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Building Your Home

25 Apr 2022

“Building Your Home”

How to build a home… it’s a big undertaking. Whether you’re upsizing or downsizing. But like many big undertakings, it’s proper to plan the essential steps. DeVries has you covered here, for building your home big or small. Let’s break it down to build it up.

Building Your Home

Selecting your Lot

This is interesting – where do we build? Whether you’re a long-time resident or looking to relocate, you’ll want to spend some time viewing different areas with lots for sale for potential builds. You may have a specific subdivision or neighbourhood in mind. But whether your desired area is familiar or foreign, always spend some time searching around the area first – to get an impression of prospective lots in person. While there, look at the overall shape and grade of the lot, and consider it in context with your home. Consider also the lay of the land: hilly lots may require considerable levelling, and lots with crags or hard rock deposits may require blasting to clear. Both will add additional costs. Landscaping requirements in general – think of retaining walls for example – are a worthwhile factor to consider, where cost is concerned.

And what of the weather there? The prevailing wind and the strength of wind, for instance. Is there a good amount of sun exposure, and any south-facing? You may want a south-facing garden for the most sun, or an east-facing deck for the least heat. Humidity, rainfall, runoff and even snowfall (How load-bearing does your roof need to be?) are also relevant, and you may want to consult an engineer to address some soil conditions. So overall: carefully consider your use of the home in its environment holistically; all this will influence the home build.

Selecting your Lot

Designing your Home

This is where the fun begins! And here our first priority is to distinguish wants from needs. So how many bedrooms or bathrooms do you need? A builtin A/C, a sound or alarm system, office space, garages, decks and pools, oh my! The choices can be dizzying, so we should prioritize, and separate wants from needs – that way you know where to trim the budget and where to allow for more. And how about your home’s style: country, contemporary, or coastal perhaps? Style is more than merely aesthetics, so again we consider your environment – certain styles came about in certain regions after all.

And we consider your current and future needs. For instance, the life stages and family in your household. Retirees, children, anyone working at home and just the size of your household are all important factors for your home’s overall design and style. So a rancher with level entry could be a good option if anyone is disabled or elderly, and an in-suite basement is suitable for a suite to rent. This is, fair enough, one of the most crucial steps in building your home. As such, it’s highly advised you consult your home builder on all your home design and build options. They can inform you and provide, or refer you to selection of services like home design plans, 3D models of your home, and architects.

Designing Your Home

Co-ordinate When Building Your Home

Now it’s time to talk financing, some fine details, and finding accommodations – along with some more general recommendations. To bring back the subject of budget: setting out your budget is critical for success, and helps to frame the entire project. There ought to be a bit of headroom in it; an amount not allocated to any part of the build but to cover for future possibilities like upgrades – or unforeseen expenses. Meeting a good real estate lawyer to oversee appraisals during the build, or finding a build-experienced mortgage broker to discuss disbursements with you could be quite valuable.

…setting out your budget is critical for success, and helps to frame the entire project.

On to accommodations! Here we hone in on your home away from home, while you’re building it. First, you may have the option to sell your old home just ahead of your new home’s completion. You should coordinate the sell with your realtor to achieve this. Not all of us are lucky enough to own both our old home and our to-be new home at the same time… so assuming you’ve sold your old house, where then should you live? Renting an apartment is an obvious choice. Be careful to ensure that your lease both allows for enough time and a needed degree of flexibility for uncertainties and delays. Check your obligations to give notice, and talk to the landlord. Another option would be an RV or motorhome, if your new lot or street allows for parking one. An advantage of these is on-site access to your build, though the noise ought be considered. An RV is a significant purchase to make if bought, but may be worth it as the build may be 6 months, 12 months or more. Renting an RV may be cheaper however, so consider both options in context.

East Hill Heritage Home

Summary

Building a home can be the largest investment many people will make. While it can be a frustrating process at times, an experienced and caring home builder can help to mitigate potential hazards by keeping your project on track and within budget. We understand the potential pitfalls of home building, and know first-hand the joy our clients feel when moving into their new home! DeVries Construction is here to make your home building journey a stress-free and enjoyable experience – contact us to learn more.

