In this particular master ensuite, the placement of windows was the key element of the design.
I've listed out the elements that make the window placement of this design so unique and attractive.
The mosaic tile feature wall with 2 large clerestory windows (positioned at the top of the wall) allow natural light to fill this master ensuite while still allowing for mirrors to be placed above each sink.
These windows provide a view to the outside, the gorgeous tree tops and blue sky.
The shower positioned at the far wall is another central element is the positioning of this window. As we enter the room we have a view to the exterior, right through the shower.
Again, the window is positioned higher up on the wall so that using the shower is still private with the added advantage of showering with a view.
Both are good examples of how to position windows in a creative way that added functionality, natural light and an enhanced (daily) user experience.
This reference might age me bit but I’m not embarrassed to say that this was one of my favourite shows when I was a kid.
Do you remember the house that was a central part of the The Brady Bunch television show?
The TV family of eight plus housekeeper Alice lived in a Los Angles split level home. If you take a look at the street view of 11222 Dilling Street, Studio City on Google Maps, you’ll see the house is still there looking pretty much the same as it did back in the 60’s.
The typical 1950s-60s split level home – the kitchen and living room was mom’s domain, a place for women’s club lunches while downstairs in the family den and garage was dad’s escape zone. Down another set of steps was the basement where you would find the kids.
Before we discuss the process of renovating a split-level house, let’s discuss what a split-level house actually entails.
What is a Split-Level House?
A split-level house is an architectural approach to building homes that was popularized by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The split-level home is defined by multiple levels, which are separated by small flights of stairs. Wright’s conception of the home hinged on the idea that houses should naturally blend with their landscapes, and homes with half floors would accomplish this vision. Instead of a single long staircase, living areas could be separated from private areas by just a few simple steps.
Another version of the split-level house is the sidesplit. A sidesplit is a type of split-level home. In a sidesplit, the multiple levels are all visible from the front elevation. Usually, the garage is on one side of the house and there is a floor for the bedrooms above the garage. The other half of the house is the main living area. Steps connect the exterior street to the front door on the main level. Most sidesplits also have a crawlspace, allowing for the foundation to be the same for both halves of the split house.
The History of The Split
How did the split-level come into existence? Well, the housing market was making plenty of demands in the 1950’s – people wanted more, bigger, and less monotonous houses. Neighbourhoods with larger homes eventually stopped building bungalows. Instead, developers answered with the original split-level home.
Historians credit Frank Lloyd Wright as the inventor of the split-level house; however, it’s unlikely that he conceived the modern split-level. He split his prairie style designs and he believed the split would become an affordable home for the average American. This belief was true, however, not until his original design was tweaked. His early version of the split-level home was actually beyond the means of the average family.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Split-Level House
The advantage of the sidesplit is that it separates sections of the house without the need for a full flight of stairs. It is less land efficient than a two-story house, but more efficient than a bungalow in terms of the land it occupies. While split-level homes are not large, they are functional. The benefit for a family with small children is that you can be close to one another, regardless of where in the house you are.
There are some disadvantages to split-levels homes. Some of these include the placement of the stairs. For instance, if you enter your split-level home through the garage, you have to carry your groceries up half a flight of stairs to the kitchen. The amount of stairs can also be troublesome for some people, and harder to block off when childproofing your home for infants and toddlers.
The space is also compartmentalized, which is possibly restricting in terms of how you plan to use your space, or in terms of how you plan to renovate it.
In terms of the room layout, some side-splits have dark family rooms as they are below ground. Some others don’t have a powder room on the main level with the kitchen, dining room, and formal living room so guests use the full bathroom upstairs or go down to the half bath off the family room downstairs.
Renovating Your Home
Split-level homes are often quite structurally sound. Walden Homes has modernized and updated them in the past, providing new mechanical, electrical, heating, windows, and den. The main requests are to update the finishes in the home or to enlarge the kitchen.=
The main level is usually very workable with the kitchen and is easy to update in renovations. The bedrooms can be trickier. Split-level homes often only have 3 bedrooms, and adding more bedrooms can prove challenging.
Split-levels provide a lot of natural light, and are easy to get around because of the shorter flights of stairs.
Do you want to know how to renovate your split-level home? Contact Walden Homes today for a free consultation.
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.
Planning and finishing basements are part of the work that we do in renovating or building new homes.
Besides the living, storage and functional space that a basement provides, most of the important house systems can be found in the basement.
What we mean by "systems" are things like waterproofing, sanitary drains, a back-flow preventer, the electrical panel, the water shut off, a sump pump, a furnace or boiler, the hot water tank, the foundations, window wells, the radiant heating manifold, an HRV, humidification, air cleaner, the alarm control panel and others. Then there are bulkheads, bench footings, floor drains and other components to think about.
