couch cover? Out of the goodness of his cat hating heart Tony made this:

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Thanks for tuning back in after my absence. I’m trying to get a ‘2019 trend’ post and a ‘3 things you must embrace to renovate on a budget’ (anyone have a shorter name for that?) post out soon!

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Design is Like a Mom

 
Design is like a mom, nobody notices when she’s around but everyone misses her when she’s not
— Graphic Designer Santiago Borray

Good design is sort of invisible, isn’t it? Maybe that’s why it’s so underappreciated. When something is well designed you don’t notice how well it works because it works so well. But when something is poorly designed? Then you notice. You notice that massive building blocking the view, or the door that opens into the bathroom so awkwardly you have to step in the toilet to close it, or the poor transit system, or the congested coffee shop, or that there isn’t enough counter space in your kitchen where you need it, and the list goes on. When it’s bad, you notice, when it’s good, you don’t.

So take a look around, how “invisible” is your house, your neighbourhood, your city?

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