Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter Really is Coming! Honestly!

Wow!!! Here we are everyone! Spring at Last!!! least…I think…it’s wait…what the?? …HEY!!! What is that little white stuff I see falling out of the sky?? You have got to be kidding me!!!

There are times that I’m thrilled to have been born in Canada and appreciate so many things about living in this amazing and beautiful country of ours...but SERIOUSLY, after encountering a winter like this past one that even the SNOWMOBILERS were complaining about…it makes me wonder if I was born in the right place after all.

However, the one thrill in having experienced what no one can comprehend without actually living here …is that when Spring does begin to peep through the suddenly melting snow, it makes our hearts soar in a way that few things do.

In all honesty, I had to stop listening to the weather reports…I mean…Who really wants to feel hopeless on top of the cold and endless, snow, ice and freezing rain?

But then one day I heard the sound…and it happened on a day when several co-workers let me know more of the white stuff was still being predicted…yet when I heard the sound…I knew the winter of discontent was finally ending despite the evil reports…because regardless of what we had experienced I knew these birds (only seen when Spring is a looming reality) would not be making their appearance or be singing their song of hope for a better season…unless it was true. As I looked out the window to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating, there before me stood a little quartet of robins…singing their hearts out to welcome what their instincts were telling them was at last on the way.

So welcome, Spring!! …Welcome beautiful, warm, weather…holding a promise of an even lovelier Summer…and Easter…sweet Easter is really on the way…in fact just a few days away….Wait!! What did the weatherman just say is being predicted… in April????....NOOOOOOOOOOOO…snow and freezing rain???....Those robins are in BIG trouble!! 

-Catey, New Home Specialist @ Parkview Homes

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The First Time Home Buyer Blog: Design Studio - Part 1

Hello, hello, hello!

Welcome back or welcome if you haven’t read the first few blogs in this series!

If you want to know what you have missed so far, here are the links to the first two blogs I have written about my First Time Home Buyer experience:

·          Blog #1 – First Time Home Buyer Blog

In this blog, I want to start talking to you about the Design Studio Selection process. It is an extremely exciting, nerve racking and awesome experience! I want to share with you my experience and also share tips that helped make it a much easier process for me.

First, I want to start by explaining what the Design Studio is. The Design Studio is a convenient one-stop shop for picking out everything that goes into your new home! I mean EVERYTHING! Carpet, floor tile, wall tile, hardwood, kitchen cabinets, kitchen countertops, bathroom cabinets, bathroom countertops, doors, trim, faucets, railings and all exterior finishes - I could go on but I don’t want to scare you! Luckily, all this is available in one place so you can compare colours and styles all in one location. Also, I should point out that the Design Studio has many standard options that are included in the price of your new home. However, if you have the budget and are looking to upgrade your new home, there are many, many upgrade options throughout the Design Studio to choose from as well.

Now for a look into my experience…

As I mentioned before, I work for Parkview Homes, which has given me the advantage of being in and out of our Design Studio many times. Even before I knew I was buying a Parkview Home, whenever I was in there I was looking at all the selection and dreamed about how some of the finishes would look in my imaginary home. I once contemplated becoming an Interior Designer (before I settled on being a Graphic Designer), so picking out interior finishes, matching colours and patterns is very exciting for me!

Here is Tip #1 – RESEARCH!!
Even if you think you know what you want and know your personal style really well, still do your RESEARCH! A good place to start is online, search interior decorating sites. I really loved Pinterest and Houzz. They were extremely helpful in deciding what kind of style I wanted to accomplish in my new house, before I headed into the Design Studio for my Design Studio Appointment. Also, in your research, figure out if you prefer classic, transitional or contemporary styling. As well, I found it helpful to decide what neutral colour I was – are you cream, beige, grey or greige person? I am definitely a grey person! I am a big believer in keeping large items neutral and accessorizing in colour. Accessories are easy to change out, big items such as ceramic tile flooring or kitchen cabinets are not so easy or cheap to change.

Once you have determined what style and colour you would like to see in yournew home, head into the Design Studio for Browsing Hours. Browse through the selections, see what you like, what you don’t like, make notes and take pictures. When browsing at the Design Studio I found it extremely helpful to take pictures of the combinations that I liked, so I could reference back when I got home.

Also, if you are design or colour challenged, don’t worry! Susan, our Design Studio Consultant and Interior Designer is there to guide you through the process and offer suggestions to make your home fit your personal style.