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Building vs Buying

10 Dec 2020

“Building vs Buying”

To build a home, or to buy? This may be one of the most important questions in the quest for your next home. The options of building a home or buying an existing home is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each choice in the building vs buying decision has its distinct advantages and disadvantages. Let’s explore each of these here:

Building a Home vs Buying a Home

Buying a Home

Usually the more common option, the most obvious benefit of buying is its convenience. Although the process involves several steps – steps like viewing, comparing, making offers, home inspections, financing and closing – the convenience of moving in quickly is enough for many to choose an existing home over a build. And here real estate agents can assist you by helping to find the best properties for you, as well as guide you through negotiations and paperwork, further accelerating the process.

Another advantage can be location, depending on your preferences. Most existing homes are in established, mature neighborhoods and communities, with developed landscaping like trees and shrubs, and often greater community infrastructure and amenities. It’s also far easier to live close to a town or city center since most, if not all of the land immediately surrounding will have already been built upon.

Buying a Home

However, buying does come with no shortage of drawbacks – like choice. For the most part, you get what you buy, good and bad. When you buy a home, it most likely won’t be exactly as you might have imagined it and you will have to compromise. You may even have buyer’s remorse if you settle or compromise on too much. There’s also competition, especially if you’re looking in a sought-after neighborhood or buying a home in a seller’s market. A good house may not even stay on the market for a month.

Furthermore, very many existing homes are more than ten, twenty or thirty years old. At worst, it may even be functionally obsolete, no longer meeting all the needs of most buyers. Older appliances, pipes and electrical systems may require more maintenance, repairs and replacements. And an older heating and cooling system may be less efficient, resulting in higher energy costs throughout the year. Assuming you don’t find an ideal home in perfect condition, you will likely spend additional money on remodeling, repairs, decorating, and/or landscaping. All of these additional expenses should be factored into the overall price.

Building a Home

So what about building your home? For a start, the greatest advantage of building is that you can get exactly what you want for what fits in your budget. You’ll get to personalize the details large and small to suit your lifestyle and tastes – creating the layout, choosing the flooring, picking the colors and customizing features to meet your needs. You’re the first owner of your home and have simply unparalleled choice and customization in its creation. This factor alone is enough for many to choose to build, and allows for niche wants and needs to be better fulfilled.

Building a Home

And a new home is just that – new. New homes are built with up-to-date materials and technology, in accordance with modern building codes. They are more energy-efficient, usually with better heating, ventilation, cooling, insulation, and air filtration, which keeps costs down and ensures safety. Safety (and health) is another strong factor in favour of a new home. You shouldn’t have to worry about repairs or replacements for several years, and will avoid the risk of mold or infestation, toxic materials like asbestos or lead paint, or structural faults that may not even be readily detectable in an old home. Additionally, modern materials and appliances are often more environmentally-friendly, and you have better options for technology upgrades, such as home automation or solar panels. There’s also no competition among other home buyers.

New homes are more energy-efficient, usually with better heating, ventilation, cooling, insulation, and air filtration.

Of course, building is not entirely without its drawbacks as well. It takes time: usually 5 months to 2 years depending on the project in question. This means you may have a gap in living arrangements between the time you sell your old home and build your new one. Also, most new homes tend to be part of new developments which can in some cases lack the depth of amenities or sense of community of older, more mature neighborhoods. And if that new development is not yet fully developed, inconveniences like noise from nearby construction should also be considered.

Furthermore, when you build a house, you’ll have to purchase the land, decide on a home design, pick out the flooring, fixtures, cabinets, countertops et cetera. The freedom of choice comes with a considerable degree of responsibility for all the details and decisions to be thought through in the home building process, including variables in costs.

Questions About Building a Home?

Ultimately, your building vs buying decision needs to satisfy your living requirements and timeline to move. If you have questions about building a home, DeVries Construction can help. With nearly 4 decades of building homes in the Okanagan, we bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to help you with each step on the journey to building your ideal home. Contact us for a no obligation consultation to help you define your custom home building goals.

