Winter can be a magical season. The snow falling, the Christmas lights, hot chocolate by the fire – it all seems very romantic on paper, doesn’t it? In reality, we know winter doesn’t always look the way it’s portrayed onscreen or on our holiday cards. After all, the bitter winds, slush, and snow shovelling does not make for a picturesque holiday card.
Cindy, the Interior Designer at Snap Design & Contracting, knows winter can be tough on all of us, so she thought about things she has done to make winter easier on her and her family. She decided to share her tips for surviving a long, brutal winter so you can find the picturesque part of your winter and enjoy it too!
1. Heat Your Home
Heating your home during the winter may sound like an obvious way to keep warm this winter, but there are different ways to warm up your home! Consider installing a fireplace if you don’t have one. There’s nothing more comforting in the winter than curling up next to the fireplace with a good book or a hot chocolate. If you don’t have the ability to vent your home properly, there are beautiful, modern alternatives to a wood-burning fireplace such as electric, ethanol, etc. You may also consider upgrading to a modern, programmable control for your home, like Nest. The Nest thermostat allows you to set the temperature from anywhere with your phone.
Another way to keep warm is through radiant heated floors. Electric and in-floor hot water options are not expensive to install if you are doing so before tile or during renovations. Besides, nothing feels as nice as heated floors when it’s snowing and blowing outside. These are a great addition in the bathroom to make getting out of a warm shower easier. Another way to get you to stop dreading that moment when you have to leave your warm shower is installing a heated towel bar. This does require a hot water connection and can be taken into consideration when you are renovating the bathroom.
2. Light Up Your Home
It’s not just the cold that chills us in the winter – it’s the lack of light. We all know that lighting affects our mood. Winter is always darker, so we have to make sure we’re lighting our home for maximum effect. Some ways to do that include:
· Candles: Add romance on those dark evenings with candles
· Dimmers: Dimmers create an ambiance to any room – and they’re easy to install!
· String of Lights: A simple string of lights can emphasize a dim space in your home and are available on a battery-operated timer. I use them on floating shelves & love them!
· Landscape Lighting: On those cold nights you don’t want to go out, you can savour the winter from inside with landscape lighting around your property
3. Get Cozy
Once the cold weather sets in, all you want to do is snuggle up and get cozy. Throws add warmth and texture to a room, whether they’re faux fur or low-hair throws, use them to stay warm as well as add colour and interest to the room. Have slippers ready for yourself and guests for the walk between the front door and those throws!
Here’s where you can start to recreate that picturesque portrait of the winter season. Use winter scents to create affection for the season. Play soft tunes to meld with the quiet after a snowfall. Warm up with some mulled drinks, like apple cider or mulled wine, after some time outside.
4. Add Colour
This season may be colourless, but it doesn’t mean your home has to be! You can add some colour to uplift your spirits. Punch up the season with intensity and drama in pictures. Use flowers to add colour, scent, and the reminiscence of spring. Use fruit like pomegranates, cranberries, and apples to add texture and colour to a winter centrepiece. Use throws and accent pillows to add a splash of colour to your space. Even if winter is grey and bleak, remember that your home doesn’t have to be.
Winter may be cold, but it doesn’t have to be lonely. Have guests over for dinner to celebrate winter cheer. Plan outdoor activities – and we don’t mean shovelling snow – with friends. Do something fun like skating or snowshoeing (I just bought snowshoes and can’t wait to break them in)! Once you’ve had enough of the cold, invite everyone back for a warm drink by the fire. You’ll appreciate winter a little more after having some fun.
6. Prepare for Winter Conditions
No matter how hard you wish it away with colour, cozying up, or some fun – winter is here to stay and you should prepare for winter conditions. Don’t overlook doormats. You could still be creative with them! Instead of the regular dark, hefty mat, try one that is made from recycled materials, making it a lighter, colourful, beautiful piece. Organize your winter gear, especially shovels and brooms so they are handy to reach in a snowstorm.
At Walden Homes, we value transparency. It is an integral part of our renovation process. To build your dream home, you must be able to trust strangers with your home and vision. You have to be confident that they will make the best and most informed decisions based on your plan and your individual needs.
How is our process transparent?
We allow homeowners to have control and flexibility in their project. Our method is simple: you can make changes, decisions, or simply monitor the process right from your iPad.
Don’t have an iPad? Well, we provide you with a complimentary one with our PlanSmart software already installed. The app lets you monitor your projects from anywhere you are, that way you aren’t tied to your house while your renovation is taking place. Escape to the cottage, run your errands, visit your friends – you can check back in anytime from anywhere.
How transparent are we?
Unlike in this video, don’t expect an iPad you can see through, but we do provide you with as much transparency as possible in the process of renovating your home, from sending comments, asking questions, checking the budget, exploring choices for countertops and looking at photos, every day, at anytime and anywhere. And this, we find to make a true difference in our client’s satisfaction.