Planning your new home renovation or new custom home requires an understanding of these systems and how they impact the house in general, as well as the basement specifically.
As project managers, we work with architects, designers, engineering and various specialty contractors to make sure that all the components work together cohesively. Getting the systems right and positioned out of the way allows you to enjoy the comfort of a well-designed basement.
December marks the start of winter as well as the holiday season. As we head into these cooler months and the holiday festivities commence, most of us will be gathering inside our homes with loved ones. Use this time of year to redecorate, and make your home more cozy and magical for the winter ahead. If you celebrate the holidays, feel free to experiment and dress up your home into a miniature festival of joy.
The temperature outside may have dropped, but you can still bring some warmth into your home with these simple tips:
1. Deck the Halls
Your entrance and hallways are very important in your home and should not be overlooked. Not only are these spaces the first things you will see when returning home from a long day, but it is also the first thing visitors will see after knocking on your door. These underestimated spaces set the mood for the rest of your home, so go ahead and make your home more festive for the holidays by dressing it up with seasonal décor. Light up your home with a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. Embellish your banister with Christmas garland, or hang a mistletoe in the hallway for a decorative flair.
2. Fire up the Fireplace
Whether you will be hanging stockings or not, the fireplace is a beautiful centerpiece in every living room. Rearrange the furniture in your home to face the fireplace to create a cozy gathering space, so you and your family can escape the cold outside and appreciate the glow and ambiance a fire provides. If you do not have a fireplace in your home, lighting candles around the room works well to create a cozy atmosphere.
3. Bring Nature Inside
Since you won’t be outside as often during these cold winter months, incorporate natural elements inside the home. Big baskets of wooden logs, pine cones and smooth pebbles will integrate nature into you living room. If you are putting up a Christmas tree, try a natural one. The feel, look and smell of an evergreen tree will add a magical touch to your home. It’s all in the details!
4. Spice up Your Kitchen
The winter months are a great time to gather with friends and family to enjoy a bottle of wine, bake delicious treats, and catch up over a fancy dinner. The kitchen gets a whole lot of use during the holidays, so make sure that it is ready to take on guests and food! Whether you have a separate or open-concept kitchen, there are ways to decorate the space to create a functional, comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere for you and your guests.
5. Add a Splash of Colour
A touch of colour can instantly warm up a room and give it a cozy feel. Avoid the winter blues and lift your mood by adding bright colours to your home. Fire-hued tones such as golds and reds are great for that warm, inviting feeling. Experiment with colour by adding fun pillows and throws that will enhance your room, and keep you and your guests warm.
6. Warm up your Floors
Your hardwood, stone or tile floors are great to keep you cool during the summer months, but can be uninviting and chilly in winter. Having floor coverings helps to keep your feet warm during the winter months, and make your room feel cozier. Invest in rugs with fun textures and patterns to dress up your floors and set the tone for your room.
7. Dress up your Windows
Curtains are important for insulating against the cold, and keeping your home warm. With so many options available, you can choose window treatments that look great and make your room feel warmer. Choose fabrics that work with the décor, and style of each room. You may also want to consider adding an insulated window treatment to keep the cold away.
8. Create a Sleeping Sanctuary
As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, we tend to sleep in a bit longer. Turn your bedroom into a sleeping haven by creating a comfortable space with lots of ambiance. Changing the paint colour of your bedroom is a quick way to give your room an update. Adding calming colours, warm duvets and soft lighting will have you ready to hit the sack!
As the temperature dips lower, bring your focus inward by renovating your home to feel warm and inviting during the winter months. At Walden, we want to help you turn your home into a cozy refuge from the harsh Canadian winter. Contact us to get started today!
Who cares about wearable tech? Smart Homes are the future now! Technology for the home is expanding faster than ever – people want to use it to make their lives easier, their homes safer, and to automate the little things in their lives.
We take a look at the coolest tech details to make living easy in your high tech fortress.
Use Bluetooth To Light Your Home
Yes, there’s technology coming our way that makes creating mood lighting easier than ever before. Bluetooth lighting allows you to control the lighting of any room from your phone. It also brings possibilities that extend beyond lighting – like controlling outlets or snapping a picture of anyone who knocks on your door.
Siri isn’t the only tech you’ll be talking to soon. With tech like Nucleus and Ubi you can control your home by talking to it. Nucleus acts as an in-home audio and video intercom and controls other smart home products. Ubi boasts a voice control for your home that learns your commands over time that can control music, temperature, and lighting.