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I Got a Peaceful, Easy Feeling

01 Aug 2020
Plants in our home help us live well and increase serenity

“I Got a Peaceful Easy Feeling”

Finally, now that your home is clean, decluttered and fresh, it’s time for the finer details. This last article in our homemaking series will show some steps you can take to make your home more harmonious. Let’s get started.

First we can recap previous tips, tricks and advice in our series that can also create a calmer home. Most of all, the previous advice given in this series, when applied as a whole, will itself greatly cut down on unneeded stress and make your home more serene in both look and feel. More particularly, very impactful choices we touched on are incense which can directly calm the mind as discussed, and plants. Let’s dig a little deeper.

Plants in our home help us live well and increase serenity

Plants not only oxygenate your home (necessary for good cognition and concentration) but provide calm just by their appearance – it’s well established from many studies that the sight of greenery provides a positive, mood-boosting effect on the human mind – a fact increasingly recognized and utilized by modern world-class architects and urban designers for instance. It’s also possible that the gentle rituals of caring for plants can provide a calm respite. Try putting your plants in highly-visible spots – somewhere you’ll see them the most, such as your desk. Additionally, we discussed paint finish for walls in our first article. If you don’t mind the less durable qualities of less glossy finishes, they can better compliment a calmer home with their easy-on-the-eyes effect.

On the subject of walls and paints, it goes without saying that subdued colors are better for a soothed mood, but there are other considerations as well. Aim to create a harmonious color scheme for your entire home. This could mean colors of a similar hue range across the home, but might also consist of complementary color schemes like lavender and beige. And contrariwise, try to avoid clashing tones even when separated into different rooms. Brightness should be considered in tandem with hue, and both should be considered on a room-by-room basis. For instance: deeper, darker and more muted options work well in the bedroom to promote rest and relaxation, but may be too downcast for a living room or any room that receives a great amount of sunlight.

Paint with calming neutral or earth tones for a peaceful feeling

As a general rule of thumb for color, moderation is the key – very few enjoy intense hues, but a total absence of color can also feel sterile and lifeless, so perhaps first consider the presence of light taupes, beiges or creams before using too much pure white. Likewise, strike a balance of brightness in colors and consider more gradual, gradient changes when moving from room to room, instead of intense and sharp contrasts. Natural earth tones are also an excellent and oft-employed choice. Color can be highly subjective, so tailor your choices to your taste or the taste of whomever uses the room the most.

Daytime rooms should always receive ample sunlight, preferably in all seasons – a naturally lit room boosts your mood & productivity, & better induces an overall tranquil atmosphere …

Where brightness is concerned, sunlight should be your friend. Daytime rooms should always receive ample sunlight, preferably in all seasons – a naturally lit room boosts your mood and productivity, and better induces an overall tranquil atmosphere than an artificially lit one does. A brighter room can be especially important wherever windows are for whatever reason lacking and desired (such as in an apartment), by better allowing any incoming sunlight to diffuse in the space rather than fight it. Also consider very careful use of reflective surfaces in these instances. Try to avoid obstructing windows with furniture or objects, which will not only reduce sunlight but outdoor views, as well as create more complex, distracting silhouettes for said view. Another natural lighting choice for particular spaces and moments are candles, which can have a comfortable, sophisticated decorative effect whether in use or not.

Lastly, the layout and arrangement of your room and its furniture play a pivotal role in your room’s mood. An easily navigable space, for example, will better create a sense of ease and flow to the home experience. A room should feel both aesthetically and functionally in tune with its purpose, subconsciously allowing you to move with ease and purpose in that room without great effort. Consider if the room has a focal point, like a TV, dinner table or fireplace, and arrange the room around that focal point. Otherwise, a more expansive, open design is often the right choice – try to limit furniture in the center of a room where it can obstruct and unnecessarily limit space and freedom of movement – dinner tables being the primary exception.