If you would like to arrange a demo of our PlanSmart app or have any questions, please contact Bruce or Danny at Walden Homes.
You’ve reached a point where the home of your dreams is finally within reach; all you have to do is design it! Over the years your personal taste and style has developed, and you finally know what you like and what you would like to see in the finished product that will be your new home. The real question you should be asking yourself is: do you have everything you need to get started?
Before you can even think about the finished product, you have to master the planning and organization of your new home. Whether you’re building from brand new, or renovating an existing home, how you start your project will be the foundation for your entire build. Here are the key components to get you started once you’ve decided to design your own custom home.
Design and Build
The design (what you want your home to look like) and the physical build (the structure / architecture) of your home are imperative to nail down in detail before you even get started. If you have your heart set on certain elements of your home, such as multiple bathrooms, open concept design, or a custom staircase, make sure these additions are discussed at the very beginning of the planning stages to make sure they are feasible and can be accommodated in your build.
Having your details aligned will allow you to set expectations for your entire project, as well as timelines. Remember: some custom selections will undoubtedly take longer to design and install than other, more standard choices. This is all dependant on just how custom you want your house to be.
Another thing to consider in the design and building stage is who is helping you make your custom dream come true. If you have your eyes set on a contemporary design, make sure your design partners are planning for a more open concept home, with finishing touches that will compliment your desired style. The small details are imperative in the overall finished project; you want to be certain your design partners are guiding you in the right direction.
Once you have your planning stage organized, you may be ready to break ground on your custom home build. But wait! There may be other factors to consider before you get the renovation ball rolling.
First, consider the time of year. While renovating existing structures is slightly different, the general rule of thumb with new home constructions is as such: if the foundation (ground work) is not laid prior to the beginning of December, a large addition or new home project will not be started until early to mid-March. This may change or alter your timelines significantly if the project can not move forward in the winter months.
Additionally, if your current home is being renovated to suit your custom dreams, you must consider how much construction you are willing to live in the midst of, and for how long. In some cases it is possible to utilize half the house, or an upper or lower floor, while the renovations are happening elsewhere. Living in a construction zone may not be possible, or even your preference; however, regardless make sure your living accommodations during your renovation are organized and accounted for as well.
Once your planning is complete, your project is ready to be underway. This is the exciting part! You want to stay as involved in possible, but most of us won’t be able to be physically on site everyday for the execution of our new custom home. That’s where BuildSmart comes in.
Walden’s proprietary renovation process app, BuildSmart, is essentially a project manager in your pocket. Available on your phone, tablet, or desktop, BuildSmart offers transparent, constant access to your project, every step of the way. Follow timelines, check your decision log, and even see daily pictures of the progress of your home. You can even ask questions directly in app, and your building team will get back to you and put your mind at ease. We guarantee this will be your new favourite go-to app for the duration of your project.
Plan With Walden
We want you to love where you live. If that means building an entirely new custom home, just for you, we’d like to help. Download our free renovation checklist to get your project started on the right foot.
We are getting started on a new project this week.
It’s cold out, snowing, freezing temperatures and many homeowners think this time of the year is not well suited to starting a new project. This, however, is not necessarily the case.
The project is a large basement underpinning project – a full gut of the basement, updates to the old hot water heating system, a brand new modern boiler and in-floor heating, new drain system, major upgrades to the electrical and other systems in the house.
Winter weather is not a big issue for us in this project – we have created a fully weather proof access point on the side of the house where all materials will be transported into and out of the basement, without disrupting the homeowners that are living in the house for the duration of the renovation. Work will progress with efficiency and the homeowners will be comfortable at the same time.
We are currently in the process of starting and working on 4 other indoor “winter projects”. Things are busy all around. So while this winter is a cold one, work on all projects is moving along as planned with very few lost or down days.
A basic rule of thumb
We generally want to have any out of ground work completed prior to beginning of December. This allows enough time to get the framing in place and foundations backfilled. If the timing does not work out, we will generally hold off on any large additions or new home until early to mid March.
Renovations are always exciting, but they can often be difficult to live through. Observe how these Walden Homes clients are living through their renovations.
1- In the photo above, you’ll notice a small rear addition is in the process of getting framed. The main floor has been completely gutted out, but the homeowners are still living there. The space is being reworked to enlarge the kitchen and create larger, flexible use spaces.
Over the winter the Walden team worked to underpin and re-finished their basement. We added space below the main floor extension as well as below the concrete porch to the side of the addition. They had full use of the main floor during the first phase.
During the 2nd phase, the family is currently living on the 2nd floor and using their brand new basement.
The overall project is taking longer because it is being done in 2 phases – but with 3 young children they felt that it would be less disruptive overall to stay in the house – rather than move out completely.
We will keep you up to date on the overall progress of this project with updates along the way.