Thursday, January 29, 2015

Picking out Lighting Fixtures for a New Home Build

When it came down to picking the lighting fixtures I was excited to pick out the pendant light for the dining room area with my wife. There are some many great pendant lights out there. We ended up going with something relatively simple and it didn't take us very long. 

The bathroom sconces, that is another story. I don't know why it took us so long to figure out our bathroom sconces. We are actually still figuring out the master bath one. We picked two that would flank the medicine cabinet in the master bath, but due to the small size of our bathroom we had to look reducing the size of our mirror cabinet to fit the two sconces that we picked. So we are back on the drawing board because we want the larger medicine cabinet. 

We ended up going with the smaller medicine cabinet in the main bathroom just so we can match the horizontal sconce that we picked out. Maybe 

I found out later that we had to pick out a sconce for our mechanical room, I just picked out a simple cube sconce for it as it won't really be seen anyways. 

Having a tough time picking out bathroom sconces is a pretty classy first world problem. 

On to the next lighting store!


Monday, January 26, 2015

Home Design Budgets

There’s a time in planning a project where your spending goes out of context of your regular spending habits. I call this spending Monopoly money. I know there are lots of people that would scrutinize buying a new laptop, or something simple like a kitchen knife. They would research, hum and haw about spending the $50 for a new pot. Do I really need a new pot? I can use my old one for now, I’ll wait for a sale when it’s $10 off. When it comes to buying stuff for a home it becomes this avalanche of products that you have to get, and most of the time you don’t have the luxury to mull it over for a few months, or wait for the next version, cause you really need to get it now, unless you can live without a fridge for 3 months while you wait for the 2016 improved version with the nicer LED lighting system. I know that there are people that can be disciplined, work hard to stay within the budget, take their time to do the research, but I find that more times then not people are spending less time thinking about $5000 worth of tiles then they are the new iPhone. I am definitely in the camp of people that gets into Monopoly money mode. I find myself justifying the possibility of spending $2000 for a kitchen table (bear in mind that I’m just thinking about it) when my current table cost us $40 and it came with 4 chairs also. At the end of the day I don’t mind spending a bit more money in home stuff if it’s good quality, at least I’m not justifying purchasing an authentic beni ourain.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Matching Bathroom Fixtures

This post is going to sounds really redundant but I didn’t know that there is a system for bathroom fixture designs. I didn’t know that if you picked a square rain shower head that the control plate should be square also. The handles for the faucet should match the handles in the shower. I tell you why this might be a surprise to me is because of how these items are featured in the stores. I understand that it makes sense to have all your faucets in one place and your shower heads in another, but it’s hard sometime for someone picking their fixtures to link everything together. I guess the companies make it easier by naming a certain look under a series, and this is clearer in their catalogs. I have to say that most of the time looking at these items online can be overwhelming. 

So this is the process that was broken down to us by Ensuite. You visit the store have the sales consultant walk you though the showroom to give you the low down about brands and items. This brand is from Germany, this is the higher end line from this brand, this steel is thinner then this other item, etc. Once you get the once over of the showroom, they would give you catalogs to take home to look over. Just highlight the items that you like in the catalogs, don’t worry about the price for now as once you have a bunch of stuff picked out you book a second meeting with the sales consultant and they can walk through your choices and build packages for you.  If some of the items are too expensive they would try to find a cheaper alternative, it’s easier to do this as they already know what your ideal is and you can choose the areas to spurge and which areas to cut back on.

We’re getting close on our fixtures figured out, looking forward to tackling the next area of the house.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Being Different in Home Design for the sake of being different

When is doing the tried and true boring and when is being different just for the sake of being different and for no other reason. I design textiles and graphics, I understand when designers get tired of the same ol thing and want to move onto something progressive. It’s boring to do the same ol, it’s not interesting when you do something that has mass appeal. What about when what is progressive becomes the norm, do you move on to the next? Do you push the envelope even further. It’s interesting how we approach trend. I say that regardless of trend, don’t do something cause everybody else is doing it, and don’t do something different just because you’ve seen it before. I say just be true to what you love and not worry so much about trend.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Permits are in!

We got our permits approved about a week ago. Now we are the ones holding up the process as we still have quite a few decisions to make. We've been hard at work confirming the landscape plan, going over fixtures, reconfirming our appliances, Hopefully we can get everything dialed in a couple weeks so that we can get the contract signed and we can start demo.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Interview: Questions and Tips on being a Landlord

A lot of people build laneway houses for the purpose of an rental income generator. I thought I would ask one of my good friends some questions in regards to being a landlord to get some insights and tips.

How did you shortlist your potential tenant's?
Luckily I solicited my current tenants from working in the same company. Otherwise I would do reference checks and ask for pay stubs

Ask for paystubs? That's normal protocol?
Yup. Need assurance the tenant is employed and capable of holding down a job

How often do you inspect the rental property?
At the beginning every month when I go pick up rent. After they earned my trust every 6 months

So for the first 6 months you would review the apartment for any possible problems or damage? What happens if you find an issue?
Talk to the tenants about it and come to a mutual solution. Some landlords have super detailed contracts that stipulates what the tenants are responsible for including costs. Damages can be taken out of the damage deposit
But my tenants are super awesome so we havent had to deal with any of that. They made their own upgrades and paid for it themselves

How often do you raise the rent? Do you give them a break on the rent since they are such good tenant’s?
Legally I can raise the rent once a year with 90 days notice. And yes, I give them breaks once in a while like Christmas. I view them as my clients because essentially they are so I need to take care of them and manage our business relationship

That is actually quite opposite of how most landlords manage their tenants. Most will continue to raise rent and treat their tenants like problems... Which will only compel them to possibly move. My competitive advantage is how I treat my tenants and I believe they have stayed longer than originally planned because of our relationship

Breaks on the raises or breaks on the regular rent? Like take a percentage off?
I have not raised rent in 3yrs. And I give them a break off their monthly rent from time to time. $50 off here and there is a small price to pay to not have vacant months without tenants and the headache of having to attract new tenants.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Wabi Sabi

I like the idea of wabi sabi elements in our house. I really against the medium brown floors that we picked out but I saw the worn out floors at this restaurant where the light colored wood was showing through the dark stain from the high traffic area and it looks great.

I do feel that there is a pull between a clean aesthetic and something that has a wabi sabi feel to it. This is where I struggled with the light flooring vs the medium brown. This is also where I struggle with going with the burnt cedar for the exterior. I inherently enjoy items that look better with age, the question is will our design choices look better with age.