Your materials matter too: much as with color we find the natural charming and instinctively calming, so textures and pieces made from natural materials like wood, wicker and (sparingly) stone can exude that same calm and tranquility. Symmetry is instinctually pleasing as well, and can also be used to great effect in the arrangement of not just furniture but your floor and wall décor. Finally, and again like color, opt for moderation. A fair amount of furniture and décor to create the desired life and flow, but not too much to create clutter. Open space can be just as, sometimes more calming as what could otherwise fill it.

Are You Building A New Home?

Contact us for the best layout and window design for a peaceful, serene home that captures natural light. | View our Home Building Portfolio |

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Your Home Smells Amazing

08 Jul 2020
Clean air and ventilation are the basics of a good smelling home

“Your Home Smells Amazing”

Now that your home is healthy, safe, functional & clutter free, let’s talk about its scent. The smells of your home are an oft-neglected part of its sensory experience, but can make just as much an impression as the sights, for better or worse. This article will discuss advice to have your home smell as well as it can.

Clean air and ventilation are the basics of a good smelling home

Great smelling homes start with ventilation and airflow. Here the simplest advice is also some of the most effective: keep your windows open when weather permits. It’s often thought of as energy inefficient during hot or cold periods, but is in fact the most energy efficient method of removing (not masking) stale, odor-ridden or otherwise unfresh air. Modern, tight home insulation preserves scents indoors just as it does the temperature. A practically free option is to keep all (or most) interior doors open when not needed otherwise, taking advantage of the home’s whole space for circulation. Fans are the obvious next step, and for a tip: a table or floor fan cycles air much more effectively when used in tandem with a window fan. Venting in cool air at night during warmer months can save energy costs as well as keep the home fresher. Where possible, opt for fans that directly fit into a window frame rather than just moving a fan next to the window. Exhaust fans should ideally be present in both the kitchens and bathrooms to vent air directly outside, known otherwise as spot ventilation. You can also use temperature to your advantage with the chimney effect – hot air rises, so try opening the lowest windows (to let cool air in) and the highest windows (to let hot air out).

Generally speaking, stone, concrete, ceramics or other more solid materials in floors and walls tend to self-insulate from odors as does well-sealed and finished drywall …

Of course, the humidity of the air is another important factor. Not only can damp air carry pathogens and cause mold, the extra water helps to capture and amplify the strength of the scents it carries all its own. Keeping your home’s air dry is healthier and fresher, so invest in a dehumidifier where the climate requires it. The surfaces in your home matter as well as the air. Avoid keeping carpets as well as carpeted or otherwise shaggy, dense or porous fabrics and furniture close to wherever scents accumulate to prevent them being captured and kept for far longer than they would be otherwise. Generally speaking, stone, concrete, ceramics or other more solid materials in floors and walls tend to self-insulate from odors as does well-sealed and finished drywall, while unfinished woods and porous, flexible materials like fiberglass tiles or fabrics allow odors to be trapped within the material and should be kept away from odors accordingly.

Use plants, flowers and natural scents to make your home smell amazing

But what about the scents you WANT in your home? After all, the perfect way to cap off this aspect of the home experience is with pleasant aromas. Note, however, fragrances should be used for aesthetics and enhancing an already healthy, fresh home – it’s healthier and cheaper in the long run to remove undesired scents, not mask them. Incense is an excellent choice when used in moderation. A November 2006 study found that white sage can actually purify the air, and another from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology found that frankincense may help alleviate anxiety and depression, a quality it shares with lavender. Always research the effects of your incense before you use them.

But there are far more options than incense: flowers or other fragrant plants can not only enhance the aroma but help to replace carbon dioxide with oxygen. Scented candles, potpourri and scent diffusers are also excellent options, especially when sourced naturally with herbs, spices or essential oils. For an inexpensive diy potpourri, try simmering slices of fruit, herbs and spices such as cloves or cinnamon in a pot for a seasonal scent! Just be sure to use very low heat on your stove top or a crock pot/slow cooker. Create your home’s unique scent by combining your favourite essential oils with clean water in a spray bottle. Try fresh, crisp and light scents like citrus for hotter seasons and warm, earthy or heavier notes such as vanilla for colder temperatures.