Forget to lock your doors? Lost your keys? Lockitron lets you lock and unlock your doors with your iPhone. It is the future of keyless entry. Dropcam, a Nest company, secures your home from anywhere, allowing you to check in anytime or use it as a baby or pet monitor.
Have you started getting your home ready for the future?
Bruce Borden: "I wanted to complete our series of articles on third floor additions with a different point of view. We have talked about the considerations, uses, and benefits of the third floor addition. We have asked the experts. The next question to tackle is, what does the homeowner think of the third floor?
I asked my wife, Catherine Himelfarb Borden, Managing Partner the Yorkville branch of Forest Hill Real Estate Inc. for her thoughts about third floors. Cathy's has over 20 years of experience in the luxury real estate market in Toronto."
This is what Cathy had to say about third floors:
Cathy Himelfarb Borden: "Our clients really appreciate well-conceived third floor spaces when searching for their dream home. Working within the confines of the walls allows one to create extra and necessary rooms while maintaining the property’s original integrity.
Many older properties boast high and grand attics that are under-utilized. By finishing these properties properly, homeowners may be able to build much needed extra bedrooms, home offices, guest rooms or entertainment rooms. For our clientele with teenage children, third floors are often converted to luxurious master suites and serve as a retreat for the adults in the family.
On the flip side, families with young children often would like everyone to have bedrooms on the same floor. In these situations, the third floor additions may be postponed until the day when the space is needed for a growing family, or be used as home offices or guest rooms for out of town visitors.
As for new construction, the necessity of a third floor really depends on the individual needs of the home owner. Whenever we deal with buyers considering building a new home, we recommend that they consult with a builder during their search so that they purchase the right lot for them. These perimeters are the key elements used to narrow and distinguish which properties best meet their needs.
In short, third floor additions are a fabulous way to add space to a home and add value to a property by making it more appealing to buyers due to the possibilities for their use."
The first addition that Walden built back in 1990 was a main floor family room addition to a house on Castlefield Avenue in the Allenby area of Toronto. That was 24 years ago. Nowadays, a family room is sought after for many reasons, especially since it provides a space for casual living because formal living rooms are no longer used in their intended way.
Common uses for family rooms include: watching your favorite TV shows, relaxing, reading, entertaining, playing games, or watching sports. They’re also great for young kids or older children.
Most notably, they are a great way to add value to your home as a family room is one of the most sought after features for prospective homebuyers.
Rooms sizes can vary based on your needs, the size of the lot, and the amount of required additional space. Smaller rooms are 10' x 12', but can go up to 20' x 20'.
Your options aren’t limited to size alone. You can choose to make your addition an open concept space connected to your kitchen. In the homes that I have built for myself, we have had a completely open design and this has worked really well.
You can also choose to separate your family room from the kitchen and treat is as a quiet space with pocket doors. Our current home has a combined kitchen family room that can be closed with two pocket doors.
It’s also nice to have access to the backyard from the family room, with large doors to a patio or deck if possible. Flexible seating is best - family rooms should have lots of light, ideally seating for six to ten people. Whether the TV is a centerpiece of the room or not is a personal choice. Although a fireplace is an optional feature, most homeowners do opt for one.
Built-in shelves for displaying books, artwork, and other decorative elements are also quite popular. Some people like to incorporate a small desk for a computer. There is no single way to approach the design of your main floor family room, the design has to complement the way you live and how you want to spend your time.
The main floor family room is the most valuable option for many reasons. If it is not possible due to space limitations then basement family rooms, second or third floor family rooms are also excellent choices.
Family rooms come in different sizes and shapes, but main floor families are a great idea to consider.
Renovating in Toronto means understanding how to design and build on narrow properties. These narrow properties bring with them many new considerations. Those involved have to consider that side yard setbacks are tight or that many homes share mutual driveways. Sometimes, access to the rear of the property to excavate for an addition can be challenging, especially with added machinery and equipment.
Narrow lots make our job as contractors much more complicated. Whether we are excavating for an addition, installing new footings and foundations on a rear addition, or moving materials, narrow lots take more time and can cost more. Don’t get nervous if you’re planning a renovation on a narrow lot though! Experienced trades, well thought-out planning, and cooperation from everyone involved make it work!
Structural and Zoning Difficulties
If you do happen to live on a narrow lot, here are some things you should ask your contractor about before starting a renovation, as they may complicate the process.
Trees can often be an issue. Tree protection and tree protection zones on a property make moving and storing materials a challenge. This applies to both private and city trees, trees at the front and rear of a property, and trees on neighbouring properties.
