Archive for March, 2012

March 31st, 2012
By Vivian Martin - Plan # 3518-V1 - Plan # 3518-V1

An enlarged version of plan 3518, this model benefits from even more country charm than its smaller cousin. A wraparound veranda is what first catches your eye. Within, we still find all of the convenience of single-level living for the homeowner with a master on the main and spacious bathroom with independent shower, soaker tub and laundry. The rear-oriented activities area features a vaulted living room, gas fireplace and country kitchen.

Upstairs, we find three bedrooms and a bathroom and a mezzanine overlooking the living room.

An ideal home for building cherished memories!

For more details on this plan, click here

Related smaller plan, 3518

Looking for other Country-Style House Plans? Check our Country-Style Design Collection or use our Advanced Plan Search to find homes with specific features.

March 30th, 2012
By Deb Villeneuve

Origninal article by Denis Chamberland, translated by Deb Villeneuve

Of the questions which I am most frequently asked, I would have to say that this is right up there.

Although building codes and other standards will dictate how a home must be built and thus standardize the cost estimates to some degree, building a garage is a whole other ball game. A garage is as personal as the individual who wants it and the cost to build it will reflect the use that you have in mind as well as some other considerations.

Before getting started, the best place to start is your municipality to get a clear idea of the restrictions with regards to square footage, height, set back, what kind of slab foundation is required and other details.  Even if you are thinking about an attached garage, the square footage permitted by your municipality may force you to a smaller model than what you had in mind. A good way around this is either by way of a breeze way or a separate garage in order to avoid having the size of the garage taken into consideration with the actual square footage of the home.

Now that we have an idea of size, the next thing to consider is the ground on which you want to build. You may want to opt for the independant foundation offered by a floating concrete slab or for a monolithic slab that is reinforced around its outside edge to better stabilize the outside walls and their associated loads. This variable alone will impact the cost between $1000 and $2500. depending on the type of foundation, the monolithic slab being the least expensive of the two.

How much of the actual work you are going to do yourself and will your contractor agree to do only the structural work in order to help you save money by letting you do the rest? This is another variable that can acheive $5000. or more if you are paying for skilled labour.

Do you plan to use your garage year round as a workshop? Will it be insulated to R13 using 2x4s or is an R20 rating with 2x6es more appropriate? Do you need heating? Electricity (if so, will it be 110 or 220)? Plumbing? A heated floor? How about the garage door? Utility door(s)? All of these options come with a price tag and can easily influence the cost by $2000. to $5000., depending on the size of your garage.

Another thing to consider is what to do with the optional bonus storage space that your garage model may have. Will you use it or will you eliminate it by using only pre-fabricated trusses or, if you choose to keep the bonus space, will it be insulated or finished with plywood only?

As you can see, the variables involved are numerous and this is what makes it difficult to arrive at a general estimate to build a garage but I have attached an example that was worked out by our head designer to give you an idea.

Lets say that you are interested in the stand alone garage model 2975-16 which is 16’wide and 24’deep. The exterior walls willl be 2×4 construction finished in vinyl siding on a monolithic slab, the bonus storage space will be used but not insulated and it will have minimal electricity without plumbing or heating. The slab and the roof will be done by a contractor and you will do both the inside and the outside finishing. The finished product will run about $16,000.

March 28th, 2012
By Vivian Martin

Experts recommend paint as a low-cost but effective way to stage your home for sale. When choosing colours for staging, it is time to set aside your own personal tastes. Showcase the characteristics of your home rather than your personal tastes to appeal to the widest audience.

Neutral does not mean boring. This helpful video from Sico provides guidance on painting your home while incorporating some trendy techniques like colour blocking. Clean out the clutter and add fresh paint and your home will shine above the competition!


March 26th, 2012
By Vivian Martin
Contemporary Condo contemporary bathroom

Poor Wedgwood blue. It fell in with the wrong crowd in the 1980s, and it’s still trying to distance itself from its peach- and mauve-checkered past. Yet with an updated palette and a contemporary sensibility, this much-maligned color — which takes its name from the iconic 18th-century pottery company that introduced it — feels reborn.

Rich, dusty blue is a hot paint color for 2012. And because Wedgwood is just a short jaunt away on the color wheel, the time is right for its star to rise. Check out these beautiful, totally fresh interpretations.

View the slideshow below for inspiration for incorporating this timeless hue into your decor…


March 24th, 2012
By Vivian Martin - Plan # 2674 - Plan # 2674

Beautiful large windows, balanced features, as well as a double garage beckon you to look within. Once past the generous enclosed foyer, one discovers a uniquely angled staircase which energizes the interior space. Most of the main floor is graced by 9’ ceilings except for the front living room which vaults for a grand effect at the entry, especially when combined with the unique staircase and railed landing above. The family room facing the backyard will be appreciated during more casual family times.