Find Your Signature Home Scent!

Here are a few companies that offer naturally sourced and great smelling home scent and cleaning products:
Back to Earth | P&J Trading | The Good Home Co.

Are You Building A New Home?

Contact us for the best fresh air and whole home ventilation systems to keep your home fresh while conserving energy. | View our Home Building Portfolio |

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Declutter – Destress

03 Jun 2020
De-clutter & de-stress your home with home builder tips

“Declutter – Destress”

Do you know how to clean your home’s spaces and how to organize them? Here we’ll share advice on how to make space and declutter for a tidier – and happier – home experience.

De-clutter & de-stress your home with home builder tips

If your home is plagued by clutter, it can sometimes seem an insurmountable challenge to find the proper place for everything, and even futile. Who has the time and energy to keep it all from cluttering up again? But here it’s important to remember that a well-organized home is actually far easier to maintain than an unorganized one – if every item will have somewhere it can go and somewhere it should go, you only need to put it there, one at a time, as you use each item. On the contrary, research shows that mess causes stress. Putting in the initial effort to tidy up will free up both time and space for you to do what matters most to you.

Let’s start with the basics. Go through your home one room at a time. Going room by room breaks down the work into more manageable, logical chunks. Start by clearing out the most unwanted clutter, trash, if there is any already present. Clearing off flat surfaces like tables and countertops is an effective place to start. Have a trash bin on hand in the room, and keep one permanently not just in the kitchen or bathroom but in every room which creates trash or accumulates it, which includes living rooms and garages for instance. Incorporating reusables instead of disposables like plates or cutlery is not only greener, but cheaper and even cleaner as there is a more finite number of items and therefore only so much buildup than can occur.

Organize your garage with shelving and de-clutter your rec room with storage

Next decide which other items (like décor, knick-knacks etc) you still want to get rid of. Consider taking a picture of mementos or souvenirs which are of sentimental value but are unused and taking up space to preserve their memories. Think of the last time you used an item, and how often you use it on average. Think of the value something adds to your home or your life instead of how much you paid for it to avoid sunk costs. There are many options to dispose of unwanted items which should be considered before simply throwing them in the trash as well. Many items can be recycled, including many electronics and appliances. Clothes and other household items can be donated to charities. Also consider freecycling, (where others can pick up anything unwanted but still potentially useful) or holding a garage sale. If you still need to throw away many items or large items like furniture, renting a dumpster can greatly reduce unwanted hassle.

For everything you do want to keep, create a system in advance for how to organize them. Here are some tips to help. First, it might go without saying, but try to keep everything used in or most relevant to a room, in that room. This will minimize time spent moving items around and minimize hassle. If you need to make space for them, a good tip is to utilize the potential space on your walls with racks and shelves, which can greatly increase the storage space of a room with minimal intrusion. As mentioned in our previous article, furniture like couches or ottomans with storage compartments are also an excellent choice. Try to keep flat surfaces reserved for anything used in the moment to prevent unneeded clutter interfering, and store it away afterward. Always try to sort like items, like papers or books of the same genre together in one spot.

You should ideally organize with both space efficiency and ease of access in mind.

You should ideally organize with both space efficiency and ease of access in mind – stack items as compact as possible in boxes, shelves, drawers or cabinets without making anything hard to get to, and especially avoid having to move around or reshuffle just to access something unless absolutely necessary. Items used most frequently should be the most readily at hand, while those used most infrequently (eg backup items) should be kept well away from where they can clutter, like in the basement or a dedicated storage room, which, likewise, should not normally be used for storing anything frequently used.

We hope these tips will help you to create a more efficient, and more importantly, a calmer home environment. After all, we spend much of our lives and livelihoods in our homes, and a decluttered home helps to create a de-cluttered mind and a de-cluttered life.

Have a healthy home concern? Contact us to find out more. | View our Home Building Portfolio.

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