Some of the challenges of working in the downtown Toronto neighbourhoods is the close proximity to a neighbour’s home. This proximity can pose structural considerations that we have to contend with. Some issues that we may come to face with a neighbouring property include:
Structural shoring to protect the neighbour’s property
Making sure that the footings are not being undermined
Installing scaffolding in order to install exterior cladding like brick, stucco, stone, or siding. Scaffolding becomes an issue when it does not fit between the home we are working on and the adjoining home.
Building code requires fire protection if an addition or new home is built within 4 feet of a neighbour’s property. Our team of architects and engineers work closely with you to select the most suitable materials. Non-combustible and fire rated elements are required according to the building code, which may limit your options, so speaking to our team will help you find the best matched replacement.
Planning venting for your furnace, hot water tanks and fireplaces are also made much more challenging as considerations for fire safety of your home and your neighbour’s home must be considered.
Do you have more questions about structural considerations when building on a narrow lot? We have answers to your questions here!
Work With Your Neighbours, Not Against Them!
Working with neighbours to inform them and assure them that their property will be respected is very important. Give them advance notice that work is going to be taking place. Your neighbours want to know that their driveway may be blocked for an hour while the bin is getting loaded. Letting people know in advance can ease the relations and keep everyone happy.
It’s also important to remember how close your neighbours are to your home. Making sure debris is cleaned and walkways are not interfered is very important in maintaining a friendly relationship!
Accessing a narrow property is difficult. Moving equipment, storing materials, deliveries, even parking for the trades can be a challenge. The Ministry of Labour has requirements on job sites and one of them is to provide a site toilet for the workers. Making space for these is always an issue - and narrow lots make this more difficult.
The limited space complicates finishing the side walls of a home. Workers need 18 inches to install stucco, brick or siding.
Just like designing narrow homes takes somewhat of a different approach to designing larger more grand scale homes, building new additions and renovating narrow homes on narrow lots also requires a very skilled hand.
The hot, humid weather that is typical of a Toronto summer is fast approaching. After the worst winter in decades here in Toronto, we are sure to be outside enjoying and soaking in all of the sun.
There is one building feature that can help in summer cooling and winter warming: deep roof overhangs. Depending on depth and placement, large overhangs can shade a house in the summer and still allow warm light in in the winter.
In general, a south-facing overhang will direct the sun's rays lower on the window, allowing less light in and preventing that light from heating up the house in the summer. This means less need for air conditioning, less energy used and less money spent.
A good overhang will also allow more winter light to penetrate a building than summer light, thereby allowing light and heat in during the cooler months, which again saves in energy and electricity costs.
Even if you aren't interested in saving money by reducing cooling costs, large roof overhangs provide shelter and help protect a house from bad weather. They can also protect people at the door from wind, rain and snow as well as save doors and windows from bad weather, and protect a house's exterior and foundation from water runoff.
So large roof overhangs are functional and they also look good!
We believe that adding a small addition to the back of your home can add value to your property and turn that family room or kitchen into a terrific living space in your home. They can increase room flow and allow for added elements like kitchen islands or added natural light.
A big part of making a renovation work is getting the new and existing spaces to work together. An addition does not have to be overly large to make a big improvement in how the space flows.
This ceiling was raised by 18 inches, which is a great way to increase space in an addition. In this case, it enabled us to include taller doors or windows along the back wall. These tall windows are the first thing you see when you enter the room. They bring in more natural light and creates a nice connection to the exterior.
First off, what’s the difference? In a tear down, the existing house on a lot is taken down completely. This means the roof, the walls, the floors, and the foundation are completely removed. There is nothing left of the existing home.
In a gut, the house is stripped to the outside walls. Even the most complete gut retains some element of the existing side walls and the foundation walls are maintained. Often, some percentage of the existing walls are maintained. What stays and what goes depends on the exact nature of the renovation.
Even knowing this information, many homeowners are still unsure which route is best for them. Unfortunately, there is no single right or wrong answer to this question. Reasons to follow one route over the other will depend on each particular situation.
While there is no straightforward way to say one route is better than the other, we can explore some of the thinking that goes into making the decision or needs of the homeowners.
Considering the cost
In most cases, a tear down will cost more than a complete gut. The difference in cost varies depending on how much additional square footage is added to the existing home to make it larger. In the long run, things balance out as tear downs are usually worth more when completed than the gut. You are spending more initially to build a home that will be worth more.
What changes do you want to make?
Tear downs usually allow for more flexibility in the overall architecture. The house can be set on the lot based on your needs. It can be lowered to the ground or elevated to allow for more basement height. It can be moved forward or slightly back to take advantage of the grading or other property aspects.