Upstairs, one discovers a generous master retreat complete with seating area, walk-in closet and bathroom large enough to include many bathing comforts. Three additional bedrooms and a full bathroom round out this comfortable and elegant home.

For more details on this plan, click here

Looking for other Country-Style House Plans? Check our Country-Style Design Collection or use our Advanced Plan Search to find homes with specific features.

March 23rd, 2012
By Vivian Martin

Kitchens tend to be the hub of the home and realtors agree that kitchen improvements are well worth the investment.

Thankfully, there are a few kitchen updates that are neither expensive nor time-consuming.  It can be as easy as simply switching out your old sink for a new, more efficient model that fits into your current footprint.

If you are willing and able to do the work yourself, a basic sink and faucet swap-out project should cost from $350 to $700—depending on how much you want to pay for your products. You may need to hire a professional for the plumbing hookup, which should only take about an hour.

Kohler has an excellent blog post on sink replacment.

Just look at the impact of these simple before and after pics…

For the full article and how-to tips, refer to the original article…

March 20th, 2012
By Vivian Martin

We are seeing more and more use of chalk paint used in decor to create space for notes or a blank canvas for young (and young-at-heart) artists.

We have yet to test this DIY project but it comes from Better Homes and Gardens, so we are confident that success is just a brush-stroke away.

Better Homes & Gardens Recipe for Custom-Hued Chalk Paint

While you can find chalkboard paint at almost any crafts or art store or home center, if you’re longing for a hue that’s not available on store shelves, concoct your own. To create your own custom color of chalk-ready paint, simply combine 1 cup latex paint in your desired shade with 2 tablespoons of unsanded tile grout. Use a paint stirrer to mix. During application, gently sand the dry layers of paint between coats with 150-grit sandpaper. Apply several coats for best color.

Feel free to share pictures of your project using this DIY technique!

March 19th, 2012
By Vivian Martin

There is a good chance that you still have a few 60 watt incandescent light bulbs in your home. Even in the flurry to replace bulbs with CFL’s, they are most likely lurking in your table and floor lamps – the last bastion of familiar comfort lighting. The good news is that there are light bulb options that last longer, consume less energy, and provide up to 95% of the light output.

With the plans to phase out 60 watt incandescent light bulbs in the near future, it is a good idea to know what your alternatives are, not just for your lamps but for all of your household lighting needs…

Replacing That 60-Watt Light Bulb: A Cheat Sheet created by Pegasus Lighting.

When you’re considering cost, take into account the expected lifetime! Paying $25.70 every 23 years for one LED A19 is less expensive than paying $3.25 each year for a Halogen A19. The total for that Halogen A19 light bulb (and all its replacements) adds up to roughly $74.75 over 23 years.

March 17th, 2012
By Vivian Martin - Plan # 3900A - Plan # 3900A

Designed at the turn of the millennium in answer to the requests for a full-featured getaway property, this four-season recreation style house includes many interesting elements inside and out. Let’s examine it more closely!

Outside on the main level, a gallery spread over two façades ties together the front and rear of the house, joined by a gazebo which would be ideal for enjoying meals with shelter from the elements. Also, an exit from the basement is located just below this gazebo allowing for a sheltered patio space at that level.

Inside, we discover an open activities area, bathed in light and benefiting from a 9 foot ceiling throughout the entire main level. We appreciate a kitchen with central island and triple window at the sink, a dining room, and a living room with an angled layout for a dynamic and unique interior, a master bedroom with walk-in closet, discreet access to an adjoining bathroom with corner bath and corner shower, and double glass doors allowing a view on the panorama through the dining room.

For more details on this plan, click here

For further options of this basic plan, model 3930 proposes a design with finished basement and a slightly enlarged format and model 3930-V1 includes an attached garage and finished basement.

Looking for other panoramic view house plans or vacation house plans? Check our Panoramic View Design CollectionVacation & Waterfront Home Design Collection, or Create  a “New House Plans – Latest Trends” Alert to receive all of the latest designs direct to you by email!

March 15th, 2012
By Vivian Martin

Get a high-end look for your bathroom even if you are on a low-end budget with some helpful design tips.

 Urrutia Design contemporary powder room

Even if you’re pinching pennies (and who isn’t these days?), you can still take a bathroom from basic to beautiful. Whether you’re building a new bath from scratch or remodeling an old one, spending a few extra dollars on hardware, fixtures and more can pay big style dividends — and in some cases, chic materials are no pricier than plain ones. Here are nine elements that are easy to amp up without gouging your bank account. 

Follow the slideshow below for great tips…


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