Now I should mention, with my closing date not until fall, I had plenty of time between when I signed my agreement and when I needed to pick my Design Studio Selections. In most cases you don’t have the luxury of that much time. The typical time frame is within 7 days of signing a firm agreement. My suggestion, if you fall into this category, is start browsing online before your agreement even goes firm. You can also visit the Design Studio for Browsing Hours, to get an idea of what is offered and what you would like in your new home!

I am going to break this blog here! I don’t want to bore you with all my ramblings. Stay tuned for my next blog where I will give you a sneak peak at the selections I chose and also explain how beneficial it was to visit our kitchen designer! She’s awesome by the way! :)

Until my next blog - I hope this has been helpful! I look forward to continuing to write about my Design Studio Selection process!

Talk to you soon,

Click here for more information about the Parkview Homes Design Studio!

(Also, there are fantastic videos on this page that will show you the Design Studio and explain the Design Studio (Colour) Selection process!)

Monday, April 7, 2014

The First Time Home Buyer Blog: Personalizing My Floor Plan to Suit Me!

Welcome back or welcome if you didn’t read the first blog in this series!

As promised, in this blog I am going to explain how very exciting it was for me to have the ability to personalize my floor plan to the way I wanted it.

To start I needed to figure out which townhome plan it was that I could afford. Parkview Homes offers three different designs; The Kenton II, The Berkley and The Arundel. While they were all very affordable, my budget is very small so I went with the least expensive design, The Arundel! It is super cute on the inside and out, I must add! I am very excited to move in this fall! In fact, I just bought a roasting pan! I know your probably thinking what a nerd, but hey! I get excited by the simple things in life – like a new roasting pan :)

Now on to the floor plan personalization… It wasn’t that I didn’t like the original design; I did, it was beautiful! It just didn’t fit my lifestyle. The original Arundel design had a separate dining room that wasn’t going to work for me. As I mentioned in my previous blog I come from a large family, and a separate dining room with no where to expand wasn’t going to be able to accommodate me hosting family dinners. I wanted to have the flexibility to stretch out my dining room table, to allow for my family to have lots of room, and for any extended family or friends to join us. So I moved it over and attached it to my great room and took down the middle wall to open everything up (I had to stretch the budget a little bit with the removal of the supporting wall, but it will be all worth it to have my home the way I want it!).

Another change I wanted to make was moving the powder room from the front entrance to just behind the kitchen. I wanted it to be more accessible from the main living area.

With these two changes I was able to create a more open concept layout for my new home! I now have an awesome dining room/great room, a perfectly placed kitchen that is open to my dining room/great room, my spacious breakfast area and a conveniently located powder room!

I should also note that when I made the changes on main floor, they did effect more than just the main floor (you may have already noticed), by moving the powder room, the location of the stairs had to change, which meant that my upstairs layout had to change slightly. My master bedroom configuration got altered and the locations of my main bath and ensuite also changed. I am elated with the final layout!

Just looking at the floor plan that I personalized with the help of the fantastic designer at Parkview Homes, it gives my butterflies and goose bumps of excitement for when I move in and host that first family dinner! And use that shining new roasting pan ;). Also, did you see the size of the walk-in closet in my master bedroom?! I could live in that thing!

As I mentioned in my first blog, I have the advantage of knowing A LOT about the new home building industry, because I do work for Parkview Homes. I know what you might be thinking; this blog is a marketing ploy to get you to buy a new home. Well it may be a little bit, but it’s more importantly a chance for me, a first time homebuyer, to share the knowledge that I have gained over the last two years of working here, as well as share my first home buying experience!

Here are a few tips that might be helpful that I wouldn’t have known two years ago:

1.  If you are not familiar with new home builders, changing floor plans is usually something that they will NOT accommodate. Usually, you pick a floor plan and that is exactly how your home is going to be built.

I am very lucky that Parkview will make changes to meet my personal and lifestyle needs. This isn’t just a special service for me – they do it for everyone! However, like I mentioned before you should be aware there may be some costs involved depending on the changes/modifications that you would like to make.

2.  You get to pick your own design selections! Flooring, Trim, Doors, Exterior Colours, etc. This is something you get to learn more about in my next blog. I think picking colours was the most nerve racking and exciting part!! Stay tuned :)!

I hope this has been helpful! I look forward to writing about my Design Studio Selection process!

Talk to you soon,

Here are a few resources if you are thinking about buying your first home or a new home or you just really want to be my neighbour!