A new home has benefits in allowing for more changes to the space. A new home’s basement is usually upgraded, allowing for more height and better windows. In addition, including a garage in a new home is usually easier than it would be in a gut.
On the other hand, a gut can sometimes allow for flexibility in a different way. The house can take advantage of existing non-conforming elements. For example, leaving side walls permits a house to be wider in some cases. This is an advantage on narrow properties.
Neighbours often find complete tear downs to be more disruptive than complete guts. Most large scale renovations or re-builds require committee approval. At times, in can be easier to get neighbours on your side when the house is not getting completely torn down. The perception is that building a new home will be more disruptive.
Some homeowners want to maintain the original architecture of a home. They want a house that will fit in within the neighbourhood. In these cases, a gut would be the better route. New homes do tend to stand out amongst a street lined with older homes. If maintaining harmony is important, the gut would be the better option.
Have you made a decision?
These are just some of the considerations that need to be thought through before making a decision. We can help you explore these two options to find the best approach to suit your particular needs.
Tear down or gut renovation? Let us know which you’re leaning toward and we’ll help you make the right decision!
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.
Additions don’t always have to cost a remarkably sum of money. There exist various ways to increase the space and functionality of your home. One of the ways we often suggest for clients is a cantilever bay.
A cantilever bay is a cost-effective way to add 3 to 4 feet of depth to a living space, as it extends out from the initial structure. There are various uses for this new space. For some, it can completely change a kitchen by adding additional counterspace or room for a small island.
For family rooms, a cantilever can make room for a family sofa or a new sitting area, an entertainment unit, a window seat, an eating/dining area and so much more. It can also be a good way to enlarge an existing bathroom.
This type of renovation is a wonderful way to create depth as well as increase the natural light in a home. As mentioned above, it is an inexpensive alternative to a traditional renovation that requires a need for a foundation.
All architects have their own unique style. Looking at homes that are modern or contemporary in design, we can identify 8 core elements that many architects will use. In each of these beautifully designed homes, we are looking at a number of techniques that architects have incorporated:
1 - Contrasting colours: Notice in these homes the contrasting colours, especially with dark windows and lighter coloured wall facing.
2- Textured surfaces: Stone or brick that meets up with a smooth surface. These textured surface types are often found in contemporary home design, despite being traditional materials.
3- Lines: Straight and horiztonal lines make strong statements, accentuating the width, while vertical lines will accentuate the height of the home.
4- Canopy over entry: The door canopies are central features that can extend into bands that run across the house.
5- Use of Glass: Large floor to ceiling windows and glass doors are common. Notice the placement of windows that include mullions which configure the larger windows into smaller sections.
6-Symmetry: In this styple of architecture you do not see houses that are symmetrical (balanced). A symmetry is typical.
7-Feature wall or Feature element: With all the glass, the designs often incorporate a solid element (stone wall, large paneled bay window, stone chimney). These are meant to anchor the house and give it a sense of permanence or a connection to the surrounding.
8- Flat roof: This provides the box effect. Most modern designed homes feature flat roofs, but this not a rule. Even if the house has a sloped roof, you will find flat elements in the project above the eaves or soffit line - box bay windows or box dormer windows.
Have we missed anything? Which of these elements are your favorite when it comes to design?
Our Bannatyne renovation has progressed nicely. The roofing is completed and the windows were installed late December. The weather has been really cold (only just starting to warm up!) so we were really happy about getting the house closed in prior the break for the holidays.
We walked through the house last weekend with the owners and they were so happy with the overall layout. Seeing it on paper is one thing, but actually walking into the house and experiencing it is very different.
The house feels large and really well proportioned. The ceiling heights have been increased on the main floor from 8 to 9 feet. This makes a huge difference. The large windows flood the house with natural light.
Take A Tour
Here are 2 videos where Rob walks us through the main and second floors of the house.
5 things we notice about these countertop details:
# 1 is showing a bull nose profile. This is a detail that is considered a timeless classic - great for traditional kitchens. Most homeowners are selecting something a bit more contemporary these days.
#2 features a waterfall countertop detail. The way to make stone countertops a focal point is to run them vertically down the edge of the island.
# 3 is a french cove detail. This is a more traditional detail, but it can be contrasted with a modern sink set against more traditional cabinetry. There are many combinations that can work beautifully.
# 4 is a mixed glass counter with a slightly eased and miltered corners. This is a more contemporary edge profile that suits kitchens of various styles.
# 5 also has a slightly eased edge with somewhat softer rounded corners. This is contemporary that works comfortably in many kitchen styles.
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.